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Wastewater management is every ones responsibility aiding sustainability

Wastewater management is every ones responsibility aiding sustainability

Do you know what happens to your water when you flush the toilet?

At Whywait Plumbing, we know how important it is to take care of our wastewater. Wastewater is any water used in homes or businesses that needs to be cleaned before it can be safely released into the environment. If not appropriately managed, wastewater can pollute our water sources, harm wildlife and affect our health. That’s why we want to help our clients understand the best ways to handle their wastewater.

First, it’s essential to know that there are different types of wastewater. Household wastewater comes from everyday activities like showering, washing dishes and doing laundry. Industrial wastewater is created by restaurants, mechanics workshops, bakeries, supermarkets, butcher shops, factories and can have different chemicals and pollutants. Both types of wastewater need to be cleaned before they are let into the environment. Most of the time, this cleaning happens at a wastewater treatment plant. These plants use a combination of physical, chemical and biological methods to remove pollutants and bacteria from the water.

Households produce an average of 300 litres of wastewater per person per day. Despite popular misconceptions, ninety-nine per cent of this wastewater is just water. The other one per cent is contaminated wastewater. Wastewater is a vital resource and will be released to our land, waterways and the ocean as recycled water after treatment.

What is wastewater?

At Whywait Plumbing, we ensure that our customer’s wastewater management treatment systems are working correctly. This includes regular maintenance and repairs for septic tanks, treatment plants, grease traps, house drain sewer systems, and installing new systems when needed. If you live in the City of Gold Coast, then you are connected to the council sewage system unless you live in a rural area.

It’s also important to try and reduce the number of pollutants that get into the wastewater system in the first place. This means being careful about what we put down the drain or toilet, such as grease, oil and chemicals.

Another essential aspect of wastewater management is appropriately disposing of greywater. Greywater is water that has been used for things like laundry or showering but does not have fecal matter in it. Greywater can often be reused for watering gardens or flushing toilets, which helps us save our freshwater resources.

Stormwater is also wastewater being the runoff that flows from roofs, parks, gardens, roads, paths and gutters into stormwater drains after rain in urban areas. Stormwater flows untreated directly to local creeks, streams or rivers, eventually flowing into the ocean. As a result, most stormwater receives no treatment. However, this is changing in new subdivisions and commercial sites with stormwater treatment to remove vegetation debris, human litter, sand, and gravel using bioretention basins and gross pollutant traps.

What are On-site Sewerage Facilities?

At Whywait Plumbing, we understand that not everyone has access to the same sewerage infrastructure provided by the council. That’s why we want to explain what On-site Sewerage Facilities (OSSF) are and how they can help keep your property and the environment safe. Traditionally these have been called septic tanks.

OSSF’s are systems that treat and dispose of the sewerage generated on your property within your property boundaries. These systems include septic tanks, aerated wastewater treatment systems, passive wastewater treatment systems and composting toilets. These types of systems are typically required in areas that are not serviced by council sewerage infrastructure.

It’s important to note that well-maintained OSSF can help protect public health and safety and reduce the risk of environmental harm with contaminated water flowing into creeks and streams. So, if you have an OSSF on your property, it is essential to keep it well-maintained to ensure it continues to work effectively.

If you have questions or concerns about your On-site Sewerage Facilities, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Whywait Plumbing. We’re always happy to help!

How is wastewater treated in a sewage treatment facility?

At Whywait Plumbing, we want to ensure you understand how sewage is treated before it is released into the environment and, ultimately, into the ocean. On the Gold Coast, there are four wastewater management treatment plants at Pimpama, Coombabah, Merrimac and Elanora, which process your wastewater in four stages:

  • In the first stage, primary treatment, they remove large objects and debris from the sewage. They do this by passing the sewage through screens to catch anything that shouldn’t be there, like plastic or other trash. They also use grit traps to remove smaller particles like sand. After that, they let the sewage sit in tanks so that any remaining solids can settle to the bottom and be removed. Finally, they also skim off any grease or scum that floats to the top.
  • Next, they use microorganisms to break down and remove any remaining dissolved wastes and small particles. This is called the secondary stage treatment. Finally, they add microorganisms to the sewage that eat away any remaining pollutants.
  • In the third stage, nutrient removal, they remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the sewage. These nutrients can cause problems in our waterways, like algal blooms.
  • Finally, they disinfect the sewage to ensure it’s safe to release back into the environment as recycled water for golf courses and parks or ocean discharge. They do this by adding chemicals or using ultraviolet light to kill any remaining disease-causing microorganisms. They may also let the sewage sit in the ponds for several weeks, allowing the microorganisms to die off naturally before releasing it.

We hope this helps you understand the sewage treatment process and how it keeps our waterways clean and safe!

How can you help?

At Whywait Plumbing, we educate our clients on wastewater management and provide the necessary services to manage their wastewater seriously.

There are multiple ways you can help that are simple everyday tasks:

  • never connect stormwater drains to any part of your house sewer drains
  • never put substances such as petrol, oil, solvents, pesticides or herbicides into sewer or stormwater drains
  • compost all kitchen food scraps
  • use natural cleaning products that are phosphate and bleach free
wastewater management  creates a clean environment for drinking water

Ultimately we are all individually responsible for sustainable wastewater management to keep our water sources and the environment clean and safe for future generations by working together.

The Myth Of The “Going Rate or Recommended Rate” For Plumbing Services

The Myth Of The “Going Rate or Recommended Rate” For Plumbing Services

Is there a going rate for plumbers to charge?

Unfortunately, the myth that there is a going rate for plumbers or recommended rate for plumbing services is one of those lovely urban myths that will never go away. Some consumers promote it to avoid paying for plumbing services after completing the work.

Even more disturbing is the fact that it is also promoted by some plumbing contractors who are:

  • lacking in necessary business skills and cannot do basic accounting equations to work out the cost of running their business and provide quality service at a fair profit
  • engaged in payback against other plumbing contractors to undermine their competitors by claiming they are overcharging

Every plumbing company has different costs

Every plumbing business is not the same. Every plumbing business has different cost structures, overhead, and productivity levels required to set a selling price or a break-even price.

It is illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 for businesses to collude in setting prices or for any set or recommended rates by master plumbers associations.

When many one-person plumbing businesses start, it is far too complicated to put a budget together and calculate the cost of doing business. However, they need to do it to ensure they charge a rate for their services that covers the business’s cost. Unfortunately, most of the time, these one-person plumbing businesses decide to set the going rate for plumbers and be done with it.

So how do these one-person businesses determine the going rate for plumbers?

Very simply, they ring around all their competitors, pretending to be a prospective customer and find out what they are charging for their services. As no professional plumber can give a price over the phone, they tend to only get prices from like-minded one-person businesses promoting a whole undercutting philosophy based on some mythical hourly rate which then becomes the fictitious going rate.

The myth of a going rate is self-perpetuating by plumbers

To see how this whole myth of the going rate for plumbers becomes self-perpetuating, consider the following scenario, which is exactly what happens all the time.

Consider the scenario where  Trevor bought a van, got a new mobile phone, used the tools supplied by his former employer, and opened up “Trevors Plumbing Service.” Trevor knew his old employer, “Gold Coast Plumbing”, was charging $130 per hour, but he knew that his former boss had lots of equipment and paid his employees above the award wages, so he decided to charge only $80 an hour.

A couple of weeks later, Jason, who does not like Trevor, hears that Trevor has opened up his plumbing business. He figures he’s much more intelligent than Trevor, plus he’s sure he’s faster and quicker at plumbing work than Trevor, so he decides to buy a ute, too and open up “Speedy Plumbing.” Jason gets his girlfriend to phone Trevor pretending to be a customer, to find out his charges. Again, Jason does not like Trevor, so he figured he could knock him out of business by charging $20 less and getting all his business. So “Speedy Plumbing” is now in business charging $60 per hour.

Plumbers start undercutting based on the mythical going rate 

Meanwhile, Stephen had opened up “Super Coastwide Plumbing” a year earlier and had just had a builder who supplied him with 90% of his work tell him that he would be using another plumber to do his work in the future. This is despite Stephen providing excellent service but at $100 per hour was way above the going rate for plumbers. Stephen panicked on hearing this and decided to call around his competitors to see the going rate for plumbers. Stephen discovered that it ranged from $40 to $160 per hour.  Stephen decided that to keep his business going, he needed to match the going rate for plumbers and, based on where most of his competitors were, opted to drop his rate to $65 per hour to be under the rate charged by “Trevors Plumbing Service” who appeared to pick up lots of work.

Meanwhile, over at “Gold Coast Plumbing”, the owners are having a meeting. “We aren’t making enough money to cover our costs!” They say. “Well, we can’t increase our rates because we’re already one of the highest in town — $70 higher than some after ringing around to find out the going rate for plumbers is.” The owners are frustrated because they’re gradually watching their business go down, a company that’s been in their family for three generations.

The going rate for plumbers myth destroys businesses and families

What happens next is textbook accurate and repeatedly occurs in the plumbing industry causing unemployment, financial hardship and family breakups.

“Gold Coast Plumbing” started cutting corners by using cheaper materials, cancelling insurance cover, not replacing old equipment, not replacing old utes and vans, charging clients for hours that were not worked, and using labourers and apprentices instead of qualified plumbers. As a result, their plumbers become disillusioned and start looking for jobs elsewhere. This forces “Gold Coast Plumbing” to use more labourers and apprentices to undertake the work that requires licensed and experienced plumbers.

Over at “Speedy Plumbing”, Jason is struggling to cope with all the work but cannot hire any licensed plumbers because he’s discovered he can’t afford to pay them plus buy more utes and equipment because his rates are too cheap and don’t cover the costs of running the business.

Trevor over at “Trevors Plumbing Service” is still working by himself, so he does not need a lot of work to keep him busy plus, the customers that hired him because he was the lowest price have left him and gone to “Speedy Plumbing”. Trevor is not concerned as he’s making more money than he did when he was an employee at ‘Gold Coast Plumbing” plus, he’s his own boss and doesn’t have to answer to anybody. However, Trevor has discovered that he’s got to cut corners to make sure he can pay the bills. He does not renew his QBCC licenses or take out public liability insurance. Trevor adopts a policy of never returning calls to customers who complain and starts using inferior quality materials.

Meanwhile, Stephen at “Super Coastwide Plumbing” struggled to pay bills since dropping his prices to the going rate for plumbers, with the losers being his family. Stephen’s wife is forced to return to her old job, supporting “the business” until it gets back on its feet. Even worse, cutting corners meant customers were not getting compliant plumbing work undertaken, with failures being the norm. Finally, employees started getting reduced or no training, with wages failing to be paid on time as there was never enough money.

No one ever wins in setting up a business based on the going rate for plumbers

Every successful plumbing business knows the starting point always is learning what it costs to run their business and setting charge-out rates that ensure they can make a profit for the long term, which is specific to their circumstances and business model. 

No one ever wins in setting up a business based on the going rate for plumbers or recommended rate because they are a myth. The only guarantee is that the company will close, leaving employees, suppliers and customers all out of pocket and worse off for the experience in myriad ways. 

Sadly, I repeatedly witness these “fictitious” scenarios on the Gold Coast amongst plumbing companies. There are no winners when you don’t operate a business to make a profit after covering every single one of your costs.

How much does a burst pipe add to your Gold Coast water bill?

How much does a burst pipe add to your Gold Coast water bill?

Your Gold Coast water bill issued by the City of Gold Coast as a Water and Sewerage Rate Notice arrives every three months. Currently, every water meter is manually read every three months, with your Gold Coast water bill coming soon after. The cost of Gold Coast water is set every year as part of the budget process with the detailed current water pricing for 2021-22 available from Gold Coast Water.

What are the costs of your Gold Coast water bill?

For most homeowners who use around the average daily water usage of 451 litres, the highest costs in the quarterly Gold Coast water bill are their sewerage and water access service charges. If you look closely at your water bill, you can see that you have the following access charges:

Residential Charges Cost
Sewerage access charge per quarter

$181.03

Water access charge per quarter

$53.02

Total Access Charges per Quarter

$234.05

The usage charges per kilolitre as measured by your water meter are made up of council charges and Queensland Government charges as below:

Residential Charges Cost

City of Gold Coast water per kilolitre

$1.117

Queensland Government water per kilolitre

$3.231

Total Cost of Water per Kilolitre

$4.348

In reality, even if you did not use one drop of water, you would still pay for water and sewerage access service charges of $234.05 every quarter or $936.20 every year.

Our experience is that the average water use of 451 litres or 0.451kL per property shown on Gold Coast water bills is not an accurate guide to your water use.

Most homes with more than one occupant will use 1-2 kL every day. However, remember your water usage will vary every day based on the number of occupants at home each day and their water use behaviours. That is why we recommend you read your water meter weekly, as that will give you a better guide about your average consumption and alert you to a potential water leak.

The actual cost of water dripping from a tap

What will cause your water usage charges to blow out is having leaking water that you are unaware of. Leaking taps and toilets are frequently overlooked and put off to another day. A dripping tap that drips one drop every second will use 40 litres of water a day. The reality is that it becomes 280 litres a week and then 1214 litres a month, and then 14560 litres a year. This is all water charged for on your Gold Coast water bill that you never utilised for any practical purpose.

If we translate the litres wasted to the cost of water, then the numbers become real very quickly.

Cost of a Dripping Tap at 1 drip per second Residential Cost at $4.348 per kL or 1000 litres Business Cost at $8.909 per kL or 1000 litres

1.66 litres per hour

$0.007

$0.015

40 litres per day

$0.174

$0.356

280 litres per week

$1.217

$2.495

1214 litres per month

$5.278

$10.816

14560 litres per year

$63.307

$129.715

The actual cost of a leaking underground water main

You can visually see a dripping tap or running toilet, but the real killer to your Gold Coast water bill is your underground water main pipe leaking. For residential users, these are usually leaking polypipe water mains that were never installed correctly when the house was built. Only occasionally is a water leak apparent and bubbling to the ground. Most of the time, they are a silent Gold Coast water bill killer leaking 24/7 undetected.

There is no accurate average for any leaking water main supply pipe because it depends on the type of break in the pipe, what the pipe size is and what the incoming water pressure is.

Recently we had a client with a small leak where we have 24/7 electronic water monitoring installed that is leaking on average of 45 litres per hour, so we use that as a basis for what leaking water main will cost on a Gold Coast water bill.

Cost of a leaking underground water main at 45 litres per hour Residential Cost at $4.348 per kL or 1000 litres Business Cost at $8.909 per kL or 1000 litres
45 litres per hour

$0.196

$0.401

1080 litres per day

$4.696

$9.622

7560 litres per week

$32.87

$67.352

33480 litres per month

$145.57

$298.731

401760 litres per year

$1746.85

$3579.280

A water leak at 45 litres per minute is only a relatively small leak in larger pipes. It is unlikely to show up as bubbling at the ground unless it is directly under the grass in a shallow trench. Even looking at your water meter, it will not be evident unless you are testing your water use at the meter by checking for a water leak.

How much does a leak cost per litre?

We have always recommended that you test your water usage through your water meter every month. By having comparable figures, you will soon ascertain whether you have a leaking pipe.

We have always recommended that you install an AquaTrip water leak detection system after your water meter. An AquaTrip Water Leak detection system with an integrated automatic shutoff valve supplied and installed by Whywait Plumbing is a permanently installed leak detection protection system that quietly protects against leaks 24/7. It is a one time only insurance payment.

With our modern leak detection methods, it’s an easier task to locate a leak. However, unless you have an AquaTrip installed or use our 24/7 water monitoring service, you will still pay for a large amount of lost water before you become aware of the water leak.

If you think you have a water leak contact us because every litre that you lose is costing you $0.004348 for residential properties or $0.008909 for businesses on your Gold Coast water bill. If you naively feel that is inconsequential, we have just rectified a leak for a commercial business client in a 50mm underground polypipe water main that was leaking 106 kL every day, which is 106000 litres every 24 hours. This leak cost $944.354 every day.

Gold Coast Leaking Roof Repairs

Gold Coast Leaking Roof Repairs

What do you do when your roof is leaking?

A Gold Coast leaking roof is common as our weather is notorious for extreme rain events. Summer storms are the most likely time you may experience a leaking roof. Heavy rain accompanied by strong winds can create the scenario for a roof leak that cannot be replicated. Like all plumbing problems, a leaking roof will not go away.

Signs that you have a leaking roof

gold coast leaking roof with heavy rain pouring from gutters repaired by Whywait Plumbing

heavy rain causing gutters to overflow can create a Gold Coast leaking roof especially if you also have blocked stormwater drains

A leaking roof does not always show up when the rain is pouring down. Obviously, the water inundation occurs during the storm, but signs of the roof leak can show up much later.

Water dripping through the light fittings or a crack in the ceiling creating a wet patch is a visible sign you have a Gold Coast leaking roof. Some of the obvious signs that you have a leaking roof are:

  • water drips occur while it is raining or shortly after the rain stops
  • water is running down interior walls
  • the water drops will be a dirty brown colour resulting in dirty wet stains on gyprock ceilings
  • your gyprock ceiling develops a bulge
  • gyprock ceilings or walls become mouldy
  • ceiling insulation is wet

Water damage from a roof leak

A Gold Coast leaking roof is an unwanted water feature that can create multiple hazards in your home or business premises that include:

  • damage to the timber trusses that hold your roof up
  • bulging to the gyprock ceiling that can result in it falling down in sections that are inundated with rainwater
  • damaged roof insulation
  • damage to electric lights and wiring
  • create a breeding ground for mosquitos

Health risks from a leaking roof

An obvious risk from any water leak is the occurrence of mould and mildew. An intermittent roof leak that creates dampness is more likely to create the perfect breeding ground for mould in carpet and gyprock.

Mould spores from wet carpet, gyprock ceilings and walls can transfer quickly via air conditioning that can cause respiratory issues for everyone who comes in contact.

gold coast leaking roof repairs from Whywait plumbing servicesWhat you should do if your roof starts leaking

A roof leak that suddenly occurs as a result of storm damage will usually take you by surprise. The first thing to do if you experience a sudden roof leak during a storm is to move furniture, electrical appliances and any valuable personal belongings away from the leak area. If you cannot transfer your furniture, try to cover it.

Once you have moved your personal belongings, try to put a bucket under the water drip to contain the mess from the dripping water. Having further buckets is a necessity so you can empty the buckets. If the water is spreading use towels to contain it and try mopping the area to soak up as much water as possible.

How to repair a Gold Coast leaking roof

A roof leak needs to be investigated and repaired as soon as you become aware of it. Roofing repairs are not DIY jobs and squeezing silicon all over a roof achieves very little. A roof can be a dangerous place with falls from roofs by DIY warriors accounting for a large number of hospital admissions.

There are no quick fixes with a leaking roof. A leaking roof can be leaking in more than one place, and it is a process of elimination to solve the roof leak. You need to be aware that your house insurance will cover you for storm damage. However, if the water damage is attributed to your negligence due to you ignoring a previous leaking roof, there is a strong possibility they will reject your insurance claim.

Whywait Plumbing is Gold Coast leaking roof specialists. Our plumbing technicians have experienced most leaking roof issues and will ensure your roof is inspected and repaired before the water damage becomes worse.

Call us today on (07) 5580 4311 to organise for a fully licensed Whywait Plumbing roof leak expert to inspect your roof.

How much will a leak add to your Gold Coast water bill?

How much will a leak add to your Gold Coast water bill?

Whywait Plumbing how to read your water meterYour Gold Coast water bill issued by the City of Gold Coast as a Water and Sewerage Rate Notice arrives every three months. Currently, every water meter is manually read every three months with your Gold Coast water bill coming soon after. The cost of water is set every year as part of the budget process with the detailed current water pricing for 2020-21 available from Gold Coast Water.

What are the costs on your Gold Coast water bill?

For most homeowners who use around the average daily water usage of 451 litres, the highest costs in the quarterly Gold Coast water bill are their sewerage and water access service charges. If you look closely at your water bill you can see that you have the following access charges:

Residential Charges Cost
Sewerage access charge per quarter

$181.03

Water access charge per quarter

$53.02

Total Access Charges per Quarter

$234.05

The usage charges per kilolitre as measured by your water meter are made up of council charges and Queensland Government charges as below:

Residential Charges Cost

City of Gold Coast water per kilolitre

$1.090

Queensland Government water per kilolitre

$3.122

Total Cost of Water per Kilolitre

$4.212

In reality, even if you did not use one drop of water, you would still pay for water and sewerage access service charges of $234.05 every quarter or $936.20 every year.

In our experience, the average water use of 451 litres or 0.451kL per property is not an accurate guide to your water use. Most homes with more than one occupant will use 1-2 kL every day. Remember your water usage will vary every day based on the number of occupants at home each day, and their water use behaviours. That is why we recommend you read your water meter weekly as that will give you a better guide about your average consumption but will also alert you to a potential water leak.

The real cost of water dripping from a tap

What will cause your usage charges to blow out is having leaking water. Leaking taps and toilets are frequently overlooked and put off to another day. A dripping tap that drips one drop every second will use 40 litres of water a day. The reality is that it becomes 280 litres a week and then 1214 litres a month and then 14560 litres a year. This is all water charged for on your Gold Coast water bill that you never utilised for any useful purpose.

If we translate the litres wasted to the cost of water, then the numbers become real.

Cost of a Dripping Tap at 1 drip per second Residential Cost at $4.212 per kL or 1000 litres Business Cost at $8.662 per kL or 1000 litres

1.66 litres per hour

$0.007

$0.014

40 litres per day

$0.169

$0.347

280 litres per week

$1.180

$2.425

1214 litres per month

$5.114

$10.516

14560 litres per year

$61.327

$126.119

The real cost of a leaking underground water main

A dripping tap or running toilet you can visually sight but the real killer to your Gold Coast water bill is your underground water main pipe leaking. For residential users, these are usually leaking polypipe water mains that were never installed correctly when the house was built. Only occasionally is a water leak apparent and bubbling to the ground. Most of the time they are a silent Gold Coast water bill killer leaking 24/7 undetected.

There is no real average for any leaking water main because it depends on the type of break in the pipe and what the incoming water pressure is.  Currently, we have a small leak where we have water monitoring installed that is leaking on average of 44 litres per hour, so we use that as a basis for what a leaking water main will cost on a Gold Coast water bill.

Cost of a leaking underground water main at 44 litres per hour Residential Cost at $4.212 per kL or 1000 litres Business Cost at $8.662 per kL or 1000 litres
44 litres per hour

$0.185

$0.381

528 litres per day

$2.223

$4.574

3696 litres per week

$15.568

$32.015

16016 litres per month

$67.459

$138.731

192192 litres per year

$809.513

$1664.767

A leak at 44 litres per minute is only a small leak. It is highly unlikely to show up bubbling to the ground unless it is directly under the grass in a shallow trench. Even looking at your water meter, it will not be evident unless you are testing your water use at the meter by checking for a water leak.

How much does a leak cost per litre

We have always recommended that you test your water usage through your water meter every month. By having comparable figures, you will soon ascertain whether you have a leaking pipe.

We have always recommended that you install an AquaTrip water leak detection system after your water meter. An AquaTrip Water Leak detection system with an integrated automatic shutoff valve supplied and installed by Whywait Plumbing is a permanently installed leak detection protection system that quietly protects against leaks 24/7. It is a one time only insurance payment.

With our modern leak detection methods, it’s a much easier job to find a leak but unless you have an AquaTrip installed or use our water monitoring service you will still pay for a lot of lost water before you become aware of the leak.

If you think you have a leak contact us because every litre that you lose is costing you $0.004212 for residential properties or $0.008662 for businesses on your Gold Coast water bill. If you believe that is inconsequential, we have just rectified a leak for a business client that was in a 40mm underground pipe that was leaking 96 kL every day, which is 96000 litres every 24 hours. This leak was costing $831.55 every day.

Plumbing is Critical Public Health so Avoid Scams by Unlicensed Plumbers Due to COVID-19

Plumbing is Critical Public Health so Avoid Scams by Unlicensed Plumbers Due to COVID-19

Who can work on your plumbing?

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.

QBCC licensed plumber Whywait Plumbing Services does not employ unlicensed plumbers
  • All individuals and companies must hold a QBCC licence for any building works that involve any work that is:
  • Plumbing
  • Drainage
  • Gas Fitting

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 sight the QBCC licences visually. A QBCC occupational licence enables the person to carry out the work physically. A QBCC contractor licence allows the person to engage in contracting for the work.

Can plumbing work be undertaken by unlicensed plumbers or handymen?

Daniel Mays checking for unlicensed plumbers at Whywait PlumbingListed below is unregulated plumbing work that can be performed by an unlicensed plumber in accordance with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 and Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019. An appropriately licensed plumber must do all other plumbing and drainage work:

  • Replacing a showerhead or shower rose
  • Replacing a domestic water filter cartridge
  • Replacing a jumper valve or washer in a tap
  • 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 entirely 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 requested.

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.

Just remember there is no such occupational listing called unlicensed plumbers in Australia in any state or territory.

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