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Warning to homeowners – be aware of illegal activity

18 January 2016

Warning to homeowners – be aware of illegal activity

Homeowners are being warned today not to fall into the classic trap of using unlicensed tradespeople for home maintenance projects over the summer season.

Construction sector regulator, the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB), are warning the public to check the credentials of tradespeople before engaging their services.

Those homeowners who feel encouraged to get into a summer of DIY - should also know what plumbing, gasfitting or drainlaying work is restricted. There are big fines associated with this type of work 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.

The PGDB’s summer public awareness campaign launches this week which aims to educate homeowners to protect their health, safety and their insurance policies by always 'asking for the card' when engaging the services of tradespeople.

“Unauthorised work is a problem that can’t be solved quickly by the Board simply trying to investigate and prosecute more unauthorised people, said the Board’s Chief Executive, Martin Sawyers. We also need to make consumers more aware of the risks involved in hiring unlicensed people.”

“It is important for homeowners to know that work undertaken by unlicensed people, not only risks their family’s health and safety–but also may invalidate insurance policies. To stay safe and avoid the risk it takes one simple action – ask for the card.”

Backing its efforts to extinguish unlawful activity within local communities, the PGPD has released a free for download mobile app R.A.C (report-a-cowboy). It is designed to quickly deal with illegal work within the construction sector – and consumers who wish to make a complaint about defective work should use it.

The app allows consumers to submit photo or video evidence, such as illegal work sites and false advertising on vans. It also has the ability to log GPS coordinates and allows those reporting through the app to request confidentiality.

Help the PGDB protect your community. Protect your families health and safety and your insurance, by alerting the PGDB to illegal activity using the app. It's easy. Download the R.A.C app through the App Store and Google Play (put PGDB in the search), or go to the Board's website

The PGDB’s public awareness campaign is endorsed by the New Zealand Insurance Council who 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.”

Sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated industries in New Zealand, and it is illegal to do this restricted work unless authorised by the PGDB. 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, the Yellow home maintenance app, Build & Renovate Today magazine, MICO Bathrooms, Plumbing World, My Plumbing Depot, licensed practitioners and local councils throughout New Zealand to help ensure consumer awareness responsibilities are met.


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