Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board May 2012 update

Issue 39 – June 2012

Update on recent public consultations

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – Thanks to the 148 submitters who took the opportunity to tell the PGDB what they thought of its revised CPD proposal. After considering all the submissions, the Board has now reached its decision and has prepared Gazette notices. As required under the Act, these notices have been provided to the Minister of Building and Construction. Once the Board has the Minister's approval, Gazette notices will be published and the details communicated.

In the meantime, remember, the PGDB granted an exemption so that people who did not meet their CPD requirements by March 2012 will not be prevented from relicensing in the 2012/13 year. Instead, they will need to have completed the 2011/12 points' balance by 2013 March 2013 as this was the condition of the exemption.

Competencies – Thanks also to the 104 submitters who took the opportunity to tell the PGDB what they thought of the proposal to Gazette the competencies for the plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying trades. The majority of submitters (96%) supported the PGDB's proposal to publish the competencies in Gazette notices.

Again, after considering all the submissions, the Board has now reached its decision and has prepared Gazette notices. As required under the Act, these notices have been provided to the Minister of Building and Construction. Once the Board has the Minister's approval, Gazette notices will be published and the details communicated.

Upcoming opportunities for consultation

Later this year the PGDB will be consulting on the following matters. Keep an eye out for these opportunities to tell the PGDB what you think about its proposals.

July 2012 – Review of the minimum requirements for the registration of overseas-trained tradespeople

At its meeting on 15 May, the PGDB considered the 103 submissions received on the four options it proposed. The overwhelming majority of submitters supported the PGDB's preferred option. The PGDB will now prepare a proposal for the contents of a Gazette notice which will be made available for public consultation in July.

September/October 2012 – Comprehensive fees review

While this review forms part of the PGDB's Accountability Agreement with the Minister, it is also essential following the government's review of gas certification which will see the PGDB lose its gas certification role and income from 1 April 2013. The review will consider the following specific issues.

  • The period of time for which a licence should be issued
  • Whether the disciplinary levy should be charged on a per person or per licence basis
  • Whether or not trainee limited certificate holders should pay a fee
  • How competency reviews can be funded
  • The effects of the loss of gas certification income
  • The possibility of the Board not conducting its own examinations in the future
  • The willingness of tradespeople to pay a small fee to have online access to NZ Standards

The Board intends to Gazette reviewed fees and levies by 22 December 2012.

Speeding up the registration approval process

The PGDB has changed its registration approval process to enable eligible applicants to become registered more quickly so that they can progress their careers and contribute to New Zealand's economy. Applications will now generally take less than 2 weeks to process.

It is also a timely opportunity to remind tradespeople who have completed their National Certificates in their chosen trade, when applying for registration in the licensed class, to provide a copy of their National Certificate with their registration application.

For further information on registration, contact the Registration Officer on 0800 743 262 or email registration@pgdb.co.nz.

Integrating the PGDB's exams into the National Certificates

The Board continues to work collaboratively with the PGDR ITO on the concept of integrating the Board's examinations into the National Certificates. Once the final form of the new National Certificates is known, a decision will be taken on exam integration.

Have you displayed your sticker?

By now all registered tradespeople should have received an 'Ask for the Card' campaign sticker to display in their vehicle. These were provided to all registered tradespeople as an insert in this month's issue of the Plumbers Journal. If you haven't already done so, the PGDB encourages you to display the sticker and help it to drive up public awareness of the importance of hiring authorised tradespeople.

If you require more stickers, contact Hayley Meehan on hayley@pgdb.co.nz or 0800 743 262.

Related Touchstone article

Recent prosecution

A man was recently fined $10,500after his dangerous gasfitting caused a fire at a home in Auckland.

Lorenzo Santamaria, of Faram Place, Massey, was found to have incorrectly and illegally installed a Parmco gas kitchen hob and also gas pipework from an LPG bottle to the kitchen hob in March 2011.

Mr Santamaria was not licensed or registered to carry out the gasfitting work, as required under the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006.

Plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying are regulated industries in New Zealand and it's illegal for anyone to do this work unless they are authorised to do so by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB). Another company had to be called to the home to rectify the defective gasworks.

Mr Santamaria also illegally advertised his gasfitting and plumbing services when he was not registered and licensed to carry out such work and this would have led members of the public to believe he was registered or licensed.

Mr Santamaria was also fined $1,000 for advertising gasfitting and plumbing services when he was not registered and licensed. Both fines were commuted to 150 hours of community work.

The gasfitting work carried out by Mr Santamaria was defective and this led to a fire underneath the gas hob in the kitchen. It was found that Mr Santamaria caused a gas leak by failing to install a washer in the union underneath the gas hob. The pipework was also in contact with an electric oven beneath the hob which potentially could have led to damage to the pipe as a result of heat transfer or physical damage.

It was also found that Mr Santamaria had not converted the gas hob from Natural Gas to LPG. This also resulted in the gas flame on the hob being up to three times the normal height and created the potential for the production of carbon monoxide.

Kern U'ren, Deputy Registrar at the Board, welcomed the sentencing.

'This is an extremely serious offence and there was a clear risk of Mr Santamaria's dangerous work causing loss of life and injury. Unregistered and unlicensed people undertaking gasfitting work place consumers at risk. I hope this sentence will serve as a deterrent to others in New Zealand.

'Anyone involved in plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying is required to carry an authorisation card. This provides consumers with an assurance that the work is being legally carried out by a competent tradesperson, who is currently authorised by the PGDB. We urge consumers to ask tradespeople for their authorisation card.

'If a homeowner or building inspector believes work has been done by someone who is not authorised, or has concerns about the competency of tradespeople, they can make a complaint to the PGDB.'

Examinations

2011 was a record year for candidates sitting the PGDB's examinations. More candidates sat exams and passed in 2011 than in any previous year. This high level of achievement is reflected in higher levels of registration recorded in 2011.

A total of 486 people have enrolled to sit an examination in June 2012. If you are one of those due to sit an examination, don't forget to check the current examination guides online.

If you're planning to sit an examination in November, don't forget to enrol with the PGDB between 1August and 30 September 2012.

Impending changes to the PGDB's online public register

Next month, the PGDB will make changes to the online public register for plumbers, gasfitters, and drainlayers. In accordance with the purpose of the register, the PGDB is required to make publicly available to consumers, the contact details of registered tradespeople and provisional licence holders.

On 25 June, contact details of registered tradespeople currently held in the PGDB's database will be made available to consumers through the PGDB's online public register. These public details will include postal address, phone number, mobile number, and email address (if any). Contact details of trainees and exemption holders will not be made public.

The PGDB encourages all tradespeople to log in to the register and check that their address details are correct before information is made public on 25 June.

The 'postal address' field will be renamed 'public address'. The 'physical address' field will be renamed 'private address' and should contain the address that you wish the Board to use when corresponding with you.

A new mandatory field, 'preferred contact information', will be added to the register beneath the 'public address' field. This is where tradespeople should enter their business phone number and/or website address for public access.

Further to these changes, the register will now also contain information about any licence conditions, suspension, cancellation, or disciplinary action taken in connection with a tradesperson in the last 3 years.

These changes are being made to fully comply with the requirements of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006. Consideration has been given to the information privacy principles set out under section 6 of the Privacy Act 1993 and the public register privacy principles set out under section 59 of the Privacy Act.

The Act provides the Registrar with discretionary powers to withhold information. If there is a reason why a tradesperson would object to their contact details being made public, an online option will be available to apply to the Registrar for it to be withheld.

Clarification on gasfitting certification requirements where exemptions apply

The PGDB sought clarification from the Department of Building and Housing on the provision in the Building Act to provide an energy works certificate.

Exemptions from the requirement to certify are outlined in section 45 of the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010.

The Department of Building and Housing has advised that where an exemption to certify applies, there is no legal requirement to provide a certificate to the owner/occupier and consequently to the territorial authority if requested.

However, the Board strongly encourages all certifying gasfitters to certify their gasfitting work, especially as from 1 April 2013 Energy Safety has advised that all gasfitting work will require certification.

Provision of consumer phone numbers by certifying gasfitters

The PGDB recently made a change to the gas certification system that required the telephone number of a consumer to be provided at the time a certificate was entered into the database. An unintended consequence of this change was that if a gasfitter was unable to provide a telephone number due to privacy or other reasons, the certification process could not be completed. This change has now been reversed and the telephone number field has been switched back to optional. The PGDB regrets any inconvenience this may have caused.

There had previously been an optional provision on the certificate for telephone numbers to be provided. The purpose of the change was to provide a simple and quick means for the PGDB to contact a consumer, in the event that it was considered to audit their gas installation. Quick contact without a phone number has sometimes been difficult.

While the phone number field is not mandatory, gasfitters are encouraged to continue to provide the PGDB with contact telephone numbers of their clients (consumers) unless a consumer is not happy for this to occur. This will enable the Board to contact a consumer efficiently should an audit be required.

Summarised from the PGDB's 'Info Brief', May 2012.

 

Published in building.