Plumbing regulation amendments – December 2016

Amendments to the Plumbers Licensing and Plumbing Standards Regulations 2000 (Plumbing Regulations) that came into effect on 14 December 2016 have resulted in the following changes.

Temperature control devices on solar water heater replacements

It is now compulsory for licensed plumbers to fit a temperature control device every time they install a new or replace an existing solar water heater in Western Australia.

While the fitting of a temperature control device was already mandatory for all new solar water heater installations, the picture was not so clear-cut for the replacement of solar water heaters.

The Plumbers Licensing Board has long been concerned that WA’s climatic conditions can result in extreme heated water temperatures from solar water heaters, particularly in summer.

Given the significant safety risks involved, the State Government, through recent amendments to the Plumbing Regulations, has introduced a local law to extend the requirement to replacement solar water heaters from 14 December 2016.

The change is limited to replacements of solar water heaters and does not apply to like for like replacements of other types of water heaters. All new installations and replacement solar water heaters are required to be temperature controlled at the outlets of sanitary plumbing fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene in accordance with the Plumbing Code of Australia and AS/ NZS 3500.4:2015, clauses 1.9.2 (Sanitary fixtures delivery temperature) and 1.9.3 (Solutions for control of delivery temperature).

The change brings WA in line with those of other Australian states on this matter.

Emergency plumbing repairs in remote Aboriginal communities

To improve health and living conditions in Western Australia's remote Aboriginal communities, suitably qualified environmental health workers (EHOs) based in or close to communities without ready access to a licensed plumber can now undertake a limited range of simple plumbing repairs.

The repairs are designed to keep clean drinking water flowing and prevent unsanitary conditions from arising or getting worse until a licensed plumber can get there.

The deployment of a new plumbing inspector from the Plumbers Licensing Board in Broome will assist with ensuring compliance with the new scheme and in providing information and guidance on its operation. The new inspector will also undertake compliance and enforcement activities in relation to plumbing work carried out more broadly in the Kimberley and Pilbara.

Visit the Building Commission's Emergency plumbing work in remote Aboriginal communities webpage at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/emergency-plumbing-work-remote-aboriginal-communities to access:

  • the list of eligible remote communities;
  • qualification requirements for the EHOs;
  • the range of permitted work; and
  • other Frequently Asked Questions about the scheme.

Drainage plumbing diagrams

The existing drainage plumbing diagram service delivered by the Building Commission under agreement with the Water Corporation has been expanded to cover all plumbing work that involves the installation, alteration or extension of drainage plumbing.

This includes drainage plumbing that connects to non-Water Corporation sewerage services, as well as where the drainage plumbing connects to an apparatus for the treatment of sewage, such as a septic tank. Some small sewerage service providers, as well as local government authorities approving the installation of apparatus for the treatment of sewage, may also require a copy of the drainage plumbing diagram.

Where a licensed plumbing contractor performs plumbing work that includes the installation, alteration or extension of drainage plumbing, they are required to submit the drainage plumbing diagram with the certificate of compliance that applies to that job. For the point of clarification, this includes sewer cut and seals, below ground drainage internal to a building such a floor waste gullies and all alterations to drainage plumbing regardless of length. The Plumbing Regulations have been amended to ensure that a certificate of compliance and drainage plumbing diagram are required in each of the above circumstances.

Drainage plumbing diagrams will still be available from a 24-hour web portal, which can be accessed from the Building Commission website. This is the preferred method for users accessing drainage plumbing diagrams. The fee for accessing drainage plumbing diagrams will be prescribed in early 2017, with drainage plumbing diagrams available free of charge until this time.

For drainage plumbing work completed prior to 14 December 2016 that involves connection to an apparatus for the treatment of sewage or a non-Water Corporation sewerage service provider, the local government authority or relevant sewerage service provider may still have a copy.

Visit the Building Commission's Drainage plumbing diagrams webpage at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/dpd to access:

  • the 24-hour drainage plumbing diagram web portal;
  • new guidelines for the format that licensed plumbing contractors must follow when submitting drainage plumbing diagrams;
  • Frequently Asked Questions about drainage plumbing diagrams; and
  • an updated drainage plumbing diagram template.

If you have any queries about how the Building Commission’s drainage plumbing diagram service may affect you, please contact the Building Commission at dpd@commerce.wa.gov.au. If you have issues with internet access, please phone us on 1300 489 099.

Building Commission
Department News
14 Dec 2016

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