A Christchurch building firm and its owner have been fined $2500 each for falsifying documents relating to quake repairs.
The fines were imposed on Graeme Richard Hartley and Index Builders Ltd by Judge Gary MacAskill in the Christchurch District Court yesterday.
They had admitted charges brought by the Christchurch City Council of knowingly making a false or misleading statement under the Building Act.
Judge MacAskill noted that the issue was still to be heard by the Building Practitioners Disciplinary Board which was awaiting the outcome of the court hearing.
He said Hartley might lose his “ticket” as a result of that hearing though he would still be able to do building work.
He imposed the fines and ordered a payment of $400 to the city council to cover some of the loss of building inspection fees.
Defence counsel Allister Davis had told the court that the complainant had withheld $8000 which was the final payment for the work. This had covered $4000 of remedial work and he was not out of pocket.
He was refusing to pay the remaining $4000 and Mr Davis said the defendants gave an undertaking not to try to recover that money and it could be kept instead of any emotional harm reparation payment the court might have ordered.
The complainant had employed the defendants to undertake EQC repairs and additional work on his home. He assumed that the defendant would apply for building consent to install a new beam.
The work was done and progress payments were made but when the date for the final invoice was approaching, the homeowner asked for the final compliance documents for the work.
Mr Davis said the builder then made a decision that he accepted was “the height of stupidity” and falsified a Code Compliance Certificate and other documents.
When the homeowner asked the city council why the building consent and inspections had cost so much, he was told by the council that there had not been a building inspection and there had never been an application for building consent. He was told by the council that the documents were fraudulent.
The council said removal of a load bearing wall and installation of the beam needed engineering certification and a building consent.
When interviewed, Hartley said he had “made” the documents by altering documents he had in his computer. He said he was stressed because money was tight and he was trying to get final payment.
The judge said remedial work had been done to the required standard and no reparation was sought.