By Rory O’Malley – Hydraulic Principal
Recently we’ve been informed that Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC) and local council authorities are cracking down in their enforcement of rules relating to the compliance of plumbing and hydraulic design for temporary building site amenities and temporary site sheds.
Under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002, structures that are connected to plumbing and drainage systems require council assessment and approval, including compliance assessment by the local authorities.
Until recently, our experience is that this requirement has been irregularly applied. However, we’ve recently worked on two projects where fines were issued for non-compliance. We’ve also been advised that as of 1 July 2019 all plumbing services to temporary amenities and site sheds, including temporary structures for public and private events, must have local authority plumbing compliance prior to works commencing on construction sites.
This includes site sheds containing food and beverage preparation areas with sinks, as well as temporary structures with toilets, shower, drinking bubblers and any other sanitary fixtures.
Local plumbing authorities are now enforcing the rule that no work is to commence prior to temporary compliance permits being issued.
What about sites with an existing approvals?
Any site with an existing plumbing approval will need to either revise the existing approval or submit another/new plumbing application through a licenced QBCC Hydraulic consultant.
Many local authorities are currently offering a grace period of three inspections to allow the industry to get itself in order, but they are putting their foot down and fining individuals if they determine nothing is being done.
What’s the official word?
Unfortunately, the hydraulic industry is yet to be formally notified by the councils about how temporary structures designs are to be correctly submitted or what the associated fees are.
The only official word comes from this QBCC post about temporary building sites in September 2018.
You can also find details of what is considered compliance assessable work that requires a Form 1 in this QBCC post..
What should you do if you’re currently managing a construction site?
If you are currently managing an active construction site, here is our suggested list of items to consider in order to meet the compliance requirements for temporary amenities and avoid a potential fine.
Note that there are also some potential workarounds that can be employed. For example, to avoid delays in the application process, we’ve worked with clients who have processed their toilets, lunchrooms etc into sewer holding/pumpout tanks which avoids the need for connections and therefore compliance approvals.
Items to consider:
This list is not intended to be exhaustive – we recommend you discuss these options in more detail with a QBCC hydraulic consultant or get in touch with us and we can work through with you what you need to do. Or if you’d like to ask me a quick question, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or pop over to my LinkedIn post and leave a comment.
Whatever solution you decide to adopt, be aware there is a high chance it will be inspected by your local council very soon.