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Woman fined $3,750 for illegal gas hob installation

Buyer be aware – woman fined $3,750 for illegal gas hob installation

In a judgment released today by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, an Upper Moutere woman was fined $3,750 plus solicitor’s and Court costs after pleading guilty to illegally installing a gas hob she brought from Harvey Norman Limited. The work was described by a registered and licensed gasfitter who saw the work as immediately dangerous to life or property.

Robyn Fairbrother carried out illegal gasfitting work at her property in Upper Moutere when she installed a natural gas hob, extended pipework from underneath the floor of the residence, and connected the pipework from the gas hob to a 9 kg LPG bottle.

Plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated industries in New Zealand and it is illegal for anyone to do this work unless they are authorised to do so by the Board. Ms Fairbrother was not authorised to carry out the gasfitting work.

Max Pedersen, Chief Executive of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board said, “While New Zealand law allows anyone to purchase gasfitting appliances such as gas hobs, it is illegal to undertake any associated gasfitting work without authorisation.“

“Consumers should be aware that an authorised gasfitter must be used to install gas appliances, pipes, or make any alterations. They can ensure installations are safely connected to the gas supply, ventilated properly, in good working order, and that safety devices are correctly adjusted.”

The gasfitting work carried out by Ms Fairbrother was defective. There were multiple significant gas leaks resulting in a strong smell of gas. When in use, the hob had large flames because it was designed for natural gas but had been connected to LPG—the flames had scorched a gib-board wall the hob was too close to. The gas hob was also positioned too close to a microwave that could have ignited the gas leaking from the connected pipework.

“There is a clear risk when this type of dangerous work is carried out by unauthorised people. It can cause injury and even loss of life, as well as damage to property. Plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying are restricted areas of work. I hope this sentence will generate awareness and serve as a deterrent to others partaking in the kiwi spirit of DIY,” Max continued.

All authorised tradespeople are required to carry their current authorisation card. The Board strongly urges consumers to stay safe and ask tradespeople for this card before any work commences. This way they can be assured that the work is being done by a competent tradesperson.

If a member of the public believes that work has been done by someone who is not authorised, or has concerns about the competency of tradespeople, they can make a complaint to the Board. You can check to see if a tradesperson is authorised at the Board’s website www.pgdb.co.nz.

Robyn Fairbrother was convicted on the 12 November in the Nelson District Court and was fined $3750 plus a $113 solicitor’s fee and $130 Court costs.


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