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Plumbing & Drainage
The Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011 became legislated in NSW in July 2012. Under the Act, NSW Fair Trading became the sole regulator for all plumbing and drainage work within NSW. Cessnock Council accepted sub-delegation by NSW Fair Trading to become the plumbing and drainage regulator for areas within the Cessnock LGA not serviced by the Hunter Water Corporation, such as non-sewered (septic tank) or alternative water supply areas (eg Huntlee). All urban areas that are serviced by Hunter Water sewer remain the responsibility of NSW Fair Trading.
Plumbing & Drainage Work
Plumbing and drainage work relates to sanitary (sewer) drains and/or water pipes associated with a building. The sanitary drains provide the means for wastewater (sewage) to be conveyed from the building into the sewer system or Onsite System of Sewage Management (eg septic tank). The water pipes convey drinking or non-drinking water to the building from a water supply such as the water mains, rainwater tank or approved alternative water supply.
All plumbing and drainage work must comply with the Act, Plumbing Code of Australia and relevant Australian Standards. Included are the use of compliant products and materials. These products must have received WaterMark certification and include the identification logo on the product or be supported by certified exemption certification.
There are other forms of plumbing work that while they may involve a licenced plumber, however these activities are not considered plumbing and drainage work.
- Sanitary drainage (including sanitary plumbing) up to point of connection to the main or septic tank
- Water plumbing from the point of connection to the main or alternative water supply source to the fixtures within the building
- Roof plumbing (eg downpipes, gutters, flashing)
- Gas plumbing
- Refrigerator plumbing
- Fire suppressions systems (eg sprinkler systems in commercial buildings)
- Infrastructure owned and maintained by a network utility (eg Hunter water)
- Exempt minor works (eg repairing/replacement of taps and washers, showerheads)
NOTE: Stormwater work while not strictly plumbing and drainage work, generally requires a licenced plumber to perform this work under the Home Building Act 1989. Please contact your local plumber, Council or NSW Fair Trading for further information. Stormwater work associated with new building work generally requires inspection by a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) as part of the construction approval process. In this regard, contact your PCA should you have any enquiries.
Plumbing and Drainage Inspections
The Act requires for plumbing and drainage work to be inspected by the relevant plumbing regulator. For areas serviced by Hunter Water Corporation, refer any enquiries to NSW FairTrading.
For areas regulated by Cessnock Council (as explained above) it is the requirement of the licenced plumber/drainer to provide Council with specific documentation, pay applicable fees and schedule inspections.
Plumbing and drainage work that requires inspection by Council includes the following:
- Internal & External Drainage
- Front Run (Huntlee area only)
- Rough In (Huntlee area only)
- Final Inspection
- Tradewaste (Huntlee area only)
- Septic tanks and related onsite treatment systems where Council is the consent and/or regulatory authority
Inspections are required at the completion of work but prior to covering up the work, i.e prior to backfilling of trenches, lining of walls and the like. It is important however to note, Council as the plumbing regulator reserves the right to conduct an inspection at any point during the installation, or when directed.
Supply of Documentation
Notice of Work (NoW)
This is a notice supplied to Council by the licenced plumber/drainer having responsibility for the plumbing and drainage work. The NoW identifies who the responsible person (eg licenced plumber/drainer) is for the work and advises Council that an inspection of the work will be requested generally in the near future. The NoW is to be in the prescribed form and must be submitted to Council no later than 2 business days before the works commence or no later than 20 business days if the work concerned involves an alternative solution.
Where more than one licensee is working on the site, a separate NoW will be required from each licensee thus allowing Council to ascertain who is responsible for what work.
NOTE: Council will not undertake an inspection until such time as the NoW is received. Please allow for at least 2 business days for the NoW to be receipted and recorded on Council’s systems prior to scheduling an inspection. The NoW is to be emailed to email@example.com or faxed, posted or hand delivered to Council.
Certificate of Compliance (CoC)
This is a certificate issued by the licenced plumber/drainer to Council and to the property owner certifying that the plumbing and drainage work to which the CoC relates is compliant with the Plumbing and Drainage Code and relevant Australian Standards. The CoC is to be in the prescribed form and must be submitted to Council within 2 business days of works being completed.
Where more than one licensee is working on the site, a separate CoC will be required from each licensee thus allowing Council and the property owner to ascertain who is responsible for what work.
The CoC is to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed, posted or hand delivered to Council.
The purpose of the SSD is to provide Council and the property owner with a copy of a diagram that indicates how and where the drainage lines were installed on the property. The SSD may be used by Council when conducting any future inspections to help ensure any future work will comply. The SSD may also be beneficial to the property owner when considering or carrying out any future works and thereby minimising risk of damage being made to the infrastructure or for maintenance purposes.
The SSD is required to be submitted to Council within 2 business days of works being completed.
The SSD must be in an acceptable format, appropriately scaled, legible and incorporate the correct symbols. An SSD that is not to an acceptable standard will not be accepted by Council and will be required to be resubmitted to the acceptable minimum standard.
Download the following SSD templates
- SSD symbol template
- SSD A4 portrait
- SSD A4 landscape
- SSD A3 portrait
- SSD A3 landscape
- NSW Fair Trading SSD Information factsheet and minimum acceptable standard
Drainage completed by a licensee doing drainage only
When a licensee completes drainage work, an SSD must be submitted either before or at the time of the final external drainage inspection
Drainage completed by a licensee doing both plumbing and drainage work
When the licensee is completing both the drainage and plumbing work for the entire development, an SSD is able to be submitted at the time of final inspection.
The SSD is to be emailed to email@example.com or faxed, posted or hand delivered to Council.
Payment of Fees
All application plumbing and drainage related fees are required to be paid to Council prior to conducting the first inspection. Fees will be determined and charged in accordance with Councils’ adopted Fees and Charges. It is expected that the licenced plumber/drainer will pay all relevant fees (in accordance with NoW).
Fees can be paid via credit card over the phone to Council’s customer service, in person via cash or bank cheque (personal cheques not acceptable) at Councils administration building.
For the Huntlee area, the inspection fees payable by the licenced plumber/drainer are as follows:
- Plumbing work = 3 inspections (front run, rough in & final)
- Drainage work = 2 inspections (internal & external)
- Both = 5 inspections
For non-sewered (septic) areas, the inspection fees are paid at the time of lodgement of the application.
NOTE: Additional fees such as urgency inspections or reinspections are required to be paid at the time of inspection booking.
Scheduling Plumbing and Drainage Inspections
All inspection request will be made via Council’s customer service either via telephone or in person at Council’s administration building. Requests for plumbing and drainage inspections are required to be booked in with 2 days’ notice prior to the requested inspection date. Inspection bookings can be taken with less than 2 days’ notice, however the relevant urgency fee is to be paid. The works to be inspected are to be ready for inspection by the date of the inspection. It is also important to emphasise that Council requires 2 business days to receipt and record the NoW that must be received prior to the inspection booking being made.
Council will require the following information to schedule an inspection:
- Whether a NoW has been submitted (please allow minimum 2 days for receipting and recording purposes)
- Property details where the inspection is to be carried out
- What is to be inspected
- When the inspection is requested (either AM or PM can be requested)
- Details of the licenced plumber/drainer including phone number and email address (an email address is necessary as only electronic inspection reports will be provided)
Council officers will conduct the inspection and advise the outcome via email. Where Council cannot attend the site the licenced plumber or person identified on the booking schedule will be notified.
More information relating to Plumbing and Drainage can be obtained from the NSW Fair Trading website.