VBA investigations uncover 12 unregistered plumbers

Monday, 29 June, 2020

VBA investigations uncover 12 unregistered plumbers

Following a week-long blitz that included targeted and random inspections across the Gippsland region and saw 40 plumbers questioned, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is taking enforcement action against 12 people found to be carrying out illegal plumbing work on building sites. The VBA will prepare charges against the 12 unregistered and unlicensed persons, who were working illegally on building sites in and around Sale and Bairnsdale. They will be issued with a summons to appear in the Magistrates’ Court for breaching the Building Act at a later date. Two other plumbers also received warning letters from the VBA.

Phil Locke, the VBA’s Plumbing Investigations Team Leader, said the inspections uncovered a number of compliance issues, including several involving below-ground drains.

“VBA investigators identified a significant number of people carrying out regulated plumbing work who were neither registered nor licensed with the VBA. Victorians rightly expect that plumbers who carry out this work are not only registered but have undertaken the necessary training. Plumbing work carried out by an unregistered or unlicensed person has the potential to pose significant safety risk,” said Locke.

Onsite inspections allow the VBA to identify plumbing faults and work with the plumber responsible to get them fixed before further site works limit or hinder access. VBA investigators can also demonstrate the correct methods for laying and testing drains, helping plumbers learn from their mistakes and preventing them from happening again.

“This can be difficult, but in the end, faulty or non-compliant plumbing work reflects badly on the plumber, the industry and the VBA,” said Locke.

Further non-compliance could result in the plumber receiving an official warning or appearing before a VBA Plumbing Inquiry. In recent weeks, VBA investigators have performed many inspections across building sites in central and north-eastern Victoria to reinforce the importance of registration and licensing in the industry.

“These inspections promote the VBA as an active regulator and show that we are here to help plumbers, not hinder them. We urge every Victorian to check their plumber is registered or licensed with the VBA before getting them to start any work on their property,” said Rosemary Martin, VBA Director of Compliance and Enforcement.

To ensure that a plumber is registered or licensed, visit vba.vic.gov.au. The maximum penalty for performing plumbing work while unregistered or unlicensed is $82,610.

Image credit: ©Kadmy/Dollar Photo Club

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