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September 2017

LBPs disciplined for serious misconduct

22 Aug 2017, Industry Updates, LBP & Regulation

Building Practitioners Board provides notable decisions against two Carpentry LBPs, who completed work well below standards expected of licence holders

Due to the seriousness of the matters in question, the Building Practitioners Board has decided to name the two LBPS, who were both issued strong penalties.

The first complaint was made against Feroz Ali in Auckland (C2-01401), and the second was made against Ah Sui Ah Sui in Waikato (C2-01450).

While the complaints differ in nature and result, it is important that all LBPs are aware of the pitfalls and avoid similar shortcomings. Read more about the situations below.

Feroz Ali (Decision C2-01401)

Mr Ali was found to have:

  • Carried out building work in a negligent or incompetent manner.
  • Failed to comply with a building consent.
  • Failed to provide a record of work as required by the Building Act 2004 (the Act).
  • Acted in a manner that brings, or was likely to bring, the LBP scheme into disrepute.

The Board heard evidence that the consented plans and specifications required Mr Ali to install manufactured trusses. Instead, Mr Ali constructed the trusses onsite using second-hand timber. This issue was brought to light when the designer (who was the Complainant) notified the building consent authority. Mr Ali did not return to the site after this, despite having already been paid the full sum for the work. A Special Adviser, appointed by the Board, provided expert comment, saying that “Mr Ali was outside of his expertise as the plans specifically stated that an accredited manufacturer should design and construct the trusses”.

As a result, the affected property had been constructed by Mr Ali in a manner that was not in accordance with the plans, using unspecified materials and techniques. Mr Ali had also displayed poor behaviour and understanding of the contractual and regulatory settings. The Board said the offending was at the higher end of the scale.

The Board also noted that Mr Ali’s licence had previously been cancelled for other matters and so ordering a cancellation was not an option. However, Mr Ali was issued a $5,000 fine, an order for costs and publication of this decision due to the serious nature of the complaint.

Ah Sui Ah Sui (C2-01450)

Mr Ah Sui was found to have:

  • Carried out building work in a negligent or incompetent manner.
  • Failed to comply with a building consent.
  • Failed to provide a Record of Work as required by the Building Act.

In this matter, a Technical Assessor was engaged by the Board to provide an expert view of the building work carried out and supervised by Mr Ah Sui. The Board found that Mr Ah Sui failed to ensure the plans were followed and was not sufficiently familiar with modern building practices. This led to a breakdown in on-site processes and, as a result, joinery, cladding, a pergola and internal plasterboard linings were not installed correctly.

While the Board found that Mr Ah Sui had failed to comply with the building consent, they noted that some aspects of his deviation could have been accepted via a minor variation, and therefore did not hold Mr Ah Sui to account for these.

The Board also noted in its decision that Mr Ah Sui had not followed the consumer protection measures in the Act correctly, due to lack of knowledge. Mr Ah Sui did not provide the homeowner with a disclosure statement or written contract, which has been a legal requirement since January 2015.

The Board cancelled Mr Ah Sui’s licence. The Board also ordered Mr Ah Sui to pay some costs towards the inquiry and the publication of this decision, again, due to the serious nature of the complaint.

What can be learned from these decisions?

Poor onsite quality assurance and a lack of adherence to the consented plans led to both of these LBPs being disciplined. The outcome for both homeowners was less than desirable – the behaviour of these LBPs falls well below the standards expected of licence holders.

Having a solid grasp of regulatory and consenting requirements is vital to good quality and compliant building outcomes. Always ensure that you follow the specifications and instructions within those documents and if you have concerns it is appropriate to question the designer or the building consent authority. You should not undertake work that is outside the scope of the consented plans without obtaining approval and instruction from the local authority, the homeowner and the designer.

Understanding your regulatory and contractual obligations is also key and has been highlighted by these two complaints. Make sure you follow the rules around contracting and be aware that when a dispute arises, there is an appropriate way to approach the situation. If a dispute has arisen around the contract and you are unsure of what to do, seek advice from an authoritative source.

Lastly, make sure you are familiar with Part 4A of the Building Act, which deals with consumer rights and remedies.


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