Sole director fined for fraudulent building compliance paperwork

On: 8 November 2018

An Auckland man has been found guilty in the Manukau District Court for using a Licensed Building Practitioner’s (LBP’s) name and licence number on documentation that the LBP had no involvement with.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Investigations Team Leader Simon Thomas says, “Mr Itula Ropati, who is not and has never been an LBP, used an LBP’s details to falsify a record of work and an application for code compliance certificate. These are two crucial documents in the building consent process.

“Mr Ropati is the sole director of Lekit Construction Ltd and was engaged by a homeowner to carry out restricted building work on an Auckland home. The job involved restricted building work, including the formation of timber pile foundations, construction of walls and a roof structure, and installation of external wall cladding.

“Restricted building work such as this must always be supervised or carried out by an LBP, then similarly, signed off by an LBP,” says Mr Thomas.

After having paid Mr Ropati, the homeowner requested the record of work for an application for a code compliance certificate.

“The LBP whose name and licence number were used by Mr Ropati on these documents, had no involvement with the work carried out,” says Mr Thomas.

Mr Ropati pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $1,750 plus court costs of $130. He was also ordered to appear for sentencing on a second charge if he comes in front of the Court again within the next 12 months.

“Being an LBP is a regulated profession and what Mr Ropati has done is both fraudulent and unacceptable,” says Mr Thomas.

“These regulations are in place to protect the safety of New Zealanders, and where MBIE has evidence of type of fraudulent behaviour, we will prosecute accordingly. This should send a strong message to company directors, tradespeople and LBPs.

“Consumers also have a role to play in checking that an LBP is carrying out or supervising, then signing off restricted building work,” says Mr Thomas.

Consumers can use the public register of LBPs to check against a tradesperson’s licence card. Information on submitting a complaint against an LBP or non-LBP can be found on lbp.govt.nz.

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