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Builder’s illegal gas cooker job earns $6,000 fine

MEDIA RELEASE
15 February 2017

Builder’s illegal gas cooker job earns $6,000 fine

Today’s latest prosecution by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, backs the important messages to homeowners that are in their new public awareness campaign.

Sort the pros from the cons – your family’s health and safety, your property and insurance are at risk.

Auckland builder and Director of L&B Construction Limited, Byungsung Lim was sentenced in the North Shore District Court this morning. The complainant in the case engaged Mr Lim to undertake kitchen and bathroom renovations.

Mr Lim pleaded guilty to two charges; doing unauthorised gasfitting and doing unauthorised sanitary plumbing. He was fined $6,000 on the gasfitting charge, and fined $650 on the plumbing charged. He was also ordered to pay $113 solicitor’s costs.

Sanitary plumbing and gasfitting conducted by anyone who does not hold a current NZ Practising Licence from the Board is illegal activity. Mr Lim has never been registered or licenced as a gasfitter or plumber. He illegally installed a toilet and a gas hob/cooker during the renovation project – and his work was defective.

Approximately one month after the installation a strong smell of gas, sooty flames and carbon build up on one of the gas nozzles was noticed.

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, which is why the fines associated with illegal work of this type are high.

“Dealing with gas is dangerous. Never install a gas appliance yourself. The law requires you to use a licensed tradesperson and our new campaign ‘sort the pros from the cons’, shows consumers how to choose the right people”, said Martin Sawyers, Chief Executive for the Board.

“It highlights the importance of qualified tradespeople, and the need to eliminate any risk by asking to sight a New Zealand Practising Licence before any work begins.”

“A qualified tradesperson will make sure gas appliances are connected correctly, flued and vented properly, working properly and most importantly, that it is safe to use,” he continued.

The Board and The NZ Insurance Council NZ warn mistakes are costly, and you could void your insurance. Consumers can find out what’s legal and what’s not at www.pgdb.co.nz.

Where there is any concern that work may have been done by someone who is not authorised, or there is concern about the competency of a tradesperson, consumers should notify the Board.

To make a complaint phone 0800 743 262, or use the R.A.C app (report-a-cowboy). It is available free and is a direct link to the Board’s investigations team. Go to www.pgdb.co.nz.

Ends

*Image attached - the NZ Practicising Licence that all authorised tradespeople must carry


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