Disciplinary action for LBP misconduct
More LBPs have been caught bringing the regime into disrepute after negligent work and operating outside of the proper processes
Christchurch builder Ronald Carmichael, who had previously been disciplined by the Building Practitioners Board for incorrectly quoting building work, has again been penalised after “failing to demonstrate reasonably expected care in pricing a building project”.
With the fixed price nearly paid, only 60-70% of the build was complete. The homeowner questioned additional invoicing thereafter, and Carmichael failed to justify his requests.
Mr Carmichael then left the country without completing the contracted building work, burdening the complainants with an additional $230,000 to complete the build. The Board did not believe it would have been possible to construct the house at the agreed-upon fixed price, again demonstrating a lack of reasonable care that should be shown when pricing a building project.
The Board also determined that Mr Carmichael made a financial gain at the expense of the homeowners after failing to pay several suppliers, despite being paid by the complainants.
For the reasons above, as well as failing to provide a Record of Work, Mr Carmichael was found to have brought the regime into disrepute. The Board cancelled his licence for a period of five years, and ordered him to pay costs of $3,000.
Unable to outrun responsibility
Dale Kay, who holds a Carpentry and Site licence, was approached by a lift installation company to do the building work required to install a lift for a homeowner.
Mr Kay prepared the house for installation, removing structural timber framing and creating a hole in the concrete slab without acquiring a consent.
All work carried out by Mr Kay needed a consent, and much of the work did not comply with the building code or standard practice. Mr Kay claimed that obtaining a building consent was the homeowners’ responsibility and that the work would have been inspected by an engineer.
The Board stated that an LBP must ensure a building consent is obtained if required, as homeowners are not experts in the building process. Mr Kay and the installation company were also found to have misled the homeowner as to the need of a building consent.
The Board explained that an LBP cannot contract out of their obligations by working for another company. Mr Kay’s work was also seen as being short of acceptable practice and quality, and that the lift would have been unsafe if fully installed.
The Board ordered that he pay a fine of $3,000 and costs of $2,000 after displaying negligence and incompetence in his work.
Unacceptable payment pursuit
The Board’s inquiry into Mr Spence resulted from a segment on Fair Go. The work in question was re-roofing work for which Mr Spence had been subcontracted to carry out.
Both Mr Spence and the company he was engaged by demanded a substantial progress payment from the customer, with threats of violence and intimidating behaviour used by Mr Spence to receive said payment.
The behaviour was seen by the Board to be far exceeding what is reasonably expected in pursuit of a debt, which involved “voice messages containing threats and offensive language, as well as lewd comments of a personal nature”.
The Board found that Mr Spence acted in a manner that brings, or is likely to bring, the LBP scheme into disrepute. As a result, it cancelled his licence for three years and ordered him to pay $2,500 towards the costs of the inquiry.
The above instances of LBP misconduct offer an opportunity to reinforce what is expected of LBPs in their line of work, while also clearing up some important details regarding responsibility when under contract.
- Pricing, quoting and tendering for building work are important processes for operating in the industry, and getting it wrong can have significant consequences.
- LBPs are regarded as the experts in the building process and carry a reputation of being trustworthy, reliable, and accountable. Engagement with customers and consumers should be respectful and serve the best interests of both parties.
- LBPs are still responsible for their conduct when operating under contract for another company.