This is a warning issued by the Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) to the public under section 20J(1)(i) of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act).
The QBCC warns suppliers and the public about the sale and use of potentially non-conforming building products, namely Do It Yourself (DIY) bidets, douche sprays and similar hygiene devices, collectively known as ‘alternative toileting devices’.
The QBCC has recently become aware of the sale and DIY installation of alternative toileting devices in Queensland, particularly for household use. Unless these devices are manufactured to comply with Australian Standards and also are properly installed, these can lead to a risk of contaminating the household water supply with E. coli bacteria. An E. coli infection can lead to serious health and safety issues.
In Queensland, alternative toileting devices must be installed by a licensed plumber who has the skills and qualifications to ensure that a backflow prevention device is in place.
Alternative toileting devices generally require connection to a water supply which, in a residential setting, is usually the potable domestic water supply.
The failure to properly install these products, including installation of a suitable backflow prevention device, may lead to water supply contamination, posing serious risks to health and safety.
Alternative toileting devices require WaterMark certification for compliance with relevant Australian Standards. This is either marked on the product itself, or consumers can check products on the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) website.
The QBCC advises the public that alternative toileting devices offered for sale through online retailers must also be checked to confirm that they have WaterMark certification.
Under Queensland’s non-conforming building products law, every member of the construction industry supply chain, including manufacturers, distributors and installers, must ensure the product they manufacture, supply or install is compliant, or risk signficant penalties.
The QBCC is urging suppliers of alternative toileting devices to ensure the devices have appropriate and genuine Watermark certification and to ensure customers are informed of the need to engage licensed plumbers for installation.
The QBCC also advises any members of the public who are thinking about installing alternative toileting devices to engage a licensed plumber to install the device.
The QBCC urges anyone who has recently installed an alternative toileting device to check with a licensed plumber if the device is compliant.
Current Queensland Government health directives advise that the construction industry is an essential service and workers are exempt from the two-person rule when entering homes or private premises. Where the appropriate social distancing and hygiene requirements are in place, there is no reason to exclude builders and tradies from your home or property.
Consumers can confirm if an installer is properly licensed by conducting a free online licence search on the QBCC website or by contacting the QBCC on 139 333.