Victorian man penalised for plumbing work without licence

A Sunbury man has been ordered by the Sunshine Magistrate’s Court to pay more than $ 5,500 to perform unlicensed plumbing and provide false information.

As part of an adjournment in court, Ryan Barnes had to pay the VBA $ 4,000, pay damages of $ 1,000 and $ 950 to his respective victims for the money they had to spend for the work he did in their properties and of good behavior for 12 months.

Mr. Barnes turned out to be the Building Act 1993 with performing plumbing work twice without a license or registration, and once with providing false information.

The executive director of the VBA, Lynda McAlary-Smith, said Mr Barnes’s actions caused significant stress to his victims and could potentially cause harm.

“Mr. Barnes cheated on his clients and performed work where there was a risk of serious injury or death,” said Ms. McAlary-Smith.

“If you don’t follow the rules, you will be caught, the VBA is ready to take action to protect Victorian consumers, especially the most vulnerable.”

In 2017, Mr. Barnes, who at the time worked for the PremiAir Flow company, turned air conditioning ducts and installed zone monitors into a home in Taylors Lakes, northwest Melbourne.

Property owners experienced successive heating and cooling problems in the home, including during the hot summer months.

In 2019, Mr. Barnes, who operates the heating and cooling company Vortex, took it upon himself to install a gas stove and flue in the home of a 91-year-old resident in Airport West, also in northwest Melbourne.

The flue was installed in a less than competent manner, with the flue not being sufficiently separated from a wooden truss, which could start a fire.

In both cases, Mr. Barnes performed plumbing without a license or registration.

When questioned by the VBA, Mr. Barnes said he was a licensed plumber and had provided false licensing and registration information.

The court said the payments Mr. Barnes had been ordered to make as part of the adjourned venture were a signal to the wider plumbing industry.

“As a general deterrent, it is important that people who are involved in, or become involved in, this type of behavior know that it may cost them a lot of money,” the magistrate said.

“It is unfair to someone who has done an internship, taken a course, who has paid the fees, that he (Mr. Barnes) can do the work that only he can do.”

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