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Author Topic: Who is responsible?  (Read 12130 times)

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Offline newguy

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Who is responsible?
« on: May 12, 2011, 04:08:49 PM »
Hi everyone,

I thought I would bring this case forward and share it with you. Every plumbing / gas fitting business owner should be aware and very careful of this!

Today I received a letter from the plumbing board. The letter states that I am being persecuted under section 100 of the PGD Act 2006.

Let me explain...

July last year I subcontracted a craftsman plumber to help with the workload. In this instance it was relocating an existing Hot Water cylinder from one location to another. Everything was consented and so an inspection took place. The inspection failed because the overflow pipe (from the relief valves) didn't have enough fall and because there was no air break ( I have attached images for you to look at).

In this case the client decided to write a complaint to the PGDB about the matter, (this job was very complicated as we were also subcontracting to another firm and so there are other issues I wont bring up as it has nothing to do with the prosecution at hand)

Subsequently there was an investigation and the investigator found reason for concern (the drain not having enough fall? :-X).   
Now 1 year later a prosecution is taking place.

I immediately called the board to ask why I was being prosecuted and not the craftsman plumber that did the job? the answer I got was even though a craftsman plumber did the job it was still the responsibility of my firm (the person licensed in the firm) to inspect the work and ensure it was done correctly and to the standard.

Excuse me?? !@#$%

I'm not sure what to say here, I didn't employ a laborer or a licensed plumber, I employed a craftsman plumber so I don't have to do exactly that!

Guys I could go on and on about how pissed off I am but I'm also willing to except that the fact that I could be mistaken here but does this mean that no one needs to answer for there mistakes anymore or be responsible for what they do except the Craftsman plumber that owns the company? No consequences?

Does anyone out there know about this? I would think not many, if you employ craftsman plumbers be aware that YOU are still going to hang if they make mistakes.

At this stage I don't believe there is a point fighting this, so I will agree to come to a quick resolution.  >:(

I look forward to any thoughts on this issue.

Linkback: https://www.plumbers.nz/legal-matters-q-and-a/46/who-is-responsible/644/

Offline TS

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 05:09:31 PM »
I'll send you a personal message on this one, there's stuff I can't say on the public forum about this situation.

Offline Plumber

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 05:11:19 PM »
What a waste of tax payers money.  :-[
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Offline robbo

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 05:37:17 PM »
hi newguy/guys, i was lead to understand that if there was a problem with our work in regards to regs, we would be given the opportunity to remedy it.Only after refusal to put it right would a prosecution take place, can anyone verify,cheers

Offline TS

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 05:59:26 PM »
A few things first. If you are licensed as an individual certifying plumber than you do not have anyone supervising you therefore no one else can be held accountable. The guy who worked for you is responsible, not you.

If you hold an employer license however its different. I believe anyone working under you is your responsibility. Is this the case?



In regard to work complying with the regs please tell me they're not quoting the building code acceptable solutions. These are non mandatory. They can't quote any particular gradients or measurements against you. They can only use the wording of the actual clause or clauses. They are the only mandatory part. I saw them take action against a guy and they quoted requirements out of G13/AS1, a non mandatory document.

They should instead be comparing work to the intent of the building code and proving essentially that it is either unsafe or doesn't work.

If the relief drain can drain the TPR or CWEV without backing up and overflowing than technically it complies with the building code.

If you can prove you had a suitable alternative to the air break that will prevent the same issues that a air gap does, again it complies.

The acceptable solutions are only to be adhered to if you nominate them on your consent. There's nothing to stop you changing it and coming up with an alternative solution, subject to providing the necessary evidence of course.

Offline TS

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 06:08:51 PM »
I actually can't see anything in the Act which allows the board to prosecute for sub standard plumbing unless it is work that endangers people.

The work done by the CP you engaged certainly doesn't look like it could lead to that.

Did the Council take any action?

Offline Jaxcat

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 06:11:51 PM »
I too thought that if you employed a Certifying Plumber to undertaken this work then they are responsible.  YOU are responsible for ensuring that they are currently licensed and can legally undertake the work.  

We followed a person to a job that was illegal and worse UNSAFE and lodged a complaint with the PGDB - the person doing the gas work only held an exemption for plumbing - they had never been a gasfitter, licensed or otherwise and even their plumbing exemption was not current.  They had been employed by a contracting company who had got them off a temporary workforce company.

The exemption holder is being prosecuted for doing work as an unlicensed work, the contracting company has been written to on two counts 1. for advertrising they do gasfitting without a licensed gasfitter or a having a contract with a licensed gasfitter and the workforce company have a pending prosecution unless they can prove they have suitable supervision for alleged tradesmen that they hire out to unsuspecting companies.  The fault here is with the guy that did the work, the contracting company for not checking on the PGDB website that they guy they got sent had the appropriate licence and the workforce company for breaking every rule under the sun.

In your case it sounds like you did the right thing.  I wouldn't roll over so quickly - what exactly is the charge against you?
Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you?  Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed the passage with you?  (Walt Whitman 1819-1891)  American Poet

Offline Jaxcat

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 06:15:10 PM »
Section 100 relates to Consideration of a Complaint by the Board and has two subparts both relation to having a hearing if the investigator reports that a complaint should be considered by the Board - do you have any more information on the charge itself?

Offline TS

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 06:24:27 PM »
http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2006/0074/latest/DLM396778.html

Offline newguy

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2011, 07:05:11 PM »
Hi guys, thanks so much for all the answers! Please let me answer the questions one by one. First of all yes we rectified the problem to the inspectors satisfaction immediately. This time simply using a 40mm PVC pipe instead and discharged into a down pipe, he was happy with that.

I ensured that person was licensed and had a copy of the license.

At the time my uncle was the craftsman plumber and I was a licensed plumber, so the company was operating under my uncles ticket.

I will scan the letter and post here soon, I really appreciate all your help!


Offline newguy

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2011, 07:08:44 PM »
The board refers to a complaint made by the owner not council.

Offline Jaxcat

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2011, 07:11:28 PM »
Sounds to me like you have a good case to defend yourself.  Lawyers will suck the life blood out of you -but if you live in the Wellington area I might be able to private message you a good reasonable one who could perhaps help you.  Otherwise I wouldn't roll over too easily.  Sounds like you have done everything right as far as process goes.

Offline newguy

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2011, 07:22:33 PM »
Hi Guys I live in Auckland  :( I can tell you guys in Wellington are onto it! Wish they had an office in Auckland, why all the way to Wellington when everyone involved is in Auckland????  :-[ I have posted the letter keeping all names confidential, Note the board still refers to me as the installer even though I explained to them that someone else did the installation. I appreciate all the positive feedback but how do I move forward with this. I cant believe they are going through all this trouble because a drain didn't have enough fall! This is insane!!  :o

Offline Jaxcat

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2011, 07:31:03 PM »
I need to think some more on this, but obviously the invoice for the job went out under your name (hence the section ...did the work or charged for it etc.
Do you have any written contract or instructions for the craftsman plumber that did the job - and do you have an invoice FROM him/her for the work they did.  This will at least provide a chain of evidence as to WHO did the work.  As a craftsman/certifier that person carries the responsibility for being satisfied that the work has been carried out in accordance with the Act and all pertinent regulations.

TS may be of assistance here - I think he has a background with the Council and his comments regarding acceptable solutions and what is normative and informative also have a bearing.   I don't know any lawyers in Auckland, but as the hearing is in Wellington if you were looking to get a lawyer it might be cheaper to have a Wellington one as then you wouldn't have to pay for their travel and accommodation as well to defend it, unless you are considering defending it yourself.

I'll private message you the guy who has acted for my company on other matters.  I don't know if he would take this on as he is pretty honest and may say he doesn't have experience enough in this particular field, but he is a court barrister.  Anyway nothing ventured, nothing gained.  His hourly rate is reasonable and he is very honest. 

Offline newguy

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Re: Who is responsible?
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2011, 07:39:36 PM »
Hi Jaxcat, Thanks so much for the tips. Yes we invoiced the job and they only evidence I have is his time sheet stating time and address. I spoke the guy representing this case for the PGDB, actually very nice guy (Paul) and he was very helpful as well. After speaking to him I think a slap on the hand is better than making a big deal but then I though how could this affect me in the future, is it like points on my license with 100 I lose it? Im not very sure how to move forward with this.  :( between a rock and a hard place!


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