Frequently asked questions – Licensing requirements for plumbers and drainers

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers relating to the licensing requirements for plumbers and drainers.

Q: What licences do I need?

A: There is currently some confusion in the plumbing industry about what licences are required for the work they perform.

The basic types of plumbing and drainage licence include:

  • Once you have completed your apprenticeship or other approved training, you must apply for a provisional licence
  • After getting your provisional licence, and can demonstrate you have 12 months of experience, you are able to apply for an occupational plumbers and drainers licence
  • If you will be contracting with the public to perform work, you will also need to apply for a contractor’s licence.To apply for a contractor’s licence you will need to complete the required competencies from the Certificate IV in Plumbing.

This means to contract for plumbing and drainage work in Queensland, you are required to hold both an occupational licence and a contractor’s licence. An occupational licence allows you to perform regulated plumbing and drainage work, and a contractor’s licence allows you to contract or tender for the work.

Q: What work can I do without a contractor’s licence?

A: If you do not hold a contractor’s licence, you are only able to work as an employee for a licensed contractor.

Plumbing and drainage work has a ‘zero dollar value’, which means that any work that costs over $0 (based on the reasonable cost of having the work carried out by a licensed contractor, including parts and labour) must be performed under a valid contractor’s licence.

Contracting for work without a licence is a breach of section 42 of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991, with a current penalty of $2,611 per offence.

Q: My employee has an endorsement on their licence, do I need the endorsement too?

A: If you are supervising or directing someone performing work that requires an endorsement (for example, testing a backflow prevention device), you must also hold that endorsement on your occupational licence.

Under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002, you are only allowed to supervise or direct work that you are licensed to perform, which includes work that falls under the scope of an endorsement.

Supervising or directing a person to perform work which you are not licensed for, or don’t hold an endorsement for, is a breach of section 119 of the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002, with a penalty of $1261 per offence.

Q: Do my employees need to hold licences if I have a licence?

A: Generally, all persons performing regulated plumbing or drainage work need to hold an appropriate occupational licence. There are a few exceptions, which include:

  • A person enrolled in a relevant apprenticeship or vocational placement
  • A person performing drainage work under the supervision of a licensed drainer
  • An authorised water industry worker removing, repairing or replacing a relevant water meter.

It is important to make sure that all your employees maintain a current licence, as supervising or directing a person without a licence in the performance of regulated work is an offence under section 120 of the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002, with a penalty of $1305.50 per offence.

The unlicensed person you are supervising or directing is also committing an offence under section 119 of this Act, with a penalty of $1305.50 per offence.

Q: How can I get more information about what licences I need?

A: If you need further information about licence types, endorsements or fees, we encourage you to visit Apply for a licence.