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DIY July – Novice Or Expert You May Not Be Covered

Making those small renovation changes to add value to your property may have a very different ‘big impact’ on your asset and finances than you expect. Before you DIY or carry out that renovation project check it’s legal first.

Recently, in the Hastings District Court, Paul Shannon, pleaded guilty and was fined $2,500 and ordered to pay court costs of $130 for doing or assisting in restricted plumbing work without authorisation.

The 2020 mid-year fine tally for those fined or convicted of carrying out restricted plumbing, gasfitting or drainlaying work without authorisation now sits at $21,640. District Court reparation orders issued for unsuspecting homeowners are uncommon. The total for 2020 is $8,664.

This latest prosecution outcome released by the PGDB today is the sixth in a string of consumer warnings published this year - and reinforces that when it comes to the cost of renovating the devil is in the detail.

The end result for this latest out of pocket homeowner was leaks from behind the shower wall, hot and cold water pipes installed around the wrong way, and a toilet flush function that doesn’t work. The Court issued no reparation order.

Sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated trades in New Zealand and it is illegal to do this restricted work unless authorised by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB). The health and safety risks are high, you jeopardize your home insurance policy, and risk fines or conviction in the District Court.

Martin Sawyers, Chief Executive for the PGDB said: “In particular, I want to give a clear warning to those blatantly misleading homeowners. Plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated trades in New Zealand for very good reason - they play a key role in protecting the health and safety of the public. The risks are high, the fines are costly and you will get caught.”

“My message to consumers is that it takes one simple action to stay safe and avoid any risk. Go to our website and check it’s legal first. Almost all aspects of this work is restricted and illegal to DIY. When hiring a tradesperson, ask to sight a licence card. It states the credentials of a tradesperson and the type of work they are authorised to carry out."

Unauthorised work associated to 2020 District Court proceedings to date has seen; numerous breaches of the building code; drainlaying work creating a risk of sewage and all waste water blocking pipes, water leaks behind walls, substandard bathroom alterations including sinks, shower units, toilets, and gas hot water systems; gas installations giving rise to a risk of fire or gas leak; non-compliant gas cook-top installations and gas bottles placed dangerously close to a potential point of ignition.

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