Master Plumbers’ Technical Advisor Gary Bath shares all you need to know to prepare for the renewal of the plumbing regulations in Victoria in 2018.
What are the plumbing regulations?
Australian Standards are the regulations that most plumbers are familiar with, for example:
- AS 5601 parts one through to five which cover sanitary installations, hot and cold water supply, roofing/ stormwater and sanitary drainage work /or
- AS5601 which is the standard used for the majority of gas fitting work.
These types of national Australian Standards are the main source of reference for practitioners within the plumbing industry. The Plumbing Industry Regulations 2008 are used, amongst other things, to ‘call up’ these national standards for use in Victoria. 2018 marks the sunset of these regulations, and as an Association, we are doing everything we can to work with the Government to ensure that existing regulations are upheld to serve the needs of the community and industry best.
The Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 provides that all regulations have a sunset (expiry) date of generally 10 years which is from the date on which the regulations are made. This is to ensure that the regulations are regularly reviewed so that they remain efficient and effective.
Before remaking regulations, the responsible Ministers for Environment, Land, Water and Planning, are required to ensure that consultation occurs with affected parties, and that the impact of the regulations on individuals or groups is assessed.
The Plumbing Regulations 2008 are scheduled to expire in November 2018 and consultation with stakeholders and evaluation of the effectiveness of these existing regulations was due to commence from June 2016.
The Regulations cover licensing and technical requirements and are there to protect the plumbing industry and the public. The Master Plumbers intends to be a driving force in the review for the new regulations to serve their purpose.
How does the assessment of the existing regulations take place?
The Minister will request information from the VBA. This includes performance under the current regulations, any changes that may be required to cover new or emerging technologies and analysis of the costs/bene ts to maintain existing systems of regulation. This information will be used to provide a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS). You may view a copy of the 2008 RIS on this website: betterregulation.vic.gov.au
A project has been initiated by the Department to develop regulations to replace the existing ones. It will rely on technical expertise provided via the VBA and the Plumbing Advisory Council (PAC). The existing regulations will undergo a technical analysis to determine broadly:
- How the regulations currently operate
- Whether the regulation is required
- What risks would be associated with not remaking the regulations.
Out of this project, a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) will be prepared which will eventually be made available for public comment.
What is the role of the Master Plumbers for this issue?
Master Plumbers will be represented throughout this process through our involvement on the Plumbing Advisory Council. In addition we will also be active in suggesting changes that will enhance/ improve the current regulations. Many of these suggestions have been developed through our Member feedback and numerous forums held over last year.
A few examples of the issues that the Master Plumbers Association would like to see considered are:
- Some clear definition around the scope of work for which a Licenced Plumber is responsible for larger, commercial plumbing works
- Apprentice requirements for Registration, (currently there is not a requirement for an apprentice
to serve a minimum period of supervision to gain Registration)
- Whether the availability of “Provisional Registration” for Apprentices who have yet to undertake their Journeyman Exam might be considered
- Consideration for the inclusion of the servicing/maintenance of thermostatic mixing valves as a specialised class
- Continuous professional development
- How new Australian Standards are incorporated into building projects that are under development
- How pre-assembled plumbing units, eg bathroom pods are covered by the existing compliance regime
- How commercial/larger plumbing works are regulated currently, (should consideration be given to a separate endorsement to reflect the potential for higher risk in this work).