West coast man fined $2,750 for unauthorised plumbing

Issue 40 – July 2012

A West Coast man has been fined $2,750 for illegally carrying out sanitary plumbing which caused flooding at a property in Punakaiki.

John Playter, of Barrytown, was not authorised by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board ('the Board') to replace a hot water cylinder with an instantaneous gas water heater at the home in Owen Street in 2009, as required under the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 2006.

It was found that the water pipes Mr Playter installed were under strain and he also failed to put the appropriate joints in the pipes. As a result, the pipes burst and flooded the property. In addition, the gas water heater did not function properly and the owner did not have hot water running at her premises for a prolonged period of time.

The owner of the home had to ask a licensed plumber and gasfitter to repair Mr Playter's work.

Mr Playter failed to attend the hearing, however the Judge was satisfied that a conviction be entered along with a fine of $2,750. In addition to that, court costs of $140 and solicitor's fees of $226 were imposed.

Plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying are regulated industries in New Zealand and it is illegal for anyone to do this work unless they are authorised to do so by the Board.

The Board's Deputy Registrar, Kern U'ren, said: 'There are serious health and safety risks associated with sanitary plumbing carried out by an unauthorised person. Any defective plumbing work has the potential to cause disease and serious damage to the home and in this case, the poor workmanship led to flooding.

'All authorised tradespeople are required to carry their current authorisation card. We urge consumers to ask tradespeople for this card before any work commences so that they can be assured that the work is being done by an authorised and competent tradesperson.'

If a homeowner or building inspector believes that 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 Board.

Summarised from Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board media release, 18 June 2012


Published in building.