and Drainlayers Board
Plumbers, gasfitters, and drainlayers are regulated because of the risk that sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying poses to public health and safety. To carry out these types of work, a person must be competent and be able to do the work safely and compliantly.
Under the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006 (Act), the Board can hear complaints about registered plumbers, gasfitters, and drainlayers, and discipline them where appropriate. The purpose of disciplining practitioners is to identify and correct incompetent conduct in the individual, and sets standards for the wider industry as a whole.
The Act sets out how the Board deals with complaints about registered people, including:
- how the Board must receive and consider complaints
- how complaints are investigated, and
- how disciplinary hearings are held.
The Board must follow the processes set out in the Act. In order for the Board to accept a complaint about a plumber, gasfitter, or drainlayer, the complaint:
- must be about a registered person (complaints about people who are not registered are dealt with through a different process), and
- must be about work that is defined as sanitary plumbing, gasfitting, or drainlaying under the Act.
For more about complaints and investigations, go to Complaints.
Disciplinary hearings are held where an investigator has conducted an investigation into a complaint and determined that the complaint should be considered by the Board. The Board must then hold a hearing to consider whether or not the practitioner has committed a disciplinary offence or offences.
Disciplinary proceedings are formal and are conducted like a court hearing. The hearing occurs before five members of the Board, at least three of whom are registered and licensed practitioners. A legal advisor sits with the Board to advise the Board on matters of law and procedure. In a hearing, the Board will hear from both the investigator and the practitioner and will have to determine whether it considers the practitioner is guilty of committing disciplinary offences in the case.
The Board issues formal, written decisions following each hearing setting out the charges against the practitioner, the facts of the case, the evidence that the parties have presented (where a hearing is defended), the Board’s decisions, and any orders the Board makes. Those decisions are available in the decisions database below.
The Board has produced a useful guide setting out the full disciplinary process. More information can be found below.
Disciplinary offences are set by the Act. The offences are listed in section 89 of the Act and are:
- carrying out negligent or incompetent work or causing it to be carried out
- carrying out work that does not comply with the law or causing it to be carried out
- intentionally or negligently created a risk of serious harm or significant property damage through work that has been carried out
- failing to comply with a term or condition of registration or licence
- doing work they are not authorised to do
- intentionally deceiving any registered person who is authorised to test and certify work
- failing to provide a return required by law (e.g. a gas certificate) or providing a false or misleading return
- using an unauthorised person to do work
- being convicted of an offence under certain laws in relation to work
- acting so improperly in charging for work or in carrying out work that the practitioner is unfit to be registered or licensed.
The penalties the Board can impose for disciplinary offending are listed in section 106 of the Act and they are to:
- cancel the registered person’s registration, or licence, or both
- order that the registered person can’t apply to be re-registered or re-licensed for a set period of time
- suspend the registered person’s practising licence for a period of time
- suspend the registered person’s practising licence until they do some training
- place restrictions on what type of work the registered person can do, or how they can carry out work
- disqualify the registered person from doing certain types of work permanently or for a period of time
- disqualify the registered person from doing certain types of work until they do some training
- order the registered person to do some training
- order the registered person to pay a fine of not more than $10,000
- censure the registered person
- impose no penalty.
If the registered person is found guilty of or pleads guilty to a disciplinary offence, under section 107 of the Act the Board can also order the registered person to pay a contribution towards the costs of the investigation, prosecution and hearing. Costs are in addition to any disciplinary penalty the Board may impose.
Here you can find the disciplinary hearing guide for practitioners, hearings information sheets and forms.
Here you can find disciplinary hearing information for complainants: