The man, who posed as a plumber registered with the state of California, convinced the family that they needed to renovate the bathroom. He then did the work so badly that the woman tried to commit suicide from emotional stress.
Iuta, who had never been licensed to practice as a plumbing contractor, was approached by a couple in Onerahi after they saw photos of his previous work. They were very interested.
Tuiafiso has taken them as clients since August 2021.
He initially agreed to install a toilet. However, after convincing the family, he decided to remodel the whole bathroom. The job was estimated to take six months.
Tuiafiso, with the assistance of a second person who is also not registered as a plumber, and who has been brought before the court for criminal charges, replaced the shower, bath and the plumbing.
He would occasionally show up on the property in a Master Plumbers NZ t-shirt. This was a national organisation of which he had never been a part.
The family was told to hire a third-party to check the work when it was completed in 2022. Tuiafiso was exposed for the disaster he had created.
The inspectors found a number of issues that were not compliant, including an uncrimped water pipe, a wall penetration which was not properly sealed and the use of polytape to cover up leaks.
The family was also plagued with mold after the waste water from the shower and bathroom began to leak through the house.
The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board was alerted about his shoddy workmanship, which led to him being charged with criminal offenses.
It was deemed exceptionally serious by the board due to its length, poor results and high costs of the remediation. He also brought in another person who wasn’t licensed to finish the work.
Tuiafiso’s work was also the subject of an extensive civil case in which homeowners gave a victim statement detailing how it affected their family emotionally.
One of the homeowners attempted to end her own life after being triggered by this.
Tuiafiso, a plumber without a license who was convicted in Whangarei district court on one charge last week, brought the prosecution to a close. In August, a second charge of the same nature was dropped.
Judge John McDonald has highlighted how much stress Tuiafiso caused to the family, who have since moved and sold their property.
“Her mental health suffered hugely… “I can understand that,” said he, in reference to the homeowner.
This prosecution was brought by the community on behalf of plumbers who are not qualified. People looking for someone to work on their bathrooms want someone with competence.
Tuiafiso received a $2000 fine and was ordered to pay the court fees.
In the civil case, he was also ordered to pay a sum of money to his family.
Aleyna hall, the chief executive officer of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, stated that the wallets of property owners could also be negatively affected by unauthorised plumbing work.
She told NZME that unlicensed plumbers are a significant risk.
Incorrectly installed fixtures can cause structural damage and health problems. If you hire unlicensed professionals, your insurance may not cover the costs of remediation for an affected home.
Hall stated that it doesn’t matter if a person is known to you or recommended by someone else, to check our registry to determine if the tradesperson has been authorized to perform work.
Before hiring someone to do sanitary plumbing or gasfitting, the board urged people to consult its list of authorized and licensed practitioners.
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