A former Dominion Constructors employee is facing a $38,000 fine after taking responsibility for the cutting of steel reinforcing bars during the construction of Queenstown's Kmart building.

Jason Buehler, who is now living in Canada, was to be sentenced in the Queenstown District Court today on one charge under the Building Act of carrying out building work in breach of a consent.

However, Judge John Strettell adjourned his final sentence until Buehler provides a formal statement of his ability to pay the fine.

Buehler was the on-site project manager for the construction of the 4000sqm building in the Queenstown Central shopping centre, in Frankton, in 2018.


On or before August 2 of that year, steel reinforcing known as "starter bars" embedded in the building's concrete floor were cut and new ones installed when it was found they did not line up with junctions in a pre-cast concrete wall.

The faulty work, which could have led to the building collapsing in a fire or earthquake, was reported to the council on August 3 by a whistleblower.

Dominion Constructors has denied an identical charge, and a trial is expected to proceed later this year.