Unlicensed plumber causes grief for man with damaged roof
WHEN a storm caused damage to Trevor Kello's roof in March last year, he never imagined he'd be out of pocket with his calls blocked and still stuck with the same problem a year later.
Mr Kello's insurer sourced a builder to determine the damage and, when a faulty pipe was identified, a local plumber was called.
"As far as I know to work on any insurance job tradespeople must be licenced operators, which is why I didn't ask too many questions when the plumber was referred," Mr Kello said.
"The plumber charged $50 to put a small amount of seal around the pipe and laid an iron sheet on top of the roof that doesn't prevent the rain from getting in, and the leak is still there.
"I've tried to tell him I'd pay for the job to be fixed properly, but he won't return my calls or texts, and he won't answer the builder's phone calls either."
After months of ongoing issues with the plumber, Mr Kello decided to check the tradesman's credentials by contacting the Fair Trading Commission, and was surprised by what he learnt.
"They told me not only that he wasn't licenced, but that he didn't have to be registered or licenced if the job was under $3000," he said.
"I can see someone wanting to renovate their bathroom and, as long as it's under $3000, anyone can do it."
A Building and Construction Commission spokesman confirmed the plumber in question does not need a contractor's licence, but only because of his provisional status.
"Any value of regulated domestic work that a plumber does requires an occupational licence, and anything under the $3300 value only applies to building work," the spokesman said.
"In this instance the plumber is on a provisional occupational licence which means he must be under the observation of an experienced and licenced plumber at all times.
"(This plumber) cannot legally subcontract to a builder and can only subcontract to another licenced plumber that would be supervising him at all times.
"In this instance, the builder would be facing a fine for being a licenced contractor operating with an unlicenced contractor and would have eight demerit points withdrawn from his building licence, and the plumber would be looking at a first offence fine of over $2500."
Mr Kello is on a disability pension and thinks the builder might have thought he was doing the right thing in referring cheap labour, but it was going to cost him significantly more in the long run.
"I've had two other plumbers out to look at the pipe and they both said the work that has been done is very substandard."