Homeowners tap into new plumbing rules

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
3 Min Read

Everyday Aussies can now legally carry out certain basic plumbing tasks at their homes without the help of a licensed tradie in WA. 

Among other changes, the general public will now be able to tackle smaller household projects like repairing a showerhead or replacing a washer filter, which usually requires homeowners to fork out between $100 and $700. 

With plumbers in short supply in WA, these amendments by Building and Energy WA hope to alleviate some of the pressure felt by overbooked tradies and cut costs for Aussies tightening their belts during the cost-of-living crisis. 

Building and Energy Acting Executive Director Peter Stewart said this policy change gives consumers more options to conveniently carry out basic tasks if they feel confident to do so, but urged homeowners to know what they can and can’t handle alone.  

“Consumers should note that they can only undertake certain types of plumbing work,” said Stewart.

“They must use a licensed plumber for all other plumbing tasks. Incorrect or uncertified plumbing work can cause property damage and compromise public health and safety.”

While the changes come as welcome news to handy homeowners, the amendments have also made it a criminal offence for someone who does not hold a plumbers’ licence to advertise or imply that they do.

What can you do around the house? 

These updated regulations bring WA’s policies closer in line with those of other states and territories, allowing for a few select tasks to be carried out without needing a professional plumber. 

These include:

  • Maintenance, repair or replacement of a shower head.
  • Maintenance or repair of a tap other than a thermostatic mixing tap.
  • Replacement of a cistern washer.
  • Replacement of a water filter cartridge.
  • Clearing a blocked fixture or waste pipe by using a plunger.
  • Connecting washing machine hose.
  • Cleaning and maintaining external drain traps and grates.
  • Connecting residential water filters.
  • Replace the drop valve washer in the toilet.
  • Clear a blocked gutter or downpipe.

While these are broadly recognised as legal projects across most of Australia, regulations do vary from state to state. For example, waterproofing your own bathroom is fine in Victoria, but it is illegal to do so without a licence in Queensland and New South Wales.

According to The Australian Plumbing Code, a qualified plumber must also carry out any work on sewer or drinking water systems. Regularly household jobs that must be carried out by a licensed plumber include:

  • Managing on-site wastewater systems.
  • Issues involving sanitary drainage/sewage.
  • Managing stormwater drainage systems.
  • Issues involving drinking water, hot water or laundry systems.
  • Managing heating & ventilation systems.
  • Installing new appliances.

Be sure to check your region’s regulations before beginning any waterwork projects around the home. 

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.