Acceptable Plumbing Practice

Plumbing contractor works sweating the joints on the copper pipe domestic water system on a home.

The ABCB knows that plumbing regulation can be complex and difficult to navigate—so we are doing something about it.

In February next year, we will be releasing a draft set of simplified, self-contained technical solutions for compliance with NCC Volume Three, the PCA. These will be called the ‘Acceptable Plumbing Practices’ — or ‘APPs’.

The benefits of APPs

Aimed specifically at the domestic plumbing and drainage industry, the APPs will provide a number of benefits:

  • Simplified, plain-English solutions with plenty of diagrams.
  • Free access as part of the PCA.
  • Reduced need to purchase referenced documents.
  • Avoid reading through dozens of provisions just to find the ones that apply to housing.

How will it work?

The APPs will be designed to provide an additional, Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) compliance option, as shown in the diagram below:

Diagram showing compliance options

Those familiar with NCC Volume Two—the BCA Housing Provisions would be familiar with its Acceptable Construction Practices; the APPs will work in much the same way. For plumbing and drainage work on housing, you will have two DTS options.

  • Referenced documents in combination with the DTS provisions listed most parts of the PCA; or
  • Compliance with the relevant Acceptable Plumbing Practice.

Both options will be treated equally in the code, and the choice will be yours.

Won’t this just make things even more confusing?

The APPs will be make compliance simpler. For a start, they are much smaller than your average referenced document—at around 20 pages, compared to 120.

The APPs will be ‘self-contained’. This means that if you comply with the relevant APP, you will have met all of your obligations under that Part of the PCA. Also, references to other documents outside the PCA (e.g. standards) will be kept to an absolute minimum.

The APPs will have a similar layout to the rest of the PCA; once you understand the layout and drafting style, many other existing Parts of the PCA could also become a lot easier to get your head around.

So when do I get to see a sample?

The ABCB will be in the process of drafting the APPs by the time you’re reading this article. The drafting process will occur in consultation with the ABCB’s Plumbing Code Committee (PCC), who will provide technical input to make sure it all makes sense. The PCC also includes the State and Territory plumbing regulatory authorities, so they will have input too.

The Draft APPs will appear the in the PCA 2019 public comment draft, which will be released on 1 February 2018. Keep an eye out for it on our Public Comment Draft webpage.

Once the draft APP have been publicly released, we encourage you to check them out and if you have any comments or suggestions, send them in!

Was this article helpful?

In a few words, please tell us how we could improve future articles on ABCB Connect