01/10/2009 - 00:00

Fines up for DIY plumbers

01/10/2009 - 00:00

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MISTER fix-its undertaking DIY repair work could be in for a shock, with the level of fines imposed on unlicensed plumbers doubling during the past two years.

Fines up for DIY plumbers

MISTER fix-its undertaking DIY repair work could be in for a shock, with the level of fines imposed on unlicensed plumbers doubling during the past two years.


Noranda-based landlord Carmel Charles Saliba is the latest to be prosecuted, having been fined $2,000 in the Perth Magistrates' Court for carrying out illegal plumbing at a rental property last year.


Mr Saliba's prosecution followed a complaint and subsequent investigation by the Plumbers Licensing Board (PLB) into work at the East Cannington property in August 2008.


However, with nine prosecutions before the Magistrates' Court in 2007-08 for unlicensed plumbing, with fines and costs totalling $10,737, Mr Saliba is not alone.


WA Business News understands that there are five prosecutions contained in the yet-to-be-released 2008-09 Consumer Protection annual report with fines and costs totalling $21,969.


The PLB requires every licensed plumbing contractor in Western Australia to register the details of each plumbing job undertaken and certify that the work complies with regulatory or plumbing standards.


PLB chairperson Judy Seif said Mr Saliba's conviction was a reminder to home and business owners, tenants and landlords that unlicensed DIY plumbing work was illegal.


"It is a legal requirement to employ a licensed plumber to undertake any form of plumbing work in residential, commercial, retail or industrial property that they own or rent," she said.


"Do-it-yourself efforts, cutting corners or trying to save costs put at risk the health and safety of tenants and families."


In February, northern suburbs resident Hajir (Henry) Mobin was fined nearly $11,000 for falsely advertising that he was a licensed plumbing contractor.


Mr Mobin advertised his services between April 2007 and February 2008 in local newspapers using either false plumbers licence numbers or licence numbers he was not authorised to use.


In August, Perth Magistrates' Court fined Hamilton Hill resident Thomas McCready more than $5,500 for undertaking "substandard" bathroom renovations at residential premises in Hilton in November 2007.


Mr McCready, who has never held a plumbing licence, completed the renovations and charged the homeowner about $9,000 for the bathroom work.


In February 2008 the homeowner found her house drains were not working correctly and called in a licensed plumber to fix the "dangerous and substandard" work, who then alerted the PLB.


Also in August, Perth resident Paul Dillon pleaded guilty in the Joondalup Magistrates' Court to performing unauthorised plumbing work in October 2008.


Mr Dillon had been employed to undertake work to the kitchen in a Roleystone woman's home, but the customer was unhappy with the plumbing work and made a complaint to the PLB.


The board found that Mr Dillon was not licensed and he was fined $750 and ordered to pay costs of $326.

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