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NZ Herald | Brand Insight

NZ Herald

The 80-year-old pensioner was cleaning up raw sewage bubbling up through her shower pipes. It's the worst case of "cowboy" operators endangering homeowners Martin Sawyers can remember in his years as chief executive of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB).

Cowboy tradesmen being corralled

The problem occurred after an unauthorised tradesman laid a soil pipe to the mains to carry foul water from the premises. After the defective work, sewage backed up and entered her shower.

It's not just the health and safety aspect when cowboys roam the range of sub-standard work; homeowners can find themselves saddled with huge bills if the cowboys' handiwork causes the insurance company to reject liability.

By law, homeowners and landlords must hire authorised plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers for a wide range of restricted tasks.