Issuing compliance certificates

Part 12A of the Building Act 1993 (the Act) sets out the requirements for compliance certificates.

A compliance certificate must be issued by a licensed plumber for certain types of plumbing work carried out in Victoria. A compliance certificate certifies that the work complies with prescribed plumbing standards.

Only licensed plumbers can issue a compliance certificate. Registered plumbers must either work under the supervision of a licensed plumber or limit themselves to plumbing work that does not require a compliance certificate.

When a compliance certificate is required

A compliance certificate must be issued in the following circumstances:

  • where the total value of work (including materials, appliances, labour and GST) exceeds $750
    Note: The cost of materials and appliances must be included, regardless of whether they were supplied by another person.
  • for the following types of plumbing work, regardless of the total value of the work:
    • the installation, relocation or replacement of any Type A gas-using appliances, regardless of the cost
      Note: Complex gas installation and Type B appliances are not covered by the VBA's compliance certificate scheme. This work is overseen by Energy Safe Victoria.
    • the conversion of a gas-using appliance for use with a different gaseous fuel
    • the installation, modification or relocation of consumer gas piping (other than work carried out on behalf of a gas company)
    • the construction, installation or alteration of any below-ground sanitary drain or associated gullies
    • the construction, installation, alteration, relocation or replacement of a cooling tower or of any other part of a cooling tower system, including the installation or replacement of any associated device or equipment.

If you are a licensed plumber issuing a compliance certificate, you must issue it to the customer within five days of completing the plumbing work, or within five days of the termination of a plumbing work contract. You must also lodge the compliance certificate with the VBA within five days of completion of plumbing work. This needs to be done through VBA360.

When a compliance certificate can be issued

A licensed plumber can only issue a compliance certificate if they have:

  • carried out or completed the work themselves
  • supervised a registered plumber (including someone with a provisional registration) or apprentice carrying out the work
  • engaged another licensed plumber to carry out the work
  • completed the plumbing work started by another licensed plumber, provided that the plumber issuing the certificate:
    • has inspected or tested the work that was carried out before they carried out any work, and
    • carried out any work that was required to complete the plumbing work or supervised the carrying of the completion work, and
    • states in the compliance certificate that the work complies with the requirements in the certificate and the plumbing laws.

It is an offence for a licensed plumber to issue a compliance certificate for work they have not completed or supervised. This could result in the licensed plumber and customer not being covered by the mandatory plumbing insurance.

Supervised work

A licensed plumber must not issue a certificate for plumbing work that has been carried out by someone else, except in limited circumstances where the licensed plumber has supervised the work carried out by a registered plumber or apprentice.

The Act restricts ‘supervision’ to circumstances where:

  • the plumbing work is carried out in the licensed plumber’s presence, at their direction and on their behalf, or
  • the work is carried out on the licensed plumber’s behalf and they:
    • specify the method and manner in which the work is carried out, and
    • inspect the carrying out of the work to ensure it is carried out safely and competently, taking into account the nature of the work, the risks involved, the knowledge and experience of the person carrying out the work.

A licensed plumber must not permit or direct anyone to carry out on their behalf any plumbing work that is of a class for which the person is not licensed or registered.

Also, a licensed plumber must not permit a person to carry out, on their behalf, work that is defective or involves the use of materials that do not comply with the plumbing laws.

Details that should be on the compliance certificate

A compliance certificate must contain the following information:

  • where applicable, the eleven-digit consent number and confirmation that the plumber has lodged an ‘as-laid’ plan with the relevant water authority
  • details of appliances and fixtures installed with any comments the plumber considers necessary to specify the extent of the work they have carried out
  • if for any reason the plumber has not completed the work, the certificate must note that the work was not completed, why it was not completed and to what stage it was completed.

The licensed plumber must still issue a compliance certificate for incomplete plumbing work they have undertaken that requires a compliance certificate.

Purchasing compliance certificates

Licensed plumbers can purchase a compliance certificate through VBA360.

Visit the Fees page for up-to-date fees for compliance certificates.

Transferring a compliance certificate

In limited circumstances, licensed plumbers can transfer purchased compliance certificates online via VBA360.

A  licensed plumber will be prompted in VBA360 to complete a Compliance Certificate Request Form if they wish to transfer ‘Purchased’ compliance certificate(s) to another licensed plumbing practitioner.

They can transfer allocated compliance certificates by completing the Compliance Certificate Transfer Form (PDF, 242.82 KB).

Complex gas installations

Complex gas installations cannot be self-certified using the compliance certificate method. This applies to installations that require a Start Work and Compliance Notice to be lodged with Energy Safe Victoria.

To find out more about complex gas installations, contact Energy Safe Victoria on 1800 652 563.