The Building Practitioners Board has recently cancelled a builder’s practising licence and ordered him to pay $3,000 after significant building defects were discovered. The amount required to remediate the work totalled over $34,000.

The builder was supervising work being carried out on a church. The evidence provided showed that the builder was absent for a lot of the building work and the people working on the job varied.

The defects found in the work included floor level height differences of 60mm, window flashing that was not Code compliant, incorrect roof framing, a door installed out of square and a door landing that was too high. A pathway was also built unevenly and with steps too small.

The complainant also complained of incorrect invoicing, and that the builder had threatened to remove fittings and materials if the invoices were not paid.

The Board had to determine whether the defects in the builder’s work meant that the builder had carried out or supervised building work in an incompetent manner.

Incompetence is a “lack of ability, skill or knowledge to carry out or supervise building work to an acceptable standard”. An acceptable standard is objectively assessed based on other Licensed Building Practitioners.

The Board decided that the builder had showed a lack of care. Much of the work did not comply with the Building Code and therefore the work was not completed to the standard required of a Licensed Building Practitioner.

Given that the defects in the builder’s work meant that $34,152 worth of remedial work had to be done, the Board decided that this showed the builder’s supervision of the work was either “non-existent or very poor”. The work carried out was also contrary to the building consent.

The Board noted that the conduct of the builder was not serious enough to bring the building profession into disrepute. However, the significant defects found in the work were not far from meeting that high standard.

The Board cancelled the builder’s licence for a period of at least nine months, and was ordered to pay $3,000 in costs.

It is important to be aware of your professional obligations as a builder. 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