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Plumber side-steps close call for rest home residents

Plumber side-steps close call for rest home residents

Residential care facilities and homeowners are being warned today not to fall into the trap of using unlicensed tradespeople for renovation projects – health, safety and insurance are all at high risk.

Yesterday at the Manukau District Court, Atish Kumar of Good News Plumbing, after submitting a guilty plea, was sentenced to a $2000 fine for carrying out restricted plumbing work without the authorisation of the PGDB at a residential care facility in Auckland.

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).

Mr Kumar carried out sanitary plumbing work in four bathrooms at the rest home, involving toilet, shower and basin fixtures. A registered certifying plumber and the complainant to the prosecuting Board (PGDB), was engaged to repair defects in Mr Kumar’s work, side-stepping a close call for the residents health and safety.

The defects were in the waste water pipework that was installed incorrectly – posing risk of blockage, and creating a breeding ground for bacteria, disease and health risk. The ventilation pipe had in fact become blocked with foul water solids, stopping gases or smells from escaping – and returning them back into the dwelling.

Martin Sawyers, Chief Executive for the PGDB said: “It is important for residential care facilities and also the homeowner to know that plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying work undertaken by unauthorised tradespeople, not only risks health and safety–but may also invalidate insurance policies.”

“To stay safe and avoid any of these risks it takes one simple action – ask to sight a licence card. It states the tradespersons credentials and the type of work they are authorised to carry out.”
The PGDB is the statutory body which regulates the trades to ensure those providing the services are competent and safe.

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 works with the NZ Insurance Council, EQC, Consumer NZ, The Citizens Advice Bureau, web directories such, 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.

You can protect your families health and safety and your insurance, by alerting the PBDB to illegal activity using the report-a-cowboy app (RAC). It’s the easy way to make a complaint. Download the RAC app through the App Store and Google Play, or go to the Board’s website at

Consumers can also request the guidance information pamphlet “the right steps to take” from the Boards website or by giving them a call on 0800 743 262.


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