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MEDIA STATEMENT | Covid-19 Essential services and consumer advice

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[ 25 March 2020 ] The COVID-19 Alert Level will become Level 4 on Wednesday 25 March at 11:59pm. This means that all businesses will be closed except for essential services and lifeline utilities. Plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying services will remain operational on an essential services basis. For our industry, essential services means work related to critical infrastructure, or services immediately needed to maintain human health and safety at home/work.


Essential services and consumer advice

Martin Sawyers, Chief Executive for the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB) said, “Throughout the lockdown period, all of the PGDB staff will be available and operating remotely.  The Board will continue to provide all of its services.  We are effectively business as usual.”

“Plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying services will remain operational on an essential services basis.   For our industry, essential services means work related to critical infrastructure, or services immediately needed to maintain human health and safety at home/work.”

Under this definition the services must be needed to maintain human health and safety at home/work, and this need must be immediate.

Examples of the type of work that would come under this definition include:

  • The repair/replacement of hot water cylinders that have failed, as the hot water will be required for sanitation purposes.
  • The unblocking and repair/replacement of sanitary waste pipes where there is an immediate threat to human health and safety.
  • The repair/replacement of water pipes where there is an immediate threat to human health and safety.
  • The repair/replacement of gas piping, fittings and appliances where there is an immediate threat to human health and safety.

Examples of things that would not be included in that definition are:

  • The repair of minor leaks.
  • The replacement of tap washers.
  • Routine servicing.
  • The replacement of sanitary fixtures that are working.


“The emphasis is on essential repairs
, not those that can wait for another day and pose no immediate threat to health and safety”, Martin said.

“If you do require a plumber, gasfitter or drainlayer for essential services, ensure that you stay safe and do not to fall into the trap of using unlicensed people.”

“Always ask to sight a NZ Practising Licence before any work begins or search the public register of registered and licensed tradespeople at www.pgdb.co.nz.”

“Remember to keep a physical distance during repairs — 2m is the recommendation — and no handshakes.  Ask for bank transfer payment wherever possible rather than accepting cash or using an Eftpos machine.”