First criminal sentence given to unlicensed builder
Christchurch builder Rodney James Day is the first builder to receive a criminal sentence, after he was found guilty in Christchurch District Court of forging documents to carry out building work
Day was sentenced to seven months’ home detention and 150 hours of community service after pleading guilty to 15 charges under the Crimes Act. These included carrying out Restricted Building Work without being a Licensed Building Practitioner and creating and using fake documents.
To create the fake documents, Day forged the signature of another builder, claiming they had reviewed Day’s work and signed off the paperwork for buildings he was working on in 2016.
MBIE said Day committed forgery twice, while unlawfully carrying out Restricted Building Work on six properties. Matt McFarlane, who is one of the victims of Day’s deceit, lost a significant sum of money and saw his business go into liquidation as a result of Day’s poor work.
McFarlane claimed that Day cost him nearly $200,000, which led to him losing his house, business, and ultimately going bankrupt. Day’s interactions with McFarlane made up nine of his 15 charges.
McFarlane met Day, who said he had been building for 25 years, at a building site in 2012. McFarlane then later contracted him to repair and renovate homes that were damaged from the Christchurch earthquakes.
The work that was done was of poor quality and not compliant with the Building Code. McFarlane said it all had to be redone, leading to his business, Wyn Street Holdings Ltd, dissolving and sub-contractors refusing to work with him.
Peter Adolph, a Christchurch homeowner, hired and paid Day to build a new garage and convert the old one into a bedroom. Adolph, who paid Day $27,000, said the work was below an acceptable standard and wasn’t completed.
Both victims said the punishment given out by the Christchurch District Court did not meet what they deemed appropriate justice given the damage Day had done to them.
A similar case in 2019 saw one man falsely claim to be a licensed brick and block layer and forge an LBP’s signature to sign off work. He was fined $13,000 by Christchurch District Court.