Carry Out Plumbing Work Without Licence or Registration

by Doogue + George

Carry Out Plumbing Work Without Licence or Registration

 

Plumbing work can only be carried out by licensed or registered plumbers. Plumbing work performed of a particular class or type without a license or registration to carry out work of a particular class or type is an offence pursuant to section 221D(1) of the Building Act 1993.

 

The offence does not apply where:

  • A person is carrying out plumbing work that the regulations state a person may carry out when they are not a registered or licensed plumber; or when they are fixing a tap where they are the owner / occupier of a dwelling;
  • The person is a plumbing apprentice under appropriate supervision;
  • Where a person with a restricted license carries out the work permitted under their restricted license for training purposes while being supervised by a licensed or registered plumber;
  • The plumbing work was plumbing work that may be undertaken by someone without a plumbing license or registration who is however a sheetmetal worker, first class or metal worker.

 

Examples of Carry Out Plumbing Work Without License or Registration      

  • Repairing a thermostatic mixing valve without license or registration
  • Fixing a tempering valve without license or registration
  • Fixing a backflow prevention device.

 

Questions in cases like this

  • What sort of plumbing work has been carried out?
  • Did the accused actually carry out the plumbing work?
  • Was the accused the holder of a restricted license and was being trained to carry out the plumbing work in question, by being supervised by a person who is licensed to carry out that type of work?
  • Was the accused a plumbing apprentice?

 

What are some of the possible defences to Carry Out Plumbing Work Without License or Registration?                                                                                                                                                       

Some possible defences are:

  • The accused did not carry out the plumbing work;
  • The plumbing work was plumbing work that may be carried out by a person who is not a licensed or registered plumber;
  • The accused held a restricted license, was engaging in work they were permitted to engage in under that license, and was being trained to carry out the plumbing work by a licensed plumber;
  • The plumbing work was pipework in connection with the fabrication, installation, maintenance or repair of industrial pipework and the person who did the work was a metal worker;
  • The unlicensed person carrying out the work was a plumbing apprentice under appropriate supervision.

 

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for Carry Out Plumbing Work Without License or Registration is 500 penalty units. As at 1 July 2018, the value of a penalty unit is $161.19. As such, the maximum penalty for Carry Out Plumbing Work Without License or Registration is a $80,595 fine. The Department of Treasury and Finance reviews and updates the value of a penalty unit on 1 July each year.

 

The charge of Carry Out Plumbing Work Without License or Registration is dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court.

 

What is the legal definition of Carry Out Plumbing Work Without License or Registration?       

The legal definition of Carry Out Plumbing Work Without License or Registration is as follows:

 

  1. A person must not carry out any plumbing work of a particular class or type unless he or she is licensed or registered by the Authority to carry out work of that class or type.

Penalty: 500 penalty units.

 

  1. Despite subsection (1), a person who is not licensed or registered by the Authority may—
  2. repair a tap in any dwelling that the person owns and occupies; and
  3. carry out any other plumbing work that the regulations state is plumbing work that may be carried out by a person who is not licensed or registered.

 

  1. Subsection (2)(a) does not permit a person to repair any thermostatic mixing valve, tempering valve or backflow prevention device.

 

  1. Despite subsection (1), a person who is being trained to carry out work that may be carried out by the holder of a restricted license may carry out that work without being licensed or registered by the Authority if the work is carried out under the supervision of a person who is licensed to carry out that type of work.

 

  1. Despite subsection (1)—
  2. a sheetmetal worker, first class may carry out sheetmetal work in connection with the manufacture, installation, maintenance or repair of ventilation or air conditioning plant or equipment;
  3. a metal worker may carry out pipework in connection with the fabrication, installation, maintenance or repair of industrial pipework;
  4. an apprentice may carry out any work referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) under the supervision of a person referred to in that paragraph;
  5. a plumbing apprentice acting under the supervision of a licensed plumber may carry out plumbing work—

 

—without being licensed or registered by the Authority.

 

Legislation

The relevant legislation for this offence is section 221D(1) of the Building Act 1993.

 

Elements: When can a person be found guilty of this offence?

There are seven separate elements to the offence of Carry Out Plumbing Work Without License or Registration that must all be satisfied for a person to be guilty of the offence. These elements are:

  1. The person carried out plumbing work;
  2. The plumbing work is of a particular class or type;
  3. The person was not licensed or registered by the Authority to carry out work of that class or type;
  4. The person was not being trained to carry out work that may be carried out by the holder of a restricted license while under the supervision of a person who is licensed to carry out that type of work;
  5. The person was not a sheetmetal worker, first class carrying out the work specified in connection with the manufacture, installation, maintenance or repair of ventilation or air conditioning plant or equipment;
  6. The person was not a metal worker carrying out pipework in connection with the fabrication, installation, maintenance or repair of industrial pipework;
  7. The person was not an apprentice carrying out work under appropriate supervision.

 

Element 1: The person carried out plumbing work

‘Plumbing work’ is not explicitly defined in the act.

 

The term ‘plumbing work’ includes all work associated with plumbing with the exception of gasfitting work on a complex gas installation (as defined in the Gas Safety Act 1997).

 

Element 2: The plumbing work is of a particular class or type

The plumbing work must be of a particular class or type.

 

The offence is not enlivened where the plumbing work is the repair of a tap in a dwelling that the person repairing the tap owns and occupies, or where a person is carrying out plumbing work that the regulations state is plumbing work that may be carried out by a person who is not licensed or registered.

 

The ‘regulations’ referred to above are not defined in the Building Act 1993. The Building Act 1993 does however state that the ‘Governor in Council’ may make certain regulations relating to plumbing work.

 

These regulations include prescribing standards for plumbing work, accreditation of materials or products, and fees.

 

The ‘Governor in Council’ is the head of the Building Commission, as appointed on the Minister’s recommendation.

 

The Building Act 1993 explicitly states that repairing any thermostatic mixing valve, tempering valve or backflow prevention device is plumbing work of a particular class or type.

 

Element 3: The person is not licensed or registered by the Authority to carry out work of that class or type

For the offence to apply, the plumbing work must be carried out by a person without license or registration from the Victorian Building Authority to carry out plumbing work of that class or type.

 

Element 4: The person carrying out the work was not the holder of a restricted license that enables them to carry out that type of work under supervision, while being supervised by a person licensed to carry out that type of work

The offence does not apply where a person doing the plumbing work holds a restricted license that enables them to undertake certain plumbing work under supervision by a person licensed to carry out that type of work, and they are undertaking work covered by their restricted license while being supervised by a licensed person.

 

Element 5: The person is not a sheetmetal worker, first class, carrying out specified work

The offence does not apply where the person doing the plumbing work is a sheetmetal worker, first class, carrying out work specified in connection with the manufacture, installation, maintenance or repair of ventilation or air conditioning plant or equipment.

 

Element 6: The person is not a metal worker carrying out specified work

The offence does not apply where the person doing the plumbing work is a metal worker carrying out pipework in connection with the fabrication, installation, maintenance or repair of industrial pipework.

 

Element 7: The person is not an apprentice carrying out work under appropriate supervision

The offence does not apply if the person carrying out the plumbing work is an apprentice and:

  • They are carrying out work specified in connection with the manufacture, installation, maintenance or repair of ventilation or air conditioning plant or equipment under the supervision of a sheetmetal worker, first class;
  • They are carrying out pipework in connection with the fabrication, installation, maintenance or repair of industrial pipework under the supervision of a metal worker; or
  • They are acting under the supervision of a licensed plumber that may carry out plumbing work.

 

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Court

From 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016, there were 49 cases (94 charges) of Carry Out Plumbing Work Without Licence or Registration that were heard in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria. Most were sentenced to a financial penalty (75.5%) while the remainder were sentenced to an adjourned undertaking/discharge/dismissal (24.5%).

 

The highest category of fine imposed fell between $10,000 and $20,000 (9.2%), although in the majority of cases offenders received a fine between $5,000 and $10,000 (23.7%).

 

Have you been charged with Carry Out Plumbing Work Without Licence or Registration? Speak with a lawyer immediately and ask for legal advice. Criminal law specialists from Doogue + George appear at any Victorian court and represent clients facing any criminal charge. Call us.

 

You may also view this page where this article was originally published: https://www.criminal-lawyers.com.au/offences/carry-out-plumbing-work-without-licence-registration.



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