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It is Illegal to Install a Douche Spray or Bidet Spray

It is Illegal to Install a Douche Spray or Bidet Spray

It is illegal to install a douche spray or bidet spray in Queensland unless it complies with AS/NZS 3500.1:2018 clause 12.2.3 below which classifies bidet toilet seats and douche sprays at toilet seat douches.

12.2.3 Toilet seat douches – Where the douche outlet, in all positions, is at least 25 mm above the overflow level of the pan, backflow prevention is not required. Where the douche outlet, in any position, is less than 25 mm above the overflow of the pan, a high-hazard backflow prevention device, conforming to AS/NZS 2845.1 or AS 2845.2, shall be installed. This device shall be either part of the douche or installed separately.

It is illegal to install a douche spray or bidet spray in Queensland unless it complies with AS/NZS 3500.1:2018 clause 12.2.3 contact Whywait Plumbing for a legal installationIt is entirely illegal to undertake a DIY installation of douche spray or bidet spray despite what you may read on social media.

Yes, they can be legally installed by a plumber provided they are installed with compliant backflow prevention valves and registered with Form 9 at City of Gold Coast or Logan City Council plus lodgement of Form 4 with Queensland Building and Construction Commission. These requirements are not optional; they are required under law as per the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

Illegal bidet seat attachments

Unfortunately, there are advertisements everywhere on social media or websites promoting DIY such as My Bidet Australia. The product they advertise as an easy install toilet seat bidet is illegal. They promote on their website as – Quick and Easy Installation: Includes everything you need including tools to get your bidet up and running in minutes. Easily attaches to and detaches from any standard two-piece toilet.

illegal toilet seat bidet from https://www.mybidetaustralia.com.au/bidet-australia which Whywait Plumbing would never installThe reality is the product has no WaterMark certification. As the photo illustrates clearly on their website, the dual nozzles are deep inside the toilet bowl, creating a high backflow risk. This is categorised as high risk as back-siphonage can occur through these nozzles allowing contaminated water from the toilet bowl to be sucked into the potable or drinking water supply.

The toilet seat bidet from My Bidet Australia sells online for $99, which is an indication of its quality. The price should be a warning enough as to how good this product is likely to be as good quality WaterMark approved bidet seats such as a Toto Washlet start at around $1199.00 in Australia.

The old saying you get what you pay for applies absolutely for this dangerous product. It is frightening that they state on their website – Upgrade your bathroom with beautifully designed bidet attachments, featuring water pressure control knobs. We use high-quality parts that are built to last. They are constructed with high-pressure faucet quality valves and metal/ceramic core. Common sense dictates you cannot produce high quality for $99 that complies with Australian Standards.

Unfortunately, this product is being advertised everywhere on Facebook and Google. Currently, if you do a Google search for a Toto bidet seat the first result in Google AdWords is incredibly for not Toto but My Bidet Australia. It truly is a case of buyer beware and why you need to check it is approved for use in Australia with a WaterMark certification.

An illegal toilet seat bidet or Douche Spray or Bidet Spray can kill you so call Whywait Plumbing today

What does backflow mean?

Backflow is simply the reverse flow of water. When we refer to it in plumbing terms, it is stopping contaminated water being drawn back into the water supply system that we all use for drinking. In terms of an illegally installed douche spray or bidet spray, this can occur when the water pressure drops significantly. If nozzles or sprays connected to the water supply are in contact with a contaminated water supply in a toilet, there is potential for that contaminated water to be sucked into the drinking water supply. In simple terms, it is like you sucking on a straw.

There are two ways that backflow contamination will occur because of a water pressure drop:

  • Back-pressure occurs if there is an increase in the downstream pressure, which creates a reversal of the normal direction of the water flow.
  • Back-siphonage occurs when there is a drop in the supply pressure, thereby creating a negative pressure situation in the water supply. Commonly this will happen if the water is suddenly turned off or there is a dramatic increase in demand such as water used for fire fighting.

With a bidet seat, douche spray or bidet spray backflow contamination is possible and if occurring it is classified as high risk. This is why all of these products by law must be:

  • installed by a licensed plumber
  • have WaterMark certification
  • have a testable backflow valve installed such as an RPZ valve
  • have a Form 4 lodged with QBCC
  • have a form 9 lodged with the local water authority

All of the above are requirements under the law; they are not optional extras.

What does high hazard mean?

High hazard is the highest rated hazard in the cross-connection hazard rating in AS/NZS 3500.1-2018, which is covered in Section 4 Cross-Connection Control and Backflow Prevention. As Licensed Plumbers, we know how serious this section is in ensuring that our drinking water is not contaminated and potentially life-threatening. Clause 4.3 below lists all three ratings:

4.3 CROSS-CONNECTION HAZARD RATING
Cross-connections are rated using three degrees of hazard, as follows:
(a)      High hazard     Any condition, device, or practise that, in connection with the water supply system, has the potential to cause death.
(b)      Medium hazard    Any condition, device, or practise that, in connection with the water supply system, has the potential to endanger health.
(c)       Low hazard     Any condition, device or practise that, in connection with the water supply system, constitutes a nuisance but does not endanger health or cause injury.

The high hazard rating is not a scare tactic when we talk about an illegal or a non-compliant bidet seat, douche spray or bidet spray it is a health issue with the critical wording being potential to cause death.

As Plumbers, we are not over sensationalising the dangers of DIY installation of a bidet seat, douche spray or bidet spray. We are just telling you this is the legal requirements as per the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

Can a DIY installation effect insurance policies?

Yes, any plumbing fixture installed in your home or business can null and void your home and contents insurance policies.

Any bidet seat, douche spray or bidet spray that is not installed by a Licensed Plumber or does not have WaterMark certification has the potential to flood your home. A burst flexihose on these dodgy products can flood your home very quickly.

ACCC and Government warnings

We all understand that COVID-19 has caused a great deal of uncertainty and angst, but a DIY installation of a toilet bidet seat or douche spray or bidet spray is merely breaking the law. DIY of any plumbing fixture has potentially dire consequences, and with products such as the toilet seat bidet from My Bidet Australia, you are risking severe illness or death.

It has become so intense of a concern that the Australian Consumer Competition Commission (ACCC) has issued an alert concerning the supply and installation of bidet products. The ACCC, in consultation with the ABCB or Australian Building Codes Board and Standards Australia, has published a joint warning, COVID-19: Supplying and installing bidet products on the Product Safety Australia website.

The ACCC, the ABCB and every state government has become alarmed that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in the purchase of toilet seat bidet douches, handheld bidet sprays and trigger sprays, and other bidet type products that are connected to toilet water supply valve are being installed as a DIY project.

The critical message of every alert issued by every state government is that the installation of any bidet product connected to the drinking water supply must be undertaken by a licensed plumber and must hold WaterMark certification.

DIY installations of bidet seats and douche sprays

DIY installations of bidet seats and douche sprays

The DIY installation of a bidet seat or a douche spray is illegal. The health risk of incorrectly installed bidet seats or douche sprays can be severe not only to you but to the community as a whole. In the last month, Google searches for the term bidets have increased tenfold, which is frightening as traditionally Australians have shunned the installation of bidets. The increase in Google searches has occurred due to multiple social media posts and newspaper articles on so-called alternative toileting devices and what is appallingly lousy advice on their installation.

The multitude of bidet seats and douche sprays that can now be found for sale online has set off alarm bells at all levels of government in Australia. It is evident when checking the scant information available online that very few of these online products have been tested and approved for use in Australia.

Hardware stores and specialist plumbing suppliers that stock douche spray kits are selling them out as fast as stock arrives to DIY enthusiasts who get installation advice from shop assistants. This just increases the health risks tenfold. There have been reports of staff in plumbing supply stores being abused for refusing to advise on how to install bidet seats or douche spray kits and suggesting that a licensed plumber must install these products.

Whywait Plumbing can legally install a douche spray to your toilet to protect your families healthAs a result, here in Queensland the QBCC has issued a public warning on the sale and installation of ‘alternative toileting devices’ which in part states:

This is a warning issued by the Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) to the public under section 20J(1)(i) of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act).

The QBCC warns suppliers and the public about the sale and use of potentially non-conforming building products, namely Do It Yourself (DIY) bidets, douche sprays and similar hygiene devices, collectively known as ‘alternative toileting devices’.

The QBCC has recently become aware of the sale and DIY installation of alternative toileting devices in Queensland, particularly for household use. Unless these devices are manufactured to comply with Australian Standards and also are properly installed, these can lead to a risk of contaminating the household water supply with E. coli bacteria. An E. coli infection can lead to serious health and safety issues.

In Queensland, alternative toileting devices must be installed by a licensed plumber who has the skills and qualifications to ensure that a backflow prevention device is in place.

Whywait plumbing only install WaterMark certified bidet seatsA bidet seat or a douche spray are classified as high hazard plumbing products. This is because there is a high risk of toilet sewage water mixing with your drinking water if they are not installed as per the requirements of section 12 of AS/NZS 3500.1-2018 Water Services. They must be legally certified with an Australian WaterMark approval which is evident on the packaging plus can be searched online at the WaterMark Product Database.

Despite looking easy to install, they are not. Both a bidet seat and a douche spray require a water connection. Generally, this can be at the water connection for the toilet cistern. However, this always requires a legally compliant backflow prevention device to be installed as well. This is not an optional extra it is the law to prevent your drinking water from becoming contaminated, which pose serious risks to your families health and safety.

If you have recently undertaken a DIY installation of a bidet seat or douche spray to your toilet, then we urge you to call us on (07) 5580 4311 to get us to check it is a compliant installation. This ensures you have not created a risk to your families health and safety plus ensures you have not null and voided your homes insurance policies.

You need to be aware of so-called unlicensed plumbers or handyman who cannot legally install a bidet seat or douche spray to your toilet. Beware of the handyman who tries to convince you that he can undertake plumbing works as long as it’s under $3300 of value. This is a complete lie by opportunistic unlicensed scammers who put your families health at risk. The benchmark value for undertaking plumbing, drainage or gas work is $0 and always has been. For extra assurance go the QBCC website  To find out more about a licensee you can use their online licensee search, or search their occupational licence.

If you would like to investigate the installation of a bidet seat or douche spray to your toilet, then call us on (07) 5580 4311 to book an appointment. This ensures the installation is compliant with Queensland law as all products we install have appropriate and genuine Watermark certification.

COVID-19 Update as Whywait Plumbing Remains Open

COVID-19 Update as Whywait Plumbing Remains Open

Despite everything that is happening with the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic emergency as your local Gold Coast Plumber Whywait Plumbing will continue to be available 24/7 to service your plumbing, drainage and gas needs. The current Queensland Government health directives advise that the plumbing industry is an essential service. This means our plumbers are exempt from the two-person rule when entering homes or private premises provided the appropriate social distancing and hygiene requirements are adhered to. 

To ensure the safety of our clients, staff and the general public we are making changes to the way we serve our clients. This ensures we can still attend to your problems while focusing on making the correct choices to keep everyone safe.

Read the information below which details out everything you need to know how Whywait Plumbing will ensure your critical plumbing infrastructure remains fully functioning.

Whywait is still here for you 24/7

Whywait Plumbing Services has been trusted by thousands of Gold Coast homeowners, landlords and business owners since 1976 to maintain their plumbing, drainage and gas infrastructure. We believe that now more than ever we need to be there for you 24/7.

As your trusted Gold Coast Plumber we guarantee to continue to be available to keep you safe and ensure your plumbing is functioning to the highest standards.

We assure you we have increased our precautionary measures to protect you and minimise any risk of spreading COVID-19. We continue to adhere to all advice from the official Australian Government health website and are monitoring the situation to ensure we take all practical steps to protect our clients and staff.

Working with Whywait Plumbing during COVID-19

Increased hygiene practice

Whywait Plumbing Services use Aquatemp Hand Sanitiser & Disinfectant In accordance with the advice provided by the Australian Government and the Master Plumbers & Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA), we have implemented additional policies and hygiene practices to protect you and our plumbers.

  • we are continually ensuring our plumbers are fit and healthy and we are taking all precautions to ensure their health and safety
  • we are following the latest advisories from the Australian Government and MPMSAA
  • we are following social distancing requirements
  • we are not shaking hands
  • our plumbers are wearing disposable gloves and are disposing of them when they have completed their work for you
  • our plumbers are equipped with Enzyme Wizard cleaning products to wipe down tool, equipment and work areas while undertaking your work
  • our cleaners are equipped with Aquatemp Hand Sanitiser & Disinfectant to keep their hands clean at all times
  • our company vehicles are kept clean at all times with Aquatemp Surface Sanitiser & Disinfectant cleaning product

What to expect when you call us to book a job

It is now our policy when booking all jobs that you provide us credit card details to secure the booking because as recommended by the Government, we ask that you make a pre-payment over the phone so that no physical exchange of money has to occur. If you can only pay with cash we will be handling all transactions using gloves and practising social distancing.

We will now ask you a number of health-related questions when you call us to keep everyone safe which may include:

  • Have you, or anyone in your household tested positive for COVID-19, or are awaiting test results?
  • Do you fall into a category where you are self-isolating for COVID-19?
  • Do you, or anyone living in your household have any flu-like symptoms, a fever, cough, or shortness of breath?

Depending on the answers you provided, we will discuss with you on the best way forward to support solving your plumbing problems.

After we have booked your job if you start to develop flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever or shortness of breath, please call us immediately on (07) 5580 4311 so we can help to manage your appointment.

What to expect when a Whywait employee is at your home or business

Upon arrival, our plumbers may be asking the same health questions asked at the time of your booking. This is to ensure your circumstances have not changed. Plus we guarantee they will be following our increased hygiene practices.

While undertaking any work, they will inform you exactly what they will do before they start and will clean all surfaces they touch with Enzyme Wizard cleaning products.

Thank you for your ongoing support and your understanding

You can be certain that we have your best interest in mind during these uncertain times and we are endeavouring to continue to provide the great service that Whywait Plumbing is renowned for as your Gold Coast Plumber.

 

What is a Form 4

What is a Form 4

We are frequently asked by clients why we are charging them for a Form 4. The simple answer is because it’s the law.

The reality is the Form 4 system for plumbing and drainage work has existed for over 20 years.

Originally licenced plumbers were required to submit a Form 4 to the local authority plumbing inspectors. On the Gold Coast that meant we submitted them to City of Gold Coast’s Plumbing and Drainage section when undertaking replacement of part of the sewer house drain or water main or replacing a hot water service.

In 2012 legislative changes required that we lodge them with the Department of Housing and Public Works through the Plumbing Industry Council, (PIC) and for the first time we had to pay a fee for lodging a Form 4 of $25.90. In 2014 the QBCC took over the Form 4 process as part of their assuming responsibility for plumbing occupational licensing.

Once a Form 4 is lodged, then it is subject to a random compliance auditing process to ensure the work is compliant with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019. This is undertaken to ensure the work is being conducted to the highest standards to protect everyone’s wellbeing, health and safety.

Whywait Plumbing has always supported the Form 4 process as it ensures that all work on your property is compliant and is registered with both QBCC and City of Gold Coast. If you have a significant insurance claim involving a plumbing failure, an accessor can quickly backtrack to ensure that the work was undertaken legally and compliantly.

Ultimately a Form 4 is there for the homeowner’s protection.

What is plumbing & drainage work notifiable work?

The definitions of notifiable work changed on 1 July 2019. These changes were to ensure clarity and usability, coupled with cost-effective plumbing laws and regulations for plumbers and property owners.

There are essentially twelve categories of notifiable plumbing and drainage work that require a Form 4 which are:

  1. Extending water supply pipes – this is any work on water reticulation pipes other than a fire service on an existing building
  2. Extending or removing a fire service – this applies to any class 2-9 building with a development approval as per schedule 2 of the Building Act 1975
  3. Existing sanitary plumbing – this any work on an existing building where sanitary plumbing is removed, replaced, altered or extended
  4. Existing sanitary drainage – this any work on an existing class 1 to class 10 building involving extending, replacing, altering or removing any part of the sanitary drain system apart from a combined sanitary drain plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  5. Temperature control devices – this is any work with a TMV or tempering valves in any existing building requiring installing, replacing or removing a valve plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  6. Water heaters – this is any work undertaken in any existing building requiring installing, replacing or removing a hot water heater plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  7. Backflow prevention devices – this is any work with a testable backflow device or dual check valve in any existing building requiring installing, replacing or removing a valve plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  8. Greywater treatment plants – this any work involving the installation of a greywater use system that includes a greywater treatment plant installed in a sewered area where the plant generates less than 3kL of greywater daily or for replacing a greywater plant
  9. Fixtures in class 1 or class 10 building – this is any work required for installing a new fixture or relocating an existing fixture in an existing class 1 or class 10 building plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  10. Fixtures for class 2 to 9 buildings of 1 or 2 storeys – this is for all work other than sanitary drainage required for installing or relocating a fixture provided the work is for an existing class 2 to 9 building up to two storeys above ground
  11. Sanitary drains – this is any work undertaken to seal a sanitary drain after the connection point to the council sewer or a treatment plant
  12. Sealing supply pipes – this is any work undertaken to seal a water supply pipe after the council water meter provided the work is for an existing class 2 to class 9 building

The QBCC publish simple guides to what is notifiable work and the definitions of building classes as defined in the Building Code of Australia which you can download below:

Form 4 notifiable work compliance

Every reputable professional plumber, I know 100% supports the notifiable work system. It ensures for homeowners and property owners that all work undertaken on their property is performed to the standards required.

If you have had plumbing or drainage work undertaken that you have not been supplied with a Form 4 as per the form shown above and is covered in the categories listed then, you need to report it to the QBCC now or call them on 139333. Ultimately high-quality plumbing and drainage protects your health.

If you are uncertain or need assistance contact us on (07) 5580 4311 and we will give you our considered opinion. Ultimately all plumbing work is not about guesswork; it is about compliance with the law, and the law is the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

Emergency Plumber Mermaid Beach

Emergency Plumber Mermaid Beach

Repeat clients account for over 70% of the jobs Whywait Plumbing undertake.

Last weekend being the Queens Birthday long weekend coupled with the NRL Grand Final meant one of our loyal clients Kristian was looking forward to a great weekend. The last thing Kristian was anticipating was needing an emergency plumber Mermaid Beach as he drove home from work. Kristian arrived home on Saturday night to gurgling sounds coming from his bathroom. Upon investigation, he found the only toilet in his unit was blocked.

whywait Plumbing is your Emergency Plumber Mermaid Beach

Nathan Parrish of Whywait Plumbing

Even though it was 7.45 pm on a Saturday night, Kristian immediately contacted Whywait Plumbing Gold Coast as he knew the phones would be answered. Kristian was concerned his unit had blocked drains. Kristian confirmed all the details with Whywait Plumbing’s Operations Manager, Brad Greenaway, who was answering the phones.

The Plumbing Technician on call was Nathan Parrish, with him being dispatched immediately as Whywait Plumbing offer a 1-hour emergency response.

Arriving at 8.45 pm, Nathan again found the toilet blocked and a high water level in the shower floor waste. As Kristian’s unit has no accessible inspection openings into the sewer drains, it was a possibility that the toilet pan would need removing. Nathan set about testing all the drains in the unit to ascertain the extent of the blockage. Kristian’s home is a small unit in what was once a motel that has been converted into individual home units.

Although the bathroom fixtures had been upgraded, the underlying drainage was the original sewer drainage system. To Kristian’s relief, Nathan found that the blockage was confined to the toilet as the rest of the fixtures were draining correctly.

Using his Rothenberg toilet auger, Nathan was able to guide the auger through the toilet pan without removing it. After patiently operating the auger, Nathan was able to clear the blockage. Flushing the toilet several times to test it indicated that the blockage was cleared.

Nathan cleaned up the bathroom and departed at 9.20 pm leaving behind a relieved Kristian.

Sadly Kristian’s problems were not over. On Sunday night Kristian gathered with a few of his mates at home to watch the NRL Grand Final between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders. At 5.30 pm Kristian heard the dreaded gurgling sound originating from his bathroom again. Immediately he was on the phone to Whywait Plumbing, and for the second night in a row, Nathan was dispatched to deal with a blocked drain.

Nathan Parrish of Whywait Plumbing the emergency plumber Mermaid Beach

Nathan Parrish inspecting the blocked toilet for Kristian

Arriving at 6.05 pm, Nathan again found the toilet again blocked and a high water level in the shower floor waste. As Kristian’s unit has no accessible inspection openings into the sewer drains, it was a possibility that the toilet pan would need removing this time.

Using an extended auger unit, Nathan set about patiently negotiating it through the toilet pan S bend and down the sewer drain. Kristian watched while Nathan set about dispatching the auger down the drain without damaging the toilet pan. Finally, after 15 minutes of slow progress, Nathan hit the blockage and managed to clear it.

Nathan cleaned up the bathroom again and departed at 6.55 pm leaving behind a relieved Kristian and his mates as they were now able to watch the NRL Grand Final and know they had working drains and best of all a flushing toilet.

Kristian was so impressed with the service from Whywait Plumbing that he gave us a 5-star review on Google and contacted Gary Mays the owner of Whywait Plumbing to commend Nathan’s skills and recommend he be given a pay rise.

If you too are experiencing blocked drains like Kristian and need an emergency plumber Mermaid Beach to attend promptly don’t hesitate to pick up your phone and give us a call on (07) 5551 5193.

Plumbing Rip Offs

Plumbing Rip Offs

Plumbing rip offs, in my opinion, are frequently emotive exaggerations bereft of facts from people whose only motive is not to pay their plumbers bills.

Sadly most plumbing rip offs are perpetuated not on the customer but on the plumber by other plumbers who stupidly aid and abet con artists using them without any payment to condemn work another plumber has undertaken.

Every week we get multiple phone calls virtually demanding that we condemn over the phone other plumbers work or for us tell them that they have been overcharged. Of course, they never wish to pay for this advice and never want it adequately investigated.

Unfortunately, far too many plumbers are completely gullible and get sucked into agreeing with unsubstantiated, exaggerated statements over the phone from someone they have never met. For some bizarre reason, they think by agreeing with baseless opinions from an unqualified person that they will get work from it and even more bizarrely get paid for it!

Despite what some non-plumbers think plumbing is complex in its entirety requiring in-depth knowledge and precision. With the dominance of Google, it is effortless for someone to create a cheap website and make a raft of promises usually based on how cheap they are.

“No call out fee! Free quotes! No service charge! Free plumbing audit! Free gas inspection! $0 call out fee! $40 off today! $99 drain special! Free plumbing quotes!” And so the list goes on when you Google the term “plumber Gold Coast”. All of these “promises” create the perception that you are getting something for free or at a considerable discount.

The often-quoted “There is no such thing as a free lunch” is applicable in this situation. Obviously, it means nothing is ever truly free because the fact is someone has to pay for the plumber to come to your house or business. All of those above claims are designed with the sole purpose of getting you to ring that plumbing company and nothing else. I guarantee you will be paying for them to come out one way or another.

You should know it costs money for a fully equipped and staffed plumbing truck to arrive at your home or business. Some companies will charge a call-out fee which allows for no work. Some companies such as Whywait Plumbing will charge a diagnostic fee which provides for a preliminary investigation of the plumbing problem. Some companies will charge a minimum one hour fee no matter how long they are on site. Some companies offer a free call out, but it will be built into all their costs so beware of all free call out offers as generally, all their other prices are higher.

You are ripping me off because Joe Bumcrack Plumbing Service is half your price

In the last 42 years, I’ve heard multiple variations of this excuse for not paying an account countless times.

Buyers regret is a constant issue for all businesses. I remain bewildered by people who turn to the bottom feeders of our industry and turn them into experts. These hobby businesses are frequently referred to as Joe Bumcrack plumbers for obvious reasons. Of course, Joe Bumcrack’s phone wasn’t answered, and he wasn’t available at 10 pm on a Saturday night to clear the blocked drain. But of course, his word counts because he told the customer what he wants to hear concerning what price should have been charged and plumbing rip offs.

The reality is half the price of what? We have never been interested in being the cheapest Gold Coast plumber. We are not interested in what other plumbers charge because every business differs regarding cost structures, overhead costs and productivity levels that are utilised to set a selling price for a businesses services.

Notwithstanding the urban myth that there is a “going rate” or “recommended rate”  for plumbers, it is illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 for business to collude in setting prices or for there to be any set or recommended rates by master plumbers associations.

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we take pride in our industry best practice service levels. We endeavour without exception to deliver quality workmanship with expertise and long-lasting permanent solutions to complex plumbing problems that are fully compliant with the legal requirements in the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

A recent e-mail I received with the following quote from Benjamin Franklin, “The Bitterness of Poor Quality Remains Long After the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten” always applies, and that is the lowest price is not still the best. With plumbing problems, they are frequently reactive, and the practice of going back after the job is completed to Joe Bumcrack Plumbing Services for his expert opinion on what work should have been undertaken is counterproductive as you are not comparing apples with apples.

Plumbing is like everything else with a plethora of solutions, methods and opinions to solve problems. This, in turn, creates multiple pricing solutions if you do not specify exactly what products you want installing with the result is that you require. We accept that our customers are often in a situation where they are choosing between the price we must charge versus the quality of the service.

More and more, we are seeing where a customer has researched what he should budget for a job via Google and on websites such as Bunnings. The reality is they don’t have the expertise or knowledge to undertake the research, so end up with a superficial answer. This research then becomes the driving force in determining the price they think they should pay for our service.

It is our experience over 42 years that many clients fool themselves or their employer in choosing the lowest price service to fit within a budget that was flawed from the start. Typically this results in budget blowouts in the short term as the lowers quality service, and products have to be replaced long before they should have been.

Equally, the highest price does not always mean the highest quality service. Frequently the highest price and the lowest price for service are due to inefficiencies in the service delivery combined with there not being a specifically tailored specification.

When you are assessing a company to provide service delivery, please ignore Joe Bumcrack Plumbing Services and their constant cry that all their competitors are involved in plumbing rip offs. The ability of companies such as Whywait Plumbing or Oceanside Plumbing or Waterfox Plumbing to meet your service and business requirements should be paramount in decisions. Equally successful past performance is just as critical to ensuring quality service and installation take precedent over the enticement of a low priced service delivery.

What’s your hourly rate?

No legitimate business works on hourly rates. The reality is most businesses charge a set price for a set service task. Even in the construction industry businesses such as tilers and plasterers charge per m² or brickies per 100 or 1000 bricks laid.

The exception to this is far too many plumbers and electricians who won’t invest in quantity surveying software and the time to create task based pricing. As a result, we have many Joe Bumcrack plumbers who work on hourly rates that do not cover the cost of wages and accuse all their competitors of engaging in plumbing rip offs. Even for a solo operator plumber or electrician, their break-even points will be between $100 – $150 per hour depending on their overhead costs. So if you engage a plumber who is telling you their hourly rate is $80, then you can guarantee they will be doubling up somewhere or charging for services that are not delivered.

Hourly rates are a meaningless component in the overall service cost being utterly subjective to the point of being meaningless.

I’m well aware many people think an hourly rate for a plumber in excess of $100 is a plumbing rip off and extortinate. This is why hourly rates are meaningless because within that price countless expenses have to be covered such as wages, superannuation, workcover, fuel, insurance, vehicle repairs, equipment repairs and replacement, travel time and so the list goes on and on.

I can only repeat that labour is only one component of the cost when working through a task cost in quanity surveying software. The other components are overheads, materials and equipment.

Plumbers who charge using hourly rates frequently engage in charging base to base travel time or charging for apprentices who are really goffas or for making multiple trips to the merchants for materials

Just give me a ballpark price over the phone

I repeat incessantly that no professional plumber can give you an estimate over the phone. Solving plumbing problems over the phone with any degree of certainty is an absolute impossibility. Every plumbing problem is entirely variable and can change rapidly once you start working on it.

The most common price we are asked for over the phone is for replacing a hot water service. Sadly many plumbers will indulge people and give costs for replacing a hot water service over the phone based on “Like for Like” installation. This is utterly deceptive as there is no such thing as a like for like installation. Every replacement installation must be done in accordance with ASNZS 3500.4:2018, which requires substantial upgrades on the original installation which is frequently over ten years old. Of course, once they get on-site, they discover you need all sorts of extras such as valves, insulation and drain installation.

Always require that the plumber comes to the site and gives you pricing after a thorough site inspection. Even then that can change as often once you start on the job, you can get a myriad of faults to show up that cannot be detected by a visual inspection.

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