Licensed plumbers to face additional inspections if work found to be non-compliant

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is getting tougher on licensed plumbers whose work fails routine compliance audits. Failed audits will prompt an additional VBA inspection of the plumber’s work within four weeks.

The new measure came into effect on 1 June 2019, as the VBA seeks to boost the level of compliance in the industry by encouraging behavioural change among licensed plumbers.

The VBA’s Acting Director of Enquiries, Inspections and Complaints, David Brockman, said the decision to implement the follow-up audit was taken to combat the consistently high failure rate of work in the same plumbing classes.

“Each month, the VBA reports on its plumbing audit and inspection activities, identifying the most prevalent risk-based non-compliant plumbing work,” Mr Brockman said. “Over the past year, the same non-compliant plumbing practices have been identified during risk-based audits.”

Four of the most common areas of failure are:

  • not achieving the minimum clearance between the highest part of the highest burner of the gas cooking appliance and the rangehood or exhaust fan
  • neglecting to install a pressure-reducing device to manage maximum static pressure
  • failing to provide appropriately marked toughened safety glass when it is used as the splashback of a gas cooking appliance; and
  • installing eaves guttering systems without properly applied provision for overflow to prevent overflow back into the building.

VBA compliance auditors conduct on-site, risk-based audits of plumbing work for which a compliance certificate has been lodged. This is done to ensure the work complies with all relevant plumbing standards and local laws. Risk-based auditing of certified plumbing work is carried out throughout Victoria.

If plumbing work is identified as being non-compliant, the licensed plumber responsible will be issued with a rectification notice and must demonstrate that compliance has been achieved at a re-audit within the advised timeframe. They will then be selected for another audit within four weeks.

Licensed plumbers may be required by an authorised person under legislation to attend an audit. If they refuse or do not attend when agreed, they may be subject to further compliance measures.

Mr Brockman said licensed plumbers with concerns about the auditing process should contact the VBA on 1300 815 127 to speak with a Plumbing Audit Team member or email