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How do I find a qualified tradesperson?

You can find a qualified person through the yellow pages, local newspaper and radio advertisements, plumbing organisations, or by asking at a local merchant: but this won't guarantee a contractor is qualified and licensed!

All workers in the industry must either be licensed, or exempt. In either case they are required to carry their license or exemption card with them and produce it when it is requested. Therefore ask to see their current practising licence. Their licence card will include the level of their licence, the trade areas in which they are qualified and registered, and the expiry date of the licence.

If you wish to check the current status of any plumber, gasfitter or drainlayer in New Zealand, you can contact the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board by phone, or check licensing details using the public access part of the Board website. Go to pgdb and look down the right hand side of the home page. Click on 'Online Services' then click on 'Search the Register'. Now type in their name, or licence number and click on 'Search'.

And of course, before engaging any trades people you should ask for a quote - preferably quotes from a number of tradespoeple. But make sure all are quoting on exactly the same things, or you will be wasting their time and yours. Sometimes tradespeople may only be prepared to offer an estimate, if the nature of the work is unclear - if this is the case you need to clarify what this means, and perhaps ask for a 'worst case scenario' so you don't get a nasty surprise at the end.

If you are only given an estimate, ask to be kept informed throughout the job with 'staged progress reports' along with 'authorisation to continue', especially if it becomes clear that the estimate will be substantially exceeded.

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