Drainage and Plumbing

Drainage and Plumbing

Section 68 Fact Sheet

Plumbing reforms 2012

Plumbing reforms in 2012 were part of a state-wide initiative by the NSW Government to provide a more consistent and effective approach to standard setting, on-site regulation compliance in NSW.

As part of the plumbing regulatory framework, Fair Trading licenses plumbers and drainers under the Home Building Act 1989, and all plumbing and drainage work must be completed by a person who holds a licence, qualified supervisor certificate or tradesperson certificate.

In addition, a system of on-site regulation ensures that NSW plumbing and drainage work is monitored, so it complies with technical standards and regulations.

What does this mean for Plumbers and Drainers?

The new requirements affect plumbers and drainers working in regional areas. The requirement to call Council in relation to booking inspections, paying inspection fees, submitting documentation and other enquires remains, however, there are other administrative changes that became effective from 1 January 2013 and these are listed below.

Documents and forms

As part of the reforms which aim to introduce consistency in requirements of Fair Trading and local councils, plumbers and drainers are required to submit the following documents at certain stages (including work in relation to installation of subdivision infrastructure) of the work.

  • A ‘Notice of Work’ (NoW) is to be issued to the regulator no later than two business days before the work concerned is carried out
  • On completion of the final inspection, a ‘Certificate of Compliance’ (CoC) is to be issued to the regulator and a copy to the person for whom the work was carried out. The CoC confirms the plumber/drainer has undertaken work, which complies with current legislation and the relevant industry codes and standards.
  • A ‘Sewer Service Diagram’ (SSD) is to be issued to the regulator and a copy the owner of the land or the owner’s agent.

Inspections requirements

By law, you must book an inspection for all work covered by a Notice of Work (NoW). The licensee is responsible for contacting Council to ensure that all required inspections are booked.

Required Inspections

Inspections are generally required when:

  • drainage work is finished and before backfilling or covering the installation
  • a connection to the sewer main is finished and before backfilling
  • water supply work is finished and before cladding walls and/or ceilings
  • when there is a need for re-inspection or for an inspection of non-compliant work
  • at the completion of all the work (final inspection).

Codes and Standards

The Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) is now the technical standard for all plumbing and drainage work in NSW. All plumbing and drainage work in NSW must comply with the PCA.

The new Code replaces the more prescriptive NSW Code of Practice for Plumbing and Drainage and other local requirements. This system means plumbers no longer need to remember a myriad of local variations to plumbing standards. Plumbers will be able to work more easily across different regions, without needing to know local variations.

The PCA sets out performance requirements for the design, construction, installation, replacement, repair, alteration and maintenance of plumbing and drainage installations.

The Code calls up AS/NZS 3500, and it has two provisions that plumbers and drainers can work to and achieve code compliance. One option is for the work to be done under the ‘Deemed to Satisfy’ provisions which means that it has been done in accordance with AS/NZS 3500. The other is the performance based provision where work (usually designed by a hydraulic engineer or consultant) meets or exceeds the requirements of AS/NZS 3500.

Plumbers and drainers can get copies of the PCA from the Australian Building Codes Board at:


Further Information

Further information on Plumbing code standards and notes is available from NSW Fair Trading



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