News & Events

Behind the scenes at Master Plumbers - February 2017

 A message from the CEO, Ken Gardner

"Our large membership represents a powerful and reputable group. We lobby on behalf of members to protect and effect change to the industry and in support of various plumbing, business and environmental recommendations.

The Association represents your interests and regularly liaises with organisations including:

  • Victorian Building Authority
  • Plumbing Advisory Council
  • Australian Building Codes Board
  • Standards Australia
  • World Plumbing Council
  • Energy Safe Victoria
  • Various local Water Authorities

Your opinion is important and we want your comments and feedback on issues affecting your business and the plumbing industry. Requests for your input are announced via our e-news so make sure you're subscribed to receive our communications. You can contribute to the discussions any time via our Members Online Forum

Below is a snapshot of the recent stakeholder meetings and talks we have been involved with. I trust you find this update useful and look forward to your input on these important issues."

Ken Gardner, CEO

In discussion with the VBA

During February and March, we continue to push for an industry position on the following issues:

  • Offsite construction – both for Bathroom PODS and banks of hot water systems on skids
  • Provisional licensing
  • The need for enhanced inspection and enforcement activity
  • The need for improvements in apprenticeship training and delivery

Sunsetting of the Plumbing Regulations

As part of the industry input into the review of the Plumbing Regulations (which sunset in 2018), Master Plumbers met with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to argue for changes to the Victorian Plumbing Regulations to clarify the following issues:

  • Certificates from licensed plumbers for offsite plumbing work
  • Clearer definition of design requirements and responsibilities
  • New inspection and enforcement regime to differentiate commercial and domestic plumbing

Passive fire protection systems

A Master Plumbers initiated roundtable discussion was held on 20 February between key stakeholders the VBA, the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, the Association of Hydraulic Services Consultants Australia and various member companies.

Constructive discussion on passive fire control was held on the numerous issues facing plumbers. Follow up action is planned with the appropriate stakeholders on a number of the issues raised including:

  • Test and installation data supplied to Building Surveyors - lack of consistency
  • Liability of installer / certifier - whether the current regulatory systems covers recognition of certifiers
  • Possible development of training for installers / certifiers

Further liaison with the VBA and the building surveyor representatives are taking place and updates on the progress of these outcomes will be reported via e-news and our website in the coming weeks.

National issues on the table with MPA

Master Plumbers Australia Limited (MPA) is made up of representatives from each of the Master Plumbers Associations across the country. The MPA has adopted a unified policy position in the areas of licensing, qualifications and regulation.

Issues currently under discussion are:

  • WaterMark
  • Better mutual recognition
  • Continuing Professional Development

WaterMark was also raised with Hon Craig Laundy MP, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science in Sydney in late January. We also discussed:

  • Free access to Standards
  • Improved building products controls
  • Review of retention monies and security of payments legislation

Skills for Industry

Skills Oz is committed to supporting industry to advance education and training, support employment and skills development, and contribute to high quality training products and services.

I attended their Board meeting recently to represent the plumbing sector and argue for development of a plumbing based learning management system.

Review of Plumbing Training Package

Master Plumbers represents the plumbing sector on the Artibus Construction, Plumbing and Services Industry Reference Committee to ensure that work on the review of the Plumbing Training Package starts in 2017.

Supporting the national VET system, Training Packages specify the skills and knowledge required to perform effectively in the workplace through units of competency.

International relationships

Master Plumbers also supports the World Plumbing Council (WPC) through various activities including the Community Plumbing Challenge. The Challenge aims to contribute to improvements to public health in regions where communities are still threatened by a lack of basic sanitation and safe drinking water systems. More info.

We also promote and encourage members to apply for the WPC international Scholarship Program. The scholarship intends to provide an educational exchange between countries focusing on plumbing industry training, while at the same time exposing the participants to new technologies and innovations in training systems. More info.