10 Oct In a Nutshell – Plumbing Work and Consumer Protection in Victoria
Need to know what’s covered under the Victorian Plumbers Warranty Insurance? Read on:
All Licenced Plumbers in Victoria are required to have mandatory insurance which provides them with comprehensive cover for both themselves and their clients. This is for very good reason as plumbing is inherently a very risky business.
What people may not necessarily understand is that not only is a licenced Victorian plumber insured for liability type disasters but also for their actual workmanship. Self-certification of regulated plumbing work applies in Victoria and licenced plumbers are required to certify that their work complies with Part 12A of the Building Act – which drops down to the various Australian Standards and to the Plumbing Regulations 2008.
Unfortunately, what the forensic plumbing experts at Metropolis Solutions understand all too well is that regulated plumbing workmanship is often anything but compliant. Here are some common examples:
Above: The plumber forgot to connect the shower – hello black mould and a $50K bill to fix it
Above: It’s time to drain the swamp – another grossly non-compliant box gutter on a multi-unit residential development
Above: Roof plumbing resultant damage – it rains on the inside as well – this apartment is now unoccupiable
Should a claim be necessary under the comprehensive consumer protection provisions of the Licenced Plumbers General Insurance Order 2002 (“the Order”), the Order provides substantial coverage including for the following:
- Cost to rectify plumbing defects as defined in the Order. The minimum sum insured under this heading is $50,000 per ‘Home’ excluding “component parts” i.e materials. In the case of a multi-residential development each ‘home’ is a single apartment. The minimum amount available to rectify defects at this site therefore is $50,000 per home + materials.
- Cost to rectify resultant damage such as interior and exterior water stains, damage to plaster walls, floors etc. Minimum coverage $5M.
- Consequential financial losses sustained e.g. Loss of Rent and Temporary Accommodation costs. Minimum coverage $5M.
- Reasonable legal costs and expenses incurred to enforce any claim against the plumber or their insurer e.g. engaging solicitors, plumbing consultants and claims preparation costs. No limit noted in the Order.
Unlike similar insurance such as Domestic Builders Warranty, the protections of the Licenced Plumbers General Insurance Order 2002 also don’t require the plumber to be dead, missing, bankrupt or in default of a VCAT order before any access can be gained to the insurance. In certain circumstances the consumer can also make a claim direct on the insurer without the consent of the plumber – see Mandatory Provisions, Section 2, Clause 9 of the Order. In comparison to builders warranty the Victorian plumber’s warranty insurance is very straight forward and readily accessible, but particularly in any situation where the plumber cannot return or else refuses to return to rectify the defects, or else refuses to deal with a claim made against him. Many plumbers will also just hand such matters straight to their insurer anyway as they just don’t have the means to address significant defects at their own cost.
Metropolis Solutions provides an expert claims preparation service to assist property owners and Owners Corporations to navigate the at times complex claims preparation and submission process including dealing with the VBA (Victorian Building Authority) and the insurer of any plumber. We also work to fully prepare the claim so as to ensure that so far as possible, our clients recover every cent to which they are legitimately entitled. Metropolis can be engaged direct by individuals or Owners Corporations and also via other means such as through your legal advisors. This work is charged either on a set fee or hourly rate basis depending on what is required; please contact us for more details.