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.
As 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.
A 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.
With all the uncertainly during this ongoing COVID-19 crisis it is critical Gold Coast homeowners and businesses don’t fall into the trap of using so-called handymen or unlicensed plumbers. In reality, there is no such occupation categorised as unlicensed plumbers. Every person classified as a plumber is licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission or QBCC.
All individuals and companies must hold a QBCC licence for any building works that involve any work that is:
Your plumbing is not a simplistic plaything and worldwide is classified as critical public health infrastructure. All work undertaken on any aspect of your plumbing, drainage or gas infrastructure is legally required to be undertaken by appropriately licensed individuals and companies.
All plumbers frequently experience fixing up after a handyman who makes out that unlicensed plumbers exist and convinces homeowners 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.
Any plumbing, drainage and gasfitting work is essential to ensuring the health and safety of the entire community. This is critically important with the COVIC-19 health pandemic we are currently facing.
Every aspect of the plumbing, drainage and gas trades are administered by a strict licensing and legislative regime. This ensures every person in these trades holds the relative QBCC licences that are legally required. This, in turn, ensures the safety and protection of the entire community through the provision of clean safe drinking water, sanitary drains and sewers to dispose of wastewater, and gas pipes and appliances that are fit for purpose.
We all agree that using a licensed plumber or gas fitter can appear expensive but it is an investment that protects your families health. Using an unlicensed plumber can null and void your insurance coverage plus leave you with possible legal and financial implications.
Especially now demand to visually sight the QBCC licences. A QBCC occupational licence enables the person to physically carry out the work. A QBCC contractor licence allows the person to engage in contracting for the work.
What plumbing work can be undertaken by unlicensed plumbers or handymen?
Repairing or replacing a drop valve washer, float valve washer or suction cup rubber in a toilet cistern
Replacing caps or covers to ground-level inspection openings on a sanitary drain
Cleaning or maintaining a ground-level grate for a trap on a sanitary drain
Installing or maintaining an irrigation or lawn watering system downstream from a tap, isolating valve or backflow prevention device on the supply pipe for the watering system
Repairing or maintaining an irrigation system for the disposal of effluent from a greywater use facility or on-site sewage facility
Fire protection work for testing plumbing carried out by a holder of a fire protection occupational licence or another QBCC licence
Incidental unskilled tasks such as excavating or backfilling a trench
Many of these tasks are much more complicated than they appear. Mixer taps, for example, can be extremely complicated just to dismantle and technically they have no washer so must always be worked on by a licensed plumber.
Despite social media saying yes you can we can guarantee it is completely illegal for anyone other than a licensed plumber to install a bidet seat or a douche spray to a toilet.
Checking a plumbers licence
Prior to letting anyone commence work on your plumbing, drainage or gas ask them for their plumbers licence as they are legally obliged to produce it for you if asked.
A phone call I received last week from a cleaner asking me are cleaners able to legally undertake plumbing work alerted me to the pressures many cleaning contractors face from unscrupulous building owners and property managers. Increasingly there is a tendency by commercial building owners and their property managers to require their cleaning contractors to undertake work tasks that are legally plumbing. Cleaners undertaking plumbing tasks are quite merely breaking several laws as are their employers and supervisors.
The most common plumbing tasks that cleaners who are untrained, unskilled and unlicensed appear to be being required to undertake as part of their cleaning duties are:
unblocking of drains
unblocking of toilets
disconnecting and clearing of traps
servicing of urinals
What plumbing work can a cleaner perform
The only plumbing-related tasks a cleaner or any other person can legally undertake are:
cleaning or maintaining ground level grates to traps on sanitary drains
replacing caps to ground level inspection openings on sanitary drains
maintaining an above or below ground irrigation system for the disposal of effluent from an on-site sewerage facility
installing or maintaining an irrigation or lawn watering system downstream from an isolating valve, tap or backflow prevention device on the supply pipe for the irrigation or lawn watering system
replacing a jumper valve or washer in a tap
changing a showerhead
replacing, in a water closet (WC) cistern, a drop valve washer, float valve washer or suction cup rubber.
All other work must be undertaken by a licensed plumber and drainer – no ifs, no buts, no exceptions.
Laws that apply to who can do plumbing
Cleaners who are required and frequently forced by their supervisors and employers to undertake plumbing tasks usually at the behest of building owners and property managers are all breaking the following laws and regulations:
Building Services Authority Act 1991
Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code
Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002
Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003
Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003
Plumbers and drainers, unlike cleaners, are trained to undertake tasks such as clearing of drains or working on toilets or urinals. All of these tasks require specialised training, diagnostic skills and an awareness of health and safety issues. Above all plumbers are licensed to undertake the work by the Queensland Government plumbing regulator, the Plumbing Industry Council. The latter are legally required to protect public health and safety through Queensland’s plumbing and drainage licensing system.
Standard Plumbing & Drainage Regulation 2003 requirements
Tasks such as unblocking of drains, unblocking of toilets, disconnecting and clearing of traps or servicing of urinals are covered explicitly by schedule 2 of Standard Plumbing & Drainage Regulation 2003 as detailed below:
work necessary for maintaining, repairing or replacing a fitting or fixture
work necessary for maintaining or repairing an apparatus other than a backflow prevention device or thermostatic mixing valve
work necessary for replacing apparatus other than a backflow prevention device, thermostatic mixing valve, tempering valve, water heater, cistern, pump or water meter
work necessary for maintaining, repairing or replacing fire hydrants or fire hose reels
unblocking a pipe that is sanitary plumbing or sanitary drainage
work necessary for maintaining or repairing a solar or heat pump hot water system in a building classified under BCA as a class 1, 2, 3 or 4 building
Work undertaken under schedule 2 does not require the lodgement of form 4 with the local government plumbing & drainage inspectors. Still, all work must be conducted by a licensed plumber or drainer.
A cleaner despite what they are told cannot undertake any of the above tasks. They and those that instruct them to do the work are breaking the law, and all are liable for fines plus leave themselves exposed to common law claims under the due diligence provisions of the new WHS Act 2011.
It is straightforward if there is general cleaning of a plumbing fixture then there is no issue its a cleaning task. Where a component part is replaced or disconnected from the plumbing or drainage system, fixture or fitting for maintenance or servicing it can only be legally undertaken by a licensed plumber.
I reiterate the answer to the question are cleaners able to legally undertake plumbing work is a resounding NO and if you are unsure call Whywait Plumbing any time of (07) 5580 4311 to get assistance.