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Explaining the non-compliance procedure to plumbers and the repercussions when non-compliance occurs

A non-compliance notice is a document that a plumber uses to notify a client about any discrepancies or problems seen on pre-existing plumbing works or installations. It is therefore very important that a licensed plumber is familiar with the national standards, to recognize pre-existing problems prior to working on any plumbing work. If a plumber notices non-compliances on pre-existing plumbing work, the plumber should notify the owner as soon as practically possible and preferably before any works is initiated.

When a plumber undertakes a new plumbing project, the responsibility lies with the plumber to list all non-compliance items seen on existing plumbing work onto a non-compliance notice and provide it to the client in writing, as this is aligned with the Consumer Protection Act and is required by mandatory standards. The non-compliance notice should be presented in a clear and transparent way, that makes the consumer aware of the risks involved with items used that are non-compliant. Other than being a mandatory practice, the non-compliance notice also protects both the plumber and the consumer from potential dangers and performance issues that may exist or arise from installations.

It is also very important to know that the client is accountable for the compliance of his plumbing installation. The client must therefore make the decision on what maintenance or new work needs to be done. A plumber may proceed with the new work if the client has been made aware of the non-compliances and the plumber are instructed by the client to proceed. The licensed plumber cannot be held liable for any problems that occurs due to a non-compliant previous plumbing installation, which was not installed by them.

If a client or homeowner contacts the PIRB with problems on plumbing work done by a PIRB licensed plumber, the PIRB will evaluate the complaint and as necessary send out an auditor to evaluate the installation. If there were pre-existing problems prior to an installation done by the PIRB licensed plumber on the plumbing work in question and non-compliance notice was issued by the plumber to the client, then the plumber will not be accountable for any repairs.

If, for some reason, a licensed plumber fails to issue a non-compliance notice to a client, it implies that the plumber deemed the pre-existing work to be compliant. This can lead to disciplinary action against the licensed plumber, which in turn can end up in suspension if the plumber repeatedly neglects to issue such a notice.

If an audit is done and it is discovered that the licensed plumber deviated from the regulations which resulted in non-compliant plumbing work, the PIRB will be obligated to issue a rectification notice to the plumber. It will then be the responsibility of the licensed plumber to rectify any non-compliances on their installation, pointed out by the auditor.

It is very important to know that the PIRB does not enforce these regulations as a punitive measure against plumbers, but these regulations are put in place to guide plumbers and improve plumber’s work and improving their skills.

Written by Keke Khabele

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