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Beware unauthorised trade work


Property owners are being warned today not to fall into the trap of using unlicensed people to conduct plumbing work on renovation projects. Always ask to sight a NZ Practising Licence before any work begins.

Today in the Taupo District Court, Stuart Mill, was sentenced to a $1,200 fine for carrying out restricted plumbing work without authorisation and was ordered to pay $130 in Court costs.

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). Authorised tradespeople must carry the NZ Practice Licence.

Mr Mill carried out bathroom alterations, which included various plumbing works at a Taupo residence. The work included the alteration of the existing hot and cold piping, and the addition of valves on the pipework to a new sink mixer. Mr Mill also replaced the wastepipe from the sink and removed the laundry tub. After the work was completed there was no water pressure and hot water was flowing from the drain of the hot water cylinder.

Unauthorised restricted sanitary plumbing work carries a maximum fine of $10,000. The risks are high - and you may be invalidating your insurance policy.

Mr Mill operated a business, and on his business card listed amongst the services was plumbing repairs. He told the property owner that he was a licensed plumber, but she did not ask him to show her his NZ Practising Licence.

“ Martin Sawyers, Chief Executive for the PGDB said: “To stay safe and avoid the risk, it takes one simple action – ask to sight a licence card. It states the credentials of a tradesperson and the type of work they are authorised to carry out.”

“It is important for homeowners to know that plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying work undertaken by unauthorised tradespeople, not only risks their family’s health and safety – but may also invalidate their insurance policy.”

The PGDB is the statutory body which regulates the trades to ensure those providing the services are competent and safe.

Backing the PGDB’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.”

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