New rules for plumbers gasfitters and drainlayers

From 1 April 2010 some very important changes to the rules covering gasfitting work will come into force with the full implementation of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006. These changes are primarily aimed at improving public health and safety.

Following extensive industry consultation, the Minister for Building and Construction has accepted the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board's recommendations on a wide variety of matters including changing the names of the main licence classes.

There will still be two classes of plumbers and gasfitters. Those currently known as 'registered', will be described as 'licensed'. The other class currently known as 'craftsman', will be described as 'certifying', as this better reflects the current role of certifying gasfitters and allows for the possibility of plumbers and drainlayers self-certifying in the future.

The two-tier licence system for gasfitters and plumbers is also being introduced for drainlayers. All existing registered drainlayer licence holders will be eligible to be re-licensed as a certifying drainlayer, but will have to satisfy the Board that they have appropriate experience and proficiency in drainlaying.

The other main changes being introduced are as follows.

  • A new requirement for continuing professional development for plumbers and drainlayers – a few hours per year attending courses or seminars.
  • Introduction of new exemption classes that will allow limited certificate non-trainees to continue working as they have under limited certificates.
  • Clearer specification of requirements for supervision and testing of work.
  • Requiring licence/identification cards to be carried by all practitioners.

All people involved in doing plumbing, gasfitting, or drainlaying work, are, from 1 April 2010, required to carry an identification card so homeowners and building inspectors can check their status. Cardholders are required to produce their card if requested to do so. If a person is required to be supervised, the name and registration number of the supervisor must be printed on their identification card. This supervisor is ultimately responsible for the work done by the person they are supervising. Building inspectors should contact the supervisor if they have any concerns about any work being done.

A public register of all licensed and certifying people is available at – you can use the search function to find the contact details and licence status of specific individuals.

If anybody believes work has been done by someone who does not hold a current licence, or has any other concerns about the competency of workers, they can make a complaint to the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Board. The Board can be contacted on 04 494 2970 or by emailing the registrar at

Published in business and ICT.