The Victorian Plumbing Regulations 2008 are due to expire in November 2018 and the review process is well under way. The Plumbing Regulations Sunset Review is being managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, who began a public consultation period on 16 February 2017. Master Plumbers Member Technical Liaison Gary Bath discusses what this means to Victorian plumbers.

Master Plumbers has been active in obtaining feedback from its members in relation to changes that we feel would strengthen or improve the current regulations and provide a better regulatory framework for our industry.

This list of issues has been developed into a formal submission which was lodged with the Department. A new Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is now being developed, which will be released for public comment later this year.

As this process of consultation is open to all, we can expect submissions from a broad section of the public and not just from those directly involved in our industry. Master Plumbers supports a regulated plumbing industry, where plumbing work is carried out by appropriately qualified and experienced individuals. We do not support a “de-regulation” of our trade and we suggest that any changes to the current regulations do not lessen the regulatory framework used to provide a safe and healthy environment for the public.

In this article, I thought it would be worthwhile to give an overview of the issues that Master Plumbers have provided in our submission as well as provide some of the background to these issues.

Commercial design

Under the existing plumbing regulations, a licensed plumber lodges a Certificate of Compliance (COC) that indicates responsibility for all aspects of the installation, rests with the plumber.

Where these installations become more complex, such as where the services of a hydraulic consultant might be utilised to size a large multi-story water service, the licensed plumber signing the COC remains responsible for that aspect of the installation should it be non-compliant or defective in any way.

Under the current regulatory regime, there is no way to hold the individual responsible for that design, or any mechanism to ensure that the individual holds the appropriate qualifications or experience to complete the work. We have suggested that a scope of work be de ned under the proposed regulations to licence individuals who carry out this design work and therefore take regulatory responsibility.