Building and Plumbing Regulatory Framework

The Victorian Building Authority held a series of information seminars across Victoria in April and May 2015 to provide building and plumbing practitioners with an update on matters related to the regulation of their industry, including an overview of the National Construction Code 2015.

Videos of these sessions are now available to view online via YouTube.

Watch videos from the plumbing session

Watch videos from the building session

The Building Act 1993

The Building Act 1993 (the Act) governs building activity in Victoria. It sets out the legislative framework for the regulation of building construction, building standards and the maintenance of specific building safety features.

The objectives of the Act are:

  • to protect the safety and health of people who use buildings and places of public entertainment
  • to enhance the amenity of buildings
  • to promote plumbing practices which protect the safety and health of people, and the integrity of water supply and waste water systems
  • to facilitate the adoption and efficient application of national building standards and national plumbing standards
  • to facilitate the cost effective construction and maintenance of buildings and plumbing systems
  • to facilitate the construction of environmentally and energy efficient buildings; and
  • to aid the achievement of an efficient and competitive building and plumbing industry.

Part 12A of the Act sets out the legislative framework for the regulation of plumbing work in Victoria, addressing matters such as:

  • the registration and licensing of plumbing practitioners
  • requirements relating to licensees self-certifying work via compliance certificates
  • the establishment of the Victorian Building Authority and its responsibilities relating to the regulation of plumbing work
  • the powers available to the Authority's inspectors and auditors in monitoring and enforcing the compliance of plumbing work with all regulatory requirements.

You can view a copy of the Act at the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.

Building Regulations

On Tuesday 16 February 2016, the Governor made the Subordinate Legislation (Building Regulations 2006) Extension Regulations 2016, which extends the operation of the Building Regulations 2006 until 5 June 2017.

The Government has commenced a program of reforms to the building system, including amendments to the Building Act 1993, to put in place a strengthened regulatory framework to improve domestic building consumer protection. The extension of these regulations will enable the replacement regulations to be aligned with the implementation of legislative reform.

The Building Regulations 2006 (The Regulations) are derived from the Act and contain, among other things, the requirements relating to:

  • building permits
  • building inspections
  • occupancy permits
  • enforcement of the Regulations
  • maintenance of buildings.

The Regulations adopt the Building Code of Australia as a technical reference that must be complied with.

New regulations or amendments to current regulations can be made according to the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994. That Act sets out requirements for the preparation, making and publication of new or amending regulations and requirements for a regulatory impact statement.

If you would like to propose an amendment to the Building Regulations 2006, submissions should be made by completing the Proposed Amendment Submission.

Plumbing Regulations

The Plumbing Regulations 2008 (the Regulations) are derived from the Act and contain among other things:

  • defining scopes for the various classes of plumbing work
  • setting out qualification and experience eligibility requirements for registration and licensing
  • the fees payable for registration and licensing applications
  • the technical requirements that work performed in specified classes of plumbing must comply with.

National Construction Code (NCC)

The NCC incorporates all on-site construction requirements into a single code. The NCC comprises the Building Code of Australia (BCA), Volume One and Two; and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), as Volume Three.

  • Volume One: pertains primarily to Class 2 to 9 buildings.
  • Volume Two: pertains primarily to Class 1 and 10 buildings.
  • Volume Three: pertains primarily to plumbing and drainage associated with all classes of buildings.

To download the NCC, visit the ABCB website

Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) which is an initiative of the Council of Australia Governments (COAG).

The BCA is updated annually and provides a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures.

The BCA is performance based and allows for state variations to provide additional requirements or cater for specific community expectations. This means it defines the way of achieving a specified outcome without prescribing a particular method.

Copies of the BCA (Volumes One and Two of the National Construction Code) can be purchased from the Australian Building Codes Board website.

Plumbing Code of Australia

The Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), forming Volume 3 of the NCC, is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Code Board (ABCB) which is an initiative of the Council of Australia Governments (COAG).

Copies of the PCA can be purchased from the Australian Building Codes Board website

The PCA contains the technical provisions for the design, construction, installation, replacement, repair, alteration and maintenance of:

  • water services
  • sanitary plumbing and drainage systems
  • stormwater drainage systems
  • heating
  • ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • on-site wastewater management systems.

The PCA also contains materials and product certification procedures, such as the WaterMark Certification Scheme, for certification of plumbing and drainage materials and products so that they may be authorised for their intended use.

The 2014 edition of the PCA replaces the previous 2013 edition and includes administrative changes as well as Victorian variations to the national code. Plumbing practitioners need to be aware of how the changes affect their work and are expected to comply with the new requirements where applicable.

A summary of the Victorian variations to the PCA changes is set out below.

Relevant PCA Section



Nature of change

Part C1

Sanitary plumbing systems
When AS/NZS 3500.5 is used as a Deemed to Satisfy solution for sanitary plumbing installations, it must follow the same requirements as specified under AS/NZS 3500.2Removal of inconsistency between referenced Standards AS/NZS 3500.2 and AS/NZS 3500.5:  a bath trap that is not accessible does not need to be discharged to a floorwaste gully.This Victorian variation to the PCA aligns AS/NZS 3500.5 with AS/NZS 3500.2

Part C2
Sanitary drainage systems

When drains are installed, the requirement for concrete support has been extended to all drains with bends greater than DN 65 forming risers from the drain.AS/NZS 3500.2 (Clause 5.39 (c)) and AS/NZS 3500.5 (Clause 4.29 (c)) amended to remove reference to "main" drain. This broadens the situations on when concrete support must be used for drains. This reduces the risk of damage to all below ground sanitary drainage bends when being cleared of blockages.Victorian variation to AS/NZS 3500.2 and AS/NZS 3500.5 in the PCA.
 Amendment limits when sand can be used as a bedding material for drains.Free flowing sand capable of passing through a 2mm mesh sieve and not containing clay, organic or any other deleterious materials can only be used in situations where ground water or surface water entering the trench will not disturb the sand. Victorian variation to AS/NZS 3500.2 (Clause 5.4.2 (c) (iv)Aligns with a long standing Victorian industry practice.