The risks associated with an unsafe installation are high, so the work must be restricted to competent (licensed) workers. To emphasise the nature of the hazard, these installations can appear to operate well yet be unsafe. For example, a gas installation could seemingly operate satisfactorily without adequate ventilation, until dangerous circumstances arise where people could then be exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
A licensing system is in place to ensure only competent workers carry out gas installing work. Under this scheme, only licensed people can undertake gas installation work.
Only those who meet competency standards are licensed. A disciplinary process is in place to ensure that only those competent remain as licensed persons. The competency standards cover work practices, equipment and installation. Those who breach regulations may:
- be fined;
- be prosecuted in the courts;
- lose their licence; and/or
- have conditions placed on their licence.
Building and Energy sets the required safety outcomes that the competency standards must achieve for licensing purposes.
To ensure these competency standards are nationally consistent, Building and Energy co-ordinates with the other Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions.
Licences can be obtained for those trained:
- in Western Australia;
- in other Australian States;
- in New Zealand;
- in the Armed Forces; or
In Western Australia, the Gas Standards Act 1972 and the Gas Standards (Gasfitting and Consumer Gas Installations) Regulations 1999 provide that gasfitting work on a consumer's gas installation may only be carried out by a person with the appropriate gas fitter's licence.
What is gasfitting work?
Gasfitting work is defined in the Gas Standards (Gasfitting and Consumer Gas Installations) Regulations 1999 and refers to any operation, work, or process in connection with the installation, removal, demolition, replacement, alteration, maintenance or repair of a gas installation (the installation or conversion of a gas fuelled engine is included).
What types of gasfitting licences are issued?
- Class G - Covers all gasfitting work except gasfitting work classified as of Class I, E, or P. [Includes general gasfitting - natural gas, LP Gas. Also includes installation and servicing of Domestic, Commercial, Caravan and Marine craft installations]
- Class I - Covers gasfitting work on a consumer's gas installation associated with a Type B appliance [Industrial - including all Type B appliances - installation, commissioning and servicing]; or on piping that has an operating pressure of more than 200kPa, not being gasfitting work referred to in paragraph (a) or classified as Class E or P.
- Class E - Covers gasfitting work associated with a mobile engine.
- Class P - Covers gasfitting work on a gas installation associated with the storage and dispensing of gas for the refuelling of a motor vehicle as defined in section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1974.
Classes may be restricted e.g. Installation only, Commissioning Type B appliances up to 1,000MJ/h.
In Western Australia, there are over 6,000 licensed gas fitters. Suitably qualified gas fitters hold a permit, certificate of competence or, in some cases, a gasfitting authorisation.
Permits and certificates can be restricted to installing and/or servicing of natural and/or liquefied petroleum gas.
Western Australian gasfitting permits are generally in the form of a yellow (buff for apprentices) plastic card style registration. There are no cards for authorisation holders.
Gas fitter's license card
Under the Gas Standards (Gasfitting and Consumer Gas Installations) Regulations 1999, only a permit can be issued for the purpose of carrying out general gasfitting work. The regulations no longer allow for the issue of a certificate of competency, however those gas fitters that are still the holder of a certificate are currently still authorised to carry out the scope of gasfitting work as stated on the certificate document.
Gas fitter's apprentice licence card
Apprentice plumbers/gas fitters are required to have a permit to work under supervision before undertaking any gasfitting. Permits are usually able to be obtained in the second year of the apprenticeship. Employers and training organisations should request to see the apprentice's licence card to verify that they are appropriately licensed.
If you are registered or licensed as a gas fitter elsewhere in Australia or New Zealand, and want to be registered as a gas fitter in Western Australia, you can find out more information about having your qualifications recognised in WA.