$10,250 in fines for unlicensed fire-protection work at community centre

26 February 2015

A company and one of its employees have been fined a total of $10,250 for offences relating to the unlawful installation of fire protection at a Brisbane community centre.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) action followed an audit of fire-protection installation at building sites around Brisbane.

Fire protection licences have been required since 2011, in line with the findings of a report into the Palace Backpackers Hostel fire in Childers in 2000, when 15 people perished.

QBCC Commissioner, Steve Griffin, said the penalty was a reminder to companies and individuals that fire protection was a serious matter and must always only be undertaken by appropriately licensed entities.

During a compliance audit, QBCC inspectors interviewed a man performing fire-protection work at a Brisbane community centre. Their subsequent enquiries revealed that he did not hold the appropriate licence for the work.

The employee eventually pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully carrying out fire protection work and was fined $2,750.

The company pleaded guilty and was fined $3,000 in Magistrates Court in November 2013 to one count of a breach of section 42D of the QBCC Act. That is, as a licensed contractor, the company engaged or directed an employee to carry out fire protection work, where the employee was not authorised to do so.

However, the Commission successfully appealed that decision in District Court, and the company was subsequently fined $7,500 for the same offence in September 2014.

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