Types of Plumbing Licenses

licensed plumbers Australia


Plumbing licenses and the law

It is illegal to either work as, or make use of, an unlicensed plumber. The Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) is the legal and technical document for all plumbing work and part of the National Construction Code (NCC). All workers in the design and construction of buildings must follow the NCC. In the PCA, it states the minimum requirements needed for plumbing work, including:

Sanitary plumbing
Draining & storm water drainage systems
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
Waste water systems

Why Should I Hire a Qualified Plumber?

Most of us know hiring a plumber can be expensive. Yet it is even more expensive when something goes wrong, especially if it was due to a an unlicensed do-it-yourself job. Then you’re looking at repairs, damages and potential legal costs. Below is a comprehensive list of reasons why you should always use a licensed plumber.

Licensing of Plumbers

Plumbing is governed on a state by state basis, with dedicated regulatory bodies that manage the issuing and renewal of licenses. Depending on the state you are in (see below list), a plumbers licence may include drainage and gasfitting, typically detailed as an endorsement or separate class on the contractors physical licence. There are also different types of licences, which may effect what plumbing work the licence holder can undertake.


On the 15 September 2014, the Plumbing Industry Council was abolished and all licensing functions for plumbers in QLD, drainers and sprinkler fitters were transferred to the new Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

The QBCC issues a number of different types of plumbing licences. The type of licence a person is eligible for depends on their qualifications and experience.
Required qualifications for each licence are now set by the QBCC. The required qualifications for different licence types are available on the QBCC’s website at
The licence classes issued by the QBCC include:
Plumber’s and Drainer’s licences;
provisional plumber’s and drainer’s licences;
restricted licences;
endorsements on licences; and
contractor’s licences.

Work that can be done by an unlicensed plumber?

Below is a list of the unregulated work that can be performed by an unlicensed person; all other plumbing and drainage work must be done by an appropriately licensed person.

Sanitary plumbing and sanitary drainage

cleaning or maintaining ground level grates to traps on sanitary drains
replacing caps to ground level inspection openings on sanitary drains
maintaining an above or below ground irrigation system for the disposal of effluent from an on-site sewerage facility.

Water plumbing

installing or maintaining an irrigation or lawn watering system downstream from an isolating valve, tap or backflow prevention device on the supply pipe for the irrigation or lawn watering system
replacing a jumper valve or washer in a tap
changing a shower head
replacing, in a water closet (WC) cistern, a drop valve washer, float valve washer or suction cup rubber.


An open plumber’s or drainer’s licence allows the licensee to perform the full scope of works under their licence without supervision; however work must still be completed under a QBCC contractor licence (please see below for details regarding contractor licensing).
Licensees must however apply for their open license by following these basic steps, but cannot do so until they can demonstrate 12 months of work under their provisional license:
Form 21 – Application for a licence (PDF)
Form 29 – Trade experience (PDF)
To be eligible for a full licence, the licensee must have completed a Certificate III in plumbing or drainage and worked for 12 months under their provisional license.


A provisional plumber’s or drainer’s licence allows a person to perform plumbing or drainage work under the supervision of a fully licensed plumber or drainer.
Upon completion of a Certificate III in Plumbing or Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services) (for provisional plumbers) or a Certificate II in Drainage (for provisional drainers) a person can apply for a provisional licence from the QBCC. To upgrade to a open licence, a provisional licensee must be able to demonstrate at least one year of experience and apply for an open license from the QBCC.
A provisional licensee can hold endorsements on their licence, provided they only perform this work under the supervision of a licensee who also holds the endorsement.


The QBCC offers a number of restricted licences which allow a limited amount of plumbing or drainage work to be performed without needing a complete plumbing or drainage qualification.
Restricted drainer – on-site sewerage facilities
On 31 May 2013 this licence class was expanded to allow appropriately-qualified individuals to install on-site sewerage treatment plants and their associated land application areas. Licensees who do not choose to upgrade their licence are still only able to maintain on-site sewerage facilities.
Restricted water plumber – electrical or gas
The restricted water plumber – electrical and restricted water plumber – gas licences allow electricians or gas-fitters to perform plumbing work required for replacing a hot water system.
Restricted water plumber – fire protection
There are three types of restricted water plumber – fire protection licence: commercial and industrial; domestic and residential; and hydrants and hose reels.
These allow licensees with QBCC fire protection licences to perform a limited scope of plumbing work for fire protection purposes.
Restricted water plumber – water and sanitary
This licence class was introduced on 31 May 2013 to allow graduates from the Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services) to be eligible for a licence. This licence allows the performance of water plumbing and sanitary plumbing work.


The QBCC also offers a range of endorsements on licences. These allow licensees to perform specialised types of work that are not necessarily covered in the standard apprenticeship package.
On-site sewerage facility maintenance
A drainer or provisional drainer may apply for an endorsement on their licence to maintain on-site sewerage facilities after completing the required courses set by the QBCC.
Backflow prevention
A plumber or provisional plumber may apply for an endorsement on their licence to commission, test and maintain backflow prevention devices. The licensee must first complete a backflow prevention course as required by the QBCC, and then be tested every five years to ensure their knowledge is up to date.
Thermostatic mixing valves
A plumber or provisional plumber may apply for an endorsement on their licence to commission, test and maintain thermostatic mixing valves after completing the required course set by the QBCC.
Solar and heat pump hot water systems
A previous Queensland Government rebate for installation of solar and heat pump hot water systems led to the installation of many non-compliant and defective hot water systems.
This endorsement was introduced to address these concerns and ensure that licensees are up to date with current technologies for solar and Heat pump hot water systems.
A plumber or provisional plumber can apply for an endorsement to install, replace, test, repair and maintain solar and heat pump hot water systems after completing the required course set by the QBCC.
Fire protection
There are two endorsements available in the area of fire protection – commercial and industrial, or domestic and residential. A plumber or provisional plumber can apply for these endorsements to install, maintain and test fire sprinkler systems after completing the required courses set by the QBCC.


From 15 September 2014, both occupational and contractor’s licences for plumbing, drainage and sprinkler fitting will now be issued by the QBCC. From this date, if you hold a contractor’s licence from the QBCC, you will no longer also need to hold the occupational licence. This will reduce application fees and simplify the renewal process for contractors.
To apply for a contractor’s licence, you must: be able to demonstrate that you have an existing occupational licence;
have completed an approved managerial course; and comply with the relevant financial requirements.

Looking for a licensed plumber on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich or Hervey Bay,  A2Z Tradies has an extensive list of Queensland licensed plumbers all rated and reviewed.


Plumbers in NSW are regulated by NSW Fair Trading and all work must conform to the Plumbing Code of Australia. All plumbing work requires the use of an appropriately licensed tradesperson to carry out the work.

You will encounter the following types of licences in NSW:

Qualified supervisor – supervise and carry out work
Contractor – contract and advertise work
Tradesperson certificate – all work needs to be signed off by a contractor or supervisor class

Plumbing work could include the following:

Water plumbing
Roof plumbing
All jobs that involve this type of activity will require In addition there are specific licence classes for certain types of plumbing work. These are typically endorsed on the tradespersons physical licence. Licences are typically issued for one to three years.


All plumbing work in Victoria needs to be carried out by a licensed or registered plumber. It is illegal to perform or undertake plumbing work without the appropriate qualifications and accreditation.

Plumbing work in Victoria is regulated by the Plumbing Industry Council (PIC) which is under the auspices of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).In addition, any plumbing work over $750 requires the issuing of a Compliance Certificate.

Plumbing licensing and registration in Victoria are covered by three main categories of plumbing work:

Plumbers in Victoria are licensed in eight classes: Water Supply, Gasfitting, Sanitary, Roofing (Stormwater), Drainage, Mechanical Services, Fire Protection or Irrigation (Non-agricultural). They need to be licensed in a specific class to legally carry out work of that type.


Plumbing work in South Australia is governed by Consumer and Business Services (CBS), and includes all domestic/commercial work such as:

Connections of water pipes and sewage
Fire protection systems
All plumbing work in South Australia needs to conducted by a licensed individual, who must hold the appropriate qualifications to qualify. Persons undergoing training, such as apprentices who are being supervised on the job, are also required to be registered. Plumbers also need to provide Certificates of Compliance (COC) for the work they carry out.

There are two classes of plumbing licences for individuals:

Workers – for individuals carrying out plumbing work.
Contractors – for anyone wanting to contract or sub-contract plumbing work.


All plumbers in Western Australia are regulated by the Plumbers Licensing Board. Plumbing or drainage work requires a licence, irrespective of the value of the job.

The scope of works for this licence applies to all jobs involving:

drainage plumbing
There are three classes of plumbers licence in Western Australia:

Plumbing Contractor
Plumbing Contractor (Drainage Plumbing)
Only a licensed plumbing contractor is qualified to certify that the work complies with the relevant plumbing standards. Licensed tradespersons therefore require supervision for the work they carry out. You can easily check a plumbers credentials by asking them for their photo ID card, which details the validity of their licence and the classes they are licensed for. Licences are typically issued for one to three years.


Plumbing work in Tasmania is governed by the Department of Justice. All plumbing work is required to be conducted by a licensed individual. There are a range of plumbing classes, including: sanitary, drainage and roof stormwater – all of which will be listed on the holders physical licence.

Plumbing licences exist in three categories for Tasmania:

Practitioner – to undertake plumbing work
Contractor – to contract or manage plumbing work
In addition a Nominated Manager is responsible for certifying plumbing work for a plumbing contractor business. You can easily check a plumbers credentials by asking them for their photo ID card, which details the validity of their licence and the classes they are licensed for. Licences are typically issued for one to three years.


Plumbers are licensed and accredited in the ACT by the Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA). It includes a broad scope of works, including water supply, drain work, rainwater tanks & greywater systems, hot water systems, backflow prevention devices, sprinkler or spray systems.

You will encounter the following types of plumbers licences in the ACT:

Advanced Sanitary
Journeyman – restricted works and supervised
You can easily check a plumbers credentials by asking them for their photo ID card, which details the validity of their licence and the classes they are licensed for. Licences are typically issued for one to three years.


In the Northern Territory the Plumbers & Drainers Licensing Board regulates that sector. All plumbing work, irrespective of the cost of the job, needs to be undertaken by an appropriately licensed individual.

There are two classes of plumbers in this jurisdiction:

Advanced Tradesman
Journeyman are required to be supervised by an Advanced Tradesman and are not allowed to contract for plumbing work. Plumbing work will typically involve installation, maintenance or repair. Additional training is required for work involving backflow prevention or thermostatic mixing valves, and these are endorsed on the plumbers physical licence.


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