Plumbing regulations – 2018 changes

The main changes made by the Plumbing Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) are:

  • introducing an additional two-year period of practical experience requirement to be eligible for licensing
  • reclassifying two current specialised classes of work as main classes
  • clarification that routine service work on fire protection equipment is regulated under the fire protection class
  • the creation of a new specialised class for thermostatic mixing valve work
  • the introduction of new technical requirements for:
    • the laying of sanitary drains under buildings
    • backflow prevention devices where a hand-held spray may be used next to a water closet.

Changes that commenced on 18 November 2018

New minimum experience requirement for licensing

The experience requirement for eligibility for licensing has changed. Following the completion of an apprenticeship, two further years of practical experience must be gained before applying for a licence. People applying from a non-apprenticeship background must also have this additional period of practical experience.

Reclassification of some classes

Type B gasfitting work and Refrigerated air-conditioning work have been reclassified as main classes of plumbing work, effective from 18 November 2018.

The changes mean that plumbers are no longer required to be registered in the main class of Gasfitting work to be eligible for registration/licensing in Type B gasfitting work. Similarly, plumbers no longer need to hold the Mechanical services work class to be eligible for registration/ licensing in Refrigerated air-conditioning work.

Changes to definitions of classes of work

The Regulations also contain changes to the definitions (or 'scopes of work') for some of the classes of plumbing work and clarify the type of work regulated under each class. For more information see New definitions to classes of plumbing work (PDF, 203.34 KB).

Clarification regarding routine service work on fire protection equipment

A specific reference to 'routine servicing' has been included in the definition of fire protection work. The updated definition clarifies the requirement that the routine servicing of fire protection systems and equipment must be carried out by a person registered or licensed in Fire protection work. It is likely that one or more forms of a restricted class of fire protection work will be created to transition current unregistered providers who are competent to comply with the regulatory requirements.

Changes to approved competency units

The Regulations prescribe the qualifications required for registration and licensing in each class of work. These requirements include completion of the VBA’s approved units of competency. The VBA’s approved units of competency have been updated to coincide with the commencement of the new regulations.

You can see the current units of competency for each class of work in the New registrations and licences section of the website.

Changes to commence on 18 November 2019

New specialised class – Thermostatic mixing valve (TMV)

Thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) work is a new specialised class of work that includes the repair, alteration, maintenance and testing of a TMV. This new specialised class will commence on 18 November 2019.

Changes to Mechanical services work – single-head split systems

From 18 November 2019, the servicing, maintenance and repair of single-head split systems will no longer be included under the Mechanical services class. The Mechanical services class will only allow the installation and commissioning of single-head split systems.

The changes mean that plumbers holding the Mechanical services class who wish to service, repair and maintain single-head split systems will have to complete the required competency units (or otherwise demonstrate competence) to continue to undertake this work.

The introduction of this change has been delayed 12 months to provide a transitional period for plumbers to undertake this training. Accordingly, mechanical services plumbers can continue to service, maintain and repair these systems until 17 November 2019.