New Victorian plumbing regulations threaten fire safety and jobs
The Victorian Government’s recent amendment to the Plumbing Regulations 2018 will threaten the jobs of thousands of Victorians and the fire safety of the state’s buildings.
From 19 November 2018 routine service on fire hydrant systems and fire hose reel systems must be carried out by registered plumbers. Only a small segment of registered plumbers currently holds units of competence relevant to fire hydrant and hose reel routine servicing. Filling this gap in people with both appropriate training and the now-required registration could take decades.
“Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) is extremely disappointed and concerned that these new regulations will increase the life safety risk of Victorians,” said FPA Australia chief executive Scott Williams.
“There aren’t enough competent people to go around under the new regulations, and some Victorians may miss out on having the systems that protect them from fire properly maintained.”
“The changed regulations also put in jeopardy the jobs of thousands of Victorians, many of whom have been providing high-quality fire protection services for decades. This will have a downstream economic impact on thousands of businesses.”
While the Plumbing Regulations 2018 have been positioned as a continuation of the status quo, the main criticism is they’re based on an incorrect assumption that plumbers currently conduct the majority of routine service on fire hydrant systems and fire hose reel systems in Victoria.
Under the new Plumbing Regulations 2018, routine service work on fire sprinkler systems is also required to be conducted by individuals holding a sprinkler fitting registration. This has not changed from previous regulations. FPA Australia supports Victoria’s requirements for sprinkler service to be conducted by qualified sprinkler fitters.