Update on Plumbing Regulations Development

Since the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) closed off submissions to the review of the Victorian Plumbing Regulations 2008 in August of this year, the Association has input into what will become the Regulatory Impact Statement, (RIS), due for release for public comment in early 2018.

These meetings with both representatives from the DELWP and the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) have been an opportunity to both expand on the submissions that the Association made and to be part of discussions around the current scope of regulated plumbing work in Victoria. 

As a starting point, the Association strongly supports a regulated industry where skilled and educated practitioners can provide a safe built environment for the people of Victoria. We would oppose any deregulating of the plumbing sector in any capacity and whilst supporting a self-certifying regime, it must be backed up by the Regulator (VBA) ensuring that compliance is maintained through adequate inspections and enforcement.

To this date, Master Plumbers has had the opportunity to discuss aspects of not only the Industry submissions, but also some aspects of the current Plumbing Regulations that the VBA wish to review. All of this work will result in the RIS which will be due to be released for public comment in late January/February 2018.

Whilst the initial focus was on clarifying aspects of each of the scopes of work that describe plumbing work, Master Plumbers has been able to participate in discussions around the current gap that we see in the area of complex plumbing works. Multi-level apartments are an example of the type of plumbing works which would benefit from a greater level of rigor around audit/compliance, recognition of plumbing works design (that currently exist for Mechanical and Fire Protection) and where we would argue the effectiveness of the current compliance certificates requirements. Refrigerated air conditioning is another scope of work that would benefit from review, given the enormous increase of their use in both the commercial and domestic markets. Recognition of the specialised nature of some of this work and the current process for recognising the skill and experience required will need to be explored.

The changes in technology/methods of construction and even the materials used today require that licensed practitioners have a clear understanding from the Regulator of their responsibilities. The trend to offsite construction of some plumbing works and the increase in accessing materials from overseas will always test the best of regulatory systems, particularly in a self-certifying regime where the responsibility for maintaining the health and safety of the community rests with the licensed person.

After the period of public comment on the RIS in early 2018, draft regulations will be developed for the consideration of State Parliament, with a scheduled release for November 2018.

Master Plumbers will continue to actively participate in this ongoing process on behalf of its Members, who will be kept up to date through our e-news, Members online forum at forum.plumber.com.au and member meetings. You can also look forward to a comprehensive roundup of progress in the March edition of Australian Plumbing Industry magazine.

Interested in becoming a Master Plumbers Member?

Call (03) 9329 9622 or go to plumber.com.au to find out everything you need to know.