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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.

How do you know a drain is blocked?

How do you know a drain is blocked?

Frequently a blocked sewer drain comes as a surprise. A common question asked of our plumbers is how do you know a drain is blocked?

To begin with, if your toilet is backing up and not draining, or your overflow relief gully is spewing out sewerage outside then, you need a blocked drains Gold Coast specialist plumber now. I guarantee DIY remedies such as baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain.

Unfortunately, not all blockages are immediately apparent. Let me assure you it is not normal to be experiencing gurgling in your drains or slow to drain toilets.

The reality is few blockages are a sudden occurrence. Usually, a blocked drain happens gradually so below we will list out common reasons to the question how do you know a drain is blocked.

How do you know a drain is blocked early warning signs

Early warning signs of an impending blocked drain are easily overlooked but below are the most common to look out for:

  • foul odours in your bathroom or toilet that never go away
  • gurgling noises from your toilet or floor wastes when no-one is using them
  • the toilet when flushed filling up the bowl then slowly draining away
  • the overflow relief gully (ORG) intermittently overflowing then slowly draining away
  • the water seal in your toilet completely being sucked away

What are the causes of a blocked drain?

The most common causes that we have seen recently why a drain becomes blocked is tree roots or buildups of flushable wipes. These, in turn, are commonly caused by:

  • broken sewer house drains that allow roots to infiltrate
  • poorly installed drains that have an incorrect fall that will enable buildups in the drain as they cannot flow away
  • low water flows in flat drains that allow accumulations of solids flushed into the sewer
  • objects flushed down the toilet such as flushable wipes, sanitary products or toys that do not break up in the water

Clearing your blocked drain

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above the answer to how do you know a drain is blocked is simple you need to call us on (07) 5580 4311 before you have no functional sewer house drain.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Will Not Clear Your Blocked Drain

Baking Soda and Vinegar Will Not Clear Your Blocked Drain

Sorry to disappoint you but I guarantee that mixing baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain. What I can guarantee is that you will create a lovely fizzy, bubbling concoction that will fascinate your kids and nothing else.

When you mix vinegar into baking soda, you create a bubbling chemical reaction that produces:

  • a small amount of sodium acetate which is a salt and also known as hot ice
  • ordinary H2O or water

What is not created is a magical chemical that will clear any form of blockage in your drains. I realise this is contrary to the popular urban myths spun by well-intentioned DIY gurus.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Will Not Break Down Buildups of Grease, Fats Oils & Hair

Baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain because it will not break down the buildups of grease, fats, oils or hair. To break them down so that they run away in water, you require a combination of heat and a surfactant.

In reality, if you have a slow draining shower, basin or sink drain, then don’t waste money on chemical solutions, use salt and hot water. All you need to do is pour half a cup of salt into the drain followed up by slowly pouring a couple of litres of water heated to just before boiling.

You may need to repeat this a few times, but it works by melting some of the grease and fat buildups. This is aided by the natural abrasiveness of the salt which acts as a scouring agent to force more of the grease and fat to flow with the water.

We use an enzyme product when we are clearing trade waste drains and grease traps. We can provide you with it also to ensure your internal waste pipes on the shower, basin or sink don’t clog up with grease, fats, soap or hair. Enzyme solutions need to be used regularly generally overnight, but they do work to keep your drains free from organic buildups. Best of all, by breaking down organic matter, they eliminate odour issues.

Simply baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain no matter how much you pour it down the drain. You will waste money on buying the baking soda and vinegar to create a lovely effervescence with lots of bubbles and fizzing.

You will waste money on buying the baking soda and vinegar to create a lovely effervescence with lots of bubbles and fizzing.

It is my experience that no chemical drain cleaner really clears drains in the long term. You may fluke a short term solution, but the only way to clear a drain properly is by mechanical means. I realise this means calling us on (07) 5580 4311 and spending money, but it works. The reality is we provide a permanent long term solution using our high-pressure jet rodding equipment that blasts away built-up grease, oil and fats.

Using DIY solutions only delays the inevitable, so why waste money on them and risk damaging your drains or having sewage overflow into your home.

How Does a Toilet Block?

How Does a Toilet Block?

Toilet blockages are more than an inconvenience!

How does a toilet block is a frequently asked question of our plumbers? Your toilet is after the kitchen sink the most commonly used plumbing fixture in your home. It goes without saying a blocked toilet is more than an inconvenience. For most people, a blocked toilet is an unpleasant experience that they don’t have the stomach to deal with and calling a plumber is their preferred option. So how does a toilet block seemingly without reason and ruin your day?

How does a toilet block with foreign objects?

Adhering to the three P’s rule of pee, poo and paper for your toilet ensure never having to ask how does a toilet block from foreign objects. blocked toilets plumber gold coast

Foreign objects are anything that is not toilet paper, urine or faeces. Toilet pans are not waste disposal units and are designed with one function, and that is to dispose of your bodily waste hygienically.

Toilet paper, despite some popular urban myths, does not block a toilet. Toilet paper is manufactured to dissolve in water and rapidly breaks down when you flush the toilet cistern.

In our experience, the biggest culprit and an absolute foreign object in a toilet pan are flushable wipes. Flushable wipes are anything but flushable and cause toilets and sewers to block up and create horrendous plumbing repair bills.

Other foreign objects we frequently see in a blocked toilet are paper towels, facial tissues, cotton tips, Q-tips, cotton buds, ear cleaners, hair removal wax strips, cotton balls, pantie liners, sanitary napkins and our old favourite of children’s toys.

Tampons are frequently blamed for blocking a toilet or drain and yes they are a foreign object. The reality is that a tampon is too small and flexible to cause a toilet to block. We frequently see real estate leasing managers trying to blame a blocked toilet on tampons, but they are a visible symptom of the blockage, not a cause.

The best method of eliminating your toilet from becoming a rubbish bin is to keep a bathroom waste bin in the toilet or bathroom. It is also a good idea to train your children from an early age on what is safe to flush down a toilet bowl.

How does a toilet block in a toilet pan trap?

The reason there is water in your toilet is that the curved bottom part of the toilet is a trap. The toilet bowl trap is literally what it says a trap. 

The trap retains water in it every time you flush the toilet. The purpose of the trap is to prevent foul sewer odours escaping from the drains and entering your home.

Foreign objects are the primary cause of a blockage in the trap, especially if they are rigid and lodge in the trap outlet. In many circumstances, they can be dislodged and the blockage cleared by using a plunger. If you are attempting to clear it yourself with a plunger, let the water drain down before trying to plunge your toilet into preventing sewage water splashing onto your floor.

Toilet paper is frequently blamed for creating a blockage in the trap. In most circumstances, there is a foreign object lodged in the trap outlet that prevents the toilet paper from flushing away.

If you are experiencing frequent blockages to your toilet, then you have one of the following:

  • a toilet pan that was manufactured in the 1990s that was not compatible with the water flow from the cistern
  • poor quality toilet paper that is not breaking up in the water as required
  • an offset pan collar under the toilet that is restricting flow into the sewer drain

If you are experiencing this scenario, it is a process of elimination. The first thing to do is to try a different brand of toilet paper or even try limiting the amount of toilet paper being used. If that does not solve the blockages, then you need to have your toilet suite and drain connection checked out and possibly have it upgraded.

How does a toilet block from a blocked sewer drain?

Commonly the majority of blocked toilets are a symptom of a blocked main sewer drain. The toilet becoming completely blocked or slow to drain is because the sewer drains are full and there is nowhere for the water in the toilet to go.

If you have a blocked sewer drain, then all of your plumbing fixtures will cease draining. In this situation, plunging the toilet will achieve absolutely nothing. Worst of all, you will likely end up with sewerage all over your floor.

You were likely receiving warning signals from your sewer drain with gurgling sounds from the toilet, and it was slow to drain when flushed.

Gurgling sounds from any plumbing fixture should never be ignored as they seldom go away and should be investigated immediately if it continues to occur.

If you are experiencing regular blockages in your toilet or hearing gurgling sounds, then you need to call us on (07) 5580 4311 before you experience a complete shut down of your main sewer house drain system.

 

How long does a bathroom renovation take?

How long does a bathroom renovation take?

Television renovation shows are not reality when it comes to a bathroom renovation. Sadly that’s the benchmark too many people use when they call us to discuss a bathroom renovation. We always know when a client phones and asks “how long does a bathroom renovation take” that they will have unreal expectations.bathroom renovation by Whywait Plumbing

The reality is that a well-planned bathroom renovation will take at least 4-6 weeks. A poorly planned bathroom renovation takes forever and is the most frustrating experience for everyone.

Your bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms to renovate and will need to last you at least ten years. What is hugely fashionable today will not be in two years.

A bathroom renovation is never straightforward and is all about planning, planning and more planning.

Get A Professional Design

There is a multitude of online tools that make designing a bathroom look easy. The reality is that doing your own design can be a false economy.

Getting the floor plan design right from the beginning is your number one priority. I guarantee it will save you money in the long term. A professional bathroom designer will ensure you get what you want. Everyone else involved with the bathroom renovation will be able to give you precise costings based on the design plans.

Remember it’s your bathroom so don’t be intimidated by a bathroom designer. Work with their suggestions and opinions to get the bathroom you want.

Relocating Plumbing is Expensive

bathroom renovation relocation of plumbing by Whywait Plumbing

relocation of plumbing starts with exploration to discover where the drains are hidden in walls

If you have a concrete slab, then relocating water pipes and drains is expensive. If you have a wooden floor and can get under the house, the relocation of your plumbing is much simpler.

In our experience, the unnecessary relocation of drains frequently causes budget blowouts. Utilising your existing plumbing layout will significantly reduce the cost of your bathroom renovation.

Even marginal changes can cause a budget blowout because the plumbing located in the concrete slab can be vastly different once we start exposing it.

As I said, a wooden floor where there is access to the plumbing underneath is a vastly different proposition because all of the plumbing is visible. This gives you much more scope in your bathroom renovation to rearrange the layout of your fixtures.

Draw Up a Specification

a bathroom renovation involves demolishing the existing bathroom by Whywait Plumbing

demolishing your existing bathroom creates a mess very fast

A precise specification of what you want in your bathroom renovation will save everyone a lot of heartache and frustration once work begins.

Project managing your bathroom renovation is not hard providing you have clear floor design plans and precise, unambiguous specifications.

Checklists are a must for your budget peace of mind for the tiler, electrician, plumber, plasterer and painter. This ensures everyone knows what their tasks are and where they stand from the beginning.

If it’s not written down, then you can guarantee you will get a continuous flow of variations that will blow your budget to pieces.

Avoid Reusing Parts of Your Existing Bathroom

The best way to renovate a bathroom is to strip everything back to the bare floor and framework. Keeping parts of your existing bathroom defeats the purpose of having a brand new bathroom.

We frequently see clients keeping the existing ceiling, but it saves very little and is frustrating working around it to install new lighting and extraction fans.

Reusing bathroom fixtures such as the mixer taps or toilet suite or bath save little as it means we have to remove them, clean them up and reinstall them carefully. All you are saving on is the cost of the fixture, which these days is often marginal.

Use Quality Fixtures and Fittings

luxury bathroom renovation by Whywait Plumbing

Opting for cheap no brand plumbing fixtures will lead to future maintenance problems. Frequently if there is no manufacturers brand name visible, then the plumbing fixtures are a poor quality that will not last past a couple of years.

There are plenty of quality taps and toilets that will not squeeze your budget. Avoid fashionable colours in taps as in my opinion chrome never goes out of fashion and always cleans up well.

Investing in good quality custom built vanity cabinets will give you much more value and aid the functionality of the bathroom. Investing in a quality frameless shower screen will again support the functionality of the bathroom.

Planning is the Answer

As I said, previously, the key to a bathroom renovation is about the preparation. A well-planned bathroom renovation with precise specifications ensures that the work requirements are clear and everyone will happily fulfil their obligations.

What is a Plumbing Emergency?

What is a Plumbing Emergency?

It is my experience that many clients mistakenly believe their job is a plumbing emergency.  The reality is that most are not and just require routine maintenance unless they are:

  • putting your or your family’s life at risk
  • flooding your house

Life-Threatening Plumbing Emergency

Gas Leaks

lraking gas is a plumbing emergency at Whywait PlumbingLeaking gas, whether it’s natural gas or LPG, is dangerous. There are no DIY gas repairs; you must always use a licensed gas fitter.

LPG is highly flammable and being a dense gas; it will sink to your floor and build in intensity. Natural gas is not as combustible as LPG but still dangerous, especially in confined spaces in your home.

If you suspect you can smell gas, then you likely have a gas leak. You need to immediately isolate the gas supply to your home at either the gas meter or at the gas bottles. Once isolated, call us immediately to organise a service call.

While you are waiting for us to arrive at your home ventilate your house by opening doors and windows. Ensure you turn off all your gas appliances and as a precaution your electrical appliances as well. Above all, do not use any naked flames.

Sewage Overflow

overflowing sewage is a plumbing emergency so call Whywait Plumbing nowOverflowing sewage from toilets or floor wastes needs to be taken seriously. Raw sewage flowing into your house or outside is hazardous, and the risk of contamination is real.

Drains overflowing inside or outside your home require urgent attention, which is why we have a 1-hour emergency plumbing response for overflowing blocked drains. Blocked drains are a potential health hazard and need to be solved by trained plumbers with the correct equipment.

Don’t be fooled that overflowing sewage is only from your sewer drains. Sewage overflow can originate from outside your property very quickly, primarily if your home is located below other properties or if you live in a highrise apartment.

Don’t try to solve raw sewage lying around your home yourself as mopping it up solves nothing. Raw sewage contains parasites, fungi and bacteria that will soak into your floors and walls.

The photo on the right is where we had raw sewage flowing through a three-story terrace house and had to remove all the carpet and throw it away as can be seen on the lawn. The sewage had penetrated floors and walls which all required which required a combination of structural drying restoration and replacement of gyprock plaster wall linings.

Burst Pipe

a burst flexi hose is a plumbing emergency so call Whywait PlumbingA burst water pipe or flexi hose is now an everyday occurrence for plumbers. This is due to the amount of plastic piping now installed in homes instead of copper pipe.

A burst flexi hose is unfortunately all too common. An average house now has multiple flexi hoses installed under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom vanity basins, under the toilet cistern and the laundry tub. The reality is that every flexi hose connected is potentially a ticking time bomb.

Burst or ruptured plastic hot and cold water reticulation pipes occur for multiple reasons such as age, high pressure, poor installation, accidentally drilling into them, poor quality pipe fittings or faulty workmanship.

A burst pipe can cause damage fast to your furniture, floor coverings, kitchen cabinets, vanity cabinets, walls and floors. You need to turn your water off quickly when you experience a burst with the best place at the isolating valve at your water meter. Once isolated, call us immediately as this is a plumbing emergency.

A burst pipe or flexi hose is not a DIY repair and needs to be done compliantly by a licensed plumber who will ensure that the pipe is repaired with approved WaterMark products in accordance with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

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