The Plumbers Licensing Board through the Building Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating plumbing work across Western Australia. The Board authorises licensed plumbing contractors to undertake and certify regulated plumbing work. These requirements are set out in the Plumbers Licensing and Plumbing Standards Regulations 2000 (the Regulations). Licence holders need to understand their licensing obligations.
General licence obligations
- Plumbing work: Carry out all plumbing work in accordance with the Regulations including the parts of the Plumbing Code of Australia prescribed in Regulation 48.
- Licence: Display the licence certificate at the principal place of business and produce your licence card on request.
- Record keeping: Keep up-to-date records of all employees carrying out plumbing work under your direction and control (employee register) and keep copies of all certificates of compliance for a minimum of six years after submitting the certificate.
- Advertising: Include the licence number of the licensed plumbing contractor in all advertising and business documents.
- Supervision: Provide general direction and control to any and all licensed plumbers and apprentices carrying out plumbing work on your behalf.
- Register: Notify the Plumbers Licensing Board within 14 days if the business address or contact details change.
The Regulations are available from the State Law Publisher website and Australian Standards are available from SAI Global.
Notification and certification obligations
Major plumbing work
Major plumbing work, when it is not classed as minor work, includes the installation, alteration, extension and/or replacement of:
- water supply plumbing; and
- sanitary and/or drainage plumbing.
This includes such work as:
- installation, alteration or extension of drainage plumbing;
- sewer conversions;
- new or replacement water heaters;
- new and additional sanitary fixtures; and
- evaporative air conditioners.
Notices of intention and certificates of compliance
All major plumbing work requires the submission of:
- a notice of intention at least 24 hours before the commencement of the work (except for emergency work); and
- a corresponding certificate of compliance within five working days of completing the work.
For emergency work the notice of intention and the certificate of compliance can be submitted at the same time within five working days of completing work.
A single (or books of 10 or 20) notice of intention and its corresponding certificate of compliance can be purchased from the Building Commission or from a Department of Commerce regional office.
Drainage plumbing diagrams
A drainage plumbing diagram, otherwise known as a flimsy or a constructed diagram, is a diagrammatic representation of a property’s drainage plumbing.
A licensed plumbing contractor who installs, alters or extends drainage plumbing is required to submit a drainage plumbing diagram with the relevant certificate of compliance.
New fixture installation fee
(Note: A fixture is a receptacle designed for a specific purpose, the use or operation of which results in a discharge into the sanitary plumbing or drainage installation. It includes, but is not limited to, such items as water closets, baths, spa baths, basins, showers, kitchen sinks, laundry troughs, urinals and bidets.
A new fixture installation fee is payable in respect of major plumbing work for:
- a new building; or
- an extension to an existing building that will include at least one new sanitary fixture.
The fixture fee applies in both sewered and unsewered areas and reflects the number of new or additional fixtures to be installed as part of the installation. The fixture fee payable is based on a:
- flat fee (up to nine fixtures) set at a standard rate, including GST; plus
- additional fixtures are charged at a set rate per fixture, including GST.
View the fee schedule.
Changes to notification requirements for drainage plumbing work
Changes have been made to the time in which plumbers must give notice that drainage plumbing work is ready to be inspected.
The new cut off time is 4.30pm on the Wednesday of the week following the completion of drainage plumbing work. This means plumbers can cover drainage plumbing work upon completion and submit a single notification for all drainage plumbing work completed the previous week.
Plumbing contractors can send notification via any of the following means:
(a) SMS: 0417 209 818
(b) Fax: 1300 449 185
(c) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(d) Telephone: 08 6251 1377
The notification given may be in relation to drainage plumbing work referred to on multiple notices of intention and must include the notice of intention numbers, property addresses, the dates the work was carried out, a description of the work and the licence number of the responsible plumbing contractor.
An alternative solution is a plumbing or drainage solution that complies with the performance requirements of the Plumbing Code of Australia by means other than satisfying a deemed-to-satisfy provision. The notice of intention for any plumbing work that includes an alternative solution should be lodged at least five working days prior to any work commencing.
An additional fee is payable when lodging a notice of intention for plumbing work including an alternative solution. A certificate of compliance is also required within five working days of the work being completed.
Minor plumbing work
Minor plumbing work is the alteration, repair or maintenance of existing water supply, sanitary and/or drainage plumbing systems, including:
- maintenance, repair or replacement of water supply plumbing;
- clearing of blocked drains;
- cold water valve replacement, maintenance or repair;
- hot water valve replacement, maintenance or repair;
- sanitary and waste fixture maintenance, repair or replacement;
- repair and maintenance of backflow prevention devices; and
- replacement or repair of drainage plumbing.
Multi-entry certificates of compliance
All minor work carried out is to be recorded on a multi-entry certificate. These certificates are to be submitted within five working days of the end of each calendar month.
A single (or book of 12) multi-entry certificate of compliance can be purchased from either the Building Commission or a Department of Commerce regional office.
Compliance audit program
The compliance audit program ensures that:
- performance standards are being met;
- the licensing system works as it is intended; and
- the plumbing industry remains vibrant by ensuring consumer confidence and trust remains high.
An audit by a plumbing inspector will verify that the contractor is compliant with the Regulations.
Written notice of an audit will be issued to the licensed plumbing contractor to allow adequate time to retrieve the requested documents ready for the audit.
During the audit, the licensed plumbing contractor will have an opportunity to discuss any compliance related matters with the plumbing inspector.
Plumbing inspectors are bound by the Department of Commerce Code of Conduct. Any information obtained during the audit will remain confidential unless the Plumbers Licensing Board or the Building Commission are required to disclose the information by law.
Following the audit, inspections of water supply, sanitary and drainage plumbing work will be conducted. The sites will be selected from current work being undertaken by the licensed plumbing contractor. The number of inspections of plumbing work will be at the discretion of the plumbing inspector.
Generally, an audit takes between two and four weeks depending on the size and nature of the plumbing business.
What happens after an audit is completed?
The Plumbers Licensing Board acknowledges compliance efforts and will support licensed plumbing contractors and tradespersons who are endeavouring to comply with their requirements. When necessary, actions taken for non-compliance may include formal warnings, issue of rectification notices and infringement notices, and prosecutions seeking the imposition of penalties. Where warranted, the use of a public warning to protect the public from serious non-compliance will be considered along with disciplinary action.
Information gathered will be analysed for compliance trends and can then be addressed via communication with the plumbing industry.
Site inspections can occur randomly without notice, as a result of a drainage inspection notification submitted by a licensed plumbing contractor or in response to information from other sources such as local government building approvals and Water Corporation applications.
Come to a free information session
Free information sessions are held for licensed plumbing contractors and tradespersons. These sessions will help to clarify plumbers’ obligations under the Regulations as well as provide an opportunity for you to meet other licensed plumbers and talk to the plumbing inspectors. New licensed plumbing contractors and existing licence holders in need of a refresher course are invited to attend by emailing email@example.com or phone (08) 6251 1377 to book a place.