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Welcome to the first ever issue of Newsflush!

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Welcome to the first ever issue of Newsflush, a quarterly e-newsletter tailored especially for plumbers, drainers and anyone else interested in keeping up with what's happening in the industry!

You're receiving this e-newsletter as you're either a plumber signed up to Foundations, or because you subscribed via email. 

In this issue, we've covered the new Australian Standard for Plumbing and Drainage, the importance of submitting correct documentation, details of this year's plumbing health check program, plus more.

Spread the word and encourage your colleagues to subscribe to Newsflush, 
and  email us with any feedback, comments or topics you think we should be covering.

We hope that you enjoy Newsflush!  
 

New Australian Standard - AS/NZ3500:2015 Plumbing and Drainage

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The AS/NZS3500 Series has recently been updated to bring it in line with 2015 best practice, reflecting progress in science and technology within the plumbing and drainage industry. The new Standard aligns with the 2016 Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), which will be adopted on May 1st, providing the industry with technical direction, enabling compliance with the PCA, and the regulatory framework in NSW.

The AS/NZS3500:2015 series comprises:
3500.0 Part 0: Glossary of terms
3500.1 Part 1: Water services
3500.2 Part 2: Sanitary plumbing and drainage
3500.3 Part 3: Stormwater drainage
3500.4 Part 4: Heated water systems

Under the NSW Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011, section 4, on-site plumbing and drainage work does not include:

  1. the construction of, or work on, stormwater pipes
  2. the construction of, or work on, fire suppression systems
  3. roof plumbing work (being work declared by the regulations under the Home Building Act 1989 to be roof plumbing work)
  4. the construction of, or work on, network utility operator (NUO), local council or county council water or stormwater mains, sewers or sewerage systems.

Further to the above:

  • any work described as a) to c) above is regulated by an appointed certifier (Council or a private certifier) under other legislation
  • any person responsible for work described in a) to c) above is required to hold an appropriate licence
  • construction or work on NUO, local council or county council water, stormwater, sewers or sewerage systems, as per d) above, can only be carried out by a person approved by the NUO, council or county council.

New South Wales does not apply Part 5 of AS/NZS3500 for the purpose of plumbing and drainage work under the Plumbing and Drainage Act, which is identified in the adopted NSW variations of the PCA.

All Standards are periodically reviewed and updated to reflect the adoption of new materials and methods of installation. It is important you (as the Responsible Person) ensure that any work you undertake complies with the current Standard, which may include any amendments published since the Standard was initially purchased.

Referenced Australian Standards are amended or updated by Standards Australia and published by SAI Global. To purchase AS/NZS3500:2015, or look up any other relevant Standard in the online catalogue, visit the SAI Global website.

 

Plumbing and drainage work: the importance of submitting correct documentation

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Submitting correct and accurate documentation to the regulator and owner is a great way to ensure any work that you undertake on a site is clearly identified, and helps to protect you from the possibility of having unlicensed, or unauthorised people altering, connecting to, or modifying your work. Plus, as the Responsible Person (a licensed plumber and/or drainer), you are required by legislation to submit the applicable documents to the local authority (either Fair Trading, the local council, county council, or other qualified body as delegated under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011), as below. 

Notice of Work (NoW)
A Notice of Work (NoW) is an approved form that specifies plumbing and drainage work to be carried out by the Responsible Person. This form is only required to be provided to the local authority. Plumbers and drainers must submit a NoW 2 business days before work commences, except in some specified circumstances, such as emergency work and 'minor works;' that is, replacing tapware and existing like-for-like hot water systems, and bathroom renovations where the location of fixtures has not changed. 

Certificate of Compliance (CoC)
A Certificate of Compliance is an approved form that specifies plumbing and drainage work has been completed by a Responsible Person, in compliance with the relevant legislation, codes and standards. Three copies of the CoC are required - one each for the local authority, the property owner/agent and the plumber or drainer's own records. A CoC must be completed by the Responsible Person for all work they undertake.

At the final inspection of your work, you must provide the local authority with a completed CoC that reflects the scope of works as identified in the NoW. If an inspection does not take place, you, as the Responsible Person must complete the CoC and send the identified copies to the local authority and the property owner/agent within 7 working days.

Sewer Service Diagram (SSD)
A Sewer Service Diagram (SSD) shows the location of private sewer pipes on a property. At the completion of sewer drainage work on residential, commercial or industrial properties, the Responsible Person must provide the new or updated SSD, in the approved form to the local authority and the property owner/agent.

If an inspection does not take place, you, as the Responsible Person must complete the SSD and send the identified copies to the local authority and the property owner/agent within 7 working days.

If you undertake any on-site plumbing and drainage work in the Sydney, Illawarra, Blue Mountains and Newcastle areas, where Fair Trading conducts inspections, the MyInspections online gateway allows users to pay fees and submit documents related to that work.

If the work is being undertaken in a regional area, the Responsible Person must use the approved combined Notice of Work and Certificate of Compliance, which they can obtain from the local authority where the work is intended to be carried out.

To help identify your local authority, download the Local plumbing regulators in NSW (PDF size: 293kb) to see who carries out the plumbing regulation functions in your area. 

Upon the completion of work
When the work is completed, it is your responsibility to ensure your customer receives a copy of any necessary documentation as per the legislation (regardless of whether the work is required to be inspected or not). This confirms to the customer that work has been undertaken by a licensed plumber or drainer and complies with the PCA and Standards (AS/NZS 3500).

 

Roles and responsibilities: booking inspections, submitting paperwork when the on-site licensee changes

Inspections checklist

Sometimes, it is beyond your control as to whether you are the licensed tradesman that completes a job from start to finish; circumstances may determine otherwise, where you are not able to finish a job that you start, or you are called in to complete a job started by another licensee.

So what happens if the licensee onsite changes, or the scope of work changes? You must notify your relevant local authority (either Fair Trading, the local council, county council, or other qualified body as delegated under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011), if the licensee for the job changes, or the licensee’s scope of work changes.

Where a licensee takes over work from the original licensee that started the job, both parties must ensure their Notice of Work (NoW) and Certificate of Compliance (CoC) accurately describe the work they are about to do, or have done.

The original licensee will need to book a final inspection with their local authority, where they will need to supply an updated NoW, Sewer Service Diagram (SSD) and CoC that accurately describes the work completed up to the date of the inspection.

The new licensee must ensure any required fee is paid, a Notice of Work is submitted that accurately describes the work they will be responsible for, and then follow the inspection regime as identified by the local authority.

 

Watagan Park Estate, Cooranbong:
Fair Trading now single inspection authority

Blocked pipe

Watagan Park Estate is located in the suburb of Cooranbong in the Lake Macquarie Local Government Area. Properties in the estate are provided with reticulated drinking water, recycled water and a sewerage service by two separate network utility operators (NUOs) - Hunter Water Corporation and FlowSystems Pty Ltd.

To simplify the regulatory process, Lake Macquarie City Council and Fair Trading have agreed that for the most effective regulation of onsite plumbing and drainage in the estate, is for a single inspection authority to conduct the required inspections, regardless of which NUO the service is connected to. 

Therefore, Fair Trading will carry out the following under its audit inspection process:

  • water/recycled water front runs
  • rough-in of the water/recycled water service
  • internal sanitary drainage
  • external sanitary drainage
  • final plumbing, including flow test
  • re-inspection of any work that may not have complied at a previous inspection.

This will simplify paying fees and submitting documents related to on-site plumbing and drainage work, which can be done by visiting MyInspections. To book an inspection, call 1300 889 099 and press option 1.

For inspection of any work not defined under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011 as on-site plumbing and drainage (e.g. stormwater), contact Lake Macquarie City Council, or the appropriate principal certifying authority.

 

Plumbing health check program for Wentworth district

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In June this year, Fair Trading will again partner with the Master Plumbers Association of NSW and Murdi Paaki Regional Housing Corporation to deliver the successful plumbing health check program to Indigenous communities in the Wentworth district. Checks will also be conducted for residents living on the Aboriginal reserve in Dareton. 

The program targets communities in remote and regional locations that often don’t have ready access to plumbing services. 

Some of the many benefits of the plumbing health check program include:

  • immediate rectification of basic plumbing problems 
  • improved knowledge and better understanding of the plumbing system in general 
  • increased awareness of the impacts of: flushing chemicals into the system; building or planting over sewer and stormwater lines; altering or interfering with existing drainage (sewer and stormwater) 
  • education about the appropriate use of drinking water supply and backflow prevention to stop contamination
  • improved awareness of the dual water supply – drinking water supply and raw water 
  • prevention of scalding from hot water systems.

To find out more about the program, read the media release.

 
fairtrading.nsw.gov.au