Jail for Jonathan Beau Hall, bogus engineer who signed off almost 1000 homes throughout New Zealand

The man who sparked one of New Zealand's biggest building scandals since the leaky homes crisis, impacting almost 1000 homeowners and 39 councils, has been sentenced in the Rotorua District Court. 

Jonathan Beau Hall of Kodiak Consulting has been jailed for four years and six months after pleading guilty to 112 charges of forging the signatures of more qualified colleagues on building designs, geotech reports and producer statements. 

His offending between November 2017 and May 2023 affected homeowners from Auckland, Waikato, Waipa, Taupō, Rotorua and as far south as Christchurch. 

Homeowner Martin Atkins told the court Hall's actions cost he and his wife $40,000 and caused them "considerable emotional stress" when they had to re-engineer structural work fraudulently signed off by Hall. 

Crown prosecutor Amanda Gordon said Hall's forgery "sits at the top of the scale.. it erodes the confidence we have in NZ as to whether your building meets the building standards".

The Taupō-based engineering technologist signed off designs and documents including producer statements which must be signed off by a chartered professional engineer. 

Hall does not have the same level of qualifications. 

His offending meant the Code Compliance Certificates on 946 properties were void, causing huge building delays as Councils scrambled to re-check work fraudulently signed off. 

"We don't actually know what the true number of victims is, this affects homeowners but also builders, subcontractors, councils and engineers who have had to re-evaluate his work, Gordon told the court. 

Another Taupō homeowner, Mike Timmer, said he had to wait six months to understand how much remediation work was needed on his home and that compromised his insurance. 

"I could not sleep properly... I kept thinking I would have to use all my retirement savings," he told the court.

The Crown estimates Hall received $558,000 from charging each of his clients for the work he told them the registered engineers had undertaken. 

Hall sat head down in the dock, supported by church members as his lawyer Matthew Ward-Johnson, who told the court his client "offers deep remorse and apologies to his victims".

"His immediate commitment to cooperate was not insignificant," said Ward-Johnson. 

Judge Greg Hollister-Jones noted Hall was charging $1600-$2500 for a geotech report which normally costs $8000. 

The court heard Hall donated $270,000 of the money he gained to his church. 

In sentencing, Judge Hollister-Jones said the impact "is considerable and widespread across New Zealand".

"The man whose signature you forged for five years has suffered very significant health effects, causing him to move overseas and live with family. It cost him $300,000." 

Judge Hollister-Jones said it was repetitive forgery of the largest scale by a professional in New Zealand he is aware of. 

Engineering NZ told Newshub the fallout from Hall's offending will be felt for months to come. 

"People still need to work through the designs and check whether they meet the building code... there will be cases where there needs to be remedial work," chief executive Richard Templer said.

"We are working together with councils to make sure the system is more robust by improving the standard of documentation and making it harder for someone to forge the signatures of professional engineers." 

Judge Hollister-Jones,  in sentencing, instructed Hall's fine $85,000 be paid to Engineering NZ to hold in trust for the councils to disperse as they see fit.