Information for Consumers
If you’re looking to undertake some plumbing, drainage, or gasfitting work in Queensland, Master Plumbers Association of Queensland (MPAQ) is your first port of call.
Below you will find information about what to do if you have a complaint or a dispute with a plumber or plumbing company, the importance of using a licensed plumber, and how you can find a local plumber, as well as plumbing and gas frequently asked questions.
The health and safety of the community is reliant upon professional licensed persons undertaking plumbing and drainage work.
In Queensland, legislation stipulates that any unlicensed persons (people who are not qualified to undertake plumbing and drainage work) cannot perform what is considered ‘regulated work’, stipulated in the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2019.
What work can legally be undertaken by the home owner?
The following tasks are classified as ‘unregulated work’ and can be undertaken by the home owner:
For Sanitary Plumbing and Drainage
- Cleaning or maintaining ground level grates to traps on sanitary drains
- Replacing caps to ground level inspection openings on sanitary drains
- Maintaining an above or below ground irrigation system for the disposal of effluent from an on-site sewerage facility or greywater use facility
For Water Plumbing
- Installing or maintaining an irrigation or lawn watering system downstream from an isolating valve, tap, or backflow prevention device on the supply pipe for the irrigation or lawn watering system
- Replacing a jumper valve or washer in a tap
- Changing a shower head
- Replacing, in a water closet (WC) cistern, a drop valve washer, float valve washer, or suction cup rubber
- Replacing a domestic water filter cartridge
What happens if you undertake plumbing or drainage work illegally?
If work is carried out by an unlicensed person, the Act states that penalties and on the spot fines can be handed out, where individuals can look to face a maximum fine of $32,637.50 for their first offence, and up to $45,692.50 and one years’ imprisonment for three or more offenses (or if the work they have undertaken is considered to be grossly defective).
The legislation also prevents anyone without a contractor’s licence from performing plumbing works to the public.
It’s important to inform the public of their legal obligations when considering undertaking their own plumbing or drainage work, to ensure we maintain the health and safety of our community.
The most important thing to remember when choosing your plumber or gasfitter (or any tradesperson for that matter) is that they must be licensed with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). The QBCC is a government statutory authority established to regulate the building and construction industry, and to provide information and advice to consumers and contractors throughout Queensland.
Generally, building work over the value of $3,300 must be carried out by a QBCC licensed contractor; however, plumbing, drainage, gasfitting, hydraulic services design, and fire protection are among some of the types of building work that must be performed by a licensed contractor, regardless of the value of the work.
A contractor that holds a QBCC licence has met certain minimum requirements of technical merit and financial soundness.
* Contractors carrying out asbestos removal or demolition work must also hold a licence from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
Unfortunately, problems can and do arise when tradesmen are contracted to complete new or repair plumbing works. The ideal situation is for these problems and disputes to be avoided as much as possible. MPAQ believe the best ways to avoid disputes is to keep communication lines open, always make sure everything is in writing and always make sure you use a licensed plumber, drainer or gasfitter.
As with all industries, in plumbing, drainage and gasfitting it is often the case that you get what you pay for and quite often the cheapest option is not always the best option. It is wise to always get several quotes prior to approving work.
Communication is the key to a successful plumbing drainage or gasfitting job, whether it’s a small home repair or it’s a large scale commercial job. The communication methods may change depending on the size of the job but it’s always ideal to keep in regular contact with your contractor to check progress and discuss any queries you may have. By keeping communication lines open you can help to avoid any unnecessary confusion.
Contracts in Writing
If you're doing building or plumbing work over $3,300, you must have a contract in place.
You should carefully check the contract details and seek legal advice before signing, to ensure you are aware of your rights and obligations.
However, irrespective of the value of the work, MPAQ recommends entering into a written contract for all plumbing, drainage and gasfitting work before work commences. Having your understanding in writing avoids the potential for there to be a dispute over something that was only agreed to verbally.
If you need to make any changes or variations to your contract, they must be in writing and discussed initially with your contractor. Making sure all changes are documented again removes the potential for disputes.
In some situations, a dispute can’t be avoided. In the event of a dispute with a plumber or gasfitter, here is a guide for where to direct your complaint:
|Technical/compliance complaints||Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC)||Click here|
|Payment/charge complaints||Australian Competition and Consumer Commission||Click here|
|Legal/contract disputes||Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC)||click here|
|Independent accessible tribunal for disputes||Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)||click here|
|Local government area disputes||Local government directory||click here|
Not sure if you have the right information to lodge a dispute with the QBCC? You can use the dispute checklist at the bottom of the page to work out what you will require and the steps you will need to follow.
Do you have a complaint against an MPAQ member?
If an MPAQ member has breached the MPAQ Rules and Code of Conduct, you can complete the form below, and our team will assess your complaint further.
NOTE: This contractor must be a confirmed member of MPAQ. Please contact MPAQ on 07 3273 0800 for confirmation of membership. If the contractor is not a member of MPAQ, please contact the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) on 139 333 for further assistance.
Please use the below form to detail defective works that have been picked up. This form will assist MPAQ in creating a case to take to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).