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Unlicensed electrical and plumbing worker sentenced for dangerous work, fined

Date: 26/06/2024
  • Graeme Kyle sentenced for negligent work and for working while unlicensed.
  • Sentenced under the Electricity Act 1992 and the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 2006.
  • Fined $9,000, ordered to pay costs, and $700 reparation to the property owner

Graeme Paul Leo Kyle was sentenced for carrying out electrical and plumbing work while unlicensed at a Dannevirke property that risked the health and safety of the property and its occupants.

The negligent work included leaving exposed live wires that not only created a risk of electrocution of the occupants, but also a potential house fire, and non-compliant sanitary plumbing that could have led to leaks and unsafe wastewater disposal.

Dannevirke District Court Judge Jonathan Krebs sentenced Mr Kyle on one charge of negligent work on an electrical installation in a manner dangerous to life, one charge of doing prescribed electrical work while unauthorised, and one charge of carrying out sanitary plumbing while unauthorised. Mr Kyle was fined $9,000 by the Court.

Following a dispute with the homeowner, Mr Kyle left the property without completing the work. Shortly after, the house plunged into darkness. It was found that a subcircuit overload caused burning to part of the switchboard. He also left two live exposed wires running through the upstairs lounge floor as well as live wires from a light circuit in the ground floor laundry ceiling.

The exposed live wires left protruding into rooms could have been fatal for the occupants, says Duncan Connor, Registrar of Electrical Workers Registration Board.

“Carrying out electrical work while unlicensed is dangerous. In this case, Mr Kyle went further undertaking work on an electrical installation in a manner dangerous to life.

“Carrying out prescribed electrical work without the required expertise, training and qualification is highly dangerous for everyone involved.

“The aim of regulating electrical workers is to ensure that those performing prescribed electrical work are properly trained to avoid electrical hazards and to protect the safety of consumers.

“Anyone engaging an electrical worker should check the public register of licensed electrical workers and ask to see their licence card before hiring them.

“All complaints about unlicensed electrical workers are taken seriously and investigated by the Electrical Workers Registration Board, who will not hesitate to hold people to account.”

As part of the renovations, the homeowner engaged a certifying plumber to complete plumbing work. Mr Kyle re-routed the plumbing work both in the kitchen (where there was a dishwasher and sink), and for a bathroom vanity. When the certifying plumber returned to complete other work on the kitchen, he noticed his plumbing work had been modified in a manner that was not compliant. The certifying plumber then alerted the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board.

Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board Chief Executive Aleyna Hall said only registered and licensed plumbers have the competency and skills to complete sanitary plumbing. The risk of an unauthorised person doing plumbing work can be harmful to a property and the people living in it.

“Had the certifying plumber not found the compromised plumbing work, it’s possible the work done by Mr Kyle could have leaked into the wall cavity. Over time, moisture in the wall could have caused damage to the structure of the home.

“The faults with Mr Kyle’s work also meant that wastewater containing harmful bacteria and pathogens could have been leaking into the wall cavity and could have caused the building to become an insanitary building. This presents a high risk to the health and safety of the occupants.

Ms Hall commended the certifying plumber who laid a complaint about the work.

“The certifying plumber did the right thing by contacting the Board with their concerns.

“It is disappointing work was done that clearly should have been left for the certifying plumber and the Board is pleased reparation was awarded for the victim.”

The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board encourages the public to check the register of licenced and authorised practitioners on its website before anyone starts sanitary plumbing, gas fitting or drain laying work on their property.


Details of the case:

  • Mr Graeme Kyle worked on a property in Dannevirke without being authorised to undertake prescribed electrical and sanitary plumbing work.
  • Judge Krebs sentenced Mr Kyle on one charge of negligent work on an electrical installation in manner dangerous to life, one charge of doing work without holding a licence and one charge of carrying out sanitary plumbing while unauthorised.
  • The court ordered Mr Kyle to pay fines of $6,000 for the dangerous electrical work and $3,000 for the negligent sanitary plumbing, costs and $700 reparation to the property owner.
  • The sentencing was on Friday 21 June 2024.


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