A plumber defending charges over defective drains at a retirement village says something went wrong at the project but it was not his or his workers' fault.
Lower Hutt plumber Vincent Cookson denies nine charges of doing negligent or incompetent plumbing.
The Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board disciplinary panel is considering its ruling after hearing two days of conflicting evidence over who was responsible for defects that posed a hygiene safety risk in many elderly people's apartments.
Cookson told the hearing he was shocked to learn, only after the job was done, that an audit in mid-2018 had identified shortcomings, mostly with shower drains and also with some floor wastes not sealed off from the sewer, and one or two other things.
He went to see what was wrong.
"I thought I was in the gun, but the more times I went through this, I'm thinking there is actually nothing wrong with this, this is all to Code - our guys have done an absolutely fantastic job," he said.
It turned out, however, that many shower drains had not lined up so had an extra hole cut in them, which Cookson agreed was unacceptable and not compliant.
But this was down to a tiling company that "made a meal of it", he said.
Builder Armstrong Downes and hydraulic engineer Beca should have followed through when they noticed the problems, he said.
He did not know about most of the problems and would not have expected his staff to raise them with him, Cookson added.
But he rejected the contention by a lawyer for the investigation, Michael Hodge, that this showed he had a "command and control" problem at his firm and that, ultimately, he was responsible.
The charges were "very unfair, very unfair that it all falls on my shoulders".
A plumber he employs, David Hutchinson, told the hearing that the tilers came up with a way to overcome the fact that concrete beams were in the way of the shower drains.
Another charge related to a rubbish room drain being too high, once again presenting a sewer gas threat. Cookson said the fault there was that the complex's owner, the Masonic Trust, told him it wanted to "save money", so decided not to get the concrete floor screed - so it would taper into the drain - though the design called for it.
Elsewhere, a tap in a spa room "mysteriously" appeared, and a basin was installed in a hair salon but he did not know by who, as he had refused to fit it; both lacked backflow preventors, a crucial safety element to stop drinking water contamination.
The audit found a number of apartment trap primer valves did not work, so provided no water seal from the sewer below.
The auditor told the hearing some residents had complained of foul smells.
Three witnesses said some of the valves did not work, or not all the time, while Cookson said "they were installed, they were tested, and they worked". Hodge said the evidence was uncertain.
Cookson's lawyer Matt Freeman, in closing, said the plumber had done the job he was contracted to do, up to standard, and did not cause anyone to do negligent work.
It was Armstrong Downes' that had ultimate sign-off of the job, Freeman said.
Cookson said he had rectified all the problems at his cost, as he had no choice: The builder Armstrong Downes was "coming down on me like a tonne of bricks".
If the industry thought he was not interested in remediation, "I'd be out of business years ago... we wouldn't get another job with another contractor".
Media reports last September that exposed the complex's problems had "absolutely destroyed" a reputation he had worked years to build, he said.