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In our May issue... 

Refresh yourself on your responsibilities concerning inspections for plumbing and draining work. Additionally, we look at what can happen when licensees fail to meet these obligations.

This issue also covers requirements relating to Sewer Special Conditions and the inspection arrangements at 'The Gables' estate in North Box Hill, before highlighting an essential online toolkit for plumbers. 

You can let us know your feedback on this enewsletter by emailing Newsflush@finance.nsw.gov.au  


Is your work ready for inspection? 

Inspection clipboard

While many plumbers and drainers help inspections to go smoothly, not having plumbing and drainage work ready for inspection can cost you time and money.  

Fair Trading inspections have been increasingly delayed by problems, including:  

  • plumbing and drainage work being covered over before the audit inspection period has ended
  • a new licensee taking over an existing project, stating that they do not know who did the previous work. This will result in Fair Trading investigating who did the work before taking action to enforce compliance, as outlined below.   

What happens if work is not ready for inspection?

Fair Trading will be taking a firmer and more consistent approach in addressing issues that arise when work is not ready to be inspected during the inspection period. In this situation, the licensee will:

  • have to rebook an inspection
  • be warned in the first instance that they will be issued a non-compliance notice for work not ready to be inspected during the inspection period
  • receive a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) if they still do not meet their obligations after they have received a non-compliance notice
  • face further action for continued non-compliance, such as additional PIN’s being issued, disciplinary action and their licence being cancelled.   
Don’t get caught out – make sure you meet the inspection requirements. 

Investigation reveals failure to book plumbing and drainage inspections

Blocked pipe

NSW Fair Trading units recently joined forces in a compliance campaign relating to construction work being performed, where plumbing or drainage work was part of the scope of work. 

Specifically, the investigation identified several projects where plumbing and/or drainage work was carried out but:

  • the regulator was not notified, or
  • required inspections were not booked at the appropriate time.

The results of these compliance efforts resulted in a number of licensees over a range of projects receiving a $1,100 Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN). Also, a non-compliance notice was issued for the licensee failing to:

  • submit a Notice of Work, notifying the plumbing regulator when the work will be ready for it to inspect
  • arrange for all required inspections and ensure the plumbing and drainage work can be accessed for inspection during the inspection period
  • supply a Sewer Service Diagram
  • supply a Certificate of Compliance.

If the licensee does not comply with the notice of requirements within the designated time period, further action will be taken, which may include:

  • additional PIN’s for each of the above breaches to the law
  • additional non-compliance notices issued to the licensee for each breach
  • disciplinary action taken to determine if the licensee is a fit and proper person to hold a contractor’s licence.

Know your responsibilities around Sewer Special Conditions  

Water drop

Recently, Fair Trading investigators attending audit inspections have expressed concern that the licensed plumber or drainer had not investigated which Sewer Special Conditions (SSC) may exist for the site.

When carrying out drainage work in Sydney, the Illawarra and Blue Mountains, the licensee is responsible for investigating which SSC may be applicable for the site and obtaining a copy from Sydney Water.

The Fair Trading inspector may ask the licensee for a copy of the SSC if they believe the connection requirements include a:

  • shaft
  • boundary trap
  • surcharge area, or
  • vacuum system.

If the licensee does not have a copy of the SSC, the inspector can issue them with a non-compliance notice. The licensee will then have to provide a copy of the SSC to show that they have obtained the appropriate information to install the correct connection. 

Top tip:
when installing sanitary drainage systems, the licensee must ensure that the installation complies with the PCA Part C2 Sanitary Drainage Systems and the AS/NZ 3500.2 2015


Notice to plumbers and drainers working at 'The Gables', North Box Hill


The Gables is a new estate being developed in North Box Hill in the north west of the Sydney basin, with water and sewerage infrastructure for this estate being supplied by two utilities. Drinking water is being provided by Sydney Water and the recycled water and sewer system by Flow Systems. This is similar to the Cooranbong Estate near Newcastle, where drinking water is provided by Hunter Water and waste water and recycled water is processed by a private network utility operator.

As the sewer and recycled water in this estate is not connected with Sydney Water, the delegated local council would normally perform the inspections. As the Hills Shire Council declined the delegation under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011, Fair Trading will carry out all plumbing and draining inspections as part of our normal audit inspection regime due to the risk recycled water can present.

If you are a plumber or drainer working in this estate, be aware that all inspection booking are to be made with the Fair Trading Plumbing Inspection and Assurance Services (PIAS) team. You can book in by calling 1300 889 099 (option 1), Monday to Friday between 8am and 2pm.

If you have a query relating to connection requirements with the recycled water and sanitary drainage infrastructure in The Gables, please contact Flow Systems:


Toolkit provides resources at your fingertips


Are you looking for more information on the National Construction Code Volume Three, the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA)? Why not download the Australian Building Codes Board’s (ABCB) plumbing toolkit. Here you will find information about the PCA, the Performance Requirements, the Australian Plumbing Regulation Framework and ABCB resources and materials relevant to the plumbing industry.

You can access the toolkit from the ABCB website