Plumber fined $4900 over faulty gas installation

Gas pipe with yellow tape
A licensed plumber has been fined $4956 over defective plumbing work that resulted in a gas leak and fire at a Fawkner property.

Eaglemont man Enio Centofanti faced a Victorian Building Authority (VBA) Plumbing Inquiry last week after he issued a Certificate of Compliance for the defective work in October 2018.

The Inquiry heard that as part of the installation, which was carried out by another employee of the same company Mr Centofanti worked for, the gas fitting line was altered by shortening the line behind the gas console heater using multiple joins.

On the same day the work was finished, gas escaping from a copper pipe caused a small explosion and fire.

The plumber who carried out the work on Mr Centofanti’s behalf admitted to the VBA that he was “just rushing really, time got away from me…” when asked how the incident occurred.

The Inquiry heard that following the installation, Mr Centofanti issued a Certificate of Compliance despite failing to test the gas installation to make sure the work had been done correctly.

Mr Centofanti was fined $4,956.30 for breaching Section 221G(1)(b) of the Building Act 1993 by allowing a person to carry out or direct a person to carry out any plumbing work or specialised plumbing work that is defective in workmanship.

The VBA will audit Mr Centofanti’s next five gas installations to ensure they comply with the Building Act.

The VBA’s Director of Compliance and Enforcement, Rosemary Martin, said plumbers who issue Certificates of Compliance must take responsibility for the work they sign off, even if they didn’t do the job themselves.

“This incident should never have happened. Plumbers must check that their work is done properly, otherwise it can have tragic consequences.

“The outcome of this Inquiry should send a strong message to all plumbers that they need to do the right thing and comply with Victoria’s strict plumbing regulations, standards and codes at all times.

“The VBA won’t hesitate to take action against those plumbers who do the wrong thing and put lives at risk.”

In January 2020, the man who carried out the gasfitting work for Mr Centofanti had his registration cancelled in all classes of gasfitting – pending completion of education and training