Are You Allowed To Do Your Own Plumbing In Australia?

Written by Plumbers of Perth

on 27 May 2024

In Australia, the DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit is strong among homeowners. Whether it’s painting a room, fixing a leaky faucet, or installing new light fixtures, many Australians enjoy the challenge and satisfaction that comes from maintaining and improving their own homes. However, when it comes to plumbing, the rules and regulations can be quite strict. This is primarily due to the potential health and safety risks involved. Understanding what a homeowner is allowed to do themselves and what tasks require a licensed plumber is crucial to ensure safety, compliance with local laws, and the proper functioning of your home’s plumbing system.

The Importance of Plumbing Regulations

Plumbing regulations in Australia are governed by state and territory legislation, but all adhere to the National Construction Code (NCC) and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA). These regulations are in place to ensure that plumbing systems are safe, reliable, and sanitary. Improper plumbing work can lead to serious issues, including water contamination, structural damage, and increased risk of flooding. Therefore, the law mandates that certain tasks must be performed by licensed professionals.

What Homeowners Can Do Themselves

Despite the strict regulations, there are several plumbing-related tasks that homeowners can legally and safely perform themselves. Here’s a rundown of what you can do without needing a licensed plumber

1. Changing Taps and Shower Heads

  • Replacement: Homeowners can replace old taps and shower heads with new ones. This involves unscrewing the old fixture and attaching the new one, ensuring it is properly sealed to prevent leaks.
  • Cleaning: Descaling and cleaning taps and shower heads to remove mineral build-up can be done without professional help.

2. Unclogging Drains

  • Plunging: Using a plunger to unclog a sink, toilet, or shower drain is a simple task that doesn’t require a plumber.
  • Chemical Cleaners: Applying over-the-counter chemical drain cleaners to dissolve minor blockages is also permissible.

3. Installing Water Filters

  • Tap-Mounted Filters: Homeowners can install simple water filters that attach directly to the tap.
  • Under-Sink Filters: Installing under-sink water filters is generally allowed as long as it doesn’t involve altering the plumbing system significantly.

4. Replacing Washers and Seals

  • Basic Repairs: Fixing a dripping tap by replacing washers and seals is a minor repair job that doesn’t require a professional.

5. Toilet Maintenance

  • Replacing Toilet Seats: Changing the toilet seat is straightforward and doesn’t affect the plumbing.
  • Fixing Flappers: Replacing the toilet flapper or other minor internal components can help resolve running toilets.

What Homeowners Cannot Do

While some tasks are safely within the realm of DIY, other plumbing tasks must legally be carried out by a licensed plumber. These restrictions are in place to prevent damage, ensure safety, and maintain public health standards. Here are the key tasks that require professional intervention:

1. Installing or Moving Pipes

  • Water Supply Pipes: Any work involving the installation or relocation of water supply pipes must be performed by a licensed plumber. This ensures that the work complies with local codes and standards.
  • Gas Pipes: Similar to water pipes, gas pipes require professional handling due to the high risk of leaks and explosions.

2. Sewer and Drainage Work

  • Sewer Lines: Installing or repairing sewer lines is complex and requires a thorough understanding of the plumbing code and safety standards.
  • Stormwater Drains: Modifying or installing stormwater drains also falls under tasks that need professional oversight to ensure proper drainage and environmental compliance.

3. Hot Water Systems

  • Installation: Installing or replacing hot water systems, whether they are electric, gas, or solar, must be done by a licensed plumber. This is to ensure safety, proper connection, and functionality.
  • Repairs: Any repairs involving the internal components or connections of a hot water system also require a plumber.

4. Bathroom and Kitchen Renovations

  • Major Installations: Installing new fixtures such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and dishwashers usually involves complex plumbing work that must be done by a professional.
  • Pipework Alterations: Any alterations to the existing plumbing configuration during a renovation need to be handled by a licensed plumber.

5. Backflow Prevention Devices

  • Installation and Testing: These devices are critical in preventing contamination of the water supply. Their installation and annual testing must be done by a licensed professional.

Why Hiring a Licensed Plumber is Essential

Hiring a licensed plumber ensures that the work is done correctly, safely, and in compliance with the law. Licensed plumbers have the necessary training, experience, and tools to handle complex plumbing tasks. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a professional:

1. Compliance with Regulations

Licensed plumbers are knowledgeable about local building codes and regulations, ensuring that all work complies with legal standards.

2. Quality Workmanship

Professionals guarantee high-quality workmanship, reducing the likelihood of future issues and costly repairs.

3. Safety

Plumbing involves working with water and, in some cases, gas lines. A professional plumber understands the safety protocols to prevent accidents and hazards.

4. Insurance and Warranties

Work performed by licensed plumbers is often covered by warranties, providing homeowners with peace of mind. Additionally, many insurance policies require that plumbing work be done by a licensed professional to maintain coverage.

Penalties for Unlicensed Plumbing Work

Engaging in unlicensed plumbing work can have serious consequences. Homeowners can face fines, and the work may need to be redone by a licensed plumber, adding to the overall cost. Moreover, unlicensed work can lead to insurance claims being denied, leaving homeowners financially liable for any damage or repairs.

When selecting a plumber, it’s important to ensure they are licensed and reputable. Here are some tips for finding the right professional:

1. Check Credentials

Verify that the plumber is licensed and insured. In Australia, plumbers must be registered with the relevant state or territory authority.

2. Read Reviews

Look for reviews and testimonials from previous customers to gauge the plumber’s reliability and quality of work.

3. Get Multiple Quotes

Obtain quotes from several plumbers to compare prices and services. This helps ensure you get a fair deal.

4. Ask for References

A reputable plumber should be able to provide references from past clients.


In Australia, while homeowners can undertake some basic plumbing tasks, the law is clear about the need for licensed professionals for more complex work. This distinction is crucial for maintaining the integrity and safety of plumbing systems, protecting public health, and ensuring compliance with local regulations. By understanding what tasks you can handle yourself and when to call a professional, you can maintain your home’s plumbing effectively and safely.

Remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to consult with a licensed plumber. Not only will this ensure the job is done right, but it will also save you from potential legal issues and costly repairs down the line.