On 1 May 2018, the Building and Energy Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Building and Energy) released a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (CRIS) to seek public comment on the final round of reforms arising from the 2013/14 review of plumbing regulation in Western Australia.
The CRIS contained 21 proposals, including:
- The introduction of a new funding model to enable the plumbing regulator to carry out its compliance and enforcement functions more effectively.
- Expanding the scope of ‘water supply plumbing work’ to include non-metered supply and the supply of non-drinking water.
- New requirements on owners of certain high-risk buildings to ensure that plumbing safety devices such as backflow prevention devices and thermostatic mixing valves are regularly tested and maintained in proper working order.
- Amendments to the scope of ‘minor plumbing work’ and type of work permitted to be carried out by holders of a Restricted Plumbing Permit.
The CRIS also sought comment on other issues, such as:
- Whether there should be a registration requirement for designers of complex plumbing installations and for those who design and/or verify Performance Solutions under the Plumbing Code of Australia.
- Whether there is a case for introducing a licence category for those who carry out fire-fighting water services (Part B4 of the Plumbing Code of Australia).
- Whether the scope of ‘drainage plumbing work’ should be expanded to also include the construction/installation of on-site wastewater treatment systems, such as septic tanks and aerobic treatment units.
The closing date for the receipt of comment on the CRIS was 31 July 2018.
A total of 1058 people responded to the CRIS. Of those, 816 wrote in support of a combined submission developed by members of the Master Plumbers and Gasfitters Association of Western Australia during a series of state-wide consultation sessions organised by the Association.
Building and Energy is currently analysing the comments contained in the submissions. It will then prepare a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS). The DRIS is the final stage in the regulatory impact assessment process. It will examine the impacts of the proposed reforms in the light of the comments received during the consultation period and will set out the government’s final position.
While it is not possible to predict exactly when the DRIS will be published, it is expected to be in the first quarter of 2019. Thereafter, work will commence on developing the regulatory and legislative amendments required to implement the decisions contained in the DRIS.