Technicians who install mechanical services in homes, hospitals, offices aged care homes and shopping centres throughout Queensland will need to be licensed under a new licensing regime set to be introduced next year.
Queensland Housing and Public Works Minister Mick De Brenni has unveiled the final version of the new scheme last week following two years of consultations.
Set to commence in 2020, the scheme will be administered by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
It recognises licenses under three streams: medical gas, air conditioning and refrigeration and plumbing.
From 1 January 2020, all new entrants, contactors and nominee services work will need to be licensed under the scheme.
This includes existing apprentices who are still finishing their apprenticeships.
A transition period will enable existing workers and supervisors to undergo any necessary training before full adoption of the scheme in January 2022.
The new scheme follows revelations last year that bacteria had been detected in water sources across 170 hospitals and aged care facilities across the state.
Declaring that the new scheme would save lives, De Brenni says the new requirements will ensure that people who install medial gas and commercial air-conditioning systems are suitably qualified and regulated.
He says there can be fatal consequences where mechanical services are not properly installed.
In worst-case scenarios, he says legionella bacteria can grow and spread through air-conditions systems found in commercial buildings.
Graham MacKrill, Queensland Executive Director of the Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA), said the new regime would deliver greater public protection and prevent safety being jeopardised by tradespeople who were not suitably qualified or licensed.
Consultations on the new regime began in 2017 as part of consultations on the Queensland Building Plan.
Detailed consultations took place this year, for which 60 responses were received.