The Building Practitioners Board has recently ordered a builder to pay $2,500 after he failed to provide a record of his work. The Board dismissed complaints of negligence.

The builder was constructing the foundations for 10 units which were being developed over two blocks. The work for the foundation was done by the builder’s staff who were under the builder’s supervision.

The complainant found multiple issues with the foundation work. These included varying porch levels, an out of square foundation, building wrap imprints and a bowed foundation edge. The builder had not provided a record of this work.

The Board had to determine whether the builder had been negligent or incompetent when carrying out the building work, and whether he had failed to supply a record of work without good reason.

A builder will have been negligent or incompetent if, on the balance of probabilities, the builder departed from an accepted standard of work. That standard is objective and is based on work done by other Licensed Building Practitioners.

In this case, the Board found that some aspects of the work had not been completed to an acceptable standard, such as the porch level being too low on some units. However, the breaches were not serious enough to constitute negligence, and other people’s work had also contributed to the mistakes.

The Board decided that these mistakes technically meant that the builder had completed work contrary to a building consent. The Board decided that these mistakes were not serious enough to warrant disciplinary action.

The Board also found that the builder had carried out restricted work during the construction in relation to the foundations. By law, a builder is required to provide a record of work for any restricted work carried out, unless there is good reason not to.

In this case, the builder had failed to provide a record of work and had no justification as to why he failed to do this. The builder provided evidence that he was acting on the advice of a lawyer and therefore he had good reason not to provide the record.

The Board decided that the builder should have been aware of his obligations as a Licensed Building Practitioner. The Board stated that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides materials and training obligations of a builder, and the builder should therefore have known better.

The builder was fined $1,000 for failing to provide the record and was ordered to pay costs of $1,500.

It is important to be aware of your obligations as a Licensed Building Practitioner. If you are uncertain of your obligations, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.

 

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Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors