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Regional plumbing and drainage inspections 

Information for plumbers and drainers


IMPORTANT – The arrangements outlined in this section apply to NSW plumbing and drainage inspections outside the Sydney, Illawarra, Blue Mountains and the Newcastle areas from 1 January 2013.

NSW plumbing reforms

In 2013, Fair Trading became the state’s single plumbing and drainage regulator for all on-site plumbing and drainage work, delegating inspection and enforcement powers to regional councils.

As part of the plumbing regulatory framework, Fair Trading licenses plumbers and drainers under the Home Building Act 1989, and all plumbing and drainage work must be completed by a person who holds a licence, qualified supervisor certificate or tradesperson certificate. In addition, a system of on-site regulation ensures that NSW plumbing and drainage work is monitored, so it complies with technical standards and regulations.

What does this mean for plumbers and drainers in regional NSW?

For plumbers and drainers working in regional NSW (outside of the areas where Sydney Water and Hunter Water are the water and sewer provider), continue to contact the local council to book inspections, pay inspection fees, submit documentation and for enquires.

If Sydney Water or Hunter Water are the water and sewer provider you need to contact Fair Trading to book inspections, pay inspection fees and submit documentation.  For more information go to the Metro plumbing and drainage inspections page on this website or call 1300 889 099.

Documents and forms

Plumbers and drainers are required to submit the following documents at certain stages of the work:

  • Notice of Work is to be issued to the regulator no later than 2 business days before the work concerned is carried out.
  • Certificate of Compliance is to be issued to the regulator and to the person for whom the work was carried out, on completion of the final inspection.
  • Sewer Service Diagram is to be issued to the regulator and the owner of the land or the owners agent.

To obtain the above documents please contact the council where the work is intended to be carried out. 

When must I book an inspection?

Inspections are generally required when:

  • drainage work is finished and before backfilling or covering the installation
  • a connection to a Network Utility Operator sewer main is finished and before backfilling
  • water supply work is finished and before cladding walls and or ceilings
  • when there is a need for re-inspection or for an inspection of non-compliant work
  • at the completion of all the work, ie. a final inspection.

Codes and Standards

The Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) is the technical standard for all plumbing and drainage work in NSW. All plumbing and drainage work in NSW must comply with the PCA.

The Code replaced the more prescriptive NSW Code of Practice for Plumbing and Drainage and other local requirements. The PCA allows plumbers to work easily across different regions, without needing to know local variations.

The PCA sets out performance requirements for the design, construction, installation, replacement, repair, alteration and maintenance of plumbing and drainage installations.

The Code references AS/NZS 3500, with two provisions set out for plumbers and drainers to work to and achieve code compliance. One option is for the work to be done under the ‘Deemed to Satisfy’ provision, in accordance with AS/NZS 3500. The other is the performance-based provision, where work (usually designed by a hydraulic engineer or consultant) meets or exceeds the requirements of AS/NZS 3500.

Plumbers and drainers can get copies of the PCA from the Australian Building Codes Board at

For more information in relation to the performance based provision, download a copy of the Guideline for plumbing and drainage: Installing code compliant work and performance solutions (PDF size: 204 kb)  from the Fair Trading website.

Subscribe to keep up-to-date

Subscribe to Newsflush, Fair Trading's quarterly e-newsletter, to receive up-to-date information about the plumbing and drainage industry.

For any further information, please contact your local council.

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