Breaking news Legislation updates

New licensing rules for Queensland

The Queensland state government has passed new laws for plumbing and gas fitting that will affect licensing for air conditioning and refrigeration work.

The new Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 legislation provides a significant update to several aspects of plumbing and draining and includes the creation of a new licence requirement for mechanical services.

The regulation is proposed to prescribe four mechanical services licence classes, where the following training qualifications would apply:

  • Medical gas – Cert III in Plumbing Mechanical Services (CPC32513) including Install medical gas pipeline system – CPCPMS3034A and Carry out WHS
    requirement – CPCPCM2043A; Cert III in Plumbing (CPC32413) plus Install medical gas pipeline system – CPCPMS3034A and Carry out WHS requirement – CPCPCM2043A
  • Plumbing – Cert III in Plumbing Mechanical Services (CPC32513)
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration (unlimited design) – Diploma of Air conditioning and Refrigeration Engineering UEE51211 Air Conditioning
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration (limited design) – Certificate III in Engineering Mechanical Trade (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning) MEM30205; Certificate III in Air conditioning and Refrigeration UEE32211.

The Department intends to consult industry before finalising the scopes of work and technical requirements for each of these licence classes. However, it is proposed that anything that can be done under the existing refrigeration and air conditioning mechanical services (limited or unlimited) design licence will be able to be done under the new licence class.

The installation of single head split systems has not been changed. Therefore if an individual installs a single head split system or any other work within the scope of the refrigeration and air conditioning mechanical services (limited and unlimited) design licence where the value of the work exceeds $3,300 they will need to hold a contractor licence or work for a contractor with the relevant licence class.

While there have been calls for this threshold to be revised, this is yet to be finalised. However, the Department has stated that the intention is for the threshold to be the same as the fire protection work, which is $0, with the exception of homeowners, who would be able to perform work up to $1,100.

Graham MacKrill, the Executive Director of the Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA) of Queensland Limited, welcomed the changes.

“AMCA together with AIRAH, RACCA, RA and AREMA support this licence as it provides recognition for Mechanical Services Plumbers who are involved in highly specialised forms of plumbing work, including the installation of Medical Gas pipework and Chilled Water systems in commercial buildings.

“Based upon our submission to the Queensland Building Plan, we also continue to advocate for the Occupational licensing of Refrigeration and Air conditioning workers. Mechanical Services Plumbing and Refrigeration and Air conditioning are allied trades, and have distinct qualifications and play a significant role in ensuring public safety in critical areas of the built environment.”

Kim Limburg, CEO of the Australian Refrigeration Mechanics Association (ARMA), was also pleased with the new legislation but believes there is still much work to be done.

“In contradiction to the Minister’s claims of Queensland’s licensing being the best, NSW is the only state appropriately licensing all scopes of work for RAC requiring Certificate III RAC qualifications. NSW continues to lead the way in safe licencing of the RAC industry.”

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