Unlicensed builder sentenced for forging documents

Published: 11 June 2020

An unlicensed builder who created false documentation in relation to 34 properties was convicted and ordered 300 hours of community work for his fraudulent offending when sentenced at the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

Ian Fletcher Stead, of Steadfast Civil Limited, was sentenced to one representative charge under the Crimes Act 1961 for forging 34 documents with the intent that they may be used or acted upon as genuine.

He also sentenced to two representative charges under the Building Act 2004 for carrying out restricted building work while not supervised by a licensed building practitioner and for holding himself out as a person who is licensed to carry out or supervise building work while not being licensed.  

Between July 2017 and February 2019 Steadfast Civil Limited, Mr Stead’s construction company in Dunedin, advertised on the company website that they were a licensed building practitioner (LBP). This was a false representation.

Over this timeframe Mr Stead was engaged by multiple companies to carry out the foundation work at 34 different properties in the Dunedin and Mosgiel area under false pretenses that he was an LBP.

Mr Stead then produced false documents by inserting the names and forging the signatures of two LBPs on 34 different records of work (ROWs) that were submitted to Dunedin City Council. Neither LBP had supervised the work or authorised Mr Stead to use their details.

MBIE’s Occupational Licensing Manager, Duncan Connor says Mr Stead’s offending is one of the most serious dealt with to date in relation to the Ministry’s prosecution of unlicensed builders.

“Mr Stead is not, and has never been, a LBP. He deceived not only the people who hired him to undertake building work, he fraudulently used licensed practitioners’ details, not considering the impact this would have on the company who engaged him, home owners, the Council, and the building industry.

“The LBP scheme regulates people who physically carry out or supervise restricted building work and is in place to ensure consumers can make informed decisions when it comes to hiring builders to undertake restricted building work.

 “The Judge found that the aggravating features of Mr Stead’s offending were not spontaneous but was premeditated and planned offending.  The Defendant knew what he was doing and that the ROW was an important document. This type of offending compromises the integrity of the LBP scheme and will not be tolerated.

“Charges under the Crimes Act are not brought about lightly, and MBIE will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute people who commit these offences.”

LBPs are building practitioners who have been assessed as competent to carry out building work essential to the structure or weathertightness of residential buildings. Restricted building work can only be undertaken (or supervised) by an LBP. We encourage anyone who is engaging a builder to check if they hold a licence by looking them up on the LBP public register(external link).

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