Plumbing registration and licensing
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) regulates plumbers, plumbing work and plumbing standards.
To lawfully carry out plumbing work in one or more of these classes in Victoria, you must be one of the following:
- licensed in the class
- registered in the class (or hold provisional registration in the class)
- be in training under the supervision of a licensed plumber.
Tell me about registration and licensing
For each class of plumbing that you are registered in, you:
- are lawfully able to carry out that plumbing work
- must comply with the relevant standards for that class and the Regulations
- must have a licensed plumber for that class sign off compliance certificates for work that you carry out over the value of $750.
Registration does not authorise you to:
- supervise apprentices or other plumbers
- sign compliance certificates.
For each class you are licensed in, you are authorised to:
- carry out plumbing work
- undertake design work
- supervise apprentices
- supervise other plumbers registered in the classes that you are licensed in
- sign compliance certificates for work done by:
- a plumber registered in that class that you supervised
- an apprentice that you supervised.
A licensed plumber is expected to have additional knowledge and experience compared to a plumber who holds registration. You must hold registration in the licence class your are applying for.
You must hold and maintain the required insurance for the classes in which you are licensed. This insurance protects consumers when plumbing work is found to be defective.
Find out more about the classes of plumbing and how to apply
Preparing your application
Before submitting your application, pleas ensure your application form is fully completed and any additional documentation, such as your evidence of identity or qualification is a certified photocopy of the original.
If you are submitting your application via email, your application should be in Portable Document File Format (.pdf).
FAQs and reference links
Please speak with the VBA. Call 1300 815 127 or email.
Every supporting document that you submit with your application must be certified as a true photocopy of an original.
A certified copy means a document that has been verified as a true copy of an original document. This is done by a person who is authorised to certify photocopies of original documents. Find out who can certify a document for you.
To have a document correctly certified:
- Photocopy the original document.
- Take both the original and the photocopy to an authorised person. Find out who can certify documents.
The certifier will:
- Examine the original to ensure it is not a copy or forged
- Examine the photocopy to ensure it is identical to original
The certifier will then write or stamp the copy with the words "Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me.” They will sign and date the copy, and write or stamp their:
- Personal or professional address, and
- Qualification as an authorised certifier
For multiple pages to the copy, the certifier will sign or initial and number all pages.
Further information on document certification can be found on the Department of Justice and Community Safety’s website.
Contact the VBA on 1300 815 127. We may be able to help you locate your past employer/supervisor.
No. If you are not already licensed in a class or specialised class of plumbing work, then you will not need to provide proof that you are covered by the required insurance at the time that you lodge your application.
But, if we decide to grant your application, then you will need to provide proof of your insurance. We will contact you to ask for this.
If you are already licensed in a class or specialised class of plumbing work, and you are applying to be licensed in another class, we will not require further insurance evidence before adding the additional class to your licence – unless the additional class is Type B gasfitting.
Insurance requirements for Type B gasfitting are contained in a different ministerial order. So, if you are applying for registration in an additional class that is Type B gasfitting, your insurance certificate of currency will need to be adjusted to cover both ministerial orders.
We recommend that you advise your insurer to make sure that you have met your disclosure obligations.
Any information that we receive in your application becomes the property of the VBA. So please send us only (certified) copies of your documents. Do not send the originals.
To be eligible to hold a Private Plumbing Work Licence (PPWL) a person must:
- be registered or eligible to be registered in the class of plumbing work sought under a PPWL
- hold the relevant qualifications and experience required for licence in the class of plumbing work sought under a PPWL
- be covered by the required insurance for PPWL. Read more information on the required insurance.
If you meet these two requirements, and you want to perform plumbing work only in your own home or that of a family member, then the VBA may grant you a Private Plumbing Work Licence.
Private plumbing work means plumbing work that meets the following four requirements:
- work to which s221ZH of the Building Act 1993 applies
- no monetary fee or other consideration is charged or received by the plumber or on the plumber's behalf for the work
- it is performed on or in relation to a family home
- it is one of not more than six plumbing works performed by the plumber in a 12 month period.
Family home means:
- a home in which the plumber has a proprietary interest and in which the plumber resides as his or her permanent residence, or
- a home in which a member of the plumber's family has a proprietary interest, and in which that family member resides as their permanent residence.
A member of the plumber's family means a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, cousin, niece or nephew of the plumber, or a parent or sibling of the plumber's spouse.
If you hold a Private Plumbing Work Licence, we will charge you a lower annual renewal fee and will sell you compliance certificates at a reduced price. Only a limited number of compliance certificates are available for purchase each year.
When we receive your application for registration or licence, we will send a letter to advise you of what happens next.
You may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a review of the VBA's decision on your application to be registered or licensed if you are dissatisfied with it. For information about how to apply to VCAT for a review of the VBA's decision, go to the VCAT website, or contact VCAT by telephone on (03) 9628 9755.
Individuals and companies who are found to be unlawfully engaging in regulated building or plumbing work risk prosecution and hefty financial penalties if they:
- carry out plumbing work
- falsely represent to the public that they hold registration or a licence for a class of plumbing work that they do not
- falsely represent to the public that they are registered building practitioners.
Registration and licence exams
As part of the assessment of the skills and knowledge of registration and licence applicants, the VBA may require an applicant to complete an exam and/or participate in an interview.
You may use permitted reference materials during an exam or interview. You can only use printed copies for online exams at this time.
View the permitted reference materials for each registration class.
You are required to use your own copies. If you are sitting:
- Exams at your training provider – they will advise whether you can use electronic or hard copy
- Interviews or exams held on the VBA premises, you may use electronic or printed copies
- Exams online at home, you are only permitted to use hard copies at this time
Many plumbers use these techniques to help them find key information quickly on job. You do not need to remove these as these may also help you find key sections and information during your exam.
If you submit your application:
- On or after 1 May 2023, you will be required to reference the NCC 2022
- Before 1 May 2023, you may choose to reference either the NCC 2019 or the NCC 2022 for any exam scheduled prior to 1 August 2023. All exams scheduled from 1 August 2023 will require the NCC 2022 version.
If you are required to undertake theory exams, these are typically scheduled within two to four weeks of submitting your application.
You should only submit your application when you are ready to sit your VBA exam. The VBA will ask you to withdraw your application if you ask for an extension of time to sit the exam.
You can still sit your Apprentice Registration exams. Please contact your RTO to book an exam date if you have not already done so.
No – you will be expected to have current knowledge at the time your complete your Apprentice Registration exam.
Yes – if you require a interpreter, please let us know.
Units of Competency
The VBA prescribes units of competency for each plumbing class. The prescribed units vary according to:
- The class(es) you are applying for, and
- Whether you are applying for registration or licence, and
- The version of the course you complete (or partially complete).
If you complete your training in Victoria, typically your training provider will deliver the relevant prescribed units.
All plumbing courses were updated with new versions in late 2020. If you completed an older course (or equivalent units), you are not required to update your units.
Prescribed units – current courses
The following documents list the prescribed units for both registration and licencing for current courses:
- Drainage, Gasfitting, Irrigation, Mechanical Services, Roofing, Sanitary, and Water Supply (PDF, 625.6 KB)
- Fire Protection (PDF, 485.13 KB)
- Refrigerated Air-conditioning (PDF, 352.29 KB)
- Type B Gasfitting and Type B Gasfitting advanced (PDF, 470.9 KB)
- Type A Appliance Conversion, Type A Appliance Servicing, Backflow Prevention and Thermostatic Mixing Valve (PDF, 467.52 KB)
Prescribed units – older courses
The following documents list the prescribed units for both registration and licencing for older courses:
- Drainage, Gasfitting, Irrigation (Non-agricultural), Mechanical Services, Roofing, Sanitary, Type B Gasfitting and Water Supply (PDF, 345.57 KB)
- Fire Protection (PDF, 351.71 KB)
- Refrigerated Air-conditioning (PDF, 223.71 KB)
- Type A Appliance Conversion, Type A Appliance Servicing, Type B Gasfitting Advanced, Backflow Prevention and Thermostatic Mixing Valve (PDF, 383.95 KB)
Your registration will not be affected. If you wish to apply for a plumbing licence, you will need to ensure that you hold the relevant prescribed units. If you have completed units that were previously prescribed, the VBA will take into account the dates that you completed those units.
This change will not affect your current registration. If you wish to apply for a specialised class, you will need to ensure that you hold the prescribed units relevant for that class at the time of applying. If you have completed units that were previously prescribed, the VBA will take into account the dates that you completed those units.
Information for employers
To supervise a plumbing apprentice, you must:
- Hold licencing in the relevant classes of plumbing that your apprentice is studying, and
- Meet your employer obligations as required under the Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA) apprentice contract.
For further information regarding the apprentice contract and your obligations, you can contact one of the following bodies:
- The training organisation when your apprentice is studying
- The Apprenticeship Network Provider who assisted you with the contract
- The VRQA
The following VRQA webpages may also be useful: