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Local Taranaki business fined $6000 for illegal gasfitting

30 July 2014

Local Taranaki business and two employees fined $6000 for illegal gasfitting

MD Brown & Co Limited, a team of plumbers who have over 30 years combined experience in plumbing and drainlaying, should have known that similar to these trades it is illegal to carry out gasfitting work without authorisation from the Board.

The role of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board is to help keep consumers safe by ensuring that work conducted across New Zealand is of a high quality.

Convicted and fined in the New Plymouth District Court, MD Brown & Co Limited and its two employees associated with the case, pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them. Two charges were brought against the company, and one against each of the employees, resulting in a total fine of $6,000-$1,500 for each charge.

After installing a 9kg LPG bottle for a new oven cook-top and connecting the associated pipework at a property in New Plymouth, the gasfitting work was found to be defective, creating a health and safety risk to the public.

Based on the information before the Court, and that MD Brown & Co Limited intended to pay all related fines, Judge Roberts believed that $1500 for each of the four charges was an appropriate penalty. The defendants were also ordered to pay court costs and solicitors’ fees.

Max Pedersen, Chief Executive of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board said, “Unauthorised people doing gasfitting places consumers at risk. Any defective gasfitting work can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and explosions. I hope this sentence will serve as a deterrent to others.”

He added, “Anyone involved in plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying is required to carry an authorisation card—and consumers should ask for it. This provides an assurance the work is carried out legally by a competent tradesperson, who is authorised by the Board.”

If you are installing a new appliance or altering your gas supply, use an authorised gasfitter to do the job. They will ensure it is connected correctly, flued and ventilated properly, and in good working order. A Gas Safety Certificate is required for all new gas installations and alterations. These must be supplied by the company that carried out the work.

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.

The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board is the statutory body which regulates the plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying trades to ensure those providing these services are competent and safe in order to protect the public and property.

ENDS

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