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.
Hot Water System Upgrades
Low Pressure hot water cylinders were the only option available for hot water supply in New Zealand up until the 1970's, and as a result they are very common in older properties.
Since that time there has been a move to mains pressure storage heaters in new construction, although you can still buy low pressure units.
A quick check of the cylinder can quickly identify the type of supply you are on (if low pressure showers aren’t already a giveaway):
1. A vent pipe coming off the cylinder going through the roof
2. A large pressure reducing valve on the water supply into the cylinder or a header tank in the ceiling space controlling the pressure
These systems are very simple and have very few valves and controls making them less susceptible to problems.
One major disadvantage is that they are unable to cope when the hot water is used in multiple locations i.e. when you are having a shower and someone uses the kitchen tap!
There are a number of options to consider when you are looking to upgrade your system:
1. Storage water heater - Electrical
2. Storage water heater - Gas
3. Storage water heater - Heat pump
4. Storage water heater - solar with gas or electric boost
5. Storage water heater - Wetback or solar boost
6. Continuous gas flow
7. Electric instantaneous
Depending on what options you are looking at, it can actually be a simple process. Get it touch with us to have a chat.
Another issue with being on a low pressure supply, is that the majority of new sanitary fittings (taps, mixers, etc.) are designed for mains pressure which limits your choice when you are looking to upgrade. This makes it an ideal time to upgrade when you are renovating your bathroom.
Check out some of our articles on plumbing (click here)