Plumber disqualified for three years, penalised thousands

A Victorian plumber has been fined almost $20,000 and disqualified from being licensed or registered for three years for fraudulently issuing a compliance certificate when he was not authorised to do so.

Anthony Ottaviani-Giammarco was found to be in breach of the Building Act 1993 in an Inquiry by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), the state plumbing regulator.

The VBA’s delegate found that Mr Ottaviani-Giammarco deliberately disregarded his obligations as a practitioner and ordered him to pay $18,642, disqualifying him from being licensed or registered until late 2024.

At the time of the offending, he was a registered plumber, but not licensed. Mr Ottaviani-Giammarco has since had his registration cancelled for failure to renew.

The VBA’s Executive Director of Regulatory Operations David Brockman said that the Inquiry found that Mr Ottaviani-Giammarco posed an unacceptable risk to the community.

"Mr Ottaviani-Giammarco completely disregarded his professional obligations – by misleading and deceiving his customer for his own commercial benefit," he said.

"His actions in issuing a certificate when he was not licensed to do so led the VBA to conclude that he posed an unacceptable risk of reoffending, and that Victorians need to be protected from similar future behaviour."

The Inquiry heard Mr Ottaviani-Giammarco was hired to install toilets, basins, a urinal and a new hot water system at a site on Little Lonsdale Street, in Melbourne’s CBD.

The VBA launched an investigation following a complaint from the owners of the building regarding defective plumbing work carried out by the practitioner and allegations they had been given a forged compliance certificate for the work completed.

Defects included pipe work not sealed or joined correctly and water from an internal electric hot water service leaking, which caused subsequent flood damage to adjoining apartments.

Mr Ottaviani-Giammarco had issued a compliance certificate when he was not licensed to do so, as he was only a registered plumber.

compliance certificate is issued by a licensed plumber to certify the work they carry out complies with the relevant plumbing standards, codes and regulations.

A plumbing Inquiry found that the practitioner had breached the Act, as well as behaving  fraudulently in carrying out of the plumbing work and self-certifying it.

The Inquiry also recommended the fraud related matters be referred to Victoria Police.

Mr Ottaviani-Giammarco can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for review of the decision.

Victorians wanting to engage a builder or plumber can visit to check if they are registered or licensed appropriately.