National Police Certificates – A change to plumbers' licence renewal process

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Frequently asked questions

An independent review of Western Australia’s plumbing legislation conducted in 2013/14 recommended a number of improvements to the way plumbers are licensed and how plumbing standards are enforced.  One of these improvements was to give the Plumbers Licensing Board improved powers and in particular the capacity to reassess applicants fitness for a licence at each renewal.  The term “fitness” elates to a person’s character.

The Plumbers Licensing Board (PLB) requested this power to require applicants for renewal to provide a National Police Certificate (NPC) as one way of demonstrating the applicant’s fitness to hold a licence.

Some questions you may have about the new requirements to provide a NPC are answered below.

Who will be required to submit an NPC?

This provision applies to all plumbers; contractors, tradespersons, provisional and restricted plumbers. 

How often will I have to provide a NPC?

The PLB will require plumbers to provide a current NPC at every second renewal, which is once every six years.

How will I know if I am required to provide a NPC at my next renewal?

When the PLB sends you your licence renewal by mail or email, it will tell you if you need to submit a NPC.  The letter or email will also describe how to get a NPC, the approximate cost and timeframes, and the consequences of not providing a NPC.  

Please keep an eye on your letter box and email for your renewal notice.

Do I have to pay for a NPC?

Yes, you are responsible for the cost of maintaining your plumbers licence including obtaining a NPC. 

NPCs currently cost around $60.

Why did the Board request this new requirement?

Consideration of criminal convictions is a key part in assessing if a plumber is fit and proper to hold a licence. It is an important community protection measure and is a requirement of most registration or licensing regimes in Western Australia and other jurisdictions. 

It is important consumers can have confidence that the licensed plumber they bring into their home is unlikely to behave in a criminal manner. 

What if my licence is not renewed before my expiry date?

If you have lodged your renewal application during the prescribed renewal period (12 weeks before the licence is due to expire and ending on the day that is 28 days after the licence expiry date), under regulation 21(3)(a) of the Plumbers Licensing and Plumbing Standards Regulations 2000, your existing licence/permit will continue to have effect until the Plumbers Licensing Board either renews or refuses to renew your licence or you withdraw your application.

If your licence is renewed, it will be taken to have been renewed on the day immediately following its expiry date.

What will happen if I have a criminal conviction on my NPC?

The PLB will assess NPCs against its Criminal Record Assessment Policy, which you can read on the Plumbers Licensing Board webpage.  

Many people have matters shown on the NPC.  When assessing an application to renew a licence or permit, depending on the number and nature of matters shown on a NPC the Board may:

  • note those matters and grant the renewed licence or permit;
  • place conditions or restrictions on a renewed licence or permit; 
  • request the applicant to meet a PLB committee to explain why the Board should find the applicant fit and proper to hold a licence; or
  • in unusual cases, refuse to renew a licence or permit.

If you have submitted your renewal on time but not have not received renewal by your expiry date, you are still considered licensed until you have had your application accepted or rejected.

Where can I obtain a current NPC?

NPCs can be obtained from Police WA website, from participating Australia Post outlets, and from other Crimtrac accredited suppliers.

Please note that the Building Commission will not return the NPC to you.

How long does it take to obtain a NPC?

Obtaining a NPC takes time, often up to 15 working days and sometimes longer.  

Make sure you apply for your NPC with enough time to post it to the Building Commission.  NPCs must be originals or certified copies and must come to the Commission in the post or be delivered over the counter.  

I have an NPC, can I use that one?

Your NPC must be dated not more than three months from the date of your renewal application.  If you have an original, current NPC dated within that three month period, you can use it for your renewal application.

What will happen if I don’t submit an NPC with my renewal application?

Your licence will automatically expire and you will then not be authorised to carry out plumbing work.  You must not carry out plumbing work if you do not have a current licence. 

However, if you have not renewed your licence by the expiry date, you have a further 28 days to renew your licence and submit information such as a NPC, necessary to complete your application.  If you don’t apply within the additional 28 days and you want to hold a licence, you will have to apply to the PLB to re-issue your licence.  If you intend to retain your plumbers licence it is best to renew on time.

Who can I contact for further information on NPCs?

Please contact the Building Commission on 1300 489 099 if you have any questions or concerns.


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