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Difficulties getting plumbing certificate

January 20, 2020

The Building Act 2016 requires plumbers to provide standard of work certificates for notifiable and permit plumbing work.  This is Form 71B.  Once the Form 71B is completed the owner – or the builder as their agent – can apply to the permit authority for a certification of completion.  If a plumber fails or refuses to provide a Form 71B they may delay the completion of building work and prevent occupation of a home.  This behaviour by licensed plumber may breach the Building Act 2016 and/or the Occupational Licensing Act 2005 and could be investigated by CBOS.

Owners and builders should be aware that the Building Act 2016 in sections 178(4) and 115(4) can in some circumstances allow for a certificate of completion for plumbing work to be issued without a Form 71B.  These circumstances are that the plumber has either:
(a) died, cannot be located or is incapable of issuing the certificate – for example the plumber has had a serious illness or accident; or
(b) failed to issue the certificate, and 21 days have passed since a written request was made for the certificate.

If one of the above circumstances applies the permit authority may issue the certificate of completion if reasonably satisfied that the plumbing work is complete and that the plumbing work has been inspected and the inspector is satisfied the plumbing work complies with the Act and code.  HIA expects that permit authorities will act reasonably when they get requests from owners or builders to inspect plumbing work and then issue a certificate of completion if the plumbing work is complete and complaint.  The permit authority may however expect the owner and builder to refer the plumber to CBOS for investigation.

So if a plumber is refusing to issue a Form 71B an owner or builder has some options.  Ideally the first option is to remind the plumber that as a licenced plumber they are required to issue the certificate for their work to be accepted as complete.  This reminder should be in writing and refer to the plumber’s obligation to provide the certificate under section 114 (for notifiable plumbing work) or section 177 (for permit plumbing work).  This then allows for an application to the permit authority for the plumbing work to be inspected so that a certificate of completion may be issued if the plumbing work is complete and compliant.

If you need more advice on this matter call HIA on 1300 650 620.