Licensing

To perform regulated plumbing, drainage and fire protection work in Queensland, you must have a valid licence for the work.

Queensland’s plumbing and drainage licensing system protects public health and safety by making sure that only qualified persons can perform plumbing and drainage work, and also protects the trade as unlicensed tradespersons cannot be employed to perform this work.

The QBCC is responsible for issuing licences to plumbers, drainers and sprinkler fitters.

To apply for a new licence, renew your existing licence or update your contact details please visit www.qbcc.qld.gov.au to download the application forms.

Reporting unlicensed work

It is an offence to perform regulated plumbing and drainage work in Queensland without a valid Licence.

If you become aware of unlicensed work being performed, you can contact the Plumbers Union Qld on 1800 653 118 or office@plumbersunionqld.com and a complaint will be lodged on your behalf.

When making a complaint about unlicensed work, make sure you include as much information as possible, such as:

  • the name of the person who performed the work (if known)
  • the name of the company employing the person (if known)
  • when and where the work was performed
  • a description of the work performed.


TYPES OF PLUMBING AND DRAINAGE LICENCE

From 15 September 2014, the Plumbing Industry Council will be abolished and all licensing functions for plumbers, drainers and sprinkler fitters will be transferred to the new Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

The QBCC issues a number of different types of 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 www.qbcc.qld.gov.au

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.

 

OPEN LICENSE

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:

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.


PROVISIONAL LICENCES

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.

 

RESTRICTED LICENCES

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.

 

ENDORSEMENTS

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.

 

CONTRACTOR’S LICENCE

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.