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Poll

Do we need Plumbing Inspectors?

Yes
3 (15.8%)
No
4 (21.1%)
Yes, but must be a fully Qualified Certifying Plumber with a license.
12 (63.2%)

Total Members Voted: 19

Author Topic: Council Plumbing Inspectors  (Read 5193 times)

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Offline Plumber

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Council Plumbing Inspectors
« on: June 07, 2010, 09:11:50 PM »
I had a plumbing inspection the other day and the inspector asked me if I had my current licence on me. I told him I forgot it that morning and he almost refused to sign off my job because of that and threatened a fine! (the fine being the fee to rebook the inspection) He said that it is now compulsory to carry the licence on every inspection I have. A few things in this regard... After a longer chat it turns out the guy wasn't a plumber, he used to be a builder.. and he is now doing plumbing inspections! Many plumbing inspectors are sub contrators, if self certification should ever come through these guys would be out of job. How do you feel about this? should council keep our inspectors? If yes do you think plumbing inspectors should be certifying plumbers? What do you think?

Linkback: https://www.plumbers.nz/councils-and-consents/79/council-plumbing-inspectors/413/
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Offline robbo

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 09:40:55 PM »

Hi guys, I havenít heard of inspectors asking to see licences before or threatening fines if you are not able to produce it, the plumbers name should be on the permit and the council would check rego no. against the list of licensed guys that had been notified by the board, maybe this is a new move directed by the board to stop un supervised work being carried out.
In regard to the inspector and his qualifications to inspect, I would be pretty sure that he was firstly a tradesman and then studied to become an inspector and would have to know the building and associated trades regulations to a high standard so I personally would not argue with him. I have never had a problem with inspectors if fact I have found most to be very helpful when I had asked for advice, I am in Christchurch and donít know of any sub-contract inspectors.
As far as self certification is concerned I hope it never happens, it would mean heaps more paperwork/buying cert forms from the board/auditing and so on just like the gas, I would also like to see it scrapped for the gas and returned to local inspectors, that way tradesmen do what they do best and inspectors do what they do best, and the board gets taken right out of the picture, I believe there is nothing that the board does that is not already covered by existing organisations i.e. councils/labour dept.O.S.H./disputes tribunals and the likes,cheers.     

Offline Jaxcat

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2010, 05:58:38 PM »
I believe that you are required to carry your licence (see www.pgdb.co.nz) - but as to the Council being able to fine you for not having it - I don't think that's acceptable.  I personally am in favour of tradesmen carrying their licence as it may get rid of the cowboys in the industry.  The one area around councils and permits that concerns me is that there is no check that the name of the plumber on the application for the consent is the guy actually doing the job.  The customer can put my name on the consent application, get my registration number off the PGDB site and then get someone else to do the job.  In 3 years time if something goes wrong I can be hauled up and have to prove my innocence when I never knew about the job in the first place.  Some Councils check with the plumber whose name is on the consent to ensure they are doing the job.  I reckon this should be compulsory.   It's a good thing to keep your licence card on you - you've worked bloody hard to get it!
Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you?  Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed the passage with you?  (Walt Whitman 1819-1891)  American Poet

Offline TS

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2010, 09:14:45 PM »
Hi Guys,

I'm an inspector. I'm also a Certifying Plumber and Drainlayer.

I agree that we should have inspectors, but they should be qualified. I wouldn't like to see self certification given to us. Maybe some sort of compromise but not total self certification. I unfortunately see too many plumbers setting up dangerous HWCs and cross connections.

As to a Council fining you for not carrying your licence they can't. They can however fail your inspection and make you rearrange another one when you have your card onsite. If they want action to be taken they'd have to The PGDB made it a requirement to carry it on you when carrying out plumbing. Where I am we generally look everyone on our database up and check before we go out. Who cares if the guy is licenced but doesn't have it physically on him.

The exception being if an out of town plumber is there that I don't know. I would probably just ring the board on the spot to verify he's licenced.

Unfortunately we're still coming across guys who haven't paid their licence fee for this year. In this case its a failed inspection with no reinspection until he is licenced.

Offline newguy

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2010, 11:05:04 AM »
I heard about the fact that plumbing inspectors are not fully employed by the government, that would explain a lot! Maybe someone can clarify this for me. Does that mean that inspectors PERPOSLY fail our inspections so that they have to be re-booked and GET PAID for it again??
That's the feeling I got when i think about the fact that the inspector just failed one of my jobs because he didn't have an as-build drawing of the plumbing installation on a residential house and missing 100mm of insulation. Now I have to explain to my costumer why its costing him "another fee" for Mr plumbing inspector to come back and nod his head a few more times to then sign it off. Back in the day our inspectors made sure we rectified the problem and didn't just fail us. I should of never done my plumbing/gasfitting trade and used my time to do hydraulics engineering. That would have taken half the amount of time to do (also easier) and I could now charge twice as much! Honestly our industry has lost the plot!

Offline TS

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2010, 11:14:04 PM »
No inspectors are employed by the Government. The local council employs them normally on a straight salary.

There is the odd private contractor working in the Auckland region for councils, I doubt that anyone is paid more if they fail inspections though. Believe me theres less paperwork back at the office if you can pass it.

Why the need for an as built plan? Did you deviate away from the approved ones?

Why did you miss the bit of lagging?

Personally I would've passed it on the condition that it be installed. Its a bit anal if you ask me to require a recheck on that.

Offline jd24hrs

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2010, 03:30:11 PM »
hi all
as plumbers we should always carry our cards and when asked we should be able to prove our competence i have heard that in the taupo area they now ask for the card but i have also heard of people putting other peoples details down and last year i was on a job but didn't have the right card so my  craftsman got me to use someone Else's , which propted me to advise the auditor generals dept of the need of photo cards and i also had this published in the plumbers journal and it is good to see my recommendations have taken up by the board

the other problem is that if a plumber/craftsman is that good why would he want to take a pay cut to work as a inspector its a bit like a plumber working in mitre 10 he must have been crap

Offline TS

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2010, 10:34:27 PM »
A plumber doesn't necessarily have to be crap to decide to take a pay cut and become an inspector. I actually would say I earn more than a Certifying Plumber who works for wages.

Some of us enjoy the technical aspects of the role and don't necessarily want to be self employed which would be the way to earn more money if I needed to.

Another thing about being an inspector is you get too see a whole lot more plumbing and variety of jobs than an ordinary plumber. I've learnt more in my role then I ever would if I was still on the tools and I still do the odd homer to keep my hand in. The other guys who I work with have all had a change in mindset since crossing over to the dark side of being an inspector. Believe me the stuff in the dodgy plumbing section of the Journal is an common occurrence and some of the work of our peers really disappoints me. I also get to see plenty of good work and different ways of doing things too thankfully.

Offline robbo

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 10:16:09 AM »
Hi guys, good on ya Mike, yes I agree. Jd means well but does not choose his words well sometimes, he has had to put up with a lot from the pgdb and is a bit anti,(understandably). Not having a go at you Jd so be cool. Mike you did well to get off the tools I would encourage anyone to do the same especially in the present climate that we tradesmen are in. I have made comment previously that young guys should go to uni to become engineers so they can earn good money and be respected, unlike our trades at the moment. Actually you can see the benefit of taking a pay cut to work for Mitre 10, keep your hands clean/work in a clean and warm environment/staff discounts/free uniform/meet nice people/no more confined spaces/no speeding tickets/no licence to pay to work/no cpd courses/no stress, sounds good thanks Jd well I must fly Iím off to Mitre 10 to see if they have any vacant positions. Cheers.   

Offline Thunderhead

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2010, 10:44:46 PM »
never been failed for not having an as built plan at the time of inspection as long as its submited for final inspection...but you do from time to time get some anal inspecters out there...like one inspector failing to pass us because we had not installed a air break device on the hose tap of a residential building...the house had no swimming pool and no other redialy identifiable hazzard so i sat down on the next house(same inspecter) pulled out the 3500 codes and sat there and told him in order to put in place a back flow prevention device one has to spot the hazzard in order to rate the hazzard low/med/high so i asked him what the hazzard was...he told me in a fluster(cus i called him out in front of others)it was the risk of the hose being left in a puddle of water and grass clippings being drawn back into the mains if a back syphion was to occur! a bit over the top if you ask me... Anyways he didnt hassle me about anything else...

Offline TS

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2010, 03:14:36 PM »
Your lucky the Inspector didn't point out what it states in the backflow prevention section of AS/NZS 3500. It states under the scope of section "This section applies to Australia only". It then goes on to point out in NZ G12 is the correct document for use in NZ.

The requirements of 3500 differ greatly to NZ's requirements hence the reason why they haven't been approved for use here. Consider yourself lucky that your inspector didn't know this  :)

Offline newguy

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2010, 07:48:21 PM »
Hi Mike, thanks for all the tips. Please tell me, what can I do to fight back? If an inspector fails my inspection, lets say because there is not enough fall on a wastepipe but there is. If im not on site and an inspection fails for reasons that are not true, what do I do? I try to get hold of the guy but he doesn't answer or return my calls. Do I write to council or what do you suggest?

Offline Thunderhead

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2010, 02:28:27 PM »
yea i know that it the 3500 only applies to australia...thats why all plumbing inspectors need to be actual plumbers, as the inspector had no real idea and reason and the prinipals of back flow and back syphoniage which are totaly diffrent...thats why i quized him with the 3500 standards to see if he had any actual idea that this section of the codes only applies to austraila...when i first discovered the small print stating this i was dumbfounded as to why this print that has nothing to do with nz is allowed to be plublished in our set of codes as im sure many a plumber has been misled by this section of the codes...anyway  if he had a tangiable real reason for back syphion issues with the hose taps i would have been more than happy to place air break devices on the taps...BUT alas he was only trying to stamp his authority and abuse his position of power!...I strongly believe we need fully qualified inspectors to inspect work to weed out the cowboys out there NOT some glorified building inspector who has no real understanding of plumbing principales...cheers mike its good to see that there are others out there that read the fine print.   ;D

Offline Thunderhead

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2010, 02:49:19 PM »
NEWGUY we always attend any council inspection because of that fact...if you are not there johnny on the spot he can fail you for any little reason he wants and there aint anything you can do about it...we had a slab inspection once and we went to get lunch while waiting for the inspector...he turned up while we were at the shops and inspected the pipe work as per usual...we got back as he was climbing into the car and asked him if everything was fine yea he said the pipe work was fine but he was going to fail us because we wernt on site at time of inspection...the boss had to basicly plead with him to sign off...i think its stupid the council gives you a morning 8-12 slot or a afternoon 12-4 slot like we have nothing better to do than wait for him so now we on inspection day leave a few things to finish up before inspection while we wait for the inspecter so our time isnt a total loss while waiting for inspectors. But its harder to fail you face to face as you have a chance to plead your case with them and explain due process and you also build up a repor and trust with the inspectors of the council...we have at least three inspectors that have seen our work on many an occasion and now only cast a quick glance at our work because they know we do our job as best as can be done...No short cuts and no cowboy plumbing here sir!.

Offline bulldog

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Re: Council Plumbing Inspectors
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2010, 11:49:29 AM »
The fact council inspectors are asking for licenses is long overdue. A few years ago in Lower Hutt all that used to happen was the owner just put a Plumbers name on the consent with his number. There was no checking mechanism for the actual inspectors. Luckily for me I had a case where an inspector went to check a S/W drain that had my name on the consent. He noticed a telecom van up the driveway and when the owner came out, with a telecom shirt on, he said I couldn't make it and to just go ahead and check it. The inspector took one look at the green pipe and, as he was a personal friend, realised I did not do the job and put two and two together. He rang me so I would be onsite. The owner got one hel of a fright and at the end of the day my consultation fee was what it would have cost for us to do it in the first instance. He paid up as he had a choice of Police involvement and reg board involvement or pay me. I am just waiting for something else to come up. As the council at that time they were not checking it will be upto me to prove I did not do the job. I managed to counter it by sending council a letter that unless I am present at an inspection where my license was used that I will not be responsible for the work.
That was about 10 to 15 years back. Now they insist on veiwing a license. It also has the benefit that the cowboys who are not licensed that we are pay huge fees cause they don't are now being caught out.
This is also my argument for self certification.


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