Every homeowner knows that completing a successful DIY project is incredibly satisfying. Whether it’s painting the fence or installing a set of shelves, doing the work yourself is a rewarding and productive use of your time, especially when the budget is tight. But before you find a YouTube tutorial and head to Bunnings, it’s important to be aware of what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to DIY renovations, particularly when it comes to plumbing.
Here’s our guide to legal DIY plumbing work in Australia.
What’s the issue with DIY plumbing?
In Australia, plumbing is a licensed trade. This means that only a tradesperson who has completed trade school and has a valid plumbing license can legally conduct plumbing work at your house.
Illegal plumbing work can result in anything from a fine to jail time depending on the works done without a license – and that’s just in legal terms. There are also the consequences to the property to consider. Faulty plumbing can lead to moisture issues, and eventually these can cause mould and even structural issues with the building.
Illegal plumbing work: DIY don’ts
The Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) states that any works involving plumbing or drainage must be completed by a licensed plumber. This includes all activities relating to the installation and plumbing of drinking water systems and drainage of sewerage lines.
Unfortunately for the DIY community, this means there’s fairly little you can do yourself legally. Leaky pipe repairs, toilet installations, and seemingly basic plumbing maintenance works are illegal to DIY in Australia, as are any works with rainwater tanks, since rainwater tank plumbing is used by hot water systems, toilets and laundry facilities.
While there are national plumbing laws, plumbing regulations vary between states, so it’s important to do your research into which types of DIY plumbing are legal in your state before you break out the tools.
So, what plumbing work can be done without a license?
Some DIY plumbing do’s include:
- Replacing a shower head
- Cleaning a drain using a drain snake or plunger
- Connecting a washing machine hose
- Changing a tap washer
- Replacing sanitary drain opening caps
- Irrigation systems which are downstream from an isolating valve or tap
Pre-purchase building inspections are the best way to ensure that any faulty plumbing work will be corrected at the seller’s expense, and help to give professional, licensed plumbers a clear idea of the problem and solution.
Remember, this applies to your property too, so to protect and enhance your home’s retail value, leave the plumbing to the professionals!