More than one in five plumbing installations in Victoria which were audited in April failed compliance with required standards, according to the building industry regulator in that state.

Unveiling the outcome of its audit work associated with 1,032 Compliance Certificates conducted throughout the month of April in the latest edition of its e-newsletter, the Victorian Building Authority said that 212 or 20.54 percent of the works fell short of required standards.

According to the regulator, the most common problems occurred in three areas: inadequate clearances for domestic gas cooking devices, excessive heating of hot water in showers and bathroom taps and inadequate overflow provision to eaves gutters.

In respect of the first point, the VBA found a number of problems associated with installations not allowing for minimum clearance between the highest part of the highest burner associated with a gas cooking appliance and overhead combustible surfaces, rangehoods or exhaust fans.

On this problem, the VBA says minimum clearances are set out in AS/NZS 5601.1:2013 – Gas installations Part 1: General installations, clause (a).

Practitioners installing rangehoods and exhaust fans must also observe manufacturer installation instructions, the VBA said, as these may specify greater clearances compared with those outlined in the standard.

In respect of hot water, the VBA uncovered instances whereby installations delivered water of above 50 degrees Celsius at the outlet of fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene, such as showers and bathroom taps.

On this point, it said temperature control devices must be installed upon the installation or alteration of a hot water heater and its associated pipework.

Finally, there regulator found examples of inappropriate overflow provision to eaves gutters.

Obviously, these types of problems can have consequences as inadequate domestic gas cooking clearance could create fire hazards, excessively hot water could cause burns and inappropriate overflow provisions could result in water flowing back into the building.

The audits were carried out as part of an ongoing compliance program which the VBA conducts in order to identify and rectify problems with work which has been installed.

In its e-newsletter, the VBA said practitioners should consult relevant standards and regulations as well as its own technical solutions sheets for the type of work being performed and should contact the regulator if uncertain about these.

It says the need for compliance should not be underestimated.

β€œNon-compliant plumbing installations cause additional work and cost for licensed plumbers and may have serious safety consequences or other long-term consequences for consumers,” the regulator said.

  • Great article Andrew. Demonstrates the total lack of COMPETENCY of this Government Body of Public Servants. I suppose the fact that the Inspectors arent Licensed Plumbers with years of experience but instead failed policemen and worksafe inspectors they wouldnt know what they are actually dealing with. What about serious issues of gas leaks, unlicensed works, Legionnaires outbreaks or potential installations that are breeding such deadly diseases. When will the Minister realise he has been hood-winked by lies and deception. The toxic culture bred behind the walls of an Incompetent leader and uneducated henchmen need to be stopped. People are taking drastic actions affecting their health and well being and that of family and others because this Authority is allowed to continue in its current trajectory. Premier and Ministers you are responsible for allowing this to continue. Then again the old saying most likely applies here to the Premier and his responsible Ministers :- "Truth, you cant handle the TRUTH". Stop the lies and deception, get eh pest exterminators into the VBA and get rid of them now. The old system was led by real practitioners, not pretenders. This article Andrew is propaganda released by the Captain of a fast sinking ship trying lying to the Government and even worse, treating the Community, the very people that pay their obscene wages, like fools. Step up Premier, over-ride your Ministers and fix this debacle now.

  • Andrew, a timely article, but still a problem with no solution. I am not sure what Australian compliance agencies are doing. They seem to be dominated by powerful conflicted interests. I had hoped that the Victorian situation would be changing under new governance. Plumbing is an acute issue and not just limited to pipes and drains. I have seen first hand many disgusting installations of roofing on school buildings during the BER. I still have the photos of non-compliant but self certified roofing that was failing within months of installation, with many more roofs to fail well ahead of their specified time. To make the situation worse the Building Commission made a forlorn attempt to force rectification accepting many compromised and still non-compliant patch jobs. In some instances plumbing inspectors were attempting to regulate their plumbing mates. Add to this, that builders just accepted these certifications and handed them over in the completion warranty packs to the clients – warranties not worth a postage stamp. The builders claimed progress payments for work done in accordance with the contract which it was not – it was more like fraud. Lazy quantity surveyors and un-qualified project managers signed of on these payments and eventually issued certificates of completion and signed off at the end of the defects period.

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