Plumbing in focus

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, plumbing activity in Victoria was the strongest it has ever been.

A record 435,379 plumbing compliance certificates were lodged in 2020-21, a 2.7 per cent increase compared to 2019-20, where 423,875 certificates were lodged.

More than 70 per cent of all plumbing work undertaken was valued between $1000 and $9999 last financial year, according to plumbing compliance certificate data, consistent with 2019-20 data.

In Q4 2020/21, from 1 April to 30 June 2021, 1990 plumbing audits, drain inspections and follow-up visits were conducted, with 1591 of these field-based and 399 digital audits.

The most prevalent non-compliance identified during these audits was roof plumbing, where 52 per cent of all non-compliance was noted. Fault items identified included failure: to provide appropriate overflow provision to the roof drainage system, to reconstruct the roof flashing/cappings to provide a weather tight and secure installation and to reconstruct the downpipe spreaders in an approved manner.

Other regularly observed non-compliances related to gasfitting (18 per cent), hot water plumbing (8 per cent), rainwater tank (6 per cent) and below ground sewer drainage (5 per cent).

During Q4, the VBA plumbing audits issued 165 infringement notices to plumbers who failed to ensure sanitary drainage/other plumbing work is ready for inspection at the date and time scheduled for inspection.

In addition to PAP, which focuses on the audit of complete, compliance-certified work, the VBA also undertakes plumbing inspections through its Proactive Inspections Program (PIP).

During Q4, inspectors conducted 1796 proactive plumbing inspections, resulting in the identification of 638 non-compliant elements.

A proactive plumbing inspection of six double storey dwellings and basement car park identified multiple issues with roof drainage and sanitary plumbing work.

Roof drainage plumbing non-compliance included undersized box gutter sumps, less than 400mm in length and insufficient overflow provision for the sumps were not installed to discharge all water clear, among other non-compliances.

Plumbing in focus

Figure 1:  Roof drainage and sanitary plumbing non-compliance at six double storey dwellings and basement car park.