Why do Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes?

Why do Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes?

I recently had a client comment that Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes far more than doctors bury their mistakes. It is a comment I cannot disagree with in any way. Increasingly we see underground plumbing work that is so non-compliant it’s confirming Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes, knowingly and deliberately.

Whywait Plumbing do not accept that Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes

Calling them mistakes is not being truthful because we all know it’s a deliberate act to cut costs. We all understand those plumbing companies that choose to undertake construction work are under enormous competitive pressure to reduce construction costs continually.

However, because of these plumbing companies buckling to pressure from project managers, builders and developers, they are in an ever downward spiral of negligently breaking the law. The reality is all of the parties involved in the lawbreaking know the chances of them getting caught are slim as the inspections by City of Gold Coast’s plumbing, and drainage inspectors are cursory at best.

Underground water pipes, house sewer drains and house stormwater drains are all buried underground. Unfortunately for property owners, it can take years before the problems become apparent and they investigate the issue. By this time the original construction job is out of warranty, and the QBCC will show little interest in any investigation of negligence.

Investigation and rectification of non-compliant installation of underground plumbing infrastructure fall onto the hapless property owner. Rectification bills can be enormous, and the likelihood is there is no insurance coverage or any desire by the council or state regulatory authorities to investigate.

I believe we have the best plumbing regulations and standards in the world. We used to have the best enforcement in the world to ensure our buildings met the high standards required. The enforcement of the Plumbing and Drainage Act of 2018 and the preceding laws have become so lax that most buildings constructed in the last twenty years have multiple underground plumbing defects. Disastrously for property owners, the majority of these defects are waiting to break down and cause havoc finally.

Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes which causes water damage repaired by Whywait Plumbing

When these buried mistakes are covered by insurance and break down, causing water damage, every one of us bears a cost via ever-increasing property insurance premiums on all buildings. If enforcement had occurred at the construction stage, then this water damage would have never happened.

It is our experience as maintenance plumbers that builders and developers perceive they can reduce costs and increase profits by not complying with the Plumbing and Drainage act of 2018.

The legal obligations of complying with the Plumbing Code of Australia, which is Volume 3 of the National Construction Code, is not even a consideration.

I accept this lack of compliance has come about due to multiple factors and pressures. Nevertheless, this short-sighted attitude and systematic non-compliance with what is the law affects property owners with prodigious rectification costs. I believe that the project managers, builders, developers and plumbers involved in this ongoing fraud of property owners and insurance companies are well aware of what they are doing but blame it on:

  • Competitive pressures in the construction industry where the lowest price wins mentality rewards plumbers who take non-compliant short cuts to reduce costs to win jobs
  • All builders actively forcing cost-cutting on sub-contractors and suppliers
  • Time constraints on plumbers to complete the job and be paid
  • The reluctance of builders to inform clients that unforeseen issues have arisen which will increase the cost of construction
  • The failure of building certifiers and plumbing inspectors to defect non-compliant work and the turning of a blind eye to incorrectly graded trenches, lack of compaction and inappropriate backfilling of trenches
  • Continual lack of enforcement by the Queensland Government regulators

Every one of the above has in their view a justifiable excuse for what is occurring but all that is required is for the law to be obeyed. The Plumbing and Drainage Act of 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 merely need to be enforced to stop Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes attitude continuing.

By enforcing the law, everyone is a winner and will return us to the standards that previously existed where non-compliant work was defected without a second thought. Every plumber I discuss this with would be more than happy with this to occur as it would create a level playing field for the plumbing industry where efficiency was rewarded rather than non-compliant short cuts. It further protects property owners and the entire construction industry that is already under a cloud due to the cladding non-compliance in buildings throughout Australia.

Whywait Plumbing want to stop Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes attitude continuing

As licensed plumbers, we are mindful that non-compliant plumbing is a public health risk. I reiterate most of the non-compliant work is knowingly and deliberate which is ultimately negligent behaviour. Sooner or later insurance companies and no-win no-pay lawyers will awaken to the fact that this non-compliance is negligence resulting in the plumbing industry as a whole is portrayed as cowboys with no integrity ripping off poor property owners.

This is a scenario where no one wins except the lawyers. As a critical industry plumbers cannot allow a perception that plumbers as a whole are unable to undertake legally compliant work. We certainly need no more regulation we just need the existing laws and regulations enforced to protect the community’s health as a whole.

Council Plumbing Boss Fined For Illegal Contracting

Council Plumbing Boss Fined For Illegal Contracting

City of Gold Coast plumbing boss didn’t know he needed a plumbing contractors licence

“Council plumbing boss in hot water” and fined for illegal contracting is a headline that was hardly surprising for many Gold Coast plumbers who have had to deal with Keith Farrelly and were aware of the nepotism that has gone unchecked for over 20 years.

Keith Farrelly City of Gold Coast plumbing coordinatorFor years now if you had dealings with the City of Gold Coast’s council plumbing and drainage department, you would become aware of what has been common knowledge within the plumbing industry.

That is that the City of Gold Coast’s, Plumbing & Drainage department and in particular the plumbing inspectors are a deeply troubled organisation. Bullying, abuse of power, nepotism, cronyism and double standards are a daily occurrence.

Keith Farrelly fined for illegal contractingOn 13 April 2012 the Gold Coast Bulletin published the following story on page 5 as reprinted below:

Plumbing Boss in Hot Water

“The man in charge of the Gold Coast City Council’s plumbing department has been fined $2000 for carrying out unlawful building work. Keith Farrelly, the plumbing and drainage coordinator, was caught installing a hot-water system without a contractor licence.

While the department can be responsible for issuing infringement notices, Mr Farrelly claims he did not know he needed a licence to do the work.

A council spokesman said it would not take action against him because it did not relate to his role with the organisation. Mr Farrelly is appealing the fine. 

Building Services Authority general manager Ian Jennings confirmed Mr Farrelly had installed a solar hot water system without holding the appropriate class contractor licence.

The council spokesman said Mr Farrelly was doing the work free for his nephew. “(He was) unaware he needed a contractors’ licence to do this work which, under the Plumbing and Drainage Act, is regarded as minor work,” he said.

The spokesman said Mr Farrelly’s role involved dealing with requirements under the Plumbing and Drainage Act, not the Queensland building services contractors’ requirements.”

For struggling Gold Coast building and plumbing companies to discover that Keith Farrelly, the coordinator of Council’s Plumbing Department was fined $2000 by the Building Services Authority, (BSA) but now renamed the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, (QBCC) for carrying out unlicensed plumbing work is bad enough. To then find out he is still working for the city is an absolute disgrace.

An implausible excuse is acceptable at City of Gold Coast

Farrelly’s implausible excuse? He was helping out a relative at no charge. City of Gold Coast’s Integrity and Ethical Standards Unit along Senior bureaucrats have obviously found this implausible excuse acceptable. Farrelly is a senior council officer with more than 20 years of employment at the City of Gold Coast council. Farrelly hands out fines for breaches of the plumbing regulations and building codes daily yet we are expected to accept that he did not know his legal obligation under that same code.

Again, those senior bureaucrats and the Integrity and Ethical Standards Unit knew of this and chose to take no action. This raises the question of how much more remains hidden as their duty is clear. Many within the council are asking why the apparent protection of an officer who should have been immediately dismissed or at least suspended to enable an independent investigation to occur.

There are many plumbers and former council inspectors on the Gold Coast who will happily give the Integrity and Ethical Standards Unit plenty of evidence.

The City of Gold Coast needs to get to the bottom of this and investigate if this apparent protectionist attitude is endemic throughout the council and what else they are hiding. There should be no tolerance for this kind of cronyism in the council, and those responsible should be right now entertaining the prospect of joining the unemployment line which they have had a large part in creating on the Gold Coast.

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