Plumbing guidelines

Plumbing and drainage work consists of the following categories of work:

  • permit work:
  • notifiable work;
  • minor work; and 
  • unregulated work.

Permit work

Permit work is more complex in nature than other types of plumbing and drainage work and has a higher risk of failure. This work must always be checked. Before starting a job you need to get a permit from local government.  The local government will then:

  • assess the application, the hydraulic plans, specifications and any other supporting documentation; and
  • inspect the work once it's complete to ensure that it complies with the approval and the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

You must have an appropriate QBCC plumbing and/or drainage contractor license to contract out for this type of work. 

Examples of permit work include:

  • construction of a new building or structure of any National Construction Code, Building Code of Australia classification/s;
  • work that is commonly known as 'trade waste' that will involve or is likely to involve discharge of a prohibited substances into a regulated sewer including via an on-site waste disposal system;
  • any drainage work for a building or structure served by a combined drain
  • work that involves a dual reticulated water supply provided by a water service provider
  • work that involves an alternative solution under any of these codes, the National Construction Code Plumbing Code of Australia, Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code or the Queensland Development Code as may be applicable.

Notifiable work

Notifiable work is a category of plumbing and drainage work which allows a plumber or drainer to perform the work without a local government permit or mandatory inspections. It includes most work performed in existing homes and limited work on commercial buildings.

When a plumber and drainer (or relevant person) performs notifiable work, they must register Notifiable Work (Form 4/4A) to the QBCC within 10 business days of the completed work and pay the relevant fee.

A relevant person is:

  • If work is being done for or by a public sector entity – the public sector entity
  • The person who supervises the carrying out of, or directs another person to carry out the work
  • The licensee who carries out the work. 

If there are multiple licensees, one licensee (as the responsible person for the work) can register the notifiable work (form 4/4A) on behalf of the other licensees. You can list as many people as necessary in the 'licensed person who did the work' section so the details of all licensees involved are recorded.

You can register notifiable work (form 4/4A) with the QBCC both electronically or manually. For more information on how to register notifiable work see Register notifiable work (form 4/4A). If the work is being done for or by a public sector entity see Notifiable work for Public Sector Entities  for more information.

The QBCC can audit licensees to investigate whether they have been complying with the requirements of notifiable work.

Find out what happens during an approved audit program and view a list of the most common mistakes with tips to help you get things right the first time.

Minor work

Minor work must be performed by a QBCC licensee but doesn’t need to be approved by the local government or reported to QBCC.
Minor work includes:

  • unblocking sanitary plumbing or sanitary drainage
  • repairing a broken or damaged pipe
  • maintaining or repairing an apparatus
  • installing, replacing or removing an apparatus, other than: 
  • a dual check valve with atmospheric port;
  • a temperature control device;
  • a testable backflow prevention device; or
  • a water heater
  • maintaining, repairing, replacing or removing a fitting or fixture
  • maintaining or repairing a greywater use facility or an on-site sewage facility, other than repairing or maintaining an irrigation system for the disposal of effluent from the facility
  • installing a greywater diversion device
  • maintaining, repairing or replacing a fire hydrant or fire hose reel, unless schedule 3, section 2 applies to the work
  • sealing a supply pipe downstream from the water meter for a class 1 or 10 building or structure
  • installing, removing or replacing an automatic switching device for a rainwater tank.

Unregulated work

Anyone can do unregulated work. You don’t need to be licensed nor do you need approval by QBCC or local government or report it. 

If you aren't a QBCC licensee and want to carry out unregulated plumbing work, you must still meet the minimum standards of work under the legislation and codes.

Unregulated work includes:

  • replacing a shower head or domestic water filter cartridge
  • replacing a jumper valve or washer in a tap
  • repairing or replacing a drop valve washer, float valve washer or suction cup rubber in a toilet cistern
  • replacing caps to ground level inspection openings on a sanitary drain
  • cleaning or maintaining a ground level grate for a trap on a sanitary drain
  • installing or maintaining an irrigation or lawn watering system downstream from a tap, isolating valve or
  • backflow prevention device on the supply pipe for the watering system
  • repairing or maintaining an irrigation system for the disposal of effluent from a greywater use facility or on-site sewage facility
  • fire protection work for testing plumbing carried out by a holder of a fire protection occupational license or another QBCC license
  • incidental unskilled tasks (e.g. excavating or backfilling a trench).

Public sector entities

If you are a public sector entity, you can get the work assessed by a qualified and experienced person or apply to local government.

For more information, please visit Queensland Building and Construction Commission.

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