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Illegal gasfitting in Auckland considered serious

Illegal gasfitting in Auckland considered serious

In a judgment released today by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB), Christopher Blewden, the former Director of Combustion Appliance Repairs Limited has been convicted and fined in the Whangarei District Court after pleading guilty to the charge of carrying out gasfitting work illegally.

Plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated trades in New Zealand and it is illegal for anyone to do this work unless they are authorised to do so by the Board.

Mr Blewden carried out gasfitting work on a galvanising plant for New Zealand’s largest metal recycler, which included the replacement of a gas regulator. Mr Blewden has never held or been authorised by the Board to carry out gasfitting work.

Judge Harvey presiding considered this offending to be of a serious nature because there was a risk to a substantial number of people from the work carried out, and if something had gone wrong it could have been catastrophic.

The galvanising plant operates to coat mild steel with molten zinc to prevent corrosion of the steel. The galvanising plant system requires the exact gas and air mixture (combustible products) for efficient heating.

The gasfitting work carried out by Mr Blewden was defective because the new regulator installed was the incorrect type of regulator for the company’s galvanising plant.

Mr Blewden was fined $2,000 plus court costs of $130 and solicitor’s fees of $113.

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 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.

Ends


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