National Police History Check – A change to plumbers' licence renewal process

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Frequently asked questions

The Plumbers Licensing Board has improved powers regarding the way plumbers are licensed and how plumbing standards are enforced. In particular, the capacity to reassess applicants fitness for a licence at each renewal.  The term “fitness” elates to a person’s character.

PLB requested this power to require applicants for renewal to provide a national police history check (NPHC) 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 NPHC?

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

How often will I have to provide a NPHC?

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

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

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

Please keep an eye on your email inbox for your renewal notice.

Do I have to pay for a NPHC?

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

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 NPHC?

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 NPHC.  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 NPHC?

For the list of accepted police check providers please refer to the police checks information page.

What will happen if I don’t submit an NPHC 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 NPHCs?

Please contact Licensing Services on 1300 304 064 if you have any questions or concerns.


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