Notable decisions against two LBPs

Posted: 27 July 2017

LBP logo
The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) has recently handed down two noteworthy sanctions against two separate LBPs and has chosen to name each LBP due to the seriousness of the matters.

Both LBPs are licensed in Carpentry and, due to the nature of the complaints, both were 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.

Feroz Ali (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. Mr Ali instead constructed the trusses on-site using second-hand timber and this became an issue when the building consent authority was notified of this by the designer (who was the Complainant). Mr Ali did not return to the site after this, despite being paid the full sum for the work. A Special Adviser, appointed by the Board, provided expert comment 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 commented that the offending was at the higher end of the scale.

The Board noted that Mr Ali’s licence had previously been cancelled for other matters and so ordering cancellation was not an option. The Board issued Mr Ali with 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 joinery, cladding, a pergola and internal plasterboard linings not being installed correctly.

The Board found that sequencing of tasks on the job was not in line with expected processes and that some building elements were both constructed and installed incorrectly. While finding that Mr Ah Sui had failed to comply with the building consent, the Board noted that some aspects of his deviation could have been accepted via a minor variation and did not hold Mr Ah Sui to account for these.

The Board also noted in its decision that it heard evidence 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 home owner 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 we can learn from these decisions

Poor on-site 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 the consumer rights and remedies.

Do your homework – a contractor’s guide to rights and obligations when contracting with homeowners has further guidance.

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: