Different Accreditations, Qualifications and Standards for Plumbers
Plumbers & Gasfitters
Plumbing is an essential service for homes and businesses. In Australia all plumbers and gasfitters are required to be qualified and licenced. The core areas of plumbing work include water, sewerage, drainage and gas which are regulated in all States and Territories through the various plumbing authorities. Trained and licenced plumbers are qualified to undertake a variety of work that requires skills and experience.
Plumbing work overview
- Drainage plumbing work covers the installation, repair and maintenance of pipes and fittings involved with stormwater and water waste.
- Sanitary plumbing work includes the installation, repair and maintenance of pipes and fittings that convey sewage.
- Water plumbing work covers the repair and maintenance of pipes and fittings for hot and cold water.
- Gasfitting work covers the installation, connection, repair and maintenance of pipes, fittings, and appliances that utilise gas.
- Mechanical services plumbing covers the work carried out in relation to heating, cooling or ventilation of building. This includes the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioning systems.
- Roof plumbing work covers the repair and maintenance of roof coverings and roof drainage such as gutters, rainwater piping and downpipes.
Studying to become a plumber
The most common career pathway to becoming a qualified plumber is through an apprenticeship program. An apprentice plumber will be required to undertake the Certificate III in Plumbing at a TAFE institute, university or accredited training organisation. A plumbing apprenticeship takes around 4 years of full time work and study. An apprenticeship combines training and employment and allows trainees to get paid for work while also gaining necessary on-the-job experience. Apprenticeships are ‘competency based’, meaning training can be completed faster if you reach a required skill level. An apprentice who passes his exams and employment requirements will have a nationally recognised qualification.
Plumbers and Gasfitters
Although plumbers undertake the base plumbing accreditation they can do further training and specialise in particular areas. The Certificate III in Plumbing also includes subjects on gas fitting. A plumber licensed in Australia is qualified as a water plumber, gas fitter, roofer and drainer. A gasfitter can be licenced to work on gas systems but this does not necessarily mean he is also licensed to be a plumber. When a plumber receives his licence, it will clearly state if he is qualified for plumbing and gas fitting.
Obtaining a Plumbing Licence
Once qualified, a plumber can either go into their own business or be employed or contracted to a plumbing company. Plumbing licences vary from State to State, with some licences recognised in other States. It is important to get the appropriate licence and be aware of specific requirements or conditions that relate to that State or Territory before undertaking plumbing work. Plumbers should display their licence number on all quotes, and ads for their services and should also carry an ID card number as proof of their accreditation.
State and territory plumbing authorities
- NSW - Fair Trading in New South Wales
- VIC - Plumbing Industry Commission in Victoria
- QLD - Department of Infrastructure and Planning in Queensland
- SA - Office of Consumer and Business Affairs in South Australia
- WA - Plumbers Licensing Board or Office of Energy in Western Australia
- TAS - Workplace Standards in Tasmania
- NT - Plumbers and Drainers Licensing Board or WorkSafe in Northern Territory
- ACT - Planning and Land Authority in Australian Capital Territory.
Master Plumbers Association
The Master Plumbers' and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA) is a registered national employer organisation. The main role of MPMSAA is to provide business services, industry representation, training and advice on industrial relations and employment to its members.
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Plumbing is a skilled trade and engaging the services of a licenced plumber will save you time and money. Contact your local plumbing services and ask about their plumbing qualifications and experience. If you are interested in becoming a plumber contact your local TAFE or plumbing authority.
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