Staying out of hot water – top three audit findings and how to avoid them

Tuesday June 6 2017

Rangehood installations, tempering of heated water services and eaves gutters were among the top sources of plumbing audit failures detected by VBA auditors in April this year.

In April 2017, VBA auditors checked the work associated with 1,032 Compliance Certificates as part of the VBA's risk based compliance audis and inspection program. Of the 1,032 Compliance Certificates audited, 212 (20.54%) failed the Risk Based Audit.

The top three causes of non-compliance were:

  • Minimum clearances between the highest part of the highest burner of a gas cooking appliance, and overhead combustible surfaces, rangehoods or exhaust fans is insufficient.
  • Heated water installations delivered water exceeding 50 degrees Celsius at the outlet of fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene.
  • Inappropriate overflow provision to the eaves gutters.

Non-compliant plumbing installations cause additional work and cost for licensed plumbers and may have serious safety consequences or other long-term consequences for consumers.

The VBA advises practitioners to consult the relevant plumbing standards and regulations for the type of work being conducted and to refer to the relevant VBA technical solution sheet for further information and examples. If further technical advice or clarification is required, practitioners can seek advice from the VBA technical advice line.

How can practitioners avoid the top three audit failings?
 
Minimum clearances between the highest part of the highest burner of a gas cooking appliance, and overhead combustible surfaces, rangehoods or exhaust fans.
 
The minimum clearances for domestic gas cooking appliances are set out in AS/NZS 5601.1:2013 – Gas installations Part 1: General installations, clause 6.10.1.1 (a).

Rangehoods and exhaust fans installed above domestic gas cooking appliances must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions which may state greater clearance requirements than the minimum specified in AS/NZS 5601.1. If no clearance is listed within the manufacturer's instructions, refer to the minimum clearances listed within AS/NZS 5601.1.

Heater water installations delivered water exceeding 50 degrees Celsius at the outlet of fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene.

A temperature control device must be installed when a water heater and its associated pipework is installed or when the heated water pipework is installed or altered.

Inappropriate overflow provision to the eaves gutters

AS/NZS 3500.3 – Plumbing and drainage Part 3: Stormwater drainage, Appendix G provides examples of overflow measures for eaves gutters.  More information on overflow measures for eaves gutters can be found in VBA Technical Solution Sheet 0.04 Roof Plumbing – Roof and Stormwater.

About the VBA audit process

Compliance Auditors conduct on-site audits of a sample of plumbing work for which a compliance certificate has been lodged. The Auditor's role is to ensure the plumbing work complies with all relevant plumbing laws. The compliance certificates to be audited each month are selected using risk based criteria.

More information on VBA plumbing Risk Based audit and drainage inspection outcomes can be found in the VBA Plumbing Audit Monthly report.

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