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Prosecution a reminder that unconsented work will not be tolerated

6 August 2008

The Christchurch City Council says the successful prosecution of a couple for substandard building work should serve as a reminder to people that Council will not tolerate unconsented work being carried out by unlicensed tradesmen or home handymen.

At the Christchurch District Court on July 31 Rhys and Deborah Howe admitted six charges of breaching the Building Act relating to work being completed incorrectly and doing alterations without required permits. The court action was initiated by the Christchurch City Council.

The Howes were fined $7000 for illegal building work on their former New Brighton home. The illegal work included connecting their sewage pipes to the storm water system. The Howes were also ordered to pay $1000 to the new owner of the home for remedial work.

Inspections and Enforcement manager Gary Lennan says the case emphasizes the need for people to seek advice on consent requirements from the Council before starting any home renovations.

"This illegal work was a potential public health hazard, and a clear breach of the requirements of the Building Act."

He says the Council takes such breaches seriously and is moving to clamp down on people who flout the rules. Mr Lennan says recent changes to the Building Act further strengthen the Council’s hand in taking action against substandard work.

Mr Lennan says local bodies can now impose infringement notices carrying instant fines of between $250 and $2000 for a variety of offences under the Building Act. These fines can be imposed for each offence, and repeatedly for ongoing breaches. Prosecutions can also be undertaken in addition to the fines.

Mr Lennan says most people do comply with the building regulations, but those that don’t can expect swifter action by Council and run the risk of instant fines being imposed in future.

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