Is a Plumber and a Gas Fitter the Same Thing?

Is a Plumber and a Gas Fitter the Same Thing?

Gas Fitter or plumber? There is a difference.

Here at Whywait Plumbing we are often asked if we do gas fitting?

While some plumbers offer gas fitting services, individuals qualified solely as gasfitters can’t offer plumbing services and in case you’re wondering YES Whywait Plumbing does do gas fitting work.

Find this a tad confusing then let us explain:

What is plumbing work?

Plumbing work is defined in the Australian Standards (AS3500) Regulations 2013 and refers to any operation, work or process in connection with installation, removal, demolition, replacement, alteration, maintenance or repair to the system of pipes and fixtures that conveys clean water into and liquid waste out of a building.

To become a licensed plumber a four year apprenticeship (Certificate III in Plumbing) is required.
As part of this course, instruction in the basics of gas fitting will be undertaken. Upon completion these basics in gas fitting will allow the plumber to not only apply for his plumbing licence but also an interim gas licence and carry out gas work under the supervision of a fully qualified gas fitter.

To obtain a full gas licence from the Department of Mines and Energy the plumber will need to have worked on an interim gas licence for a minimum period of twelve months and successfully completed a Certificate IV in Plumbing.

What is gasfitting work?

Gasfitting work is defined in the Gas Standards (AG5601 Gas Installations) Regulations 2013 as to any operation, work, or process in connection with installation, removal, demolition, replacement, alteration, maintenance or repair of a gas installation.

To train as a gasfitter and gain an interim gas licence it is necessary to complete Certificate III in Gasfitting which once achieved will allow the recipient to work under the supervision of a fully qualified gas fitter.  This course is much shorter and does not cover plumbing works.

The course can be completed by non-tradespersons or tradespersons within electrical, mechanical, electronics and other fields who are required to work on and install, commission and service Type A gas appliance and reticulated gas supplies.

Once again to obtain a full gas licence from the Department of Mines and Energy the recipient will need to have worked on an interim gas licence for a minimum period of twelve months and successfully completed the relevant Certificate IV qualification.

Now that we have clarified the difference between plumbing and gas fitting works we would like to give you some tips to ensure you choose the right person with the right qualifications for the job.

Important Differences between Plumber and Gasfitters

Consumer Safeguard

  • A Gas Certificate & Compliance Plate should be issued by the fully qualified as fitter for all gas work.

Excludes servicing & fault finding.

So now you know the difference whether you need plumbing work or gas fitting work Whywait Plumbing has you covered. We’re here to help and just a telephone call away.

Asbestos In Your Bathroom

Asbestos In Your Bathroom

Asbestos in your bathroom is just one of the many issues that can confront you when undertaking a bathroom renovation. Until the early 1980’s the use of asbestos sheets in bathrooms was the norm and can be sitting beneath your bathroom tiles with potential deadly consequences.

Asbestos removal by specialist licensed contractors is only one of the issues you must be aware of when undertaking a DIY bathroom renovation. Despite what you get told in big box hardware outlets such as Bunnings or Masters there are a number of areas that must be undertaken by fully licensed and insured professional contractors being:

  • electrical
  • plumbing and gas fitting
  • asbestos removal
  • water proofing
  • pest control

In all of the above DIY is not an option to reduce costs as doing so has consequences because it is:

  • illegal
  • dangerous to the point of being life threatening
  • usually results in non compliant and sub standard installation
  • non insurable with it creating a situation where any future insurance claims will be denied and the policy null and void
  • removes all warranty protection from products that are defective

If you are confident and capable Whywait Plumbing fully endorse undertaking labouring work yourself, purchasing materials and running the project but remember short cuts and cheap non compliant products will always come back to haunt you.

By Gary Mays

Can My Gas BBQ Explode

Can My Gas BBQ Explode

Can my gas BBQ explode is a question we get asked every summer as we all love a barbecue its part of our lifestyle. But every year far too many people suffer severe burns and injuries.

Most barbecues have been lying around, unused over the winter months and as soon as the warm weather returns we all fire up the barbecue without a second thought as to whether its safe to use.

Gas bottles with their regulator and hose connections are the most common potential for leaking LPG gas to literally explode when you are using it.

Before using your barbecue this summer we recommend that you spend 5 minutes to carry out the following:

  • check all your connections are tight
  • check the gas hose from the bottle to the barbecue to make sure it has not perished
  • a soapy water spray leak test on the gas bottle, gas regulator, rubber hose and hose connections

Above is a short video that will run you through seven simple checks before using your barbecue that shows all of the tests listed above including a soapy water test.

Once you have checked your connections are tight and checked the rubber gas hose for any signs of being perished please ensure you carry out a soapy water leak of all the connections.

parts of a gas bottle

You can create soapy water in a bowl with soap and brush it on, or preferably use a spray bottle where you put some gel soap into a spray bottle with water and spray all of the connections.

If a leak is present, the soapy water will produce bubbles indicating the location of the leak. If a leak is detected, you may need to disconnect the joint and clean the mating surfaces. Then re-connect and re-check for leaks again. If you continue to see leaks then it is likely that fitting needs replacing before using the barbecue.

A gas leak on a barbecue can spread very quickly as you can see in the photo above which is why you should follow these basic rules:

  • never use a gas barbecue indoors or in a confined space
  • do not connect or disconnect a LPG cylinder in the vicinity of a naked flame and always shut off the cylinder valve before disconnecting from the barbecue
  • do not use a gas barbecue in windy conditions as if the flames are blown out the LPG can accumulate and create a potential explosion

LPG gas cylinders seldom explode because they all come with a pressure relief valve so if there is a problem with heating up, the relief valve automatically allows the LPG to vent. Consequently rather than exploding the venting LPG in the worst possible scenario can ignite if there is an ignition source and you have a spectacular plume of flame going upwards. The cylinder will in a short time run out of gas and the flame will extinguish and this is why you always use a barbecue outside and away from the house in a well-ventilated area separated from ignition sources.

Remember if you smell gas always turn off the valve at the gas bottle. All gas installation work must be undertaken by a licensed gasfitter so if you have any questions contact Whywait Plumbing Services now.

By Gary Mays

A Plumbing Inspection Is Not A Guarantee

A Plumbing Inspection Is Not A Guarantee

A plumbing inspection by the council is not a guarantee and never have been, they are a compliance audit – nothing more, nothing less.

Recently Kelly from Hope Island sent me an email which began with the comment that, “builders are liars, plumbers are incompetent and the Gold Coast plumbing inspectors are frauds who take no responsibility…..” 

I can only repeat to Kelly what many of us know and see everyday in new or recently renovated buildings – “everyone who worked on your home did so because they were the cheapest not because they were the best qualified and skilled to undertake the work.” Sadly that has become the reality in the construction industry.

The pressure by builders on plumbers to reduce prices and take “SHORT CUTS” increases daily as I have stated previously and in fairness is frequently driven by the client demanding a cheaper price looking for the “BEST DEAL”.

In respect to Kelly’s comment about the Gold Coast plumbing inspectors, I understand the remark as there is a common urban myth that once your home or building has had a final inspection that it has been certified by the council and that the plumbing is perfect and that they are guaranteeing it.

This is not correct as the plumbing inspectors functions are set out in the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002. A plumbing inspector’s functions are to conduct investigations and inspections for monitoring and enforcing compliance with-
(a) the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002; or
(b) the Sustainable Planning Act 2009; or
(c) the Local Government Act 2009.

The important word in the legislation is COMPLIANCE. When the council inspector signs off the plumbing and drainage work on your home after being requested to undertake a final inspection by the licensed plumber who is responsible for the work you will only get a letter that says it is a PLUMBING AND DRAINAGE COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE and it will state clearly that, “This Compliance Certificate approves the regulated work or on-site sewerage work for the above property in respect of Compliance Permit number…..”   

A compliance certificate from the plumbing inspectors are not a guarantee in any way shape or form and should not be construed as such.

Unfortunately and sadly but these days it is ultimately up to you to make sure that you are getting high standard, quality work by ensuring you are dealing with reputable, experienced licensed contractors who perform work to the standards set out in the Plumbing Code of Australia.

Always ask to see the plumber’s contractors license and always ensure for insurance purposes you get a copy of either the council compliance certificate or the QBCC form 4 compliance certificate depending upon the work you have had undertaken.

By Gary Mays

Not All Plumbers Are Gasfitters

Not All Plumbers Are Gasfitters

Gas compliance plate must be installed for all properties verifying the work on all gas is safe & legally compliant.

Not all plumbers are gasfitters with many people thinking that regular plumbers can work on gas appliances and troubleshoot any problems that they are having with their gas system.

To the casual observer it appears that gas and water seem to flow through the same type of pipe systems but the reality is that the way in which they work is totally different.

Gas systems both natural gas and LPG are a lot more dangerous and the slightest mistake can create a gas leak leading to a potential explosion or a fire. For this reason alone if you are having a problem with your gas pipes or appliances you must use a plumbing company that is a licensed contractor to work on gas and employs licensed gasfitters.

You should be aware of the following when undertaking service or installation work on your gas system:

  • The company must be licensed: In Queensland all companies or individuals undertaking gas work are required to have a contractors licence from Queensland Building and Construction Commission, (QBCC) plus every person working on gas must have a a gas work licence issued by the Chief Gas Examiner from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Without these licenses they cannot legally touch your gas appliances or piping system.
  • Ensure you get all legal certification: A gasfitter doing any servicing or installation work on any part of gas system must affix a “Gas System Compliance Plate” as illustrated above on all new installations. The gasfitter is also legally obliged to give you a “Gas System Compliance Certificate” immediately after the installation is complete which you must keep as it is a legal document indicating the work is legally compliant.

Legally your obligations if you use gas in your home or business are that you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that your gas system complies with safety requirements.  This is complied with simply by:

  • regularly having gas appliances serviced
  • ensure all gas servicing and installation is carried out by a licensed gasfitter
  • ensuring you have compliance plates affixed and you retain copies of all gas certificates on site

Ultimately you as the property owner will be liable for the cost of rectification of non-compliant gas installations if the gasfitter who undertook the work cannot be identified plus it potentially makes your insurance coverage null and void.

By Gary Mays

DIY Plumbing Isn’t An Option

DIY Plumbing Isn’t An Option

 

DIY plumbing is not an option, nor is DIY electrical, but some people still believe the law does not apply to them. Frequently the reason to attempt DIY is that some people want to avoid hiring a professional plumber due to the cost of plumbing services.

diy plumbing emergency

At Whywait Plumbing we understand a perceived simple plumbing job might cost many people more than what they can afford which is why we custom price every job up front so you always know in advance the answer to your question, “how much is this going to cost?”

Always when we are repairing the work after people have tried the DIY approach to plumbing repairs themselves they pinpoint cost them as the main reason. The reality is though that the mistakes they make undertaking DIY plumbing  frequently creates a much bigger problem which incurs more expenses and stress.

Apart from the fact that DIY plumbing is illegal there are a few other reasons why you should not try DIY plumbing:

  • Warranty & Insurance – this is one of the most critical issues as DIY plumbing will leave you without the security of a manufacturers warranty on any product or fixture not installed by a licensed plumber. Even worse if a tap for example blows apart and floods your home the likelihood is your insurance policy will not cover the damage if the tap was not installed by a licensed plumber.
  • Safety – plumbing involves dealing with a number of hazards  especially in drains that can create health issues for your family if not undertaken legally and compliantly. Misuse of specialised plumbing tools and equipment can result in you sustaining minor or even major injuries. Safety is always a concern if you attempt DIY plumbing when you do not have the proper knowledge or training. It always looks easy when you watch a professional with the correct equipment do the job.
  • Value for Money – DIY plumbing is more costly in the long term because the jobs invariably are never repaired correctly and continue to give problems repeatedly. Getting a licensed plumber to do the job right the first time is always the cheapest option in the end.

There is no better plumbing, drainage or gas repair than that undertaken by a licensed, professional plumbing company where the plumbers are experienced, trained, insured and knowledgeable.

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