The Building Practitioners Board has recently ordered a builder to pay $4,000 for carrying out and supervising negligent or incompetent building work.  

A complaint was made against the builder regarding an insufficient and incomplete building consent application. A Special Adviser was asked by the Board to provide their opinion on the builder’s design and building consent application.

The Adviser concluded that the builder’s work was substandard and, even if the work had been completed properly and in accordance with the plans, the work would not have “satisfied the provisions of the building code”.

The Adviser decided that the builder had not provided sufficient supporting information such as structural and bracing calculations, failed to provide information for plumbing and drainage, and included work that, if completed, would be non-compliant.

The Adviser also determined that no reasonable Licensed Building Practitioner could have completed the proposed building work given the lack of information.

The Board had to determine whether the builder’s conduct amounted to negligence. For work to be negligent, the builder must have shown a lack of ability, skill, or knowledge to carry out or supervise building work to an acceptable standard. The conduct must also fall “seriously short” of expected standards for disciplinary action to be taken.

In this case, the Board decided that the Adviser’s findings clearly showed that the builder’s conduct had fallen below an acceptable standard of work. The builder also accepted the Adviser’s findings which supported the finding that the builder’s work was substandard.

The Board also decided that while the builder’s conduct was not deliberate, it was serious given the Adviser’s opinion that the builder’s failings were “significant in that necessary and obvious” information was missing for the compliance assessment.

The Board also noted the fact that the builder had been unwilling to accept or acknowledge his failings until they were considered by the Adviser.

The Board decided that the builder’s failings were serious and therefore he had been negligent. The builder was ordered to pay a fine of $3,000 as well as costs of $1,000.

It is important to be aware of your 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