Changes to the Plumbing Legislation


It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, there will always be changes.

Big changes have been made to plumbing legislation which has assured *“to cut red tape, delays and costs for licensees, local governments and consumers.”

Sadly, when a new change comes in, consequences of failing to comply with the changes (whether purposefully or not) will result in big fines. The question needs to be asked whether the changes have been put in place for the better good of plumbers and consumers or whether it’s another money building exercise for our government and local council.

Nevertheless, some changes that have been brought in by the legislation are good, but others are going to leave plumbers vulnerable and in need of indemnity insurance, without a doubt.

The new legislation has categorized different plumbing works into notifiable works, minor works and unregulated works – all of which a licensed plumber must perform. These works no longer require large fees to be paid to the local council for approval of the works.

However, some of the plumbing jobs that are now included in notifiable works, didn’t previously require to be lodged to the council. These notifiable works now incur a fee of $35 and extra time to fill out certificates and lodge paperwork which will result in plumbers increasing their hourly rate to meet these new requirements.

What this means for the consumer (from what has been explained by a Plumbing Inspector to me) is that you will no longer be able to do your own plumbing work at home or at your workplace. Most people do engage a licensed plumber to fix up their plumbing problems, but there are a  minority that try to do it themselves or engage a cheap handy man to do it.  Huge penalties will apply if any of your plumbing work is not conducted by a licensed plumber.

Simple bathroom renovations will no longer need to be lodged for approval to your local council, BUT a licensed plumber must notify their local plumbing council that they are doing this notifiable work and will have to pay a small fee to lodge a certificate to this council. No inspections by the council will be needed which will save the consumer costs of between $300-$1600 per job. The project will also be no longer delayed by council inspections which means the job can be done in a shorter time frame.

At this stage, there are still some hazy areas of the legislation and of course the biggest question will be how can you be ‘found out?’

I have been advised that there are approximately 20 auditors in Brisbane ready to audit plumbers paperwork and jobs to ensure that the new policies have been followed and paperwork has been sent through.

The new changes are to start from 1st November 2012. I am slightly apprehensive by the new changes because the details haven’t been fully explained to plumbers and the changes are going to affect ALL plumbers. All I can advise to my readers is ANY plumbing work whether big or small MUST be done by a licensed plumber. Watch this space for further information as I learn more!

*segment taken from the first page of the Plumbing Industry Council’s Connect Newsletter, Issue 3