Practitioner duty of care
I completed a job and lodged a compliance certificate. After that point in time another contractor added to or altered the installation, possibly lodging another compliance certificate. Who is held responsible now?
This issue is all about accountability. You are only responsible for certifying the work you performed or had carried out on your behalf. You should keep as complete as possible a record of each project, particularly ones that you are aware are likely to be either worked on or altered by others. If a problem occurs, the usual procedure involves the Plumbing Industry Commission interviewing not only the plumber or plumbers involved, but also the consumer, to establish who did what work, when, and who would be accountable.
A consumer or consultant or architect, etc, asks me to perform work which would not comply to a standard, code or regulation.
If I refuse I will lose the contract. What options are available to me?
The legislation quite clearly provides that it is an offence to perform and certify work that does not comply with the relevant standards, codes and regulations. To do so places you at risk of prosecution and possible disciplinary action. The Plumbing Industry Commission has put into place a simple procedure for applications to vary or modify standards and codes in specific situations. Contact the Manager of Information Training and Standards at the Plumbing Industry Commission on 1300 815 127.
I am asked to perform some plumbing work on a job and whilst there notice other work which is not connected in any way to the work I will be doing but does not comply with the standards, codes or regulations. It may represent a danger to the health and safety. Do I have an obligation or responsibility to report this to the Plumbing Industry Commission?
A written report on the defects should be provided to the owner/occupier which should include information on any perceived health or safety risks. Where you believe a health or safety risk is present you are strongly advised to provide a copy of the report to the Plumbing Industry Commission also.
I am asked to perform some plumbing work on a job and I notice that part of the existing installation that I will have to tap into or work on does not comply with standards, codes or regulations. Would I have to rectify that work before I could certify the work I perform?
Yes. See also the question and answer relating to modifications of the plumbing regulations.
When I certify an installation am I giving a six year guarantee on the appliances I've installed?
The insurance provides for a six year period of cover on your workmanship. This does not normally include normal wear and tear of materials and products, or products subject to individual manufacturers warranties (ie, water heaters etc), so long as you have installed them in accordance with the plumbing laws.