Information for real estate agents
Real estate agents are regularly required to engage plumbers and drainers to perform work on rental properties. This information is for agents about how to comply with relevant laws to prevent damage to properties and protect tenants and property owners.
In Queensland, regulated plumbing and drainage work must be performed by a licensed plumber or drainer. The QBCC issues two types of licences for plumbing and drainage work:
- occupational licences, which ensure the person is appropriately skilled to perform the work; and
- contractor licences, which ensure the person contracting for the work has the financial capacity and business training to run a business.
All persons performing regulated plumbing and drainage work must hold an appropriate occupational licence, and either hold or be working for a company holding a contractor’s licence.
Making sure that the person performing work has an appropriate licence:
- ensures the work complies with relevant codes and standards
- ensures the person is aware of contractual requirements
- prevents issues with insurance claims in the event the plumbing or drainage fails; and
- protects public health and safety, amenity and the environment.
To check that the person you have engaged holds an appropriate licence, you can search the QBCC’s online licence registers.
There are four types of plumbing and drainage work prescribed under the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019, with different requirements. These four types are:
- permit work
- notifiable work
- minor work; and
- unregulated work.
Plumbing and drainage work classified as permit work is work that does not fall into the categories of notifiable, minor or unregulated work. Permit work requires the licensee to apply for a permit with the relevant local government and have the work inspected.
Permit work includes but is not limited to work on new buildings, renovations on commercial or high-rise buildings, or work on a trade waste system.
When a licensee performs notifiable work, they are required to register a Form 4 with the QBCC within 10 business days of completing the work. The licensee should also provide you with a copy of the Form 4.
Common types of notifiable work performed on rental properties include but are not limited to:
- installing or replacing water heaters
- installing or replacing temperature control devices.
If a property is being renovated, it may also involve notifiable work, such as altering existing pipework or installing new fittings or fixtures (such as a shower, sink or toilet).
Minor work must be performed by a licensed person but does not need to be registered. Common types of minor work performed on rental properties include but are not limited to:
- unblocking sanitary pipework
- repairing broken pipes; and
- repairing or replacing a fitting or fixture.
Unregulated work does not need to be performed by a licensee. It is limited to very minor types of work such as replacing a shower head, tap washers or washers in toilet cisterns, installing irrigation systems downstream from a tap or maintaining a ground level drain grate.
A full list of the categories of notifiable work, minor work and unregulated work are provided in schedules 1 to 3 of the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019.
Real estate agents who are selling or managing properties with on-site sewage systems have an important role in ensuring these systems continue to operate effectively.
We recommend that real estate agents:
- ensure prospective owners and tenants are aware of the operation and maintenance requirements for the system on their property; and
- for rental properties, are aware of the servicing requirements for the specific system installed and ensure regular services are undertaken.
More information about servicing requirements for approved on-site systems is available from the Department of Energy and Public Works.
If you need information about service records for a property, please contact the relevant local government.
Service agents must hold an appropriate drainage licence from the QBCC that covers servicing and maintaining on-site sewage systems, which includes:
- drainer’s licence with an endorsement for on-site sewage facility maintenance; or
- restricted drainer – on-site sewage facility licence.
You can check the service agent holds the right licence by searching the QBCC’s online licence registers.
We can investigate complaints about licensee conduct and unlicensed work. If you are concerned that your plumber or drainer:
- does not hold the appropriate licence
- has not registered or provided you with a copy of a Form 4; or
- has performed work which is defective or non-compliant
you can lodge a complaint with the QBCC by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about licensing and compliance in the plumbing and drainage industry visit Plumbing work.