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Review Finds Plumbers, Gasfitters, And Drainlayers Act Working Well

A review by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has found that the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act is working well to ensure that sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying is done properly in the interests of public health and safety.

The Government has agreed to minor recommendations made by the Report, to enhance the effectiveness of the Act.

“While the review found that overall the system is working well, the proposed changes will ensure that restrictions on plumbing work are proportionate to the risks to public safety,” said Amy Moorhead, MBIE’s Building Policy Manager.

The proposed changes include repealing the government’s ability to make exemptions to the registration and licencing requirements for performing restricted plumbing work in certain parts of the country. Exemptions that allow unlicensed people to work under supervision will also be removed, although further work will see a new licence class developed to formally recognise their skills and experience.

“The proposed changes will not affect the kind of work that is considered lower risk, and that homeowners can undertake themselves. People who want to install their own washing machines and dishwashers, or replace or repair taps, will still be able to do so,” said Amy Moorhead.

“However, the proposed changes agreed by Cabinet will ensure that riskier jobs that require specialist skills and experience such as installing, repairing or replacing toilets, showers and waste water systems are left to those who are qualified to perform them.”

Other recommendations agreed include further work to develop a pathway to self-certification for plumbers and drainlayers, minor changes to complaints and disciplinary processes and definitions under the Act, and changes to ensure the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Board has the right mix of skills and experience.

“Sanitary plumbing work has certain health and safety risks, both to the people performing the jobs and to the people who use the building. By making these changes the government is giving New Zealanders greater confidence that the people carrying out this type of work understand the risks involved and how to minimise them.”

The Review of the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act is part of a series of reforms to the building laws to lift the efficiency and quality of building work in New Zealand and provide fairer outcomes if things go wrong.

A draft Bill for these proposed changes is expected to be introduced in early 2022 which will then be referred to a Select Committee for review and to seek public feedback on the impacts of the proposals.

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