Illegal Plumbing


I had some really good comments and questions on my recent blog post Google isn’t a plumber about what work should be done by plumbers. I recently wrote a more detailed blog post about When can you do your own plumbing work? that details what plumbing you can do yourself.

The reality is, most people (well husbands and men of the household) change their tap washers themselves with no issues. But the line gets hazy on easy plumbing jobs (like changing tap washers) as to whether it should only be done by plumbers or by a handyman/yourself.

I don’t want to come across as an authoritarian when it comes to work that should be done by plumbers, but I do want to warn you of the consequences should something go wrong. A faulty installation of a washer will cause minimal damage. But once the line of changing tap washers is crossed, what other plumbing work is attempted due to new found confidence and the ability to save some money?

In a way, doing your own plumbing is like speeding and not getting caught. It’s against the law but unless you go through a speeding camera or get caught, no one other than yourself is going to know. The only way you can be caught out is

  1. A plumber finds out that you are performing plumbing work without a license and reports it to the Plumbing Council. There are major fines if you are caught out.
  2.  You are unable to sell your house because the conveyancing search finds no approvals for bathroom renovations or plumbing changes to the property that are different to the original house plans on file with the Council.
  3. When something goes majorly wrong causing damage to the property. Insurance won’t cover the damage because a plumbing form or certificate can’t be produced to show that the work was done by a licensed plumber. Read this article about a hairdresser in Queensland who recently got her husband to do illegal plumbing which caused a major flood and the insurance company wouldn’t cover the costs of damage.


Was it ever this technical? No. But laws change and become more stringent and while you may think it’s another ploy to give more work to plumbers, it’s really about safety and ensuring your plumbing is installed correctly to avoid damage and prevent ill health to you and anybody else in your household.


Have you ever had any bad experiences doing your own plumbing?