Webinar Q&A: Mechanical Services – Medical Gas

 

Medical Gas licence - definitions

Is compressed air classed as medical gas? Or is compressed air classed under plumbing works?

For the Mechanical Services – Medical Gas licence, medical gas means any gas or mixture of gases or other substance or process used for hospital or medical use that is supplied to, removed from or conducted at, a hospital or other place where medical procedures are carried out, by way of a pipeline reticulation system and includes oxygen, helium, nitrous oxide, nitrogen, medical air, surgical tool gas, carbon dioxide and common mixtures of those gases as well as anaesthesia waste.

Does medical gas work of medical gas systems include the source of supply? That is, installation of the bulk liquid oxygen vessel, air compressors, vacuum plants, etc, or just the piping reticulation part of the system?

Yes, the source of supply is deemed to be part of the Medical Gas System and a licence is required when installing, maintaining, and testing a source of supply for the distribution of medical gas. Further information is available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/Mechanical_Services_-_Me....

Do I need a licence?

We provide technical services (engineering design, planning or works, testing and commissioning of the piping system). We will engage Queensland based independent contractors who will have met the QBCC licence requirements to do the actual piping installation. We then verify the works as per AS2896 and other AS. Could you please confirm if our engineers can qualify and apply for 'Nominee Supervisor Licence' for testing and commissioning of medical gases piping works or there any other alternatives? Or will it be necessary for our engineers to obtain any of the licences? However the required qualifications required by QBCC do not match with those of engineering qualifications.

The testing or commissioning a medical gas system in a building is included in the scope of work for a Mechanical Services - Medical Gas licence meaning that a licence is required.

There is a broader exemption under Part 5 of Schedule 1 in the QBCC Regulation 2018, for works performed in the professional practice of a professional engineer. You may need to examine the elements of your work and what falls within professional engineering and what is now considered to be licensed work. Professional Engineering services works are excluded from the definition of 'building work' and therefore may not require this licence if this is included within their professional practice.

Further information is available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/Mechanical_Services_-_Medical_Gas_Licence_Reference_Guide.pdf.pdf.

We only work on Air Compressors and Vac Pumps, but do not touch any pipework. Do we need a licence for this? Every time this question is asked you answer talks about the pipework. We want a specific answer for the machines only please.

The current legislation requires that you hold a licence to perform work on a medical gas system. There is further detail on the scope of work for the medical gas licence available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/Mechanical_Services_-_Medical_Gas_Licence_Reference_Guide.pdf.pdf.

The QBCC encourages businesses to apply for the Company licence, as the assessment of financial information can be a matter that takes some time.  Companies may employ an individual who has or within the process is applying for, a nominee supervisor licence. Once the QBCC receives an application, then specific information can be provided to guide the company through the process. 

If we have engaged into a contract prior to 01 Jan 2020, but the job is scheduled after July 2020, then are we allowed to perform the installation and commissioning?

It doesn’t matter when you entered into contract for the work. To continue performing or supervising mechanical services work after 1 July 2020, you will need to hold the relevant licence.

My company hold a Gas work Authorisation and I am the trained level two gas fitter. We carry out gas work LPG Vapour and Liquid work. Do I need to have a new licence?

Gas work relating to the production, storage and handling of petroleum and liquid petroleum gas is not considered to be Mechanical Services - Medical Gas work and does not require this licence. See the Medical Gas Reference Guide for more information on the scope of work for a Medical Gas licence.

A Gasfitting licence may still be required and information on the scope of work is available online.

To continue to perform Mechanical Services work from 1 July 2020, you will need to obtain a Mechanical Services - Medical Gas Contractor’s licence by 1 July 2020.

Licensing

I own a plumbing and gasfitting company and employee tradesman. We perform medical gas works and our tradesman are going to apply for Mechanical Services - Medical Gas Licence. When do they have to apply by in order to gain a free licence? The company has already applied for contractor and nominee supervisor licence.

There are no pathways to obtain a free Mechanical Services - Medical Gas licence. People that perform mechanical services work under an appropriately licensed contractor have until 1 January 2022 to obtain an occupational licence.

When applying for an Occupational licence through transitional arrangement and qualifications, are you able to go on an open Occupational licence, or will you have to go to a provisional licence first?

There are no transitional arrangements for Occupational licences. There is no provisional licence for the Mechanical Services licences. Further information on the requirements and scope of work for a Mechanical Services - Medical Gas occupational licence are available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-medical-gas-occupational....

So how do you get a licence if you already have a Gasfitting licence, with not much experience in medical gas, but you may look for work in that area in the future?

In this case you would simply apply for the licence supplying the full technical qualifications required for the Mechanical Services - Medical Gas licence class. The required technical qualifications are listed here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-medical-gas-licence.

If a Trade Contractor licence is obtained, is there still a requirement to hold an Occupational licence class?  If so, is there any additional cost involved to obtain the Occupational licence?

If you hold a Trade Contractor (that is Contactor Individual, not a company) licence type, you are not required to hold an Occupational licence as well to carry out the work.

So a Nominee Supervisor can't physically perform any medical gas work?

That is correct. A Nominee Supervisor would require a Mechanical Services Occupational licence in the appropriate class to personally carry out the work.

If you meet the requirements for a Nominee licence would you not automatically meet the requirements for an Occupational licence?

For some of the licence classes, the technical qualifications are the same for the Nominee Supervisor and Occupational licence. If you hold a Nominee Supervisor licence and you intend on personally carrying out mechanical services work, you will need to apply for an Occupational licence as well.  If you obtain the Nominee Supervisor licence through the transitional arrangements, you will then have until the end of the 2021 to gain the prescribed technical qualification for the Occupational licence. 

We already have a Supervisor licence and Contractor licence for this class. Do need a separate Supervisor and Contractor licence for this new class?

The Mechanical Services - Medical Gas licence classes are new and were introduced on 1 January 2020. This work was previously unregulated.

You can apply for a Contractor licence as an individual or company. If you are operating as a company you are also required to have a nominee for the company. Further information is available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-licences/apply-mechanical-services-medical-gas-licence.

Our company does not employ staff who hold the trade qualifications that are required for a Nominee Supervisor licence. How can our company apply and obtain a licence without a Nominee supervisor licence?

Every company requires a Nominee in order to obtain a licence. This can be someone who holds either a Nominee Supervisor licence or an Individual Contractor licence of the relevant class. The Nominee commits to bringing their experience and qualifications to the company, and is responsible for overseeing the quality of work carried out for the company.

It may be beneficial for you to speak to a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) about recognition of prior learning or what courses are available for you and your employees to upskill. Further information is available on RTO's here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-licences/mechanical-services-technical-qualification-pathways-case-studies. You can also use a Queensland Government DIY assessment tool to help you identify the existing skills and experiences you could have recognised against your selected course.

I have a small business with 2 employees and I also do the operational work. Will I require a Contractor’s licence, a Nominee licence, a Site Supervisors licence and an Operational licence if I do the work myself?

No it depends on your business structure (whether you are a sole trader or a company). Either get a Contractor’s licence as an individual (and no further licence is required) or as a company, in which case you will also need to hold a Nominee Supervisor licence for the company (and Occupational licence to personally carry out mechanical services work yourself). There is more information on the QBCC website here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-licences/apply-mechanica....

Qualifications

I asked a few questions on the original webinar in regards to aligning qualifications from the CNBUI 027 Cert IV in Plumbing. Are these qualifications adequate to obtain licensing for the mechanical stream?

The technical qualifications required for all Mechanical Services licenses are listed on the QBCC website under the relevant stream: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-licences/about-new-mechanical-services-licences.

This qualification is not a listed technical qualification required for a Mechanical Services licence. You should contact a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to discuss the additional units of competency relevant for the mechanical services stream. You do not need to hold the Occupational licence in order to obtain a Contractor’s licence.

The Medical Gas technical qualifications are based on a gas fitter. Medical suction systems are maintained by fitters or mechanics and getting a gas fitters to repair suction systems does not make sense. Why would you become a gas fitter if you repair suction systems only?

There are three underpinning qualifications, of which one is the Certificate III Gas Fitting. The QBCC do have the ability to consider other qualifications that are equivalent.  If you believe you have an alternate equivalent qualification, or an alternate qualification with additional specific units that relate to medical gas, then the QBCC can consider those, including if an approved Registered Training Organisation (RTO) has undertaken an equivalency assessment.

Further information on the technical qualification requirements are listed here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-medical-gas-licence.

Further information on how to find an RTO is listed here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-licences/mechanical-services-technical-qualification-pathways-case-studies.

Not all of my qualifications and experience was transferred to my Queensland licence when I moved here and applied. Is now the time to reapply for all these qualifications that are still recognised interstate? Shouldn’t they have already been recognised?

If you currently hold an interstate licence that allows you to carry out the scope of work of a Mechanical Services licence, you may apply for that licence via Mutual Recognition. Further information on Mutual Recognition is available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/industry/apply-licence/moving-interstate.

 If you already hold the required technical qualification required for a Mechanical Services licence however, it may be simpler to apply using the regular application process. The QBCC considers each application on its own merits and can have regard for individual circumstances, providing more specific feedback.

The company I work for recommends, quotes, supplies, installs, commissions (Testing to Aust. Standards) and maintains and repairs the equipment in Medical Gas Systems (Medical Breathing Air, Vacuum/Suction Systems, Filtration and Refrigerated Dryers). This includes work on the pipework and fittings connecting the equipment. We are trade qualified Fitter & Turners and Mechanical Fitters, and our trade background is tailored to this equipment. Why is it the people currently engaged in contracts and doing this work are excluded from obtaining the necessary qualifications, streams are centred on the Plumbing trade?

The alternative qualification pathway for the Mechanical Services - Medical Gas licence is only available to some existing QBCC Gasfitting licensees. If you are not an existing QBCC Gasftting licensee, you will need to meet the required technical qualifications in order to obtain a Mechanical Services - Medical Gas licence: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-medical-gas-licence.

The Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) carried out industry consultation prior to the new licensing requirement being introduced. The Queensland Government sets the laws that the QBCC is responsible for administering.

Experience

How do I know if my experience is enough to obtain the licence for alternative pathway and is there a fee if already hold a QBCC contractor licence?

If you are an existing QBCC Gasfitting licensee, you may be able to use your experience to satisfy the technical qualification requirements for the Mechanical Services – Medical Gas licence, provided you can demonstrate six months experience in performing medical gas work. This is known as an alternative qualification pathway.

A fee is still payable for the additional licence class which depends on what types of licence you are applying for (Nominee or Site Supervisor, Occupational, Trade Contractor or Company licence application). Licence fee information is available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/industry/apply-licence/licence-fees.  In relation to your experience, please refer to the experience fact sheet.  The important consideration is providing evidence of what "you" have undertaken, and provide some detail, more than simple statements.

Our company has been servicing supply gas manifolds and terminal outlets for over 35 years. We have no formal qualifications. We have 10 employees working for us in Queensland. What licences would we require and how can we prove our high level of experience?

The company would be required to hold a Mechanical Services - Medical Gas contractor licence in order to continue contracting for and carrying out this work from 1 July 2020. Every company requires a Nominee in order to obtain a licence. This can be someone who holds either a Nominee Supervisor licence or a Contractor licence of the relevant class. The Nominee commits to bringing their experience and qualifications to the company, and is responsible for overseeing the quality of work carried out for the company.

It may be beneficial for you to speak to a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) about recognition of prior learning or what courses are available for you and your employees to upskill. Further information is available on RTO's here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-licences/mechanical-services-technical-qualification-pathways-case-studies. You can also use a Queensland Government DIY assessment tool to help you identify the existing skills and experiences you could have recognised against your selected course.

As long as the company holds the relevant licence, your employees will have until 1 January 2022 to obtain a Mechanical Services - Occupational licence.

What do you need to prove that you have worked on hospital gases?

There is a great fact sheet which covers what the experience requirements are for a Mechanical Services - Medical Gas licence: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/Mechanical_Services_expe.... Please note that experience is not required until 1 January 2022, unless you do not have the required technical qualifications, are an existing QBCC Gasfitting licensees and are relying on the alternative qualification pathway to obtain a Medical Gas licence.  Further information is available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-licences/transitional-ar....

Posted on the QLD Government legislation website in October 25, 2019. Schedule 2, Part 47 Mechanical services – medical gas licence, Section 5 Experience requirements – Two years experience, other than experience gained during an apprenticeship, in the scope of works for the class of licence. Where it has been noted this particular field requires appropriate licencing and experience, how come this has been reduced to 3 and 6 months experience in the licensing process?

To assist with the transition of existing workers to the new licensing framework, there are no experience requirements until 1 January 2022 (if you hold the required technical qualifications to be eligible for a licence).

If you are relying on one of the alternative qualification pathways as an existing Gasfitting licensee, then you will need to prove that you have at least 6 months experience performing or supervising medical gas work. See this fact sheet for further information:  https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/Mechanical_Services_experience_factsheet_-_medical_gas.pdf.

How to apply

Do I have to submit separate applications for mechanical plumbing and medical gas?

No, you can apply for multiple classes of licence on the one application form. The myQBCC online form is simple, easy to use, automatically calculates the required payment and prompts you to upload the right evidence to support your application. Go to https://my.qbcc.qld.gov.au/s/login/ to log-in or create an account.

Where do you submit qualifications for licence?

You can apply for a Mechanical Services licence either online through myQBCC or by completing a printable application form available on the QBCC website, and returning this either via email to info@qbcc.qld.gov.au, by post to GPO Box 5099 Brisbane QLD 4001, or in person at any of our service centres across the state. Both forms prompt you to detail the qualifications and experience that you have and provide evidence of this to support your application.

I've applied - what happens next?

I have sent in a Mechanical Services licence application. How long does it take to be reviewed and approved and how do we know if we are successful?

The timeframe for assessment of a new Mechanical Services licence application is 6-8 weeks, depending on what type of licence you applied for. There are often longer timeframes to assess a contractor or company licence due to checks of financial information. A licensing officer will contact you if any further information or evidence is required to support your application. A licensing officer will also notify you of the outcome of your application once a decision has been made. 

Is there a way to find out how a submitted licence application is going? The company and nominee applied in January and we haven't received any correspondence as yet as to how the application is progressing.

For a Contractor licence, we can take up to 6 weeks to process your licence application if everything required is provided, to complete the required checks on your qualifications, experience and financials. A QBCC Licensing Officer will contact you if further information is required and also to advise on the outcome of your application.

How will QBCC police the new licence?

Positive step bringing in a medical gas licence but who will be the inspectorate for the supervision of medical gases? Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) or plumbing inspectors?

The QBCC are responsible for the regulation of the new Mechanical Services licensing requirement. The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) administers and monitors legislation affecting the Queensland gas sector and regulation of the gas industry.

Mechanical Services - Plumbing licences

Could you please go over the Mechanical Services - Plumbing requirements and what we need to meet the new classes?

The recording for the Mechanical Services - Plumbing webinar and questions asked have been made available on the QBCC website here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/education-engagement/education-engagement-industry-events?utm_source=webpage&utm_medium=sidebar-advert-webinar&utm_campaign=mechanical-services&utm_content=webinar-info.

There is also further information on the Mechanical Services - Plumbing licence classes available here: https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/mechanical-services-licences/apply-mechanical-services-plumbing-licence.

As a licensed plumber and gasfitter, my work includes installation of spray booths. Will I require a mechanical plumbing licence? This work consists of installing panels, fans, gas heating and ducting.

The construction/installation of a spray painting booth is carpentry/plastering related work, and the water curtain is plumbing work.  It is not Mechanical Services – Plumbing work as it is not for the purpose of heating or cooling a building, and cannot be used as experience for this licence class. The description of the scope of work for a Mechanical Services – Plumbing licence is listed on the Plumbing Reference Guide (PDF)