An Auckland developer has been fined $80,750 for illegally converting a warehouse into unsafe apartments, offices and car parks.
John Liong Kiat Wong pleaded guilty to four charges, including illegal building work converting a warehouse in Eden Terrace into nine apartments.
In a statement, Auckland Council said it welcomed the decision by the Auckland District Court and hopes it will deter others wanting to flout the rules.
The illegal building work was discovered in 2018 when a large concrete block fell from the top level of the converted building and on to a neighbour's roof, narrowly missing a skylight.
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As well as converting the building illegally, people were living in the apartments, and basic safety features like smoke detectors and fire sprinklers didn't have a warrant of fitness.
Judge David Kirkpatrick said Wong was an experienced developer, so there was no explanation for why he didn't follow the rules.
"In particular, the purposes of the Building Act include providing for the safety of occupants of buildings. The deliberate behaviour of the defendant in failing to obtain the necessary consents and in failing to have the specified systems checked and approved requires a deterrent sentence," the judge said.
Mayor Phil Goff said the penalty reflects the serious nature of the offending and will send a strong message to anyone purposefully not meeting their obligations under the Building Act.
"The offender in this case showed an egregious disregard for the health and wellbeing of his tenants and the wider community. Those who flout the rules in such a manner need to know that they will be caught and face of the consequences of their actions and I welcome the heavy fine imposed by Judge Kirkpatrick."
Auckland Council's Manager Compliance Response and Investigations Kerri Fergusson said the offending in this case was calculated and deliberate, for commercial gain, and put occupants and neighbours at risk.
She said the sentence reflects the seriousness of Wong's actions and should act as a deterrent to others wanting to avoid the legal process of obtaining the required consents and inspections.