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A plumbing inspection by the council is not a guarantee and never has been. They are a compliance audit – nothing more, nothing less.

Recently Kelly from Hope Island sent me an email that began with the comment, “builders are liars, plumbers are incompetent, and the Gold Coast plumbing inspectors are frauds who take no responsibility…..”

I can only repeat to Kelly what many of us know and see every day in new or recently renovated buildings – “everyone who worked on your home did so because they were the cheapest, not because they were the best qualified and skilled to undertake the work.” Sadly that has become a reality in the construction industry.

The pressure by builders on plumbers to reduce prices and take “SHORTCUTS” increases daily, as I have stated previously, and in fairness, is frequently driven by the client demanding a “LOWER PRICE” and looking for the “BEST DEAL”.

In respect to Kelly’s comment about the Gold Coast plumbing inspectors, I understand the remark as there is a common urban myth that once your home or building has had a final inspection that it has been certified by the council and that the plumbing is perfect and that they are guaranteeing it.

This is incorrect as the plumbing inspector’s functions are set out in the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002. A plumbing inspector’s functions are to conduct investigations and inspections for monitoring and enforcing compliance with-

  • the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002; or
  • the Sustainable Planning Act 2009; or
  • the Local Government Act 2009.

The critical word in the legislation is COMPLIANCE. When the council inspector signs off the plumbing and drainage work on your home after being requested to undertake a final inspection by the licensed plumber responsible, you will only get a letter that says it is a PLUMBING AND DRAINAGE COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE. It will state clearly, “This Compliance Certificate approves the regulated work or on-site sewerage work for the above property in respect of Compliance Permit number…..”

A compliance certificate from the plumbing inspectors is not a guarantee in any way, shape or form and should not be construed as such.

Unfortunately and sadly but these days, it is ultimately up to you to ensure that you are getting high-standard, quality work by dealing with reputable, experienced licensed contractors who perform work to the standards set out in the Plumbing Code of Australia.

Always ask to see the plumber’s contractor’s license, and always ensure for insurance purposes, you get a copy of either the council compliance certificate or the QBCC Form 4 compliance certificate, depending upon the work you have had undertaken.