Unlicensed Christchurch builder's victim says impact of deceit will be long-lasting

He was sentenced on Wednesday.
He was sentenced on Wednesday. Photo credit: File.

A victim of an unlicensed Christchurch builder sentenced to home detention on Wednesday says the impact of his deceit will be long-lasting.

Rodney James Day was sentenced to seven months' home detention and ordered to complete 150 hours of community work on Wednesday in the Christchurch District Court after pleading guilty to 15 charges, including four counts of forgery.

Eleven of the charges related to Day undertaking restricted building work while portraying himself to clients as a licensed builder - something he was not. Day carried out restricted work on six properties, something only licensed practitioners or those under the supervision of one can legally do.

He admitted to the charges last July after they were brought against him by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). It's the first time an unlicensed builder has been sentenced under the Crimes Act since the introduction of the Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) scheme in 2007.

Victim Peter Adolph says the punishment doesn't fit the crime. 

"He has upset a lot of people. He has won their confidence, taken money and left them financially and emotionally distraught," he told Newshub.

Adolph says not checking on Day's background was an expensive mistake. 

"All up about $58,000 plus $9000 in legal costs. We actually paid him $25,000 but [had] to employ another builder to correct the work that he had done.

"I am now retired and I would like to think I could do some things with my money, but I have had to put a hold on those sorts of things."

Forgery was involved in two separate incidents at Christchurch properties. Day told his client his license had expired and he would have a licensed builder supervise and sign off his work. He then completed the restricted work and used the name and details of a licensed practitioner, without their knowledge or having met them, to fill out the documentation. In one case this paperwork was sent to be used in the sale of the property.

In sentencing Day, Judge Paul Keller said his offending was premeditated with a high level of deception. 

MBIE's occupational licensing operations manager Duncan Connor said in a statement that Day didn't consider the impact his actions may have on the people whose identities he was using. 

"The LBP scheme is in place to ensure consumers can make informed decisions when it comes to hiring builders to undertake restricted building work. This type of offending compromises the integrity of the LBP scheme and will not be tolerated."

MBIE encourages people considering a builder for restricted work to look them up in the LBP register.