As good as Google can be for searching everything and anything I guarantee no-one at Google ever completed a plumbing apprenticeship or a medical degree or an electrical apprenticeship.
I was chatting with my GP recently, and she voiced her frustrations with patients that Google their symptoms and then make an appointment to see her. Almost invariably, Dr Google is wrong. Usually, the patient has typed in symptoms that frequently give an utterly incorrect diagnosis of multiple possible ailments. She said even more frustrating is that she then spends most of the appointment convincing them Dr Google was wrong.
She was so happy when I told her as plumbers we go through exactly the same issues daily. Everyone I know that is in a service industry that has a consumer focus has the same problems and frustrations of being an instant expert thanks to Dr Google or Google Plumbing or Google Electrical.
We all agree Google is excellent, especially for product searches. But when you are in business, it can also be incredibly frustrating when clients tell you they have Googled the problem and you are wrong. Ultimately for doctors or plumbers or electricians, all we can do is diagnose the issues based on the information presented and go through a process of elimination of possible causes.
The headline above comparing Dr Google to a drunk friend I just had to adapt and use after I saw it in a column by Tony Shepherd of The Adelaide Advertiser just after discussing Dr Google with my GP. I must admit it amused me as the description is perfect – dramatic and unreliable. You can read the full column by clicking here as it is a great read. The first lines are “Cyberchondriacs, step away from the search engine. Online symptom checkers are almost always wrong and should never replace a real medical professional, writes Tory Shepherd.”
This advice equally applies to plumbing because it can be difficult enough to diagnose plumbing problems when on site let alone on a computer or over the phone. As I continually reiterate no professional plumber can diagnose issues over the phone or give you an accurate price. There is only one way to diagnose plumbing problems, and that’s by having a real plumber on-site to investigate. Even then, complex issues become a process of elimination.
From the plumbing and ultimately health perspective, the most frightening issue we’ve seen with COVID-19 is all of the online suggestions on DIY installations of bidet seats and douche sprays. Google searches during the “toilet paper crisis” increased tenfold for bidet seats due to multiple social media posts and newspaper articles on so-called alternate toileting devices. Google will only ever give you generalised answers that are tailored to you as Google tracks you online with artificial intelligence.
Tony Shepherd correctly points out – “Maybe it’s best to think of Google not as a medical professional but as Librarian Google, who holds plenty of information and might be able to help you find it, but might also be miffed at the amount of noise you make so just points you in the general direction of some stuff.”
My favourite lines after that are – “Or Friend Google who, after three champagnes, will tell you everything’s going to be great, but at 2 am starts crying into their whisky about how you’re going to die.”
Those lines above sum up precisely the daily frustrations that so many consumer-focused service businesses experience. The old saying about computers of rubbish in, rubbish out is correct. The flawed Google searches of an inexperience person create multiple issues as nonsense input into a Google search will guarantee nonsense results.
Ultimately Google is a tool or research assistant that can help you put things together in a logical manner or can throw a real spanner in the works. A Google search cannot replace a doctor or an electrician or a plumber, no matter how good Google artificial intelligence is.
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 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:
Sewerage access charge per quarter
Water access charge per quarter
Total Access Charges per Quarter
The usage charges per kilolitre as measured by your water meter are made up of council charges and Queensland Government charges as below:
City of Gold Coast water per kilolitre
Queensland Government water per kilolitre
Total Cost of Water per Kilolitre
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
40 litres per day
280 litres per week
1214 litres per month
14560 litres per year
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
528 litres per day
3696 litres per week
16016 litres per month
192192 litres per year
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.
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 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?
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.
Despite everything that is happening with the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic emergency as your local Gold Coast Plumber Whywait Plumbing will continue to be available 24/7 to service your plumbing, drainage and gas needs. The current Queensland Government health directives advise that the plumbing industry is an essential service. This means our plumbers are exempt from the two-person rule when entering homes or private premises provided the appropriate social distancing and hygiene requirements are adhered to.
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.
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 as your Gold Coast Plumber.
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 wholly 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 always 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 onsite investigation. No matter what you think, you can visually observe, you only see 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 entirely 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 onsite, 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 continuously amusing talking to someone who has 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 only 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 a 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.