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Auckland man convicted, fined $25,000 for illegal gasfitting

30 July, 2014

Auckland man convicted and fined $25,000 for illegal gasfitting

A welder who illegally installed gas pipes and appliances at a home in Auckland was convicted and fined $25,000 in the Auckland District Court. Judge Dawson also ordered he pay reparations of $6,039 along with court costs and solicitors’ fees. The work was described by a gas auditor as the most dangerous gas installation he has ever come across in 40 years.

Wayne Johnson, a welder by trade and director of Global Welding & Fabrication Limited was not authorised by the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Board to carry out gasfitting work at a home in Papatoetoe, Auckland.

The gasfitting work involved the extension of gas pipes from the house to the garage of the residence, which was attached to the natural gas supply via a meter.

Mr Johnson also installed gas appliances including a continuous flow water heater, free standing oven, kebab roaster, commercial hot plate, and completed connection of the gas appliances to the extended pipe work.

When the Board received the complaint, a licensed gasfitter was sent out to the property to inspect the installations for the purpose of a gas audit. Several faults were identified and the work was described as some of the most dangerous he had ever come across in his 40 years’ experience in the gas industry. He had never found a more dangerous installation.

The auditor believed that due to the severity and number of gas leaks that were immediately adjacent to open flames, a fire or explosion was inevitable. The deficiencies in the manner the work was carried out were found to be unsafe and posed a danger to life. Numerous faults were found that could have led to gas leaks—causing fire or explosion. Other risks included potential for the generation of carbon monoxide.

Prolonged low level exposure to carbon monoxide can cause illness, loss of normal cognitive function and drowsiness. At high levels of exposure, it can be fatal. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer, because it is both odourless and colourless.

Max Pedersen, Chief Executive of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board said, “This is an extremely serious offence and there was a clear risk of this dangerous work causing loss of life and injury. Unauthorised people doing gasfitting place consumers at risk. 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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