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Do's & Don'ts

With DIY electrical and plumbing work, it’s more about what you can’t do than what you can.

The law is black and white when it comes to working on the electrical and plumbing systems in your home. If it’s much beyond changing a light bulb or a tap washer, you will probably need to get the relevant licensed tradesperson onto it, if in doubt call a professional.

Don’t be fooled by the vast array of electrical and plumbing ‘goodies’ in the hardware shops. Besides their quality being questionable in some cases, the process to install is not always straight forward. You don’t need to be licensed to buy them, but you most certainly should be licensed to install them most of them.
Renovating forums are overflowing with information and comment from DIY’ers who say they can ‘lay cables’ and ‘install pipework’ themselves. And there is no doubt some can, all we are suggesting is the risks of doing so are greatly underrated, and we would prefer our clients to at least ask – asking a question is free.
People need to accept is that there is a real danger of a major accident or death in working with electricity and water.


Many people incorrectly believe wearing rubber-soled shoes will protect them from an electrocution in an unsafe electrical situation. THEY DON’T.

Many people use extension cords to power something outside the house that is not specifically designed for outdoor use. When was the last time you checked to see if that old extension cord is even safe ?

Electricity does not discriminate – and should be respected.

DIY electrical work can not be retrospectively certified. It doesn’t matter if it’s 100% compliant and checked by a qualified trade.

Even if there are no problems once the work has been completed, issues may become apparent later and as a result of other faults or an emergency situation.

House fires can be a result of poor electrical work. Unqualified people might not know the appropriate wiring configuration and or fittings that must be used under all the different circumstances within a home. You must always use materials that meets the Code and the installation must be by someone qualified.

The simple overheating of wiring can and does cause fires.

Even qualified, experienced electricians have accidents; amateurs can’t begin to understand the complexities of household electrical systems.

That’s what the experts are for – Asking questions is free – and can potentially save your life.

Even if DIY’ers get the job done, there’s no guarantee that it’s been done correctly. You could be in for a nasty surprise down the track.
The Governments ‘Pink Bats’ experiment showed the fatal implications for cutting corners – people can die.

On top of that, the fines for illegal work are dizzying and your insurance company certainly will not pay if there’s evidence of illegal electrical or plumbing work.

Don’t void your insurance by trying to save on the important stuff.

We understand the value of doing the job right first time – and we regularly follow around ‘shonky’ trades people to repair the mess they can leave behind

If your wiring resembles this tangle, seek professional help.

Tip: 1 Never ever do electrical work yourself, it is illegal and potentially deadly.
Tip: 2 If electrical work is done by amateurs, they may survive the job, but people who use the sub-standard end result may not be so lucky, there is always the risk of electrocution and fire.

A good relationship with your Plumber or Electrician can enable a handy DIY’er to “assist” with some of the grunt work. We are open to work along side or with you to get the job done properly and safely.

You can save money and we are happy to assist you to do just that – but we have to do the right thing and encourage you to do the same.

Its important also to acknowledge there are some skills and tools the DIY’er will not have.
Often its this skill set and tool box that can take the risk out of the simplest job.

Most states require you get a compliance certificate from your trade for plumbing, gas fitting or electrical work which guarantees, among other things, that the work complies with the appropriate Australian Standard and that you’re covered for defective work.

We all get piece of mind knowing its done properly and safely.


Word of mouth is always the best recommendation for finding a good plumber or electrician.

90% of our work comes through recommendation – we haven’t had the need to advertise for 37 years. We have of course had some people who are not happy – that’s life – but our long track record of happy customers, new and old speaks for itself

Have a look at our testimonials on this site – these are real people using and recommending us.

You should always do a qualification or License check to verify their licence number and that the licence is current.
All our tradesmen are Police checked – and we pride ourselves on our team,

You can generally find out where to do this on the website of the licensing authority in your state (www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au).You also want to double check that the type of work to be carried out is permitted under their specific license.

Not all plumbers are gas fitters …. some people calling themselves plumbers have no place making repairs, installing Gas etc to your home or business. Always double check who you let work for you. You work hard for your money – spend it wisely.

General rules
Check and double check for power and water when you are doing any of the following:

  • any type of demolition work.
  • cutting, drilling and nailing into walls, floors and ceilings.
  • digging in the garden – especially street side
  • conversion of under-roof spaces to storage lofts etc.
  • installing insulation products in your roof etc.
  • carrying tall items outside like ladders – look up for power lines……. simple but often overlooked

What the law says
While rules and regulations vary slightly from state to state, the broad parameters are basically the same.

NSW Fair Trading insists: “An electrical license is required before any electrical wiring work can be undertaken in NSW, regardless of the cost of the work and regardless of whether the work is residential, commercial or industrial.”

Under their definition electrical work encompasses the manufacturing, constructing, installing, testing, maintaining, repairing, altering, removing or replacing of any electrical equipment.

That pretty much leaves you with – replacing light bulbs…

You should also ask your Electrician about your fuse box. If you need to ask – next time we are on site – we will happily show you. It’s a costly exercise to call out an electrician when all you needed was the flick of a switch.

Plumbing and Gas fitting

In NSW, a license is required before any plumbing, draining or gas fitting (including LP gas fitting) is carried out – this includes roof plumbing.

Paul Naylor, national secretary of the Master Plumbers Association, shed some light on what the average person can legally do.

In a nutshell, any work that directly interacts with the installation of the drinking water system or the sewer line requires a licensed plumber.

He also did point out that Monday is the generally the biggest day for plumbers – fixing up botched jobs from weekend DIYs gone horribly wrong.

Rainwater tanks

Building approval may be required for your tank, depending on size and location, so always check with your local authority when considering a new rainwater tank.

Many local councils have taken the proactive step of developing guidelines for the installation of rainwater tank systems, taking due care, a handy person can install:

  • tanks and stands.
  • irrigation systems from a dedicated tank.
  • a pressure boosting pump used solely for irrigation.

A licensed plumber must be engaged to install:

  • rainwater plumbing pipes providing water to the house.
  • pressure boosting pumps for household rainwater plumbing.
  • automatic mains water diverter.
  • rainwater guttering, downpipes and stormwater drains.

The bottom line is that many DIY’ers will choose to run the risk and perform work that is illegal in order to save a few dollars. Renovation forums certainly confirm this. They also reveal the DIY disasters that have occurred as a result.

Finding a reliable, reasonably priced trade could be the best investment you make – your home is often the most valuable asset you have – treat it that way

For more information on:
Plumbing licensing

This information is general in nature and contains just a small amount of information relevant to this topic. This information is just an overview of the issues relating to DIY plumbing and electrical work. Please consult. If in doubt call a qualified tradesperson.

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