Builder loses LBP status due to tax evasion convictions

Posted: 29 July 2016

A Wairarapa builder has lost his status as a licensed building practitioner (LBP), after the Building Practitioners Board learnt of his convictions on 91 charges of tax evasion.

The Board heard Cecil Sinclair’s tax evasion spanned a ten-year period, from 2001 to 2011. Mr Sinclair has a further 11 convictions in his criminal history going back as far as 1967, including five dishonesty offences.

The Board held that Mr Sinclair’s convictions reflected adversely on his fitness to carry out and supervise building work, which often involves handling client funds or entering into credit arrangements.

Registrar of Building Practitioner Licensing Paul Hobbs says the Board’s decision should send a clear message that dishonest or fraudulent behaviour is not acceptable in today’s building industry.

“It’s important consumers are able to feel confident in the integrity of their licensed builder, and decisions such as this one help protect the strength and reputation of the industry as it grows,” he said.

Anyone working in the building industry must disclose certain information to clients whose work is valued at $30,000 or more (including GST), or if the client asks for it. This is in the form of a disclosure statement and also in a contract.

Know your stuff later in this issue has more on this subject.

Without LBP status, Mr Sinclair can no longer do or supervise restricted building work. This is work that is critical to the structure and durability of a residential building.

As part of the ruling, Mr Sinclair cannot be re-licensed as an LBP for at least three years, the longest period of time a person has been banned from relicensing. His name has been removed from the LBP register and he has been ordered to pay costs.

This decision follows other significant Board decisions in 2015, where the Board took similar steps to discipline LBPs. Read about them on the MBIE Corporate website:

Licensed Building Practitioner held to account for poor workmanship – May 2015

Action taken against poor building work – July 2015

You can also read about making complaints about an LBP on the LBP website.

Restricted building work explains the types of building work that must be done by an LBP.

Lessons learnt

As with most other occupational licensing regimes operating in the building sector, the LBP scheme requires individuals to act in a fit and proper manner. Where LBPs have not upheld this standard they can expect to be held to account.  

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: