Two Carpentry LBPs disciplined for poor work and compliance issues

Posted: 31 July 2018

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The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) recently handed down two significant decisions against Carpentry licensed building practitioners (LBPs) and has chosen to publicise the details of the matters due to their seriousness and the possible learnings for other LBPs.

Peter Van Der Sluis (C2-01572)

Mr Van Der Sluis was found to have:

  • carried out building work in a negligent or incompetent manner
  • carried out building work that does not comply with a building consent
  • failed to provide a record of work.

Mr Van Der Sluis undertook building work in an addition to a residential dwelling under a building consent. The work failed a number of building consent authority (BCA) inspections.

Although Mr Van Der Sluis did not pour the concrete foundations himself, the work was done under his supervision. The Board considered Mr Van Der Sluis was responsible for negligent building work that related to the difference in height in the foundations, and the plaster board installation.

Submissions provided on behalf of Mr Van Der Sluis stated he was hired on a labour-only basis, and that the Complainant was in charge of “site issues” under the contract, and therefore responsible for subcontractor management. The Board highlighted that an LBP is not absolved of their responsibilities when entering a labour-only contract.

The Board considered some mitigating factors in this case, including work Mr Van Der Sluis did to fix issues, the losses incurred, and the unusual contractual arrangements where the Complainant retained some level of responsibility. Mr Van Der Sluis was ordered to pay a fine of $2,500 and $2,500 towards the cost of the Board’s inquiry.

Andrew Musson (C2-01749)

Mr Musson was found to have:

  • carried out building work in a negligent or incompetent manner
  • carried out building work that does not comply with a building consent
  • failed to provide a record of work
  • brought the LBP scheme into disrepute.

Mr Musson was found accountable for building work with significant defects, carrying out the work without amending the plans before continuing with the alteration, and failing to issue a record of work for restricted building work. The Board considered that his actions, including his failure to abide by a High Court order, and removing material from the building site that had been paid for by the Complainant, brought the LBP regime into disrepute.

The Board found Mr Musson responsible for the poor installation of a rigid air barrier, failing to install piles and continuing building work without installing them. Another builder later installed piles in the area Mr Musson had claimed was inaccessible. The foundations, which had been designed by an engineer, were altered when three structural piles were removed and a product substitution was made for the rigid air barrier. These changes were not made in consultation with the BCA, and the correct amendment or variation process was not followed.

The Board censured Mr Musson and ordered he pay $2,000 towards the cost of the Board’s inquiry and a $4000 fine.

What we can learn from these decisions

When workmanship issues arise some of the key factors the Board considers are:

  • the extent of the error, omission or non-compliance
  • whether the Respondent's failings in the planning and execution of the building work contributed to the issue arising
  • whether the issues are identified and dealt with in a timely fashion as part of the build, and quality assurance process used.

The Board considers the circumstances leading up to and after the issue. A disciplinary outcome is likely when a failing is significant or where the LBP is aware of an issue and does not take action to fix it.

Care must be taken when entering arrangements such as a labour-only contract as an LBP could still face disciplinary action for supervising others who carry out substandard work.

Issues can arise during a build and don’t always mean that an LBP has been negligent. However, an LBP should always aim to get it right the first time and not to have to rely on fixing issues later.

Read these decisions, and past decisions, in full on the LBP website.

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: