The Building Practitioners Board has recently decided that a builder’s failures while supervising staff were not serious enough to warrant a penalty.

The licensed building practitioner was supervising brickwork being completed by a qualified tradesman and fourth year apprentice. The Council issued a Notice to Fix for the property after finding that there had been a failure to install control joints and that someone had tried to cover up that mistake.

During the build the builder was working on another property. However, he was available should any issues arise. The builder stated that he was confident in his staff’s work and that he had assisted with set out.

The builder fixed the issues raised by the Council and the brickwork later passed inspection.

The Board had to determine whether the builder had acted incompetently or negligently when supervising building work. This is an objective test, assessed based on standards of other licensed building practitioners.

The Board decided that the failure to install control joints was a “significant and serious departure from acceptable standards”. However, the Board decided that the builder’s adoption of “remote supervision” in this case was acceptable.

The Board decided that the builder’s failures while supervising the brickwork were not serious enough to meet the threshold for incompetence or negligence. The Board decided that this offence was an “isolated incident” and the builder had ensured that the issue had been rectified.

The builder had met his requirements in regards to his supervision. The Board recommended that the builder study the relevant guidelines and adjust his supervision methods in the future.

It is important to ensure that you are meeting your legal obligations as a licensed building practitioner. If you are confused about these obligations, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area. 


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Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors