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$1500 fine for Christchurch builder's guilty plea

29 January 2016

$1500 fine for Christchurch builder's guilty plea

Homeowners are being warned today not to fall into the trap of using a builder to conduct plumbing work for renovation projects over the summer season.

Yesterday at the Christchurch District Court, Builder Barry Barnes, after submitting a guilty plea, was sentenced by Her Honour Smith to a $1500 fine for carrying out restricted plumbing work without authorisation.

Sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated industries in New Zealand, and it is illegal to do this restricted work unless authorised by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB).

Martin Sawyers, Chief Executive for the PGDB said: “It is important for homeowners to know that plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying work undertaken by unauthorised tradespeople, not only risks their family’s health and safety–but may also invalidate their insurance policy.”

“To stay safe and avoid the risk it takes one simple action – ask for the card. It states the tradespersons credentials and the type of work they are authorised to carry out.”

Those homeowners who feel encouraged to get into renovation projects over summer - should know there are big fines associated with this type of restricted work being carried out unlawfully.

Unauthorised restricted plumbing and drainlaying work carries a maximum fine of $10,000, and gasfitting carries a maximum fine of $50,000. The risks are high - and you may be invalidating your insurance policy.

Backing the Board’s efforts to protect consumers and to extinguish unlawful activity, the New Zealand Insurance Council also warns;" The use of unregistered and unqualified persons to do sanitary plumbing, gasfitting or drainage work on an insured property may invalidate the property’s insurance cover in the event of a loss resulting from the work undertaken. Always ask to sight a tradesman’s authorisation card before work is undertaken – they are required to produce it.”

The PGDB is the statutory body which regulates the trades to ensure those providing the services are competent and safe.

The PGDB works with the NZ Insurance Council, EQC, Consumer NZ, The Citizens Advice Bureau, web directories such as www.builderscrack.co.nz, the Yellow home maintenance app, Build & Renovate Today magazine, Progressive Building magazine, MICO Bathrooms, Plumbing World, My Plumbing Depot, licensed practitioners and local councils throughout New Zealand to help ensure consumer awareness responsibilities are met.

Consumers can request the guidance information pamphlet “the right steps to take” from the Boards website atwww.pgdb.co.nz/consumer or by giving them a call on 0800 743 262.


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