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 as an unlicensed plumber. 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 a DIY handyman who 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 an unlicensed plumber or handyman?
Listed 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. All other plumbing and drainage work must be done by an appropriately licensed plumber:
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.
Checking a plumbers licence
Prior to letting anyone commence work on your plumbing, drainage or gas ask them for their licence as they are legally obliged to produce it for you if asked.
Despite everything that is happening with the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic emergency Whywait Plumbing will continue to be available 24/7 to service your plumbing, drainage and gas needs.
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
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 foaming hand sanitiser to keep their hands clean at all times
our company vehicles are kept clean at all times with Enzyme Wizard cleaning products
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.
Plumbing quotes over the phone are meaningless without any validation as they are based on perception rather than experienced observation and onsite investigation. Every day we receive phone calls asking us to diagnose a plumbing, drainage or gas problem over the phone. We can only talk in generalities based on the vague information we are given.
Generally, after receiving this general broad sweeping advice, we are then asked how much we would charge to undertake the repair. We then have to explain it’s impossible to give any accurate pricing over the phone without an onsite investigation to diagnose the actual problem.
“When we are asked to diagnose and quote a plumbing problem over the phone we put on our genie costume and look into our crystal ball.”
The reality is every plumbing problem is unique in its own way. Despite what you think plumbing installations can be complicated.
Regrettably, 90% of the plumbing infrastructure in any building is concealed.
So what you are observing and attempting to describe to us over the phone is regularly completely the reverse of what is transpiring under your floor or in the wall.
Sending us photos or videos can be of assistance. Even so they still only show the extent of the problem, not the actual cause. But the reality is we still cannot give you plumbing quotes over the phone as photos and videos never tell the complete story.
No Professional Plumber Will Give Plumbing Quotes Over The Phone
No professional plumber no matter how experienced they are can ever give legitimate plumbing quotes over the phone. There is only one way to diagnose a plumbing problem and that is by an on-site investigation. No matter what you think you can visually observe you are only seeing part of the potential problem at best. No two plumbing installations are ever wholly the same no matter how alike they may appear.
Unfortunately, there are too many plumbers who will give quotes over the phone. This is completely unprofessional and no more than a marketing ploy to entice you to engage them to come to solve your problem. Think about it would you expect a doctor to diagnose a medical condition over the phone. In reality, it’s actually easier to diagnose a medical problem over the phone than it is a plumbing problem but no doctor will do so without first examining you.
I guarantee that 99% of the time that the plumbing quotes over the phone increase within ten minutes of the plumber’s arrival. This will always be explained away by a myriad of excuses that your description of the problem was not accurately disclosed. It will always be your fault.
The reason the quote they provided to you over the phone increases is simple. Once on-site, the plumber can have a better understanding of all the variables. Even then once they start on the repairs there are frequently multiple changes to the cost as more faults appear that were not detected in the initial visual inspections.
Google Searches Do Not Make You a Plumber
It’s constantly amusing talking to someone who has obviously done a Google search to locate what the remedy to their plumbing problem is. Usually, they have already decided what rectification work is required and are ringing getting multiple plumbing quotes over the phone.
It is my experience that 90% of the time the diagnosis is wrong which in turn ensures the remedy they have decided upon on Google is wrong.
After their Google search, they further confuse themselves by talking to multiple plumbers which just creates further confusion. Ultimately every decision then just becomes about price so they choose a plumber who will come to site for free who advertises “No Call Out Fee”.
Once again this is a fallacy because no legitimate plumbing business can come to your house for free. Sending a fully equipped truck with a licensed plumber costs at least $150 so I guarantee you will pay all of the costs in one way or another.
Plumbing Problems Are A Challenge For Both Plumber and Client
The reality is solving plumbing problems takes time and patience. We accept that finding a reputable plumbing company can be daunting as often you need to act quickly when a plumbing emergency occurs.
Solving a plumbing problem that is not completely obvious such as water leaking out of a wall can be frustrating. Here at Whywait Plumbing, we are specialist maintenance plumbers so we know that a leak can be occurring in a multitude of locations and running internally until it finds a route to flow freely. That is why we don’t smash open walls or floors to look for the problem but instead use our leak detection equipment to pinpoint the location of the leak.
For a client, this can create a perception we are procrastinating but the reality is we are using our experience to solve the problem. When it comes to maintenance plumbing hiring an experienced specialist who is older and wiser will always remove the misconceptions.
Regrettably, plumbers are only remembered for the terrible events that occur such as a burst pipe or overflowing sewage. Due to the emergency type situations that most people call a plumber, there are numerous misconceptions about what a plumber can do and cannot do quickly. In too many circumstances this is aligned to the cost rather than the outcome.
Do yourself favour always and engage a plumber that is clearly experienced and been around a while. Above all else avoid the temptation to get plumbing quotes over the phone. You need to ensure that your plumber comes to the site and undertakes a thorough site inspection before any work is undertaken.
If you need assistance on any plumbing, drainage or gas problem call us 24/7 on (07) 55804311 as we have 43 years of experience in solving dilemmas that others cannot.
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:
Extending water supply pipes – this is any work on water reticulation pipes other than a fire service on an existing building
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
Existing sanitary plumbing – this any work on an existing building where sanitary plumbing is removed, replaced, altered or extended
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sanitary drains – this is any work undertaken to seal a sanitary drain after the connection point to the council sewer or a treatment plant
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:
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.
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.
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.