NSW Plumbing Reforms

From 1 January 2013, NSW Fair Trading will become the state's single plumbing and drainage regulator for all on-site plumbing and drainage work.

NSW Fair Trading will be delegating inspection and enforcement powers to regional councils currently conducting plumbing and drainage inspections.

The 2012 plumbing reforms 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 and licensing in NSW.

As part of the plumbing regulatory framework, NSW 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.

Download: Plumbing Reforms Q&A for Regional NSW

What Does This Mean for Plumbers and Drainers in Regional NSW?

For plumbers and drainers working in regional NSW (that is work outside of the areas where Sydney Water and Hunter Water are the water and sewer provider) you continue to contact the local council to book inspections, pay inspection fees, submit documentation and for enquires.

Download: Information for Plumbers and Drainers in Regional NSW

Documents and Forms

As part of the reforms, plumbers and drainers are required to submit the following documents at certain stages of the work.

  • Notice of Work (NoW) is to be issued to the regulator no later than 2 business days before the work concerned is carried out.
  • Certificate of Compliance (CoC) is to be issued to the regulator and to the person for whom the work was carried out, on completion of the final inspection.

Download: Combined NoW and CoC

  • Sewer Service Diagram (SSD) is to be issued to the regulator and the owner of the land or the owners agent.

Download: SSD Symbols Template; SSD A3 Landscape Template; Point of Connection Explanatory Notes

When Must I Book an Inspection

Inspections are generally required when:

  • drainage work is finished and before backfilling or covering the installation
  • a connection to a Network Utility Operator 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, ie. a final inspection

Codes and Standards

The Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) is the new 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' provision 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



Contact Details:

Glenn Bulmer, Manager Planning & Building

Phone: 03 5884 3400

Fax: 03 5884 3417