Temporary waiver of plumbers’ fees – COVID-19 coronavirus relief package

This announcement is for: 
Plumber

On 31 March 2020, the Western Australian Government announced a $1 billion COVID-19 health and economic relief package to support Western Australian small and medium-sized businesses. The package included waiving a significant number of fees for a period of 12 months to help businesses survive the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For licensed plumbers, the COVID-19 relief package includes:

  • the waiving of fees for plumbing licences and permits for a period of 12 months from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021; and
  • the waiving of plumbing notification and compliance fees (including fixture fees) for a period of 12 months from 28 October 2020 to 27 October 2021.

These periods are referred to as the fee waiver period.

Which plumbing fees are being waived?

All fees listed in Schedule 1 of the Plumbers Licensing and Plumbing Standards Regulations 2000 (WA) (Plumbing Regulations) are to be waived for the duration of the applicable fee waiver period.

This includes all fees relating to applying for, being issued with or renewing any type of plumber’s licence or a restricted plumbing permit; as well as all fees relating to notices of intention, compliance certificates, installation (fixture) fees, purchases of drainage plumbing diagrams, and reinspections.

Frequently asked questions

Licence and permit fees

I have received a licence renewal form. Do I need to pay the fees associated with renewing my licence or permit?

If you lodge your application to renew your licence or permit between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, you will not be required to pay the associated fee.

I have already renewed my licence or permit – can I get a refund?

If you renewed your licence or permit on or after 1 April 2020 and paid the associated fee at that time, you will receive a refund by electronic funds transfer.

Do I have to apply for my refund?

No.

Eligible payments received on or after 1 April 2020 will be automatically refunded to you by electronic funds transfer.

Does the fee waiver also apply to first time applications for a plumbing licence or permit made during the waiver period?

Yes.

If you apply for a licence or permit for the first time at any stage between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, you do not have to pay any associated fees.

If you have submitted an application for a licence or permit in the period since 1 April 2020 and paid the associated fees at that time, you will be eligible for a refund. The refund will be processed automatically and will be paid to you by electronic funds transfer. You do not need to make an application for the refund.

I obtained/renewed my licence/permit prior to 1 April 2020. As the period of my licence/permit covers the 12 month fee waiver period, can I get a refund of any of the fee I paid?

No.

The economic relief package for business and occupational licence fees applies to the 12 month period between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. This period is intended to provide financial relief totalling over $34 million during the time of the most significant impact of COVID-19 on WA businesses and the community.

What if my licence or permit expires in April/May/June etc of 2021 – can I apply for my renewal early so I don’t have to pay the fee?

The Plumbing Regulations allow renewal applications to be lodged up to 12 weeks before the expiry date. If the date that you are allowed to lodge a renewal application falls before 1 April 2021, you can lodge your renewal application before that date and the fee will be waived. Otherwise, you will not be able to obtain a fee waiver.

Notification and certification requirements

As I am no longer required to pay fees for notices of intention and certificates of compliance, does this mean that I do not need to submit those certificates during the fee waiver period?

No.

Under Western Australia’s self-certification framework for plumbing work, it is essential that licensed plumbing contractors continue to submit notices of intention at least 24 hours prior to commencing major plumbing work and submit the associated certificate of compliance within five working days of completing that work.

The self-certification process is intended to protect consumers by providing certainty that plumbing work has been performed in accordance with the relevant standards.

Penalties apply if these requirements are not complied with. Plumbing inspectors will be actively enforcing these requirements during the fee waiver period.

Can I still use the Plumbing eNotice system to lodge NOIs and COCs during the fee waiver period?

Yes.

The Plumbing eNotice system has been updated so that plumbers can continue to lodge their compliance notices electronically without having to make the payment that would normally be required at the time of lodgement.

I have received an infringement notice for failing to submit a notice of intention or certificate of compliance as required. Do I still have to pay the fine?

Yes.

The waiving of fees does not exempt licensed plumbing contractors and restricted plumbing permit holders from the requirement to submit a notice of intention or certificate of compliance within prescribed timeframes.

If an infringement notice is issued for failing to comply with these requirements (or for any other reason), the infringement notice remains enforceable throughout the fee waiver period.

I lodged my notice of intention before the start of the fee waiver period but didn’t carry out the work until after the fee waiver period started. Can I get a refund for the notice and any fixture fees I submitted with it?

No.

The fee waiver only applies to notices of intention and associated fixture fees lodged on and from 28 October 2020 until the end of the fee waiver period on 27 October 2021. Any fees paid prior to 28 October 2020 will not be refunded, irrespective of when the work is carried out.

I am a builder/homeowner who had plumbing work performed by a licensed plumber after the start of the fee waiver period. Part of the charge for the plumbing work included a payment to cover the compliance fees and fixture fees. As those fees are not payable by the plumber during the fee waiver period, can I get that money back?

This is a contractual matter between you and the plumber.

There are no rules governing how a plumber accounts for the fees he is required to pay in relation to carrying out plumbing work. However, it is common practice for licensed plumbers to pass on compliance fees and fixture fees to their customers. This may be shown as a line item on the invoice he or she issues, or it could be included in his or her overall charge for the job.

If you think you have been charged for fees that are not applicable under the fee waiver relief package, you should speak to your plumber.

Miscellaneous fees

I have been issued a rectification notice by the Plumbers Licensing Board. Do I still need to pay any fees associated with the reinspection?

Provided the reinspection occurs during the period 28 October 2020 to 27 October 2021, you will not be required to pay any reinspection fees.

Building and Energy
Department News
30 Oct 2020

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