Penalties for plumbing law breaches

The Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 (PDA) and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 outline strong penalties for breaches of the plumbing laws.

A breach of the law may result in:

  • prosecution in the courts (maximum penalty units (MPU))
  • on-the-spot fines (penalty infringement notices).

To protect public health and the environment, there are strong penalties for:

  • unlicensed plumbing work
  • offences that endanger health and safety.

The maximum penalties for unlicensed work align with similar offences under Queensland's building laws to create consistency across similar legislation.

Sliding scale offences

There are 4 sliding-scale offences relating to unlicensed work, defined as:

  • carrying out work without appropriate licence (section 56(1), PDA)
  • supervising or directing work without an appropriate licence (sections 57(1), 57(2) and 57(3) PDA).

People who continue to perform work without a licence face increased (sliding scale) penalties for second and third convictions.

The 4 offences are:

  • performing, directing or supervising unlicensed work: maximum penalties are 250 MPU for the first offence and 300 MPU for the second offence
  • repeated offences (a third or later offence), or where the plumbing or drainage work is grossly defective and likely to endanger public health and safety: the maximum penalty is 350 MPU or 1 year's imprisonment
  • offences that deal with safety issues (e.g. unauthorised removal of a temperature control device): the maximum penalty is 250 MPU
  • disciplinary breaches: the maximum penalty is 100 MPU. This aligns with the penalty for noncompliant plumbing work.


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