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MEDIA RELEASE | Board urges property owners to take caution with methamphetamine decontamination

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[30 September 2020] In the Rotorua District Court, Adrian Cunningham, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a $2,250 fine for carrying out restricted gasfitting work without authorisation and was ordered to pay $130 in Court costs, $113 solicitor fees and to pay reparation to the complainant of $763.55.

Martin Sawyers, Chief Executive for the PGDB said: “In addition to the inherent risks associated with LPG, compounding failures in this unauthorised installation gave rise to a risk of fire or a gas leak.”     

“While gas explosions seem like they are not that common, they do happen, and they leave a trail of destruction in their wake.  To stay safe and avoid the risk, always use a registered and licensed tradesperson.”

In the course of undertaking methamphetamine decontamination work, Mr Cunningham did work that constitutes restricted gasfitting work, which included disconnecting and removing from the property a gas cooker in the kitchen and a gas heater in the lounge.

When he removed the appliances, Mr Cunningham left the two gas pipes open and unsealed.   The pipes should have been closed and sealed to stop gas leaking from them. 

By removing the gas appliances and leaving the gas pipes open and unsealed, Mr Cunningham caused two significant gas leaks from the open-ended gas pipes inside the property.  Had the gas bottles been connected and those bottles turned on, gas would have escaped from the open pipes in the kitchen and lounge.  Any ignition source may then have caused an explosion. 

Martin Sawyers, Chief Executive for the PGDB said: “In addition to the inherent risks associated with LPG, compounding failures in this unauthorised installation gave rise to a risk of fire or a gas leak.”     

“While gas explosions seem like they are not that common, they do happen, and they leave a trail of destruction in their wake.  To stay safe and avoid the risk, always use a registered and licensed tradesperson.”   Mr Cunningham also disconnected the water feed and waste to the kitchen sink.  This is sanitary plumbing work, which he also did not have authorisation to undertake. 

The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board warns; It is important for homeowners to know that plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying work undertaken by unauthorised tradespeople, not only risks their family’s health and safety – but may also invalidate their insurance policy.

Sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated industries in New Zealand, and it is illegal to do this restricted work unless authorised by the Board.  

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