Dangerous plumbers to face immediate suspension

Site foreman indicating 'stop' with hand
Plumbers who put the health and safety of Victorians at risk through poor work practices could have their licence immediately suspended from today, under new powers given to the state plumbing regulator.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) will now be able to instantly stop plumbers from operating if it is in the public interest to do so.

The VBA’s Executive Director of Operations Lynda McAlary-Smith said the new power should signal a warning to those plumbers who do the wrong thing that they face the possibility of immediate suspension.

“We know the vast majority of plumbers do the right thing every day. These changes target those operators who do the wrong thing and bring the entire industry into disrepute.”

“We will not hesitate to take action against those plumbers who fail to work in a way that ensures the health and safety of their clients, themselves and those around them.”

Plumbers can be immediately suspended if:

  • their work or the work of others under the plumber’s control poses a serious risk to neighbouring properties
  • their work or the work of others under the plumber’s control poses a risk to the health and safety of persons
  • they have been the subject of multiple adverse disciplinary actions by the VBA

Pending an inquiry, the VBA may suspend a registration either wholly or as a partial suspension, depending on the matter at hand.

Plumbers will be required to give notice of a decision to cancel or suspend their licence or registration to anyone they have a contract with to carry out plumbing work.

The power to immediately suspend plumbers is part of the Building and Environment Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2020 taking effect today.

“The ability to immediately suspend plumbers brings them into line with builders who can already be immediately suspended – which helps to keep Victorians safe,” Ms McAlary-Smith said.

Plumbers have an obligation to operate safely in accordance with plumbing codes and standards.

To lawfully carry out plumbing work in one or more classes in Victoria, a plumber must be licensed in the class, registered in the class or be in training under the supervision of a licensed plumber.

To find a licensed plumber visit vba.vic.gov.au/find.