The Basics of Plumbing Regulation

According to the law (Plumber, Gasfitter and Drainlayers Act 2006) a person may not carry out or assist with carrying out any sanitary plumbing work i.e. according to the Act:

  • - The installation of any sanitary fixtures (showers, vanities, toilets)
  • - Any pipework or fittings that supply water to the sanitary fixtures
  • - The installation of any trap, waste or soil pipe, ventilation pipe, or overflow pipe connected with the sanitary fixtures
  • Basically, this means any work involving the pipe work to or from and including the sanitary fixture itself, must be carried out by an authorised person.
  • Plumbing issues that you should contact a professional straight away about, include:
  • - Sewage smells
  • - Blocked or overflowing drains (that you can’t unblock)
  • - No hot water
  • - Ceiling leaks or a soggy patch on a wall
  • - Burst pipes or frozen pipes
  • - Low water pressure throughout your home

- Extremely hot water

When to get a building consent

Generally plumbing work doesn’t require a building consent as long as it is carried out by an authorised person.

The addition of a new sanitary fixture is considered minor residential plumbing and will require a building consent, although you may be able to apply for a discretionary exemption (contact us for more information).

However, if you have any concerns then it is best to discuss these with your plumber.

What can you do yourself?

As previously mentioned, there are only a few areas that a homeowner is allowed to fix themselves. As long as you are aware of the limitations, there are no reasons why you shouldn't give it a go.

Dripping Tap

Drop Down

More often than not a dripping tap is caused by a worn or dislodged washer. The washer is what helps form a water tight seal when the tap is closed. Over time they wear out and need to be replaced.

Though special tools make the job easier, this is one task that can be done yourself if you are DIY minded. If the leak has been going on for quite a while there is the possibility that the valve seat has become worn or corroded.

If you want to replace a washer yourself, first check out this Mitre 10 advice video.

Some taps have ceramic plates that form the seal rather than rubber. These seals need less maintenance but repairs are more complicated and generally shouldn't be carried out by the home owner. If your tap is leaver operated (not separate taps), then it is probably ceramic.

Running Toilet

The water in the toilet cistern will continue to run when the seating washer that sits at the bottom of the cistern no long sits properly after the toilet has been flushed. This is a relatively easy repair that can often be carried out by the homeowner with the appropriate repair kit. Repair kits fit most models of toilet cistern but it pays to check to be sure.

Slow or Clogged Drains

If you have noticed that the water is slow to drain from your sink, tub, toilet or shower then you have a blocked drain. You can use a plunger to resolve the immediate issue. The plunger forces water into the pipe, breaking up and moving the blockage. It will clear your pipes enough to get the water moving, but won't remove the entire blockage. You should use a commercial drain cleaner to remove the rest of the blockage. These cleaners, however, are caustic and if used too often will damage the pipes.

A blockage that keeps reoccurring is a sign of a bigger issue and you should contact a plumber before it becomes more of a problem.