Fair Trading enquiries
13 32 20

Welcome back

water drop

It’s been a busy start to the year, and with the start of a new year, it’s a good time to ensure that you are up-to-date with the current codes and standards for plumbing and drainage in NSW.

The Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) is the technical standard for all plumbing and drainage work in NSW, to which all plumbing and drainage work must comply. The PCA sets performance requirements for the design, construction, installation, replacement, repair, alteration and maintenance of plumbing and drainage installations.

The PCA provides two options that plumbers and drainers can work to and achieve code compliance. The first option is for the work to be done under the ‘Deemed to Satisfy’ provision which means that it has been done in accordance with AS/NZS 3500. The other is the performance-based provision where work (usually designed by a hydraulic engineer or consultant) meets or exceeds the requirements of AS/NZS 3500.

The PCA is available to view or download from the Australian Building Codes Board website, and AS/NZS3500 is available for purchase from SAI Global either as the set or each part individually.

Tech talk
During the new year break, a number of technical items have been raised with Fair Trading, including:
a) Direct rodding and the interpretation of what is an acceptable installation
b) Temperature control requirements for sanitary fixtures
c) Off-site and pre-fabricated plumbing and/or drainage works

Find out more on these topics by reading the articles below. 


Direct rodding


This technical note gives guidance on the acceptable ways to install points for direct rodding. The purpose of installing a direct rodding point in a sanitary drainage system is to ensure that the installation is capable of being maintained throughout its serviceable life.

When installing a direct rodding point, it is important that the point services the fixture it is intended to, and not part of the sanitary drainage line only. Note (f) in the information box below, from the PCA Section C Part C2.

Explanatory information:



The Objective of this Part is to—

(a)      safeguard people from illness, injury or loss (including loss of amenity) due to the failure of a sanitary drainage installation; and

(b)      ensure that a sanitary drainage installation (including an installation provided for use by people with a disability) is suitable; and

(c)      conserve water and energy; and

(d)      safeguard the environment; and

(e)      safeguard public and private infrastructure; an

(f)       ensure that a sanitary drainage installation is designed and is capable of being maintained so that throughout its serviceable life it will continue to satisfy Objectives (a) to (e).


Sanitary fixtures and sanitary appliances must be provided with an adequate disposal system that does not impact adversely on occupants of the premises, property, the environment or the Network Utility Operator’s infrastructure. 

Volume Three of the PCA (Appendix Part C2 - New South Wales Variation) Sanitary Drainage Systems NSW C2.2 General requirements sets out the requirements for the design, construction, installation, replacement, repair, alteration and 'maintenance' of any part of a sanitary drainage system of a property, including from sanitary fixtures and appliances to an approved disposal system. 

(E)  After clause 4.7.1(h) insert (i) as follows:

           (i)   At each branch off a main line internal of the building connecting one or more water closets or slop hoppers. In these cases inspection openings must be raised to finished surface level in an accessible position and sealed with an airtight cover.

If access to the under-floor area is more than 600 mm above the inspection opening, the riser may be omitted.

Below is a diagram showing some acceptable examples of direct rodding

direct rodding diagram


Sanitary fixtures delivery temperature


This technical note gives guidance on acceptable ways to install and use temperature control devices.

NSW Fair Trading officers are frequently asked for advice on the correct way to install and use temperature control devices in heated water systems to sanitary fixtures.

The pre-determined maximum temperature limit of a heated water service will depend on its use. Delivery of water from a new heated water installation is required to be limited, per the AS/NZS 3500.4

AS/NZS 3500.4 - 1.9.2 Sanitary fixtures delivery temperature

All new heated water installations shall deliver heated water not exceeding—

(a) 45°C at the outlet of sanitary fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene purposes for the aged, the sick, children or people with disabilities in healthcare and aged care buildings, early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools and nursing homes or similar facilities for the aged, the sick, children or people with disabilities; and

(b) 50°C at the outlet of sanitary fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene purposes for all other situations.

To clarify the interpretation of section 1.9.2 Sanitary fixtures delivery temperature, the primary users of the facility and the type of facility must be considered. Facilities that are primarily used by a vulnerable population (e.g. the aged, the sick, children or people with a disability) must be restricted to a maximum temperature of 45°C, regardless of the building type.

When considering the installation of a temperature control device, the plumber should take into account the most vulnerable user of each individual facility installed within the building. An example of this would be sanitary fixtures in a disabled toilet provided in an office building. The office building as a whole may not be servicing a vulnerable population, but if a disabled toilet has been provided, the primary user of that fixture is regarded as belonging to a vulnerable population and so the maximum temperature within the disabled facility should be fixed to 45°C.

More information on the installation of temperature control devices can be found in the New installation requirements of temperature control devices fact sheet.


Off-site and pre-fabricated plumbing and/or drainage works 

Gas Outlet

This technical note gives guidance of acceptable ways to install off-site and pre-fabricated plumbing and/or drainage works.

The building industry is continually looking for efficient and cost-effective ways to construct buildings. There is a growing trend of using pre-fabricated fixtures that incorporate plumbing works that have been completed off-site in workshops or factories, that are then transported to the worksite and installed.

This raises the issue of what construction standards must be complied with, and who is the responsible person, in this type of building.

Off-site plumbing and/or drainage works can incorporate a number of items, such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • pre-fabricated sanitary plumbing work (stack work)
  • pre-fabricated water services (rough-ins)
  • relocatable homes
  • modular building components, including manufactured wet areas (commonly called pods), built in a factory and then assembled on site in sections.

In the above examples, the licensed plumbing contractor is the responsible person and all plumbing and drainage work will need to be carried out as per the New South Wales Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011, and Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2017 such as:

In relation to pods, there are two methods that the pods can be installed under:

(a)   as part of the off-site plumbing and or drainage works

(b)   as a product that has been certified under the WaterMark Certification Scheme

Under option (b), the responsible person(licensed plumbing contractor) needs to confirm the product is a certified product under the WaterMark Scheme, prior to connecting the pod to the onsite plumbing and drainage works.


  1. With the increasing number of pre-fabricated fixtures becoming available, the responsible person needs to be aware of their obligation to comply with all appropriate Acts and Regulations within NSW, even if the units have been assembled inter-state and transported into NSW for installation.
  2. WaterMark certification is for the product only; the certification does not cover the connection method.
  3. The connection method needs to comply with the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), or Guideline for plumbing and drainage: Installing Code Compliant Work and Performance Solutions



Changes to the written direction notice (non-compliance) process

inspections clipboard

Changes to the Written Direction Notice (Non-Compliance) process
Fair Trading is implementing a new process for issuing written directions for compliance matters under the NSW Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011. The new process will apply to all plumbing and drainage work within the areas of NSW that are directly regulated by the Plumbing Inspection Assurance Service (PIAS). The process aims to assist licensees to respond quickly to non-compliances so that work can be rectified in a timely and efficient manner.

Key features of the new process:
• written directions will be sent to licensees via the email address registered in MyInspections
• licensees will be provided with the standard 21 calendar days to rectify all non-compliances
• licensees can request alterations to a non-compliance notice (e.g. extend the rectification date, ask for the notice to be revoked) by writing to PIAS Technical at piastechnical@finance.nsw.gov.au. Time extensions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

With this move to electronic communication, if you undertake work within an area where PIAS are the local inspection authority, you must keep your details up to date in the MyInspection system. It is important to regularly check your email for correspondence from Fair Trading.

If a non-compliance notice is not complied with, Fair Trading will take appropriate enforcement action against the licensee. Such action could include formal education, a face-to-face interview, the issuing of a penalty infringement notice (PIN) or placing conditions on trader’s licence.

This new non-compliance process will be introduced mid-April 2018, and the move to electronic communication will be implemented in the near future. NSW Fair Trading will notify the industry of the proposed commencement date.


Changes to Home Building Compensation (HBC) Scheme

inspections check list icon

New requirement for contracts over $20K

Cover under the reformed Home Building Compensation Scheme – formerly known as home warranty insurance – is still required for residential renovations and building work (including plumbing, draining and gasfitting) with a contract price over $20,000.

If you contract directly with a homeowner or an owner-builder for work over $20,000, your contract must contain the cost of the home building compensation insurance. This disclosure requirement does not apply to some contracts for some urgent work to address hazards to health or safety or avoid damage to property. Note: You do not need to take out home building compensation cover for sub-contracted work under a contract with a licensed builder who is the principal contractor or ‘spec’ builder. The cover is only required for residential building work.

What do I do next?

You have until 1 July 2018 to prepare for this change. From 1 July non-compliance with this change may result in financial penalties.

We know many tradespeople use the Fair Trading building contract template, so we’re updating it to make it easier for you to show the cost of any HBC cover required for the work. As soon as the new templates are ready we will alert you.

New online tool

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority has created an online tool called HBC Check that enables anyone to check the validity of a HBC certificate. It contains the details of more than 460,000 projects dating back to 2010.