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PGDB - Regulator Rules $7,000 Fine & Suspension of Licence

Regulator rules $7,000 fine and suspension of practising licence

A recent decision to fine and suspend the practising licence of a Christchurch-based certifying gasfitter sends a strong message to the industry about the importance of ensuring inexperienced staff are properly supervised.

The PGDB is cracking-down hard on work done by inexperienced tradesmen who are supposed to be supervised – but aren’t.

Christchurch gasfitter and business owner, David Browne, who is a director and manager of a company called David Browne Contractors Limited, has had his licence suspended from the register of licensed tradespeople for a two month period commencing 1 September 2017. He has also been fined $7,000 and ordered to pay $6,000 in costs.

After receiving a complaint about the supervision practices of Mr Browne, Investigators for the PGDB found that he was not providing the proper supervision or oversight of his unqualified employees who were doing gasfitting work at the science block of the University of Canterbury.

The PGDB said Mr Browne seriously breached the behaviour required of a registered, certifying tradesperson and a business owner in a position of authority. He put both his employees and the public at risk.

The project involved the installation of approximately 12,000 metres of copper pipe. 1,418 meters of this copper pipe work was for carrying LPG, running throughout the large multi-story university complex (restricted gasfitting work under the Act).

Martin Sawyers, PGDB Chief Executive, said “Mr Brown's actions potentially compromised public health and safety. If gasfitting work is not carried out by a licenced professional and under the correct supervision requirements, there is the risk of defective work being undetected, putting people and property at risk.”

At the time of this installation, the employees of Mr Browne did not hold any specific authorisation from the Board to undertake gasfitting, and where required to be closely supervised.

“This is common sense”, Martin continued, “It is simply unacceptable to allow unqualified untrained and unlicensed people to do gasfitting work at a public institution.”

The PGDB are now more easily identifying operators in the construction industry where supervision requirements are not being adhered to because they are getting better at detecting them.

The Report A Cowboy (RAC) app launched last year, downloadable from the PGDB website, has attracted more than 10,500 downloads – with 126 complaints laid over the app last year and 20 so far this year.

“Keep safe and avoid dealing with any service providers and their employees who cannot produce a licence card issued by the PGDB”, says Martin,” and if you have any suspicions or want to report some alleged wrongdoing, use the RAC app.”


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