What is Sanitary work?

Under Part 4 of the Plumbing Regulations 2018, Sanitary work is:

  1. the construction, installation, replacement, repair, alteration, maintenance, relining, testing or commissioning of any part of an above-ground sanitary plumbing system to connect sanitary fixtures and appliances to a holding tank, wastewater treatment system or a below-ground sanitary drainage system and includes:
    1. any fixture or appliance in, or on, a caravan or vessel that is connected to a holding tank, wastewater treatment system or a below-ground sanitary drainage system; and
    2. any roof sheeting and roof flashing that is necessary for the purpose of any work described in this subregulation;
  2. any design work that is incidental to, or associated with, any work described in paragraph (a).

Sanitary work does not include:

  1. water supply work
  2. drainage work; or
  3. the installation of a bath or shower base other than the connection of a waste outlet to an above-ground sanitary plumbing system or a below-ground sanitary drainage system.

Typical Sanitary work

All residential buildings, and nearly all commercial or industrial buildings, need sanitation. Experienced Sanitary plumbers typically do the following (and more):

  • planning the layout of a sanitary system
  • fabricating and installing sanitary stacks used in multi-storey buildings
  • installing piped vents and penetrations ensuring the roof and/or wall penetrations are watertight
  • applying different methods of venting, including air admittance devices
  • installing suspended pipework for fixtures
  • cutting into existing pipework for additional fixtures
  • installing waste pipes for basins, sinks and toilets, including installing pipe work for greywater used to flush toilets
  • installing and connecting sanitary fixtures
  • installing sanitary pumps
  • locating and clearing sanitary drain blockages.

What do Sanitary plumbers need to know and do?

A building’s sanitation typically involves connections to waste disposal or below ground drainage systems, but the work itself is conducted above ground. Plumbers conducting sanitary work need critical knowledge and skills to protect the health and safety of building occupants and the community. What does this mean for you?

As a registered practitioner, you must be able to understand and apply the compliance requirements of Sanitary plumbing work specified in AS3500 National Plumbing and Drainage Code.

To undertake Sanitary work to a safe and competent standard, you must also be able to:

  • read a site or building plan, and identify sanitary systems
  • fabricate sections of copper, brass or UPVC sanitary stacks
  • use the fusion method to weld polyethylene and polypropylene pipes, and know how to weld safely
  • work safely on roofs.

What competencies and experience do you need?

The VBA publishes a set of units of competency for each class of plumbing work. Each unit of competency describes a work outcome, all the knowledge and skills needed to do the work to the expected standard, and how they should be assessed.

The VBA uses the units of competency to assess your skills and experience if you apply to register in a class of plumbing work.

To be eligible to register in the Sanitary class, you must be able to show:

  • you have the relevant competencies plus recent and relevant experience in work related to the Sanitary class of plumbing, or
  • you have knowledge equal to the competencies of Certificate III in Plumbing, plus at least four years of experience while working under the supervision of a plumber who is licensed in Sanitary work.

Before applying for registration or licensing, please read the current approved units of competency for Sanitary.

Units of competency for Sanitary work

Units prescribed for courses commenced from late 2021 onwards

Drainage, Gasfitting, Irrigation, Mechanical Services, Roofing, Sanitary, and Water Supply (PDF, 625.6 KB)

Units prescribed for older courses

Drainage, Gasfitting, Irrigation (Non-agricultural), Mechanical Services, Roofing, Sanitary, Type B Gasfitting and Water Supply (PDF, 345.57 KB)