plumbing and drainage approval

Plumbing and Drainage Approvals

Plumbing and drainage approval was a lot simpler in the good old days. The main requirements were location, location, location – preferably downwind from the house. Thankfully, this method has long since been buried in the history books and sewer and septic systems have taken their place. Of course, along with these modern systems came new legislations and requirements. Here is The Oil Stone’s simple break down of what you need to know.

These facilities are now an integral part of the modern home and are subject to the implementation and enforcement of plumbing and drainage legislation to ensure high levels of hygiene and health standards are maintained.

In order to maintain these standards, while keeping red tape to a minimum, Queensland has divided such plumbing and drainage works into three levels with only one requiring formal approval before work commences. However, you should note that all plumbing and drainage works are to be carried out by a QBCC licensed Plumber and / or Drainer. See here to check the license status of your QLD plumber.

Here is a brief outline of each of the Levels:


Minor Work

 No approval required

A plumbing licensee can undertake some projects without notifying anyone. For example, replacing an existing basin, toilet or cistern, installing new combined taps on a bath connected to a shower hose, repairing a broken pipe, installing a pump and installing a water saving device.

 Notifiable work

 Form 4 Lodgement Required

Notifiable work includes most plumbing and drainage work performed by a licensed plumber in existing homes. For example, kitchen and bathroom additions and renovations, installing or replacing hot water heaters, installing additional fixtures such as toilets, showers and sinks, extending or altering pipe work, and diverting a drain around a new swimming pool.

A Form 4 must be completed by a licensed plumber and submitted to the QBCC within 10 business days of completing the notifiable work. Plumbers can lodge it electronically on the QBCC website. An inspection of the work is not required, however to ensure that plumbing and drainage work continues to be at a high standard both the QBCC and local government may audit notifiable work. With this you may be contacted by these parties to arrange an inspection. Land owners who are concerned about work performed by licensed plumbers can contact their local government to organise an inspection.

 Compliance Assessment Work

 Form 1 Plumbing and Drainage Approval Required

Work requiring an application to council includes any work not mentioned in the previous levels, such as installing water and sewerage to new homes, relocating disposal trenches for a septic tank, replacing an existing on site sewerage treatment plan with a new one and connecting plumbing and drainage to a shed or garage.

Be aware that Local Government has 20 days to approve a plumbing and drainage application, so it is important to lodge this application early to avoid project delays due to waiting for approval.


Most plumbing and drainage work performed in commercial buildings require compliance assessment (Level 3) from Local Government through a Form 1, with the exceptions of work necessary for extending, altering, replacing or removing existing sanitary plumbing.

Stay tuned for our story on how to lodge a Compliance Assessable work application to Local Government, and what information will be required.

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Patrick is a valued past employee of Devcert. He graduated from the University of New England with a Bachelor in Urban and Regional Planning and commenced with Devcert since 2012. Patrick decided to follow his passion to be in the Fire Services and left Devcert in 2017.