Building Practitioners Board Suspends Builder’s Licence
- Building Practitioners Board suspends builder’s licence for bringing LBP scheme into disrepute.
- First case heard by Building Practitioners Board relating directly to LBP Code of Ethics.
- Consumers urged to check LBP register when hiring building practitioners.
The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) has suspended a Licensed Building Practitioner’s (LBP) licence after the builder was found to have bought the LPB scheme into disrepute. The case had been originally brought before the Board after a complaint that the builder had breached the LBP Code of Ethics by failing to behave in a professional and ethical manner.
This was first case heard by the Board relating directly to a breach of the code of ethics since its introduction on 25 October 2022. However, after reviewing the evidence at the hearing in Christchurch earlier this month, the Board ruled that the offending was of a more serious nature and above the threshold of the code of ethics.
The Board found that the LBP had behaved inappropriately when a homeowner, who had paid a deposit for building work that was not carried out, sought repayment of the money through the Disputes Tribunal. The LBP used inappropriate language and threatening behaviour towards the Complainants in written and verbal communications which resulted in the Complainants increasing security measures at their home.
The Board ruled that the LBP’s licence be suspended and ordered that they must undertake training relating to communication in New Zealand Construction Related Trades within six months of the Board’s decision, with the builder also to pay $3,500 in costs and expenses to the Board.
Following the decision, MBIE’s National Manager of Occupational Regulation Duncan Connor said:
“The vast majority of LBPs are already working to the highest professional and ethical standards and consumers can be confident that they are hiring properly trained professionals to carry out or supervise restricted building work when they choose an LBP.
“The code of ethics holds those who do not meet standards required as an LBP to account, by providing clear grounds for the Building Practitioners Board to take disciplinary action in order to protect the safety of consumers.
“We will not hesitate to investigate complaints of this manner and I would encourage anyone engaging a builder to first look them up on the LBP Public Register.”
Anyone who is engaging a builder is encouraged to check if they hold a licence by looking them up on the LBP public register.
Decisions made by the BPB are available on the BPB website and upheld complaints will be recorded on the public register for 3 years.
Details of decision: The full decision is available here.
The defendant was in breach of section 317(1)(i) of the Building Act 2004:
- The Respondent has brought the regime for Licensed Building Practitioners into disrepute contrary to section 317(1)(i) of the Act, and should be disciplined.
- The Respondent’s licence is suspended, and they must undertake a course of training. The suspension will take effect from the date on which the decision is issued, and it will remain in effect until the earlier of the Respondent successfully completing the training ordered or the expiry of 12 months.
- The Respondent is to complete the training at their own cost and within six months of this decision being issued. Failure to do so may result in the Board initiating a Board Inquiry and considering further disciplinary action for contempt.
- The Respondent is to pay the sum of $3,500 toward the costs of and incidental to the Board’s inquiry. The rationale is that other Licensed Building Practitioners should not be left to carry the financial burden of an investigation and hearing.
Notes to editor:
The Licensed Building Practitioner’s Code of Ethics came into force on 25 October 2022, and sets behavioural standards for LBPs to give both the industry and consumers clarity on what is expected from LBPs, and to hold them to account.
The code ensures high standards are maintained, giving the public confidence that LBPs are undertaking building work in a safe, legal, and professional way and provides people, such as homeowners, with an avenue to complain should an LBP breach the standards.
Learn more about the LBP Code of Ethics on the Licensed Building Practitioners’ website.