Fined for doing gas work on motorhome

In a judgment released on 17 February 2017, a Tauranga, New Zealand man was convicted and fined NZD5000 for doing gasfitting work without a licence and has been ordered to pay solicitor’s costs of NZD226.

Jason Ash did not hold a gasfitting licence when he installed a refrigerator, associated gas pipes, connected the gas pipes to the gas supply and installed a ventilation system for the gas appliance in a motorhome.

The hazards associated with the manner in which Mr Ash’s gasfitting work had been carried out included; it created a substantial risk that the fridge would overheat and fail (which did in fact happen); and it created a risk of a gas leak, that in turn created a risk that a fire or explosion could result.

The prosecutor in the case, The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, report that the increasing popularity of motorhomes and campervan travel has seen an upsurge in complaints regarding faults and unanticipated pitfalls from consumers.

“Two issues proving problematic and effectively ending the road for these unsuspecting motorhome enthusiasts have been defective illegal gasfitting work, and the absence of a Certificate of Compliance”, said the Board’s Chief Executive, Martin Sawyers.

Restricted gasfitting work conducted by anyone who does not hold a current licence from the Board is illegal activity. Reflective of the high health and safety risk associated, this offence carries a maximum fine of $50,000 – and can result in invalidation of your insurance policy.

“The Board is experiencing an increase in reports where the complainant had simply assumed their motorhome was compliant and gasfitting work had been carried out legally”, says Martin.

“What consumers need to know is, a certifying gasfitter must provide a signed gasfitting certificate where restricted work has been carried out in this scenario. Consumers should stay safe and ask for a copy of this at the time of purchase or modifications – it is peace of mind that the gasfitting work has been conducted in a legal capacity,” said Martin.

Gasfitting certificates need to be kept in a safe place – as they may be required for insurance purposes or if a motorhome is resold. If you do not have a gasfitting certificate contact Energy Safety (www.energysafety.govt.nz) in the first instance.

If a gas certificate cannot be located consumers should contact a certifying gasfitter who can issue a certificate of verification for the safety of the existing installation.

Where there is any concern that work may have been done by someone who is not authorised, or there is concern about the competency of a tradesperson, consumers should notify The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board.

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