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So much more than a humble loo


Mixed reactions to government proposals

THE RINNAI SMART CYLINDER™ The revolutionary hot water cylinder that learns a household’s hot water habits. It only heats water when it is needed which provides savings of up to 10% off water heating costs. Provide your customers with the latest technology by installing a Smart Cylinder. To find out more visit * Typically saves up to 10% on running costs in comparison to a standard electric hot water cylinder. To view the full energy cost saving references visit our Smart Cylinder page on our Rinnai website.


Volume 71, Number 2 MAGAZINE TEAM CEO Greg Wallace EDITOR Beverly Sellers 03 543 2008 DESIGN Sally Travis Design PRINT Service Printers 81 The Esplanade, Petone Wellington 6141 SUBSCRIPTIONS NZ Plumber is published six times a year by Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ. Members and Certifying tradespeople receive all six editions. If you wish to opt out, please email To order an annual subscription, go to MAILING LIST For enquiries, or to update your details: Non-Master Plumbers’ members with address detail changes should notify the PGD Board direct, giving their registration number here: TO ADVERTISE Contact Alton Anamani

NZ Plumber is the official magazine of Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ Inc. Contact details for the MPGD Board, Society staff, branches and associations are available at ©NZ Plumber 2013. Registered as a Newspaper, GPO, Wellington, ISSN 0111-4379. NZ Plumber is subject to copyright in its entirety. The contents may not be reproduced in any form, either in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved in material accepted for publication, unless initially specified otherwise. All letters and other material forwarded to the magazine will be assumed intended for publication unless clearly labelled ‘Not for Publication’. Views expressed in articles in NZ Plumber magazine are not necessarily those of Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ Inc, or of the Editor. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication, the publisher and the Editor take no responsibility for errors or omissions or for any consequences of reliance on this information. Publication of advertising material implies no endorsement of either a product or service.

When is a loo not a loo? When it’s a super loo that can check your health and give you a weather update…

FOR THIS EDITION, we set writer Sarah Johnson the task of finding out where the future lies for the humble toilet. What came back was a fascinating article about the clever researchers and R&D experts behind some state-of-the-art technologies already on the market, and with even bolder ideas ahead. If you thought a loo was just a loo, turn to p58 to learn otherwise. Innovative sanitaryware design gives thought to the elderly and disabled, and this is the topic of another article on p40. New guidance has been released by MBIE on designing buildings for access and usability (universal design, as it’s called) and we look at the sanitary fittings aspect. There are many other hot industry topics right now, including the findings of a new Legionella study, the outcome of the Mainzeal court case, and the government’s proposal to “reset” New Zealand’s vocational education system. Read all about it in this issue.

Beverly Sellers Editor, NZ Plumber,

OVER TO YOU The best email, letter, tip or photo sent in by readers that we publish on this page wins a $50 prize voucher. Do you have a picture, story or news to share? Or feedback on any of the articles you’ve read in NZ Plumber? Email the Ed: or give me a call on 03 543 2008.

Stopping the merry-go-round I write with regard to the article in the February/March copy about “designing a domestic plumbing system”. I feel the article would be better if it was published in NZ Architecture and the Build magazine. By the time a plumber receives a set of plans for pricing, a lot of the issues highlighted in the article are incorporated in the plans. This leads to the plans/design being ignored or we have the tennis match of plans being hit back and forth between local authority and architect in an attempt to ensure the plans are showing some resemblance of complying with the “SELECTED” method of compliance with the Building Code. Having worked on the dark side of the industry as a Building (Plumbing) Officer, I have seen and experienced both sides of the issue across the process of attaining a consent. I have continually urged plumbers and drainlayers to try and work alongside architects in an attempt to impart some knowledge that would be mutually beneficial to both parties. Obviously this time would not be given for nothing but some form of quid pro quo needs to be worked out to stop or at least slow down the merry-go-round. With the same issues appearing on almost every consent documentation, the industry needs to review the process. [Abridged] Derek Staines, Plumbing, Drainlaying and Gasfitting Tutor, WelTec From the Ed: Thanks for your feedback, Derek—you win this issue’s prize. The article did indeed appear in BRANZ Build Magazine (December 2018, Issue 169), and they are always willing to let us reproduce relevant articles—a good sign of collaboration in itself. As you rightly point out, sharing knowledge amongst the different parties involved in a construction project is beneficial to all and this is where Building Information Modelling (BIM) must surely come into its own as a collaborative tool.

April/May 2019



How Nelson plumbers were affected by the wildfires

Inside this issue


Call for mandatory legionella testing


Rest and meal break changes: what you need to know



Last chance to register for the NZ Plumbing Conference!

MASTER PLUMBERS NEWS 8 CEO Greg Wallace on the government's review of vocational education; the Mobilcard that’s a membership card; new van back designs; training bond agreement template

MASTER PLUMBERS BENEFITS 12 New resources in the spotlight IN FOCUS 14 All shook up Mixed reactions to the government’s proposals for training reform 16 Feeling the heat Nelson wildfire impact on local plumbing firms 20 Mainzeal: landmark court case Why subcontractors expect to see little of the $36 million 4

April/May 2019

REAL LIVES 22 Building the dream

Meet a young couple starting out in their plumbing business

35 Auckland commercial An Auckland commercial plumbing firm’s thoughts on the market


25 Hydronic heating 101 An overview of the options

29 Heat pumps: a sound comparison Operating noise levels are a major factor in selection 30 Ventilation & extraction Open-flued gas appliance installation and servicing 32 Are you SMART smart? Understanding the benefits of SMART central heating controls

NUTS & BOLTS 39 Legionella: call for mandatory testing Results of Australian study are a cause for concern 40 Total access New MBIE universal design guidance includes sanitary fixtures and fittings 47 Tech points Technical updates in brief 48 Standards spotlight Ring main plumbing systems

INDUSTRY TALK 51 Reeling ’em in Mega prize for Mico Taranaki Fishing Comp winner 52 Latest fines Breaches of competition and health and safety laws 53 Not child’s play The PGDB’s new consumer campaign






So much more than a humble loo

Mixed reactions to government proposals

Discover future trends for toilet technology

53 Certifying plumber-drainlayer pathway An update on the PGDB’s transition pathway proposal 54 Big beach clean-up Hirepool gets behind National Seaweek 54 Rental home standards New regulations expected mid-year 56 Sam’s speak Are you getting the privileges you deserve as an employer? 56 Hydroflow Innovations Expo Hydroflow’s first showcase event pulls the crowds 57 Office talk Updated your website lately?

INNOVATION 58 Savvy sanitation Innovative technologies are set to revolutionise toilets

ASSOCIATIONS & BRANCHES 63 Ready to serve Willing volunteers make light work of a Canterbury tennis club bathroom revamp


SMART BUSINESS 64 Google Ads—lift your game Why you may need to rethink your digital marketing budget 66 Ready for 6 May? Employment law changes are coming into force 67 Picking a bookkeeper How to go about choosing the right one for your business 68 Payroll: going online How moving to online payroll has helped this plumbing company

SUPPLY LINES 69 Fleet software in action How two Teletrac Navman customers get the most from this GPS fleet software system


On the cover: Kohler is among the manufacturers with a focus on maximising futuristic technologies for sanitaryware.

75 Safe and ready This new Site Safe programme gets overseas workers safety ready before arriving in NZ

NEXT GENERATION 76 Masterlink messageboard Skills for Industry update; see you at CPD; and a young apprentice with drive to succeed 77 Industry feedback on proposed training reforms Results of Skills’ survey on the government’s training proposals 79 The places you’ll go A world of opportunity for this 2017 Young Plumber of the Year winner

AND FINALLY 81 Dodgy plumbing No explanation needed…

70 It’s in the air A simple management model for tackling airborne health risks

SAFETY FIRST 74 Toolbox tips Short ’n snappy health and safety tips to share with the team April/May 2019


What’s on EVENTS

If you have an event you would like to promote in a future edition of NZ Plumber, please email the Ed:

See what’s coming up on the industry calendar.

Final chance to register! There’s still time to book online for the 2019 New Zealand Plumbing Conference in May—but be quick… When: 29-31 May 2019 Where: InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, Queensland, Australia Member cost (ex GST): $1,670 (single); $2,510 (double/twin) including 3 nights’ accommodation and breakfast at the conference venue. Register online:

Above: Keynote speaker Kieran Flanagan helps businesses drive positive change.

Above: The InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort venue.

Above and above right: Choose from golf at Sanctuary Cove & Golf Country Club or a trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Programme Wed 29 May

Fri 31 May


Optional PGDB & Mico CPD Training Session


Breakfast – cooked and continental buffet




Keynote Speaker: Kieran Flanagan*


Technical sessions: plumbing, gasfitting & drainlaying


Guest speaker: Kelvin Slade on Legionella management in plumbing infrastructure*


Master Plumbers Society AGM


Working morning tea & event summary


Mico Welcome Reception at Lagoon Beach


Golf tournament at Sanctuary Cove Golf & Country Club OR trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary


NZ Plumbing Awards Dinner, sponsored by Plumbing World, at MacArthur’s Ballroom

Thurs 30 May 7.30am-8.45am

Breakfast – cooked and continental buffet


Welcome from Chairman Craig Foley


Keynote speaker: Peter FitzSimons


Morning tea

10.45am-12.30pm Panel discussion: Master Plumbers, PGDB and Skills 12.30pm-1.30pm

Buffet lunch


Guest speaker: Professor Mark Taylor on lead in plumbing products and materials*


Guest speaker: Penny Cornah, MPA, Queensland*


Afternoon tea


Guest speaker: Nik McIntosh, Trade Lab, on preparing for and passing PGDB exams


Marley and Dux Fun Night Dinner and Show at Paradise Country


April/May 2019

Sat 1 June 6.30am-10.30am

Breakfast – cooked and continental buffet

* Includes one 5-minute Product Showcase

Partner Programme Thurs 30 May 8.45am

Depart InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort


Morning at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre


Travel to award-winning waterfront Omeros Bros Seafood Restaurant for lunch


Return to InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort

Programme subject to change.

2019 Young Plumber of the Year Aged 31 or under? Enter this year’s event—branch competitions are underway now!

The Young Plumber of the Year (YPOTY), in association with Plumbing World, showcases and rewards the best and brightest in the industry—and there are over $25,000 worth of prizes up for grabs! For the event timeline, terms and conditions and to enter online, go to

2019 Backflow Conference Gen up on a key topic for all plumbers. When: 8-9 August


Where: Quality Hotel Elms, Christchurch Cost: $500 per person (includes dinner on 8 August). Early bird rate until 1 July.

PGDB & Mico CPD Roadshow

Attend a 2019 CPD session now to be able to renew your licence for the 2020/21 licensing year. When: Roadshow runs from 30 April-10 September


Where: Nationwide (schedule available at


Cost: $35 inc GST Topics to be covered: • Mental health considerations • Silica dust • Stormwater systems • Water • Gradients and fall • Gas certification • Sharing trenches with other services and workers. Enrolments for the online version of this course will open on 1 October 2019. Book online at

> > >



• Fire supply responsibilities • Backflow training & design • Backflow testing standards 2019 • Roles & responsibilities of an IQP • Incorporating new technology. Register at



CEO’S REPORT FIRST AND FOREMOST, I wish to send our deepest sympathies on behalf of Master Plumbers and Masterlink to the victims, families and wider Muslim community for the tragic events in Christchurch on 15 March. We have many staff, Master Plumbers members and Masterlink apprentices and hosts in the city and, whilst we are pleased to report that everyone is safe, the impacts of this national tragedy will last for a very long time for us all, and particularly those in Christchurch. For anyone experiencing mental distress, we recommend you call or text 1737 for the National Telehealth Service, which has worked with the Ministry of Health to provide resources in the aftermath of this terrible event. Master Plumbers has submitted its feedback during the Ministry of Education’s all too brief public consultation period on the Review of Vocational Education (RoVE)—which would see major changes for the training of apprentices. Whilst we accept that the Government cannot continue to

Kia kaha Christchurch write cheques for hundreds of millions of dollars to training providers in financial difficulties, we were extremely disappointed by the lack of engagement with industry associations on the proposed changes, especially given that it is industries such as ours that provide trainees with opportunities for employment. We agree that the current training provider model needs reform to ensure they are financially viable in future—but most importantly providers need to be of high quality and meeting industry needs. We were also disappointed that some relevant and urgent issues were not addressed in the consultation document, including tutor shortages, substandard facilities, and a need for innovation in training methods. Master Plumbers is concerned that creating a single mega institute for the management of all polytechnics could distance the industry even further from training delivery. The review proposes Industry Skills Bodies (ISBs) as a key component of the future vocational education system but, despite several meetings with Ministry of Education and

TEC representatives, we remain unclear about the role of these ISBs and their funding. We find it difficult to support the ISB model until we have clarity on how they would function. A decision on the Government’s proposals is expected in early June. From our perspective, the absolute priority is to ensure we have a robust training programme that encourages more employers to take on apprentices as a way of addressing the current skills shortage. On another matter, Arrow International has been placed in voluntary administration with many of our members financially affected. The risk matrix for commercial contractors is becoming increasingly unsustainable and Master Plumbers is working with the Specialist Trade Contractors Federation to see what legislative changes we need to lobby for to ensure subcontractors have better protection for the work they complete. Passing the risk onto subcontractors has been too prevalent for too long and changes must be made.

as well as to approve the auditor and accountant for the year ahead. The AGM is also the forum to announce the directors for the coming year, as elected by the membership using our new online voting system. The directors get together directly after the meeting to vote on who will be President, whilst the Chair and Vice Chair are voted in at the first Board meeting following the AGM. The Chair, CEO, Directors and Masterlink give concise reports during the AGM, with more detailed reporting taking place at the Master Plumbers HalfYearly Meeting between conferences. I would urge all members to attend the New Zealand Plumbing Conference and AGM to keep up to date with activities for Master Plumbers and the industry at large. Delegates report back to their

Branches and Associations after each event, and reports are available on the Master Plumbers website—but nothing beats being there in person. As Conference participants will hear, it has been an extremely busy time on the advocacy front for Master Plumbers. We are dealing with multiple Government reviews, most importantly for the PGD Act and for vocational education in New Zealand. Both have wide-ranging impact on members and the Master Plumbers Board has been working actively with Greg to ensure our views are well represented at his meetings with the Minister of Building and Construction and the Minister of Education.

Greg Wallace, CEO Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT ON 29 MAY, the Master Plumbers Society will hold its Annual General Meeting during the 2019 New Zealand Plumbing Conference in Queensland. Over the years, these meetings have been rationalised and brought into the 21st century. As an example of this, the AGM book will be available in PDF rather than printed format for the first time this year. I’d like to stress the importance of the AGM, particularly as a signing off process. With delegates from our nationwide Branches and Associations present, it provides an opportunity to ratify the previous year’s accounts, and to present a consolidated budget


April/May 2019

Craig Foley Board Chairman, Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ


Best in Brand winner We have a new winner! Your turn next?

Congrats to Devine Plumbing in Napier for winning this edition’s Best in Brand prize. Ben Goodridge sent in this photo of the company’s new ute with the Master Plumbers brand nicely incorporated with their own signwriting. Great stuff! A $200 Prezzy® Card is on its way to you now Ben. Send us your entries! Send us your photos of how you’re using the Master Plumbers branding on your company vehicles, workwear and premises for a chance to win the next $200 prize voucher. Email them to Sarah Rowe by Friday 10 May 2019:

Advocacy: tendering processes

Master Plumbers is advocating for standardised pre-qualification requirements when plumbing firms tender for jobs. Different government agencies and local authorities often have different health and safety prequalification documentation, which they require plumbing firms to submit before tendering for jobs. The documentation can be complex and timeconsuming to complete, causing many firms to seek external help. Master Plumbers is in discussions with WorkSafe to see if the prequalification process could be standardised and less onerous. “We question the need for so many councils and agencies to have different requirements,” says Master

Plumbers CEO Greg Wallace. “We are also concerned about the complexity of the forms, which often results in our members seeking help to complete them—at an

Conference 2019: look forward to seeing you! In a month’s time, we’ll be packing our bags ready for Queensland… After much behind-the-scenes planning, the 2019 NZ Plumbing Conference is upon us. We have had a fantastic number of registrations for the event, which is being held overseas for the first time in a long while. If you haven’t registered yet and want to be part of the action, there’s still time. Go to nz and book your place! We’re hugely looking forward to seeing members and Business Partners there.

extra cost that isn’t warrantied.” For plumbing firms working across a number of different local authorities (10 in the Wellington region, for example), this creates a huge and unnecessary amount of compliance paperwork. “Master Plumbers’ members must have robust health and safety systems as part of their ongoing Quality Assurance review, and we believe their existing documentation should be sufficient proof of their commitment to health and safety in the workplace,” says Greg.

NEW MEMBERS A warm welcome to new Master Plumbers member businesses: • • • • • • •

Ben Mayne Plumbing, Auckland Blueline Plumbing & Gas, Auckland Castle Plumbing, Auckland Direct Plumbing, Auckland High Pressure Plumbing, Canterbury Plumbing and Gas HQ, Canterbury Tebbutt Plumbing, Auckland

Want to join? When: 29-31 May Where: InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, Queensland Info and online booking:

Special two-year membership deal available 0800 502 102; membership@

April/May 2019



Supporting Young Plumber of the Year

Master Plumbers and Masterlink are proud to once again be sponsoring Plumbing World’s Young Plumber of the Year competition. Master Plumbers is all about representing excellence, so it’s no surprise that we were keen to come on board once again as a sponsor of Plumbing World’s Young Plumber of the Year competition, which recognises and rewards excellence in our trades. The competition is free to enter and

open to any apprentice, Licensed or Certifying Plumber, Gasfitter or Drainlayer aged 31 and under. With prizes valued at over $25,000 to be won, including a trip for two to Beijing, China in 2020, there are plenty of fantastic reasons to participate. Entries for the 2019 Young Plumber of the Year competition are now open and

NEW resource: Training bond agreement

Get noticed!

Master Plumbers membership card

a Master Plumber? Your vehicles are travelling billboards for your business. So, take advantage of our new van back template design, which shows homeowners that the work you do is backed by the Master Plumbers Guarantee. The template is available to download in the website log-in (under Logo & Brand).

Since midFebruary, a new Master Plumbers Membership Mobilcard has been mailed to members who do not currently have active Mobilcard accounts. Please do not destroy it! This card can also be used at the counter to confirm your membership and eligibility for other excellent member-only deals, such as Hirepool and Pit Stop discounts. The card cannot be used to purchase fuel unless you decide to activate it—and you are under no obligation to do so. However, should you decide to take advantage of the great Mobil fuel savings on offer, please email and our accounts team can get you set up. Master Plumbers members have already saved over $150,000 this year though using Mobilcard!

Our new bond template provides for scaled reimbursement of costs should an employee leave within 12 months of undertaking training you have helped pay for. We recommend you use our new training bond agreement template to ensure you don’t lose out financially if an employee resigns within 12 months of completing training you have helped pay for (or, for an apprentice, within their fixed term agreement). Please seek advice before issuing the bond agreement. Members can call Lisa Duston on the competitively priced Master Plumbers HR Helpline: 021 245 1704 (first 30 minutes free). Find the training bond agreement in the member log-in under HR Support (Employment Agreements).

branch competitions began this April and continue until June. Stay up to date on Plumbing World’s Young Plumbers Club website

Our new van back design puts the Master Plumbers Use your membership card Guarantee front and as proof of your eligibility centre. for some great in-store Want to get the word out about being discounts.

Master Plumbers training courses Book now for some great new nationwide courses, each just $100 ex GST for members.

How to get the best from your staff through coaching & effective leadership Dates: Now until 12 June Times: All 4-7pm Presenter: Lynn Harris Staff are the greatest asset a business


April/May 2019

has to maintain a competitive advantage—but only if they are managed well! Commissioning domestic gas appliance installations Dates: Now until 1 August

Times: All 4-7pm Presenter: Helen Mitchell The tasks that must be done to comply with the Gas Act and NZS 5601 Part 1. Book online at nz under Membership (Training)

Platinum Partners Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ thanks the following Platinum Partners for their support:

Gold Partners Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ thanks the following Gold Partners for their support:

Silver Partners Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ thanks the following Silver Partners for their support:

April/May 2019



Supporting Your Business

Resources, discounts and savings available to Master Plumbers members.

Master Plumbers is here to assist member businesses in every way possible. Discover the many benefits available to those who join. It’s all in the member log-in at

Marketing Support Master Plumbers brand The Master Plumbers logo is available in a number of file formats and colourways, both stacked and horizontal. Use it on your company uniforms, vehicles and office signage to show clients your work is covered by the Master Plumbers Guarantee and is Quality Assured. Free decals are available with the Master Plumbers, Master Gasfitters and Master Drainlayers branding. Please follow our brand guidelines for use.

$15,000 in labour costs and up to $5,000 in product costs. Logo and customer fact-sheet downloads available.

Use our NEW Featured resource template van Van back designs back designs. Available in 2 colourways in the member log-in at under Logo and Brand.

Master Plumbers Guarantee The 12-month residential Master Plumbers Guarantee protects consumers in the event of a member’s substandard workmanship or bankruptcy. It covers homeowners for up to

Employment Support HR Helpline Contact the HR Helpline for advice on HR and employment issues (first 30 minutes’ free).

HR guidance and resources Workplace policies, recruitment

guidance, performance review checklist and more.

Employment agreements Executive, standard, apprentice, contractor and volunteer contract agreement templates.

Featured resource NEW training bond agreement: use when helping meet costs for a team member's professional development training.

Business Support •

• • • • • • • •


Apprentices—Find top quality, mentored apprentices through the Master Plumbers’ Masterlink apprenticeship scheme (we take care of all their PAYE, HR and block course arrangements). Insurance—Competitive premiums on business and personal cover with Master Plumbers Insurance. Fuel—Efficient fleet management and significant fuel savings with the Master Plumbers Mobilcard. Vehicle care —10% discount (exclusive of tyres) at Pit Stop, and just $48 inc GST for a WoF. Equipment hire—20% discount on Hirepool hire equipment. Car hire—discounted rates on Avis rental cars. Job management—20% discount on initial implementation of simPRO Enterprise software. Training—Business courses from just $90 ex GST per person in the annual Master Plumbers training timetable. Office supplies—Competitive prices on office products

April/May 2019

• •

with NZ Office Supplies plus a $25 credit when you open a new account. Monthly deals—Regular promotions and prizes from Master Plumbers Business Partners. NZ Plumber magazine—Six issues per year in print and digital. (


Health & Safety Support Master Plumbers H&S App Use the app for instant on-site H&S reporting for you and your whole team.

Master Plumbers H&S Manual Personalised for your business.

SiteSafe membership 10% discount when you join SiteSafe or renew your existing membership.

First Aid training discounts Red Cross First Aid courses at a 10% discount.

Compliance Support Residential building contracts

Gas certification

For use when doing work direct for residential clients—whether fixed price or hourly rate. A written contract is a legal requirement for work costing $30k inc GST or more.

Gas certification template downloads.

Standards online New Zealand Standards online catalogue of key standards—including AS/NZS350 and AS/NZS 5601.

Quote and terms of trade For jobs under $30k inc GST you can choose to rely on our written quote and terms of trade templates (though we strongly recommend you provide a written building contract, no matter how much the building work costs).

Customer letter templates Helping you limit your risk when customers supply their own plumbing

Best Practice Guidelines

products or get a hot water cylinder replaced.

Subcontract Agreement SA-2017 We recommend you always use this when working for a main contractor on a commercial project.

Compliance advice to help you when entering and administering contracts, dealing with disputes and more.

Compliance training Master Plumbers training courses on relevant topics.

Technical Support Technical Helpline Our new Technical Helpline is up and running. Phone or email Rod Miller with your plumbing, gas and drainage queries during normal business hours.

Technical Training Competitively priced plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying technical courses are all part of the annual Master Plumbers training timetable.

Access all these benefits in the member log-in at

I want to join!

Not a member and want to access all these awesome benefits? Contact Steve Rushworth: 027 839 8398

April/May 2019



All shook up There have been vocal and varying views on the Government’s proposal to rethink vocational education and training in New Zealand, as NZ Plumber discovers. “LET’S NOT THROW the baby out with the bath water.” That was the reaction of one Industry Training Organisation (ITO) to the Government’s plans for a complete rethink of industry training in New Zealand. According to Skills Active ITO Chief Executive Dr Grant Richardson, Education Minister Chris Hipkins had correctly identified the problems with the current vocational education system but is “looking for answers in all the wrong places”. He was referring to the Minister’s announcement on 13 February that radical changes to the system needed to be made because of critical skills shortages and too many polytechs and technology institutes going broke. “Our system isn’t geared up for the future economy, where retraining and upskilling will be a regular feature of everyone’s working life,” the Minister said. “Instead of our institutes of technology retrenching, cutting programmes, and closing campuses, we need them to expand their course delivery in more locations around the country.” 14

April/May 2019

What’s being proposed? Public feedback was invited by an extended deadline of early April on a range of proposals designed to establish “a unified, coordinated, national system of vocational education and training”. The proposals are to: • Redefine roles for education providers and ITOs • Combine the 16 existing industry training providers (ITPs) into a single New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology with a regional network of campuses • Have a unified vocational education funding system.

Concern amongst ITOs The proposals would see New Zealand’s 11 ITOs losing many of their core responsibilities, which currently include setting national skill standards, arranging training, and assessing and monitoring training quality. Unsurprisingly, Josh Williams, Chief Executive of the Industry Training Federation (ITF)—the ITO national body— has reacted with concern. Williams said in February that New Zealand’s industry-led training and apprenticeship model provided direct engagement and connection to real employers. The ITF had consistently argued for a more joined-up vocational education system, he said, but was wanting reforms that would strengthen industryled workplace training, rather than dismantle it.

“We are not at all convinced that central management of workplace training and apprenticeships would incentivise more employers to engage and participate,” he said. Garry Fissenden, Chief Executive of The Skills Organisation— the ITO for the plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying sector—was among the individual ITOs also voicing their concerns, saying in February that thousands of apprentices and students would be disadvantaged under the proposed reforms. He believes the replacement of regional polytechs by a national NZ Institute of Skills and Technology would create “immediate uncertainty among businesses at a critical time our nation’s economic development”. Turn to page 77 for the results of a recent Skills Organisation survey on the proposals.

Survey of Master Plumbers Master Plumbers sent out a survey to its membership to help inform the Master Plumbers’ submission on the proposals. “We agree that the current training provider model needs reform to ensure they are financially viable in future—but most importantly providers need to be of high quality and meeting industry needs,” says CEO Greg Wallace. Master Plumbers was disappointed by the lack of engagement by the Ministry of Education with industry associations before releasing the proposed changes and by the fact that urgent issues such as tutor shortages and substandard provider facilities were not addressed in the consultation document.

“The skills mismatch” Business New Zealand has come out in support of the Government’s proposals for change, saying businesses need a system that can keep pace with the changing environment of industry, where a job for life will no longer exist. “We welcome changes to the vocational education system that ensures that learners are able to step in to jobs where we have businesses in desperate need for staff,” said Chief Executive Kirk Hope in February. However, he went on to say that Business NZ wants to make sure industry training is not weakened by any of the proposed changes. “Industry training and apprenticeships play a vital part of the vocational education system and the workplace is a great environment to learn in.” The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) has also welcomed change to what it sees as “the broken competitive system”. “The proposed changes are aimed at ending the market competition between education providers, which has led to hundreds of courses closing, thousands of students missing out on learning opportunities, an unhealthy growth in management layers in the tertiary education sector, and $100 million in bailouts over the last few years for polytechnics unable to survive financially,” the TEU noted in February. It says reforms must guarantee significantly increased funding for the sector and ensure access to tertiary education for all. “A priority for the Minister must be to make sure ITPs stay broadly and deeply connected to the communities, both regional and urban, in which they are placed,” said TEU National President Michael Gilchrist in February.

Where to next? Public consultation closed in early April and the Government is now considering feedback received. Decisions are expected to be announced mid year. ■


Feeling the heat

THE NELSON/TASMAN wildfires in February, which covered about 2,400 hectares and threatened hundreds of homes near Nelson, came in the middle of a dry spell that left people facing tough restrictions on water use.

Fire risk impacts on job progress

Andree Schultz, office manager at Tasman Bay Plumbing, says the drought conditions and associated fire risks had an impact on the Richmond company’s day-to-day work. A ban on machinery use across the area lasted weeks because 16

April/May 2019

of fears that sparks could set off further blazes and this slowed progress on some housing developments. “The fires themselves didn’t affect our work much; it was more about the drought and the fire risk for us,” Andree says. “A lot of our jobs are in the rural subdivisions and digger work for excavating in areas near vegetation couldn’t go ahead. “Our guys working on rural sites have had to make sure all hoses are connected to water sources and they are carrying fire Above: The wildfires quickly spread through forestry and farmland because of the dry conditions.

All photographs courtesy of NZDF.

Plumbers in the Nelson/Tasman region are planning for future bouts of hot, dry conditions after the area was hit by raging wildfires and a dramatic drought over the summer months. Story by Matthew Lowe.


extinguishers and not leaving them in the van. It’s about being responsible and being aware of the increased fire risk. “Health and safety is such a big thing and long spell of dry weather just put another spin on it. We got backlogged jobs, so we would just move on to the next one if we were unable to proceed at a certain site because of the fire risk, and would return when it was safe to do so.” Andree says the Richmond firm is contemplating how homes and plumbing systems can help counter some of the problems associated with droughts, should subsequent summers bring similarly long, arid spells. “The drought has made us all a bit more aware of what can happen and we have been discussing future-proofing houses with greywater systems—you do not retain the water as such but it goes into your land rather than going into the drain.”

Water supplies for helicopter crews

Staff from Tuffnell Plumbing Drainage & Gas, also based in Richmond, were thrust into the heart of the fire-fighting action in February as they helped maintain water supplies for helicopter crews tackling the flames that devastated vast areas of farm and forestry land. At the peak of the fires, five staff from the firm were working at Carter Holt Harvey’s sawmill in Eves Valley. Tuffnell’s managing director Chris Downey says they worked with the timber manufacturer to re-establish water supplies and emergency water supplies. He adds that firefighters had done an amazing job to save the main water tank at the site, which was covered with scorch marks from the flames. “There are ponds and lagoons at the sawmill to fight fires if the buildings were ever to catch fire, but the choppers that were called into action had to use that water to fight the wildfires,” Chris says. “We had to set up a temporary means of water supply from the council scheme to fill the ponds and lagoons so the choppers could keep using them. The dry weather combined with the helicopters scooping water out every few minutes takes thousands of litres out of such areas. “The mill itself got away unscathed because the firefighters worked extremely hard to protect a water tank on the hill. They knew if they lost that it would be a major disruption to the plant.”

Above: Monsoon buckets attached to helicopters carried water from ponds, lagoons and other sources in the area.

and bushes, and run a drop line and reconnect to water tanks and reservoirs for the owners. “The fires disrupted our scheduled work quite heavily but most clients understood that it was a Civil Defence emergency and were happy to wait while we attended to more pressing matters, which certainly put lots of pressure on our resources. “Thankfully there wasn’t a great loss of property and, most of all, no loss of human life.” ■

Proud to be 100% Kiwi made

Melted pipes on some properties

Whilst only one property was lost in the wildfires, which saw about 3,000 people evacuated from their homes and a state of emergency declared for three weeks, the intensity of the flames caused problems for some of Tuffnell’s domestic and agricultural users. “Besides helping at the sawmill, we had another client with no water because their pipe that runs along the ground had melted,” Chris says. “Melted pipes affected at least half a dozen people whose supplies run along fence lines. We had to go in and find where the council supply starts, which could be among charred trees

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April/May 2019





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Mainzeal: landmark court case IN WHAT MASTER Plumbers CEO Greg Wallace describes as “watershed” court case, the former directors of Mainzeal have been found negligent in allowing the company to continue trading while insolvent. “Subcontractors and creditors were owed a total of over $115 million as a result of the Mainzeal collapse in 2013 and subcontractors are likely to get very little back,” says Greg. “This case has taken two years and has cost hundreds of thousands. The industry can’t afford to go to court each time we need to hold directors to account. “My biggest hope from this outcome is that major construction companies will realise their financial responsibilities, ensuring their tendering processes and management of their financial equity is well-considered and professional.” 20

April/May 2019

Creditors of Mainzeal are due to get some compensation following February’s high court decision—but, NZ Plumber learns that subcontractors expect to see very little of the $36m owed by the failed construction company’s former directors.

A long, hard road When the decision was released in the High Court in late February, Mainzeal’s liquidators, BDO, said creditors had waited a long time for this day. “We are thrilled with this judgment by the High Court which sets an important precedent for the required standards of corporate governance and care owed by company directors in New Zealand towards the company and creditors,” said BDO’s Andrew Bethell. “It has been a long, hard road to get to this point and, as a result of the court case and the damages awarded of $36m, creditors of the failed company will now receive some compensation for the losses they suffered. “Directors have a responsibility to take into account the interests of creditors, existing and future, and not to allow a

company to trade recklessly or incur obligations it cannot reasonably expect to be able to perform. This court case sought to hold the former directors liable for their actions in allowing Mainzeal to trade while insolvent and today’s decision has recognised that negligence.”

Plumbing firms expect little back Master Plumbers’ member company Hutt Gas and Plumbing was one business to be badly affected by the Mainzeal collapse—losing $320,000 and having to lay off three staff. Responding to the court case on Newstalk ZB, Hutt Gas and Plumbing Director Colleen Upton told Mike Hosking any money the company sees back would be a bonus, “but it isn’t right and they have played fast and loose with subcontractors’ money”. ■


From personal experience

Waitangi Day 2013 is a day Hutt Gas and Plumbing will never forget, as Director Colleen Upton recalls. “We lost just under $300k to the Mainzeal collapse and a further $20k when Command also went into liquidation due to the Mainzeal collapse,” remembers Colleen Upton of that fateful day. “In addition to the monetary losses, we were working on five Mainzeal jobs. So, overnight we had 25 staff to find work for and wages to keep paying them. “Decisions had to be made, and swiftly. It was only three weeks to the end of the month and bill paying time came around— bills for a whole lot of materials used on Mainzeal sites that we were not going to see any payment for.” Essentially, the three owners of Hutt Gas and Plumbing did a mixture of things, including mortgaging their homes and depleting their savings and investments because, although the loss to Mainzeal was $300k, they also had to have money for wages and materials for the next couple of months while they priced and secured new contracts. “We made some huge changes to our business model and went from a 90% commercial/10% domestic to a 50% commercial/50% domestic business,” says Colleen. “This change meant new systems and a lot of work. Management worked seven days a week, often 16 hour days—all at no pay. We had to undertake a round of redundancies—in the end we kept this to three positions—but it is never an easy task. You know these people intimately— they are not names on a sheet of paper, but people you see daily. You know their kids and their families, you know they have mortgages and families to feed. “Here we are now six years on… Our business has changed dramatically due to the Mainzeal collapse, but the world we operate in hasn’t really changed at all—and every contract we sign up, we are at risk of something like this happening again. “Hutt Gas and Plumbing chose to price and work for Mainzeal as we

considered them to be ‘blue chip’—they did government, institutional, school, university, hospital, high spec apartment and commercial building work for big clients. There were no signs of insolvency prior to the complete collapse. We got paid on time every month up until January 2013 when no progress claims were paid at all and there was the first sniff of something being wrong.” Subcontractors are at the bottom of the food chain, says Colleen. “We get all the risk pushed on to us from main contractors and it has to stop. Sure there has been some legislation around retentions but from where I sit it looks like it relies a lot on us ‘trusting’ main contractors to set up separate bank accounts to put retentions in, to continue to put them in month on month, or to take out an appropriate insurance policy and name the subcontractors as the beneficiaries… How many of you doing commercial work know where your retentions are? What bank and branch they are with, or if you are named as a beneficiary on an insurance policy? “We need change now. We need to see a Security of Payments Agreement like they have in Australia or we need the Government to enshrine in legislation the setting up of a completely independent bank account (much like the ones tenants’ bond money goes into). “Company directors need to be personally liable when they trade while insolvent or recklessly. At the moment company directors are personally liable around health and safety issues and employment issues—you can insure to cover fighting a case but you can’t insure against the fines. The same should apply to financial operations of a company.” Hutt Gas and Plumbing now require a letter signed by a company director at the commencement of each contract telling us exactly where their retentions will be

we survived with a lot of help from industry colleagues, our families and our staff

Above: Colleen Upton says Hutt Gas and Plumbing has changed dramatically as a result of the Mainzeal collapse.

held. “This has not come easy and we have received a lot of push back from our main contractors who are affronted that we should require this. “Retentions are our money, earned fairly and squarely by us but held by the main contractor as insurance that we will complete our work and undertake any maintenance required. I have no problem with this. What retentions are not is operating capital for main contractors to commence other projects or fund shortfalls. Legislation needs to ensure this. “We see headlines saying ‘millions of dollars owed’ when these companies collapse—but behind these are losses of homes, losses of life, losses of jobs, devastation, depression, anxiety. We were lucky we survived with a lot of help from industry colleagues, our families and our staff. Others were not so lucky and their businesses fell by the wayside and I can only imagine their pain. “We need to support Master Plumbers as it makes a case to the Minister for a strengthening of the legislation, and at a grassroots level we need to insist on information about where and how our retentions are held.”

April/May 2019



Building the dream At just 24, Taylor Galloway is running a successful Auckland plumbing business with his wife Olivia—a goal they’ve had since they met in their school years. NZ Plumber asked them about their business start-up experience. WHEN TAYLOR GALLOWAY was 18, he reserved the name of the plumbing business he planned to own one day. As his birthday present, his mother gave him a personalised plate to go on his company vehicle when that day came. “I knew from a young age that I wanted to build my own dream rather than someone else’s,” he says. Six years later, on his 24th birthday, Taylor was out on the road in a smart, signwritten van complete with personalised plate and enjoying the first day of running Taylor’d Plumbing & Gas Ltd—the new Auckland-based business he had set up with his wife Olivia, a chartered accountant by training. Having spent about six months looking into what’s involved in a business start-up, and another month setting up their systems, they launched their company in May 2018, three months after getting 22

April/May 2019

married. Early this year, they took the next step and joined Master Plumbers. “We pride ourselves on providing high quality work, and Master Plumbers has that ‘step above’ public perception,” explains Taylor. Coming from a family that, in his words, “lives in the ocean”, Taylor has always loved water, so he decided it made sense to work with water, too. “I also enjoyed all my practical subjects at high school, and have always been a natural problem solver,” he says. On leaving school at 16, he completed a plumbing pre-trade at MIT before starting his apprenticeship.

Above: Olivia and Taylor Galloway by their new company van complete with personalised number plate.

Taylor had plenty of useful connections to get him started in business With uncles and cousins in the building trade and having established a good working relationship with his (since retired) bosses at his previous place of work, Taylor had plenty of useful connections to get him started in business. It also helped that, as Olivia describes him, he is a perfectionist, reliable, efficient, energetic and enthusiastic—and loves what he does. “He has a creative flair and loves helping make our customers’ visions become reality,” she says.

Grabbing the bull by the horns


“Starting the business was a little daunting at first, but we just decided to grab the bull by the horns and hold on,” says Olivia. Her role is “everything apart from the plumbing”—all accounts and admin, invoicing, marketing and social media. “It helps having me as an accountant for the cashflow,” she says with a laugh. One of the first things they did was set up a business Facebook page, which Olivia believes is crucial to raising their profile. “We live and work from our home in Beachlands, which is a small, semirural community close to East Auckland, and our priority was to build up our reputation there before extending Auckland wide,” she explains. “We advertised locally and on Facebook, and we now get recommended on our page all the time. We’ve had so many repeat customers to date, which is great. We really want people to use us again or refer us.” Their strategy is clearly working, as they are now contracting a Certifying Plumber to help keep up with demand for the maintenance and renovation services they provide—and they are looking to hire another staff member later this year.

Being organised is key

Asked what advice they would give to others thinking of starting up in business, Olivia says being organised is key. “Ask people for guidance and advice where you need it and set everything up before you begin—your business systems, GST, insurances, vehicles, marketing strategy and compliance. Health and safety is a big one and we joined Site Safe straight away. Taylor had already done Site Safe training courses but it’s different when you’re managing others.” Right now, Taylor and Olivia are thoroughly immersed in their new business, leaving little time spare time for hobbies. However, it hasn’t stopped them launching into a new house build on their existing section to give them a little more space than their current bach-style home. The house is due to be complete just before the 2019 New Zealand Plumbing Conference in May, so they reluctantly had to forego this year’s event. But as new members of Master Plumbers, they’re looking forward to getting to grips with all the business resources on offer. “The organisation does a lot for the plumbing industry and we want to be part of that,” says Taylor. “There’s a lot of good knowledge to be handed down.” ■

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HYDRONIC HOME HEATING With winter approaching, we take a look at the heating options available to homeowners—and some installation and servicing considerations. In this section

25 29 30 32


Hydronic heating 101 Heat pumps: a sound comparison Ventilation & extraction Are you SMART smart?

April/May 2019


Hydronic heating 101 IN NEW ZEALAND, anything from a plug-in heater to a wall mounted heat pump is classed as ‘heating’ when, in reality, these are just single area heaters. ‘Hydronic heating’ seems to have been adopted instead of the more widely recognised ‘central heating’ as the term for the heating of a whole house or property, domestic or commercial. The New Zealand Institute of Central Heating (NZICH) was started up to provide technical assistance and to develop training courses in radiator and underfloor heating. In brief, modern radiators heat quickly to provide 30% radiated and 70% convected heat. Each radiator is fitted with a thermostatic radiator valve, allowing for moderate control from room to room. Radiator central heating is one of the most efficient ways to heat your home, due to the high efficiency ratings of condensing heat sources. Water transfers heat at a much higher rate than air, so radiators can heat a room in a matter of minutes. Most

Paul Woodgate of the NZ Institute of Central Heating provides a brief overview of hydronic heating.

Above: Diagram showing heat flow of radiator heating and underfloor heating.

Above: A Queenstown underfloor central heating installation.

Above: The concrete pour stage of an underfloor central heating installation.

importantly, performance is maintained irrespective of outside temperature. Underfloor heating is an ‘invisible’ heating system for the end user, providing 60% radiant and 40% convected heat. Suitable for both new

builds and existing properties, it works by effectively making the floor a large heater. Because the emitting area is large, sufficient warmth is provided across the whole floor surface to heat the room effectively. April/May 2019



Above: The heat source is the main component of the heating system and options include gas, diesel, heat pumps and solid fuel.

the heat source, or boiler, is the main component of any heating system It enables low temperature and ecofriendly heat sources to perform at their best and reduce carbon emissions. Design is key to an underfloor heating system working at its best. Once up and running, it is virtually maintenance free and pipework leaks are unheard of.

Heat sources The heat source, or boiler, is the main component of any heating system, with many different options to choose from.

Gas (Natural and LPG) Condensing system or combi units have taken over from big, heavy cast iron heat exchangers, ensuring good efficiency ratings, with both internal and external options available.

create warm water for central heating as well as hot water for both central heating and domestic hot water supply. Heat pumps achieve this by taking the same principle that allows a fridge to cool your groceries and utilising it in reverse.

Diesel Diesel units work much the same way as gas units and are available in condensing and non-condensing models, and both system and combi variants. External units are a popular option, taking the heat source out of the house.

Solid fuel There are two main types of solid fuel boilers: atmospheric and gasification. These are a good choice for those with plentiful wood supply at hand. Atmospheric boilers are natural draft flue whereas gasification boilers are fan controlled, leading to a clean burn process—making them more efficient.

Heat pumps These units take the available heat from the ground or air surrounding a property and increase it to a more useful temperature for use in the home. This renewable source of heat can be used to

Controls Controls can take many forms, from 230v to 12v to wireless, and from standard dial thermostats to smart stats to weather compensation.

Hydronic central heating running costs Costs based on average 200m2 home. Running 6-8 hours per day. Inside temperature 20°C Heat Source

Cost of Heat

Heating Season Monthly Cost*

Approximate Install Costs*

Natural Gas

$0.07-$0.12 (per kWh)




$0.17-$0.23 (per kWh)




$0.11-$0.16 (per kWh)




$0.05-$0.10 (per kWh)



Wood Pellet

$0.09-$0.18 (per kWh)



Air To Water Heat Pump

$0.04-$0.15 (per kWh)



Geothermal Heat Pump

$0.03-$0.10 (per kWh)



* These figures are approximate and will vary due to factors such as insulation levels, window glazing, building design and personal comfort levels.


April/May 2019


The more advanced control systems for domestic central heating, generally known as smart heating controls, allow you to manage your heating controls remotely from a computer, tablet or smartphone. An automated heating control system works out if and when to turn on the heating based on whether there is anyone in the building or approaching the building. It may use sensors in the home or track a phone’s location to decide when to turn on the heating.

Running and installation costs Running and installation costs are the elephant in the room and sometimes come down to the old adage: “The customer is always right, even when they are wrong.” Opting for an underfloor heating system running on LPG is the one where you would probably spend the most time trying to change the customer’s mind.

Above: Radiators have come a long way since the institutional variety—and can now be customised to suit a client’s home.

About the author: Paul Woodgate is Secretary of The New Zealand Institute of Central Heating (NZICH), a community of industry leaders providing technical information and experience. NZICH aims to facilitate best practice through training to raise the standard of central heating in New Zealand. It represents those responsible for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of central heating systems. For more information on central heating or becoming an NZICH member: 028 411 5690

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Heat pumps: a sound comparison A major factor of any household appliance is how loud it will be when operating—and that includes hydronic heat pumps, as Stiebel Eltron explains. THERE IS NO point having a dreamy home temperature if the machines doing the work are blasting out uncomfortable industrial noise. Unfortunately, with the way many companies test and deliver these products, you can be left without any idea of how the unit will sound. Without a clear standard, you can end up with heating devices that compete with your TV (70dB) for acoustic attention. Europeans have been testing and comparing heat pumps for a long time. Stiebel Eltron, for example, tests and determines Sound Power Level and Sound Pressure based on the European Standard EN12102. EN12102 is an internationally recognised sound testing standard that involves rigorous testing in an echo-free and noiseless anechoic chamber.

Sound Power Level

Sound Power Level is the pure sound energy output in Watts at the boundary

Metrics in action

A Stiebel Eltron air source hydronic heat pump (WPL 25 AC/WPL 25 ACS) has a Sound Power value of 54dB and Sound Pressure (at 5m distance in an open field) of 32 dB. The theoretical sound output is drastically reduced by movement of 5m in the open air—it’s not hard to imagine what modern insulation can do. The encased compressor design of these models can be further muted by placement and orientation on installation.

Sound checklist of the device, measured in dB(A), as it would be perceived by the human ear in an open space environment and in perfect lab testing conditions (the above-mentioned anechoic chamber). It’s an engineering metric that sets a solid cornerstone of acoustic comparison.

Sound Pressure

Above: Testing a Stiebel Eltron heat pump in an anechoic chamber for the EN 12102 standard.

Above: Stiebel Eltron air source hydronic heat pump.

Sound Pressure is the effect of the Sound Power Level in the environment. It is the physical, measurable output of the sound perturbations from the device, in a specific orientation and place. Think of it as that potential sound coming out of the unit and received by your ear in the real world. This is the metric that really matters because it takes into consideration determining factors such as how sound is affected by air and the surroundings in the distance from the unit to your ear. What these metrics mean is that you can compare heat pump units with sounds in the real world.

Use this checklist to make sure you are comparing apples with apples when selecting an air source hydronic heat pump. 1. Is sound output measured in: • Sound Power (Watts)? • Sound Power Level (dB)? • Sound Pressure (dB)? • And at what distance? 2. What were the testing methods? 3. Are the figures theoretical or was the unit physically tested in an anechoic chamber? 4. Was the testing overseen by an accredited, independent third party? 5. Does the testing and comparison fall under a standard like European Standard EN12102?

About the author: Stiebel Eltron is a German brand, manufacturing instant hot water systems, hot water and hydronic heating heat pumps, heat recovery ventilation systems, space heaters and water filters. The company won a 2018/19 Superbrand Award, the fifth time it has received this accolade. To contact Stiebel Eltron in NZ, call 09 486 2221 or visit

April/May 2019



Ventilation and extraction

Rinnai explains why gasfitters need to consider the effects of ventilation and extraction/air movement systems when installing or servicing open flued gas appliances. AS BUILDING MATERIAL and techniques evolve—and with an everincreasing call for energy and thermal efficiency in homes—there is more need than ever to consider adequate ventilation when installing open flued gas appliances. Traditionally, New Zealand houses have had adequate ventilation for gas appliances. However, modern houses are getting ‘tighter’ from a ventilation

perspective and there has been an increase in extraction and air movement system retrofits—all of which can affect the ventilation and operation of open flued gas appliances. Following a recent coronial inquest in Australia, open flued gas appliances have been in the spotlight there. The incident had many complexities but, in essence, an open flued appliance was located in an apartment that was being upgraded to improve insulation and thermal efficiency—work that is likely to have reduced the amount of advantageous ventilation present.*

Impacts of negative pressure conditions At some point, the occupant operated an open flued space heating appliance and a

kitchen or bathroom extractor fan at the same time.* One of the topics the inquest explored was the operation of open flued appliances where advantageous ventilation was reduced and negative pressure conditions could be induced into the space by the operation of extractor fans or other systems. Simply put, if the negative pressure is sufficient, the open appliance flue ceases to operate correctly and the flue itself becomes a conduit for air entry into the space because the pressure in the room or space is lower than the ambient pressure. As the products of combustion cannot disperse via the flue, they spill into the space with potentially lethal outcomes.* Whilst an open flued appliance is designed to meet down draft conditions as part of its approval testing, this testing

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April/May 2019

NEW RELEASE emulates short duration down draft conditions due to wind and weather affecting the flue. It does not simulate extended negative pressure conditions due to lack of ventilation, or the effects of fans or extraction systems in a room.†


Important checks for gasfitters It is therefore important to adequately consider how an open flued appliance is situated and its ventilation requirements when conducting work on an appliance installation of this type. Practitioners are generally involved with assessing appliance ventilation requirements at a couple of stages: 1. Installation of a new appliance. 2. Service or repair of an appliance. Installation of new appliances For new appliance installs, ventilation for the appliance needs to be assessed as per the relative clauses in section 6.4 of AS/ NZS 5601.1:2013 Gas installations – General installations. It is prudent to take into account extraction and ventilation systems and how these may affect the appliance operation. Service or repair of appliances At the service or repair stage, practitioners need to consider the environment in which the appliance is operating. Changes could have been made to the space since the appliance was first installed and certified—alterations to (or new) windows and doors, for example, or a new ventilation system. The ventilation requirements for the appliance may have changed and the way the appliance flue system performs may also have changed. AS/NZS 5601.1:2013 contains a useful methodology in Appendix R for appliance spillage testing. The methodology involves testing the current operating and ventilation conditions of the appliance (including the operation of mechanical extraction systems) and determining the correct operation of the appliance and its flue system. Room sealed appliances (balanced coaxial/ colinear flues) are excluded from the Appendix R tests, as any extraction system in the building is unlikely to affect them.

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Unlined masonry chimneys As a result of changes in gas appliance safety Standard AS/NZS 5263.0:2017, which took effect from 1 January 2018, it is no longer acceptable to state that an unlined masonry chimney can be used as a flue option for open flued appliances. As manufacturers upgrade their appliance certification, installation instructions will likely be amended to reflect this. This will impact what practitioners can undertake when installing open flued appliances. A flue liner inside a masonry chimney is still a permissible means of flueing. ■ The Australian Coronial Inquiry report contains many useful insights and lessons of benefit to practitioners in NZ. Read at soniasofianopoulos_356617.pdf * Coroners Court of Victoria Inquest into Death of Sonia Sofianopolos points 200, 201 and 202 † As per AS/NZS 5263.0 section 5.2 and clause About the author: Rinnai New Zealand are the proud pioneers behind many of the heating solutions that Kiwi families enjoy today. They design and manufacture all their gas fireplaces in Auckland.

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Are you SMART smart? Leaving a great, lasting impression at handover time can help win you many more clients, says Central Heating New Zealand. YOU NEVER HAVE a second chance at a first impression. It sets the tone of a conversation and can ultimately win new business. However, your final customer interaction also creates a lasting impression, which can help you win numerous new business opportunities when your customer becomes an advocate for you and your company. When installing central heating, the last interaction that you will have with your customer is probably a handover. During the handover you will be demonstrating how the central heating system works, in particular the controls. The last thing you want to be doing is bumbling your way through this final presentation due to a lack of product knowledge.

Keeping on top of SMART technology

More and more customers are choosing Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) to control their central heating systems. As an industry, we need keep on top of SMART technology to understand how it improves home life and makes heating more affordable for customers. SMART heating uses three basic components to provide a more userfriendly and accessible way of controlling your home’s heating: 1. The first component will usually plug directly into your boiler and communicate wirelessly to… 2. … the second component, which is the main control unit or thermostat. 3. The final component is the app that you download to your smartphone or tablet.

What makes it smart?

A standard run-of-the-mill boiler thermostat offers some basic functions like switching the heating on and off, 32

April/May 2019

Above: Homeowers with a SMART thermostat can manage their home heating schedule through their tablet or smartphone.

timer settings and some rudimentary temperature controls. A SMART thermostat, such as the Danfoss Link, Heatmiser Neo or Nest, lets householders manage every minute of their home’s heating schedule from the palm of their hand, through a tablet or smartphone. They don’t need to leave the comfort of their sofa to be in complete control. Geo-fencing Geo-fencing is a practical feature that, with the help of your smartphone, tracks your locations to determine when you are coming or going from your home. With geo-fencing, you don’t have to manually switch your heating on or off or rely on a set schedule. SMART thermostats, like the Neo, determine when your house is empty and turn down your heating to save energy. Geo-fencing also allows the opposite. If you find yourself making your way home unexpectedly, SMART technology overrides your scheduled heating timer to switch your heating on in time for your return. The geo-location feature may not be for everyone and is probably most useful

for people who may be in and out of the house at irregular times of the day and night. If your customer is not that kind of person, then a simple timer schedule would probably be sufficient. Temperature gauge If geo-fencing is not enough to get your inner geek going, some of the newer, more intelligent SMART heating controls have a function that takes into account the outdoor temperature and/or weather forecast. The really ‘smart’ thing about this is that if the temperature outside is colder than usual, your heating will come on a little bit earlier than normal in order to make up for it. If the forecast is sunny, the SMART thermostat will compensate for solar gain and turn down heating by a few degrees to save money and energy.

Is it for everyone?

A SMART thermostat could save your customers money. However, research does suggest it’s not for everyone. It’s important to understand what kind of person your customer is and whether or not SMART technology will make a difference to them. There are a few factors that will


determine whether installing smart heating will save your customers money or be a complete waste of time and effort. SMART technology is ideal for: •

People who love tech—smartphone lovers, computer users, people who are comfortable and adept at using apps Anyone who wants to be able to see exactly how much energy (heat) they are using and how much it costs to do so Busy people who want to be in control of their home heating when they are on the go Those with a regular routine that a smart thermostat can learn to ensure the home is always warm when it needs to be.

As home automation continues to build momentum, SMART heating technology will become more commonplace. Take time out to understand how your central heating controller works. Become SMART smart and turn your handover into your best sales tool.

Above: On-the-go control means the house will be warm in time for the homeowner's return.

About the author: Based in Christchurch, Central Heating New Zealand specialises in designing and supplying warm water central heating solutions for residential and commercial markets nationwide.

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Auckland commercial THE AUCKLAND COMMERCIAL space in which we operate consists of apartments, aged-care facilities, government and local council projects, plus major commercial developments. In our view, the apartment and retirement markets are currently the most buoyant with strong growth in both areas.

Growth in apartments and aged-care facilities

The increase in apartment living has happened partly thanks to the general housing shortage in Auckland, but also because people are now more open to living in apartments. New immigrants may have arrived from cities where this is common, whilst young people and first home buyers see apartments as a way of getting onto the Auckland property ladder. The Auckland Unitary Plan has opened up a lot of developments too that were previously unavailable. Where historically buildings couldn’t go upwards, now they can and indeed must to accommodate the booming population. It’s not always straightforward, however, as with the price of land so high, projects have to be viable for developers and a few have been burned, underestimating the cost of the build. The growth in aged-care facilities is obviously due to the ageing population. It’s a huge market that will—thanks to the Baby Boomers—stay strong for a long time to come. And of course, retirees/empty nesters may well enjoy low maintenance and convenient apartment living also, either before or instead of moving to specialist


Dave Henderson and Maurice Tusa of Quix Commercial discuss trends for the Auckland commercial market.

aged-care accommodation. One other major trend in Auckland is the shortage of hotel space, which is driving developers towards managed apartments. These are increasingly popular as they suit both short or long-term visitors.

BIM use trend

Because of Auckland’s growing population—both permanent and temporary—infrastructure is struggling to keep pace, and we’re seeing an increase in work for the airport, prisons, schools and universities. On government-funded projects such as these, another increasingly popular trend is the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM). BIM is used to correlate information from the design and construction of a building through to management. This is especially worthwhile on more technical projects where owners are looking to protect a long-term asset. Due to the cost of the BIM process, it’s little used by commercial developers. We believe however that BIM is ideal in a body corp/ property management situation given the long-term benefits.

Ways to mitigate risk

With all this activity, in an apparently booming Auckland market, it would be easy to become complacent. However, with some builders still taking on projects with single digit margins, it’s inevitable that more will collapse as a result of cashflow issues and their inability to fund working capital. The impact on subcontractors is devastating. We can’t speak to how others

Above: The dominant trend is for apartments, such as the new Alexandra Park apartments Quix Commercial are involved with.

Above: Dave Henderson (left) and Maurice Tusa.

plan for this, but at Quix Commercial we review projects regularly and mitigate risk in the following ways: •

• •

• •

Despite the dominance of apartment developments, we prefer to have a mix of projects across different markets. We also aim to mix up our client base to ensure a variety of funding streams. Knowing our client and having information and reassurance regarding where the funding is coming from is vital. More essential still is knowing our builder… It’s important to have good disciplines and advice around legal and contractual obligations. When the flags do go up, it’s imperative that management manoeuvre quickly and decisively.

Skilled staff requirements

With an increase in workload comes the need for more skilled staff and, like everyone else, we’re always looking for good people. At Quix we run an apprentice training scheme and in this way are bringing through high-quality tradespeople on a regular basis. Even so, we still don’t have enough staff, hence the need to look overseas. Currently we’re investigating the possibility of bringing over tradespeople from the Philippines. This seems a particularly well organised arrangement, whereby workers come to New Zealand on a fixed term work visa after which time they return to their families. > April/May 2019



Above: Quix Commercial were also part of Fletcher Construction’s $150 million Eden Park Redevelopment project.

Young people here in New Zealand are starting to realise that trades are a good option too. There’s an expectation in many Auckland high schools that the majority of students will go on to university, and a perception that trades are best suited to their least academic students. This is incorrect and, certainly at Quix, we’re looking for intelligent and motivated all-rounders. This condescending attitude persists however, and we can only hope that BCITO’s latest national advertising campaign will assure more young people that the trades are an excellent choice for everyone. It’s not just the young of course. We have many older people who switch careers or who come back to plumbing after a break. We’re happy to talk with anyone who is competent and motivated especially given that, because of the current skills shortages, supervision is more important, and our managers need

to be particularly highly skilled. To this end, we’re happy to increase time spent on training and upskilling alongside health and safety.

Encouraging a collaborative culture

At Quix, the wellbeing of our staff is paramount. Because commercial projects tend to run for so long, we can easily end up with micro-businesses, where staff don’t see each other for extended periods of time. To help avoid this, we have a strong social club and regularly organise fairly active events such as white-water rafting and gokarting where everyone gets involved and has fun. An openly fair and collaborative culture where managers are accessible, and people clearly valued is essential for us. Accordingly, we enjoy good staff retention but also a positive work environment. This is crucial to help counter the pressure that some of our larger jobs can entail. ■

The elephant in the room

Addressing the reality of projects not going to plan. It’s the nature of commercial plumbing that everyone has one of these—a large project that doesn’t go to plan. In this case, as litigation is ongoing, it would be unwise to identify the parties. Suffice to say that we hope for a happy ending. It all stacked up: a good client, a quality build, and a main contractor with whom we’d worked before. We priced this in 2015—in a soft market—with the expectation of starting work shortly thereafter. Due to issues beyond our control, however, the project didn’t eventuate as planned, and the slippage impacted the whole of our team allocated to this job.

There was a breakdown in the relationship between the client and main contractor and, in July 2018, the site was closed with labour and material claims outstanding, a matter we’re still attempting to resolve. So, what did we do and what have we learned? Because the job didn’t happen as planned and we’d declined other projects earlier on, we were all manned up with nowhere to go. Thanks to having good relationships with industry, alongside our connections with the Quix network, we were able to mitigate our losses in this area. Also, although there was a continuity guarantee, we were always committed

to the project and still motivated to complete it. We negotiated directly with the client who introduced us to the new main contractor. We requoted to complete the project and it was a good outcome on both price and conditions. In hindsight, when we saw the project was stretching out, we should have been more proactive sooner. We now add clauses around programme completion dates. It’s been a hard lesson but there’s always a way through. It’s how you respond to a bad situation that counts and what you learn going forward.

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April/May 2019

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Legionella: call for mandatory testing

A new Australian study has shown Legionella bacteria to be commonly found in household bathrooms. We look at industry reaction on both sides of the Tasman. RESULTS FROM AN Australian study that tested properties for dangerous Legionella bacteria have led Master Plumbers in New Zealand to call for appropriate measures in homes and facilities to detect and manage Legionella. Researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, took water samples from bathroom showers in 68 newer and older houses in Adelaide to test for Legionella—with three out of four testing positive. Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease: a severe pneumonia-like infection, which can be particularly dangerous for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Master Plumbers Australia is lobbying the Australian government to enforce regulators to carry out mandatory testing for Legionella in all new and existing buildings.

New Zealand “lagging behind” In New Zealand, Master Plumbers has lobbied the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for some years about the risks Legionella poses to public health, in particular vulnerable members of the community, and has advocated for water sample testing in high-risk facilities such as retirement villages, childcare centres and hospitals. CEO Greg Wallace says Building Code requirements lag behind Ministry of Health Legionella guidelines in this regard, and other countries have had regulations for checks in place for years. “As this Australian study clearly shows, you don’t know you’ve got a problem until you start analysing water samples,” he says. “Once you have that information, you’re better equipped to find the best way to address the issue.” Greg agrees with his Australian counterparts that, in addition to

Above: Master Plumbers in New Zealand wants to see mandatory water sample testing, particularly in high-risk facilities, such as retirement villages.

mandatory inspections, nationally consistent and regulated management and maintenance programmes should be put in place. It is essential that anyone carrying out restricted plumbing work is qualified, licensed and trained in this specialist area. “As the population grows and we move towards higher density living, adequate resourcing is needed to ensure high standards are enforced and maintained or the public will be put at increased risk of contracting potentially fatal diseases,” he says.

Steps for homeowners The Australian study found that hot water systems set at lower temperatures had higher concentrations of Legionella bacteria, as did showers that weren’t run regularly and experienced scale build-up in the shower rose. “There are simple steps homeowners can take to protect themselves against this bacteria, such as making sure their hot water heating systems are set to at least 60°C at the tank,” says Greg. “If you have a shower in your home that isn’t used regularly, try and run it each week so you don’t have stagnant water sitting in pipes—that’s where Legionella bacteria loves to grow.” Chris Dick, Director of Laser Plumbing

Christchurch East, a Master Plumbers’ member business, has long been vocal in expressing his Legionella concerns. He notes that Legionella bacteria readily grows in water temperatures between 20°C (the ambient temperature of most water delivered through our potable water systems) and 50°C, with an optimal temperature range for colonisation of 35-46°C. “These temperatures are easily reached in a cold plumbing network in the ceiling space, especially in the summer months,” he says. “Risk areas for bacteria are anywhere it can cling to. “There is no question of the dangers in scale build-up in aerators, tempering valves and shower roses, and in flexi hoses lined with EPDM and the like. The bacteria also lives in the biofilm in water tanks and, whilst filtration assists in removing bacteria, some water systems provide an environment that allows it to colonise after filtration.” For filtration to be effective, it must be around .3 micron to remove Legionella bacteria, and the filter changed every 30 days maximum. “This is why the best way for building owners to know if they have safe water is to have water samples taken by someone trained in doing so, and to have it tested regularly,” says Chris. ■ April/May 2019



Total access

Everyone should be able to use public buildings, and MBIE’s new guidance on the topic includes useful advice on accessible sanitary fixtures and fittings. PROVIDING A BETTER and more usable environment for everyone is a fundamental tenet of good design, says MBIE in the foreword to its new ‘universal design’ guidance. What is universal design? According to MBIE, universal design is about approaching design of the built environment with the knowledge that a wide range of people with different physical, sensory and cognitive capabilities will be using a building. “The starting point for using the information in this guide is understanding what universal design is, how to apply it in practice, and where it differs in approach from accessible design.”

Sanitary fixtures and fittings The new guide comprises 11 sections, including Fixtures and Fittings. Sanitary fittings are among the topics addressed in this section. The fittings that go into sanitary accommodation are crucial for the use of the facility, it says. “Sanitary fittings such as toilet pans and urinals, sinks, dispensers and dryers should be easy to 40

April/May 2019

find, understand and use.” Here, we look at some of the key sanitary fittings relevant to plumbers (others include vending machines, lockers, coat hooks, alarms, shelves, hairdryers, mirrors, grab rails and toilet paper dispensers). 1. Location of fittings Most building users will appreciate when fittings are in logical positions and contrasted against their background. White fittings on a white background make identification difficult irrespective of the light conditions. Some people with low vision may be able to use their residual vision to see the fittings if they contrast well. Others may have to locate sanitary fittings by searching with their hands. Sometimes it is difficult (in low light or for those who have low vision) to visually identify where the toilet pan is and if the toilet seat is up or down. This can be made much easier if a contrasting coloured toilet seat was installed. In existing buildings, matching toilet seats could be changed to one of a contrasting colour.


Design consideration • Ensure sanitary fittings are located in logical positions. • Ensure sanitary fittings and their operating component parts (flush mechanisms, toilet seats, taps, controls and buttons) contrast with the background they are seen against. 2. Operation of fittings The purpose of a sanitary fitting and how it operates should be obvious and intuitive. While new designs may meet needs, until building users are familiar with them there could be misunderstanding and a need for signs. Design consideration • Ensure that the purpose of the fittings and their operation is obvious. • Ensure fittings that do similar things but operate differently are differentiated from each other by visual and tactile means. • Where possible, specify controls and features that operate without the use of a physical input (such as hands-free sensor operated flush, taps, hand dryers and soap dispensers). • Ensure new products on the market are intuitive and easy to operate. Where visual and tactile signage indicating their function would be helpful, this should be provided. 3. Position of fittings Sanitary fittings should be positioned where they are able to be approached and used by all building users. Effectively, this means suitability for standing and seated users or multiple fittings. Significant force can be exerted on sanitary equipment when people use them as supports or to stop them falling. Sanitary fittings that deliver items such as toilet paper should not be oversized. While this may reduce refilling time, there is a possibility that their bulk impacts on the use of the space and ease of use. Design consideration • Fittings should be located in positions that are appropriate for all users. • Ensure structural supports are installed in wall structures for the attachment of proposed or possible sanitary fittings. • Ensure all sanitary fittings are of the strongest commercial quality and mounted on surfaces designed to support them. • Ensure sanitary fittings are of an appropriate size and do not affect the use of the space. 4. Number of fittings The number of fittings installed needs to reflect the anticipated needs of building users. Establishing the likely proportion of male vs female, adult vs child etc, the numbers likely in each group and the likely time required for each operation, will inform this decision.

5. Toilet suites Toilets in New Zealand are invariably designed for use in a sitting posture. However a squatting posture is widespread in many countries and tourists may think it is an acceptable practice here. The height of the toilet seat will determine how easy it is to get on and off the seat. As building users vary in stature, and wheelchairs vary in size, the selected height should be a compromise that most users can accommodate. Children will require a lower seat than adults and wheelchair users a higher seat. Where an adult seat height is too low, some building users will find difficulty in using it, especially when trying to stand. Design consideration • Ensure toilet seat heights meet the needs of expected users. • Ensure automatic activated flush systems are set to operate only when all toilet activity has been completed. • Either install buffers each side of the seat or ensure the seat hinges have adequate lateral strength. Many proprietary hinges are not strong enough to support transfer from a wheelchair. • Ensure toilets have colour contrast with their immediate background (walls and floors). 6. Urinals Urinals are generally found in most male toilets but are not installed in some commercial developments. For males, the urinal is generally the most used sanitary fitting so should be positioned where travel distances are shortest. It is important to shield sightlines from the door and via mirrors. Urinals come in different designs and can be fixed at various heights. As long as the design is suitable, the lower the height the more males that can use it. Traditionally, urinals for children are fixed at lower heights. Dividers or privacy screens are sometimes installed between urinals although opinions vary as to whether they are necessary or even effective. Some male wheelchair users prefer to use accessible urinals as they are able to remain seated and not have to transfer to a toilet seat. Where an accessible urinal is installed in a male washroom, a suitable wash handbasin also needs to be provided. Urinals should contrast with their background and have tactile features such as contrasting floor textures and colours at ground level to alert building users of their presence. >

significant force can be exerted on sanitary equipment when people use them as supports or to stop them falling

April/May 2019 41




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Design consideration • Position urinals out of sight of external circulation space but near the toilet entry point. • Ensure a level floor surface for approach to the urinal. • Install a proportion of urinals at a lower height. • Consider the installation of privacy screens or partitions between each urinal. • At accessible urinals, ensure there is space available for approach and use by wheelchair users. • Ensure urinals contrast in colour with their immediate background. 7. Wash basins Wash hand basins should be in a logical position and convenient to use in all toilet facilities. This means that they may need to be installed at different heights to suit wheelchair users, children or standing adults. Wash handbasins will probably be approached head on by a wheelchair user so space under the basin is essential. Larger washbasins enable people to have a full body-wash, to wash their hair and items of personal care equipment. If the taps are out of reach, wheelchair users may fill the basin with water before transferring to the toilet seat. The Islamic faith has particular rules regarding personal hygiene after going to the toilet and washing of body parts and hands is required. Where wheelchair users have a bowel accident, they will want to wash while seated on the toilet. Where wash basins are too far away from the pan, this is not possible unless a shower hose attachment is available.* * A shower hose attachment in this situation would need high hazard backflow protection, as it could create a cross connection if it were inadvertently dropped into the toilet pan.

Design consideration • Position wash basins in logical positions that will not interfere with the use of the space. • Ensure wash hand basins are at heights suitable for those expected to use them. • Where building users could be expected to wash more than just their hands, provide additional floor space and a larger wash basin. • Ensure there is space below wash basins to allow wheelchair users to approach head on. • Ensure the basins contrast with the background— including bench tops. • In existing buildings where the wash basin is too far away from the accessible toilet, consider the installation of a shower hose to allow washing while seated. 8. Taps Wherever possible, taps should be automatic to reduce the spread of bacteria by minimising hand contact with surfaces. Separate hot and cold taps with a plug for the basin are designed to allow the mixing of water in the bowl. This provision is only necessary where a quantity of water at a desired temperature is required (for instance, for washing hair in the basin). To mix water, a plug in the sink is essential. Hands are generally placed under the flow of water from a single tap. The provision of individual hot and cold taps may therefore result in building users washing their hands in water at extremes of temperature. Taps need to be clearly marked with temperature indications. While the general convention is that the hot tap is on the left, this has not always been followed in some existing buildings. Taps should be easy to use. While cross head taps are familiar

Above: Public bathroom design should take into consideration disabled and elderly people, children and people from different cultures. 44

April/May 2019


manually operated taps should be able to be operated with the flat of the hand or wrist to some building users they need to be gripped and turned which can cause problems for others. Manually operated taps should be able to be operated with the flat of the hand or wrist. The easiest facility to use is a sensor operated tap where water is automatically mixed to the correct temperature. While this will reduce the amount of water used it may confuse some building users who may not know how to operate it. Generally, people prefer to put their hands under water that is being delivered towards them. However, in accessible toilets this means that the mixer tap may be out of reach at the far side of the wash basin from the toilet. Taps need to extend far enough into the basin to allow hands to be placed underneath without touching the sides. Central mixer taps can restrict the ability to fill containers or kettles or wash out urine bottles, especially where sinks are not very large or deep. The water pressure supplied via the tap should be adjustable so that it does not spray or splash the person or adjacent surfaces. The temperature of hot water delivered to the taps (and the delivery pipework) should be restricted to reduce the possibility of injury. However, the temperature at which it is stored and circulated needs to be higher to avoid the risk of Legionella. Thermostatic control is therefore needed at the delivery point. Pipes can sometime reduce space in toilet facilities and if they are in a position where they could be used as a support (for instance, in an accessible toilet) are likely to be damaged. > Design consideration • Consider sensor operated taps with water delivered at a pre-determined temperature. • Where manual taps are used, install mixer taps with a lever operation able to be operated with the flat of the hand or wrist. • Avoid the use of separate hot and cold taps for wash hand basins. • Ensure taps have a long enough spout for people to be able to put their hands under the water flow without touching the basin sides. • Avoid installing mixer taps where they may impact on the ability to fill containers or rinse out urine bottles. • Ensure the pressure of the water supplied to taps is adjustable. • Ensure the temperature of water supplied to hot taps is controllable. • Ensure water delivered to taps in sanitary facilities is of drinking quality unless clearly marked. • Ensure water supply and waste pipes are concealed wherever possible. • Ensure taps are clearly marked with temperature indications.

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9. Accessible showers A wheelchair user will need to be sitting down to take a shower. As they will not want their own chair to get wet, they may need to transfer to another chair or fixed seat. Some people will be unable to make that transfer without the use of a hoist. The fixed seat should be firmly attached to the wall and drop down to allow the most flexibility of use of the space. Drop down legs can also add to the security of the seat. An effective shower curtain (able to be opened and closed from the seat) is required to prevent their wheelchair and other areas in the room from getting wet. The entry into the shower area needs to be level but an effective drain is required. As the floor needs to slope away from the remainder of the room, this needs to be considered during the design phase to ensure that floor levels are set appropriately. The shower controls and shower head need to be in a convenient place to allow operation from the seat. The temperature of the water should be possible to confirm prior to the user getting under the flow of water. While a fixed shower head is less vulnerable to vandalism or theft, it does not allow a user to direct the flow of water to where they want it. Some public swimming pools have shower water controls on a timer to prevent people having lengthy showers. It is important that the button is reachable by a mobility-impaired user without them having to get up and move over to re-activate the button. Fixtures and fittings should contrast with their background to assist location, identification and navigation around. Design consideration • Position shower controls away from the flow of water from shower heads. • Provide a fold down seat suitable for transfer from a wheelchair. • Ensure shower controls are easily operable from the shower seat. • Consider an additional fold down seat clear of the shower to allow users to dry themselves. • Ensure a suitable shower curtain is installed operable from the seat. • Ensure level entry into the shower which is then set to falls to a drain. • Ensure a hand held shower head is provided with the shower rail long enough for both standing and seated users. • Provide structurally supported grab rails in reach of the shower seat. • Ensure all fittings have colour contrast with the background.


April/May 2019

10. Accessible baths For a wheelchair user to have a bath, they need to be able to transfer from their chair into the bath. This can be done either with a hoist or a level extension at the end of the bath to form a transfer seat. Prior to entering the bath, and to remain independent, a wheelchair user will need to be able to operate the plug and fill the bath to the desired temperature. This will require these features to be easy to use and within comfortable range of someone seated in a wheelchair. Where possible, a securely fixed seat should be installed in the room to allow people to change their clothes or rest. Design consideration • Ensure a method of transfer is available for a wheelchair user into the bath. • Provide a securely fixed seat to allow for rest or drying. • Ensure baths have contrast with the background. • Ensure taps and the plugs for the bath are usable from a wheelchair. 11. Heaters and pipes Design consideration • Ensure room heaters do not have high surface temperatures and are positioned away from wheelchair manoeuvring space. • Avoid running pipework on the surface of a wall where it may be damaged or used as a support by building users.

the entry into the shower area needs to be level but an effective drain is required

Building Code requirement Building Code clause G1 Personal hygiene: G1.3.1 Sanitary fixtures shall be provided in sufficient number and be appropriate for the people who are intended to use them. G1.3.4 Personal hygiene facilities provided for people with disabilities shall be accessible G1.3.3 Facilities for personal hygiene shall be provided in convenient locations. ■ Buildings for everyone: Designing for access and usability was published by MBIE in January 2019. Find the guidance at accessible-buildings/about/

Tech points


This edition’s technical updates in brief.


MBIE is responsible for making determinations (legally binding rulings) about matters of doubt or dispute to do with building work. You may be interested to read Determination 2018/061, issued last December, which considered the installation of a tempering valve to an existing hot water system in a house that was being altered. The alteration involved the replacement of both a woodburner and a wetback water heater. A tempering valve was installed as part of the alteration and the determination considers the compliance of the existing hot water system to the extent required by section 112 of the Building Act. It was determined that the building, after the alteration, did not comply with G12.3.7 and that the building consent authority incorrectly issued the code compliance certificate for the building work. Read the determination in full at

BUILDING CODE DOCUMENTS UPDATE As you may be aware, MBIE now regularly seeks feedback twice a year to make sure Acceptable Solutions (AS) and Verification Methods (VM) are kept up to date. Any amended documents are then published in June and November. During March and April,

Above: All Building Code documents are freely available on MBIE’s website.

it consulted on proposed updates to 12 AS and VM documents, including: • a new E2/VM2 to support building higher density housing • a new non-specific design standard for light steel framing in low-rise buildings • aligning G4/AS1 for ventilation with Healthy Homes changes • moving information about foundations on expansive soils from Simple House Acceptable Solution SH/AS1 to B1/AS1 (and then revoking the simple house solution). Other proposed changes include updating references and cited Standards and correcting editorial errors in a number of Building Code documents, including B1/VM1, B1/AS1, B2/AS1, G12/VM1, G12/ AS1, G12/AS2, G12/VM1, G13/AS1, G13/VM2, G13/AS2 and G13/AS3. Make sure you always use the latest version of all Building Code documents, which are freely available at building-code-compliance



Standards Spotlight

Ring main installation

This edition, Jon Lewis takes a look at a new section in AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 relating to ring main sizing and installation. MASTER PLUMBERS NZ representation on Australian Standards Committee WS014 is an important part of the national Society’s advocacy for the plumbing industry. Hopefully you read my previous article on changes in AS/NZS 3500:2018, Parts 1 to 4 (NZ Plumber, Feb-Mar 2019, p44). NB: Until the 2018 version is referenced in Building Code documents, you should continue to use the current version. AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 Plumbing & Drainage – Heated water services contains a whole new section—Section 10: ‘Sizing and Installation of Circulatory Heated Water Reticulation’ (known to most of us as ring mains).

A controversial topic

Reticulated hot water system design has been a controversial topic both in Australia and New Zealand, due to many failures. I am not an expert in this area but I have noticed we can be quick to blame a manufacturer or supplier for a hot water circulatory system failure, when there are many outside influences that can contribute. Unfortunately for many of us, it’s not until the system has been installed and operating for a while that we discover these problems. Issues can range from poor pipework installation and incorrect product selection, to high water temperatures, higher water pressures, high circulating flow rates, undersized pipework and failure to design as per the manufacturer’s requirements. Throw into the mix water type (quality), hot water source (eg, storage, geothermal, electric or gas) and any number of other things, and you can end up with long-term problems 48

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Above: Typical ring main installation, as shown in AS/NZS 3500.4:2018.

that no one has foreseen. So, what are some of the changes we could adopt now that could help us in how we install circulatory heated water services in future?

Section 10 overview

Section 10 of AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 sets out the minimum requirements for forced circulation heated water reticulation sizing and installation: •

10.2 sets out the delivery temperature of not less than 60°C. The return temperature in NZ must be 60°C where it re-enters the HWC to meet the NZ Building Code (G12 6.14.4) whilst in Australia it can be 55°C.

10.3 gives general flow requirements, flow rates to fixtures and appliances, and Probable Simultaneous Demand (PSD). You will find charts specific to these requirements. 10.8 is specific to air elimination: o 10.8.2 mentions trapped air in circulatory heated water pipes systems, which can lead to increased corrosion of pipes and cause column separation, which in turn causes water hammer, pressure surges and cavitation. o 10.8.2 set out a requirement to install air elimination devices on the circulatory piping, and where these should be positioned.


Adverse effects on circulatory pipe systems

In Appendix A1 (p95), you will find comments in regard to water analysis and a note: When heated, some waters may produce excessive scaling due to deposition of calcium carbonate. It is my understanding that, in some situations, depending on the water type and if it has chlorine added to ensure it is potable, heating water can cause a chemical reaction with copper that creates copper irons—and these irons will also potentially have an adverse effect on the circulatory pipe system.

Being prepared for change

So, the way we used to do ring mains is quite different from how we would do

them now, armed with new knowledge. Previously I have found buildings with: a) no pressure limiting valves on the supply b) excessive circulating water flow on the return lines c) no sacrificial anode d) no air elimination valves (something I don’t believe many of us have thought of before) e) no or little pipework insulation f) ultraviolet lighting installed but never maintained, or turned off g) no inspections. There are always detractors, and some people who read this may think, “What does this guy know?” Well, to put it frankly, as I’m finding out, very little.

System design and innovation Design and installation of circulatory water systems help deliver hot water where it is needed quickly and efficiently. Part of that design needs to ensure dead legs are kept to a minimum and the correct temperature of the system can be maintained. Protecting against Legionella bacteria in plumbing systems is paramount. Whilst building owners are responsible for ensuring they comply with the Building Act, as plumbers we need to ensure our design takes into account how people interact with their properties and the potential for them to be at risk of Legionella infection. Any water system that has the right conditions could potentially be a source for bacteria growth. There is a potential risk if a system has: • water temperature in any part of the system between 20°C and 45°C • dead legs or areas of minimal flow • debris in the system, such as scale, rust or organic matter • the possibility for water droplets to be produced, eg, showers, spray units, water fountains • cold water lines that run in ceiling cavities where the supply can remain static, which can get heated to room temperatures.

Remember that following an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method is not mandatory. However, as MBIE puts it on its website, “they can also be useful when demonstrating how proposed building work will comply as an alternative solution. You could use them in part, or in comparison alongside other services. “Verification Methods are tests or calculation methods that prescribe one way to comply with the Building Code”. This basically means, if you can find a design system for circulatory heated water (or any plumbing system, waste or water) that can be proven to meet the design requirements of the Building Act, you can submit this for acceptance when undertaking your consent application. This may cause you problems, of course, as you may find the guys undertaking the consent process do not come from a plumbing background, which can create barriers. I’m a firm believer that we should not allow others with little or no knowledge to dictate how we undertake our work—and this is where Standards can empower us to help with better designs and better installations.

what we do today will one day be the old way However, reading Standards, having discussions with colleagues and listening to what the manufacturers are saying is teaching me a lot about how we can all get better. What we do today will one day be the old way, and what we do in the future will likely be completely different as our knowledge, skills and abilities grow. I always remember a valuable lesson I was taught by a local plumber, Phil Cawte, who said: “What we used to do as standard practice, and what was acceptable back then, can and does change—our trade practices evolve as our knowledge grows.”

Ongoing system inspections

As with all systems, you should maintain ongoing inspections of circulatory hot water systems—I would suggest every few months. Hotels, motels and so forth are extremely poor at maintaining good system inspections, which would save them a lot of problems in the future. Pressure and temperature gauge installations provide a good indication of how a system is performing and can be invaluable for problem solving, future planning and, in turn, lessening reactive maintenance. ■ About the author: Jon Lewis runs The Lewis Plumbing Company in Rotorua. Jon is a Certifying Plumber and Certifying Drainlayer with over 30 years’ industry experience. He serves as a Director on the national Master Plumbers Board and represents Master Plumbers on Australian Standards committees WS-014 (overall plumbing sector) and WS-023 (backflow prevention).

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Reeling ’em in


This year Mico’s Taranaki Fishing Comp created an epic moment of delight for plumber Nathan Fraser. NATHAN FRASER FROM Style and Flow Plumbing on the Kapiti Coast took home a $32,000 boat from Mico’s Taranaki Fishing Comp, just for showing up and having a great time. “I won a fishing rod at last year’s competition but gave it away because I don’t get out to fish much. I never thought I’d own my own boat and I’m still shocked that I won,” he says. “We’ve got Kapiti Island just off the coast from us and the fishing and diving is awesome. I think I’ve made a few new friends that’s for sure and I’ve called my mate to see if I can borrow the fishing rod I gave him!” Dan Johanson, Branch Manager at Mico New Plymouth, organises the annual event which is growing in

Above: Daniel Mckechnie from A Plus Plumbing Wanganui weighing in.

Above: Nathan Fraser, proud as punch with his prize boat.

popularity. “This year is the biggest it’s ever been,” says Dan. “Last year we had 135 on the water and watching this event grow into what it is now is really a highlight for me.” The fishing comp started back in 2015 with 60 people and, this February, 225 Mico customers, suppliers and teams from New Plymouth to Blenheim hit the water across 50 boats for a cracking day of fishing under perfect conditions. Among them were Steve Rushworth and Bob McCoy of Master Plumbers and Masterlink, and Masterlink apprentices Glen Johnson and Sean Chapman.

“When we floated the idea of giving away a boat, we weren’t sure we could pull it off,” says Dan. “It took nine months of hard work, but it paid off seeing Nathan absolutely speechless collecting his prize, and just the great time had by everyone out on the water.” All anglers went into the random draw to win the boat, which was sponsored by five key suppliers: Kembla, Iplex, Allproof, Hydroflow and Aqualine. The event raised $1,000 for the Taranaki Coast Guard and Dan says it’s great to be able to give back to the local community in this way. ■

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April/May 2019 51


First Gas fined $3.4m Sentencing after First Gas has copped a heavy penalty for 140 litre LPG leak anti-competitive conduct. First Gas Ltd has been ordered to pay $3.4 million after it admitted engaging in anti-competitive conduct when acquiring the Bay of Plenty gas distribution assets of GasNet Ltd. Whanganui-based competitor GasNet entered the Bay of Plenty gas reticulation market in late 2015. First Gas entered the same market by purchasing Vector’s non-Auckland distribution assets in April 2016. Commerce Commission Chair Dr Mark Berry said First Gas adopted a concerted strategy designed to force GasNet to leave the Bay of Plenty, including taking steps to duplicate pipelines laid by GasNet in new subdivisions. “First Gas sent a clear message to its competitor that its Bay of Plenty investment was under threat. GasNet’s shareholder decided its best course of action was to sell the business and agree to a restraint of trade that would prevent it from returning. This resulted in a long-term structural change in the market, removing competition between First Gas and GasNet for new development contracts.” The penalty handed down by the High Court reflects the seriousness of this conduct and is sufficient to ensure First Gas will not profit from the acquisition, he said. “It is also a reminder to businesses that anti-competitive acquisitions are a priority area for the Commission.” First Gas cooperated with the investigation and has agreed not to enforce the restraint of trade against Gas Net.

Three companies have been sentenced following the uncontrolled release of LPG at a gas production station in Taranaki.

First Gas Ltd, Gas Services NZ Ltd, and Beach Energy Resources NZ (Kupe) Ltd have been found to have breached health and safety legislation following the uncontrolled release of about 140 litres of LPG from a trailer-mounted calibrating unit in November 2016. One worker was taken to hospital after receiving cold burns to the leg and another person suffered a knock to the head after the leak engulfed all the personnel and vehicles present at the vehicle loading bay site. The investigation identified several failings including: • failure to adequately secure a valve on the calibrating unit • none of the three companies having adequately managed the health and safety of their/other workers on site that day. There had been high potential for death or serious harm if ignition had occurred, according to WorkSafe, and the incident also emphasises that responsibilities lie with all those involved in a work activity.

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April/May 2019


Not child’s play

The PGDB is asking the industry to get behind its new public awareness campaign. It’s not child’s play NZ… and it’s not for DIY. That’s the message of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board’s new-look public awareness campaign. The campaign informs homeowners, businesses and DIYers about the simple steps they need to take to act safely and responsibly around plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying work. Its aim is to ensure homeowners are well informed before turning their hand to any Kiwi DIY, and especially to be aware when buying a home. For most new home buyers, the icing on the cake is the upgraded bathroom and newly installed kitchen, complete with a gas hob and water filtration system. But who installed them? Who plumbed in the water filter, new shower and toilet? Homeowners are responsible for any problems on their property when the time comes to sell. Failing to check the licence of who did the work and later finding it was carried out illegally leaves the homeowner viable, warns the campaign. “Work carried out by unauthorised people can cause injury, illness, disease, damage to property and, in the worst case scenarios, loss of life,” says PGDB Chief Executive Martin Sawyers. There are also big fines associated with illegal work.

Above:The PGDB is here to inform and protect consumers from making DIY mistakes or hiring cowboys, says the new campaign.

Where to view The new campaign videos can be viewed at: Find updated consumer guides at

Certifying plumber-drainlayer pathway An update on the PGDB’s new transition pathway proposal that would enable Certifying Plumbers to become Certifying Drainlayers. The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board has delayed its decision to go ahead with its proposal to create a new transition pathway for Certifying Plumbers to become Certifying Drainlayers. Before proceeding further, it will:

undertake a further gap analysis of the competency/skill gap between transitioning a Certifying Plumber to become a Certifying Drainlayer and vice versa undertake some further discussions with a small working group of Certifying Plumbers and Certifying Drainlayers.



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Massive rubbish haul

Hirepool got behind National Seaweek in March to help clean up one of Auckland’s most polluted coastlines. Organisers of The Hirepool Big Clean in March were shocked to learn volunteers collected over 1.5 tonnes of rubbish in just two hours—on a foreshore so littered that plant roots are tangled in microplastics. Over 225 people took part in the beach clean, together collecting a massive rubbish haul of about 9.2m3, 1,700kg or just over 100,000 individual pieces of rubbish—the equivalent of 184 50-litre coal sacks. It included a printer, two car tyres and a television. But it’s the microplastics that really have the organisers concerned, as this is one of the biggest threats to our waterways, and a major problem worldwide. The weight of the collection was confirmed in mid-March by Sustainable Coastlines, co-organisers of The Hirepool Big Clean, alongside popular TV show Fishing & Adventure and Hirepool. The event was organised as part of National SeaWeek. “Many of our Hirepool customers are into their fishing and recreational sports,” says Shaun Owen, Marketing Manager of Hirepool, which is a Business Partner of Master Plumbers. “That’s why we wanted to get involved and play our part in rehabilitating our shores.” Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic contained in consumer products, such as health and beauty products, or bigger plastics broken down into small pieces. They won’t break down any smaller and, due to their size, are ingested by aquatic life. “Being on the water so often, we even see microplastic appearing in the bellies of fish,” says Scott Parry, one of the Fishing & Adventure presenters. “It’s truly frightening, because it’s essentially entering our food system.” Onehunga foreshore has been identified as one of Auckland’s

Above: Scott Parry of TV show Fishing & Adventure joined the hundreds of volunteers picking up over 100,000 pieces of rubbish on the day.

most polluted coastlines. Over the past three years, over 12m3 of rubbish have been removed in eight different clean up events but organisers say this is by far the most microplastic they have seen collected in the area. “We need to keep getting the message out that people need to make changes, like avoiding buying items in small single use plastic wrappers,” says Fletcher Sunde from Sustainable Coastlines.

Rental home standards New regulations are expected in mid-2019 to ensure rental properties are warm and dry. In February, the Government announced new standards that set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture, drainage and draught stopping in rental homes. The next step is for these standards to be drafted in regulations, which are expected to become law by the middle of the year. All rental homes will be required to have a heater in the main living area, ceiling and underfloor insulation, bathroom extraction fans and kitchen rangehoods, adequate drainage and guttering, and for any draughts to be blocked. University of Otago Public Health Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman has welcomed the standards, which she says are “sorely needed to improve New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing”. “Cold, damp and mouldy homes make us sick,” she told Science Deadline, with at least 6,000 kids hospitalised every year. These children have been found to be nearly four times more likely 54

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to be re-hospitalised, and 10 times more likely to die in the following 10 years. “Many of those illnesses and deaths, and days missed from work and school, can be reduced by making homes warm and dry.”

Compliance timeline Compliance date 1 July 2021

Who must comply with the standards • private landlords (within 90 days of any new tenancy) • all boarding houses

1 July 2023

• all Housing New Zealand houses • all registered Community Housing Providers’ houses

1 July 2024

• all rental homes

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Sam’s speak

Sam Tyson asks: are you getting the privileges you deserve?

As an employed plumber, you have a certain amount of responsibility. You are expected to turn up for work on time, use your skills and expertise to come up with solutions for clients, do your work to the correct standard, and make sure everything has been done safely, no one is harmed, and everything works as it should. You most likely have a van and some company equipment that you look after, and at the end of the day you get paid— which is the main privilege you receive for that responsibility. There are other privileges you are likely to get from your employer such as upskilling, clothing, vehicle usage to and from work, phone, safe workplace, coffee and tea refreshments, end-of-year Christmas gift or party, the odd morning tea or drink shout, and so on. When you move from an employee to an employer, your world of responsibilities increases tenfold. You are responsible for the wellbeing of your employees while at work by providing them with a safe workplace and making sure they have what they need to do their job. It’s your responsibility to make sure there is enough work to keep them employed and the business sustainable. You need to make sure

you get paid by your customers, so you have enough money to pay your employees, suppliers, tax, ACC, insurance, and all the other expenses that occur from running a business. But wait there’s more. You are responsible for the work that your employees do. If they stuff up on a job, you are responsible. You must make it right for your customer and, if a customer has a complaint, it’s your responsibility. If a health and safety event happens within your business, you’re ultimately responsible. The list goes on and on. When privileges and responsibilities are out of whack, resentment builds. If an employee feels they are not getting paid enough for their level of responsibility or they think someone else is getting more privileges than them, it can cause bitterness amongst the team and affect individual work output. As a business owner, if you aren’t getting enough privileges to compensate for all your responsibilities, it can cause stress, overwhelm and burnout. It’s in your best interest to make sure you are getting the rewards. Take that afternoon off, go on that supplier trip, buy that shirt you really love. Ultimately, you are responsible for making sure everyone (including yourself) is getting the privileges he or she deserves.

Hydroflow Innovations Expo

Hydroflow’s first Innovations Event showcased products from leading international and local suppliers. Innovative products were featured and supported by international product specialists and Hydroflow’s own technical team at its first-ever Innovations Event, held in February. Featured brands included Watts, Tectite, Apex and Studor. “The top floor of Hydroflow’s Auckland premises has been transformed into a stylish and functional exhibition centre,” says Marketing Manager Simon Bilkey. “Instead of a traditional tabletop expo, we chose to feature the products in situ on custom wooden frames, allowing the viewer to see how the product is used in a realistic setting.” The event created a buzz within the plumbing industry, he says, with a large number of merchants, plumbers, consultants and international guests visiting the show, and most people staying for several hours to see all the exhibits and learn about the featured product ranges. “The event also launched three new product ranges/brands: Flexseal, HydroPress and Tectite,” says Simon. “These new ranges complement Hydroflow’s plumbing system offering.”


April/May 2019

Above: Products were featured on wooden frames for a realistic setting.


In the office

Updated your website lately? It’s easily forgotten, says Andrea Lovell. Our websites are things we tend to forget about, as we don’t go into them very often. However, they are one of the most important marketing tools for a company. I was looking at our website last month and noticed now dated it was looking. Truthfully, there wasn’t a lot I liked about it. I didn’t think it had been that long ago that we had updated it, but then I started thinking maybe it was longer than I thought. So, I started randomly going into company websites—not just plumbing companies (some of their websites look awesome, some like mine could do with some work) but general companies to see what was out there and to find out what I liked and what I didn’t.

I started noting down what I found eye-catching and what made sites easy to navigate

I started noting down what I found eye-catching, and what made sites easy to navigate. My next step was to start looking for someone to upgrade our website for us. There are so many companies and people out there, and costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand—or you could do it yourself, which still costs your own time and stress. I like to support local companies, as we rely on locals to support us as well, so I knew the company or person was going to be from West Auckland. I asked friends and put out requests on local Facebook pages looking for recommendations. I then contacted the companies and got them to give me costings. I also requested references and samples of their websites, so I knew what they could do and could make sure I liked their work. The guy I decided to go with came and met me, and we went through ideas and options. Hopefully by the time this gets published, our company will have a new, updated website that is eye catching and easy for our customers to navigate.

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Savvy sanitation Worried about the weather? Talk to your loo! Innovative technologies are set to revolutionise toilets and sanitation systems, as Sarah Johnson discovers. INNOVATIONS IN DIGITAL and engineering technologies have seen a recent flurry of inventions relating to the humble toilet—from ambient lighting and programmable playlists, to assisted toilet technologies, environmentally friendly flushing and waterless systems. The most common and well-known of these technologies sit at the luxury end of the spectrum. Features such as heated seats and soothing music have been common in Japanese bathrooms and high-end hotels for more than a decade. Recent developments in smart technologies have added to the features on offer. For example, the Kohler Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet, unveiled earlier this year, offers built-in surround sound speakers, ambient mood lighting, a heated seat, a UV sanitation wand, and an automatic lid and flush. Expected to be commercially available at the end of 58

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2019, the toilet allows users to control its features with their voice. They can also check the weather and traffic, listen to the news, order more toilet paper and select their choice of background music, all while seated in comfort. Although Kohler does not currently plan to release the Numi 2.0 in New Zealand, another of its intelligent toilets, the Veil, has been available here for the past three years. The Veil offers one-touch wireless remote-control functionality and, like the Numi 2.0, incorporates an integrated self-sanitising bidet wand. The inclusion of a built-in bidet caters not only for high-end markets, but also for the world’s increasingly multi-cultural populations. While bidets have traditionally been common in European, Asian and the Middle Eastern bathrooms, there has been more

reticence about their use in Australasia, the US and UK. Incorporating the bidet into the actual toilet overcomes this issue. It also has environmental benefits, with the ease of use and accuracy of new bidet features potentially removing the need for toilet paper.

Environmental gains Using digital technologies to make environmental gains is an area of particular interest for Caroma in Australia. “We’re interested in all developments in smart toilet technology,” says Caroma Innovation Director Dr Steve Cummings. “But at the moment, our focus is on the environmental and water conservation side of things. We’re exploring how we Above: Kohler’s Veil toilet suite, available in NZ, has one-touch wireless remote-control functionality as well as an integrated selfsanitising bidet.


can use these technologies to make more efficient products and provide better data to our customers, which will in turn enable them to make more informed decisions on how they manage and control water usage in their buildings for improved sustainability.” Foremost among these technologies is Caroma’s Smart Command—an intelligent bathroom management system that harnesses the internet of things (IoT) to enable real-time remote monitoring, management and control of water use in commercial bathrooms. Data gathered from fixtures linked to the system (toilets, urinals, hand basin taps) is wirelessly sent from the fixtures to a gateway in the bathroom, before being sent to a centralised concentrator, and from there into the building management system or Caroma’s cloudbased database. A plumber, say, can access up to a month’s worth of data from each fixture using their smartphone or other device while standing in the bathroom itself, whilst in excess of 20-years’ worth of data is available from the management system and database. “The benefits are not just environmental,” says Steve. “Smart Command improves facility hygiene and user wellbeing, reduces maintenance costs and can significantly increase facility uptime.” Although the Smart Command systems are currently predominantly being specified by building facility managers and architects for commercial buildings, Steve considers it is only a matter of time before the technology migrates to domestic settings. “People will be exposed to the features the technology offers in public

Above: Dr Steve Cummings, Caroma Innovation Director.

bathrooms—such as touchless flushing and flush option selection—and will want them in their homes,” he says. “And plumbers will promote the benefits of the advanced maintenance and usage data, and water conservation potential of the systems. It won’t be long before smart integrated sanitation systems become the norm.”

Toilets as a health tool The health sector is another area that has been quick to recognise the benefits smart toilet technologies offer. Hospitals in Japan and elsewhere are already using toilets to check for abnormalities in urine flow that might signal broader health issues, whilst research is underway in Europe into intelligent toilets to assist the elderly and people with disabilities. Possible features include voice-activated, positionadjustable bowls and position sensors. US-based Sameer Berry, a gastroenterologist-in-training, is enthusiastic about what he dubs ‘the health-tracking toilet’. He sees the potential for toilets to collect vital data that doctors could then use to understand the status of a patient’s dayto-day health outside of the clinic. “I’d love to see the next generation of medical technologists designing hardware with features to monitor and diagnose gastrointestinal disease,” writes Sameer1. “It’s a hard problem for all sorts of reasons, but both doctors and patients could benefit if we figure out a way to stop flushing away some of our most vital health information.” Sameer cites “gimmicky monitoring” and a lack of robustness around data collection as reasons that early attempts at creating a health-tracking toilet have failed. But he points to promising recent developments by toilet manufacturers Toto and Matsushita (which have developed Wi-Fi-connected toilets that measure body mass index, and the biochemical makeup, flow rate and temperature of urine) and research by home-diagnostics company Inui Health into smartphone-connected urine analysis. Panasonic is another company that has realised the potential of toilets to be used to monitor health, and in September

Above: Shown here is Kohler’s Veil intelligent toilet. Toilets of the future may even be able to gather data on the user’s health.

2018 released a design that tests urine for blood, protein and other key health indicators, whilst using sensors embedded in its armrests to measure users’ body fat. Different users are differentiated using fingerprint scanning. “The potential uses of smart toilet technology are almost limitless. They are the ideal place to capture metrics for daily measurement like blood pressure, body fat, and weight without adding work for the patient. And I see a lot of potential in measuring hormone fluctuation with menstrual cycles for family planning, or skin-sensing electrocardiograms,” writes Sameer. He also points out that, unlike other wearable devices that patients may tire of using, toilets are by necessity used every day and allow for convenient passive and continuous monitoring of personal health data. “And studies have found that patients are getting more comfortable with the idea,” he writes. April/May 2019 59


Above: Caroma’s Smart Command enables real-time remote monitoring, management and control of water use in commercial bathrooms.

There are risks associated with using smart toilets to collect health data, including data privacy and security, ease of use, and the potential for data to cause users unnecessary alarm. Sameer sees research as the answer, both to validate the technology and to “prove that its use helps patients and physicians achieve the health outcomes they find important”.

Reinventing the toilet Bill Gates is another advocate for harnessing the power of toilet technology to improve health—in his case for the estimated 40 percent of the world’s population that lack access to flush toilets, including the one billion people who have no option but to defecate in the open. In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the charitable philanthropic foundation that Bill Gates heads with his wife, Melinda) provided millions of dollars in grants to spur research into innovative toilet technologies that safely and effectively store and capture human waste. Called the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, grants were given to 16 researchers around the world to develop new, promising technologies based on fundamental engineering processes. The initial challenge was subsequently followed by country-specific Reinvent the Toilet Challenges in China and India in 2013 and 2014, with more than $200 60

April/May 2019

million invested in the various challenges over seven years. Kohler was one of the companies to get involved in the challenge, working with the California Institute of Technology to create a mobile restroom that incorporated its own self-contained sunpowered waste treatment plant. The plant not only treated the waste, but generated hydrogen and electricity at the same time. Water from the treatment plant was either recycled within the restroom or used for irrigation, whilst the solid waste was converted to fertiliser. The restroom, which cost less than five cents a day to run, like all of the reinvented toilet projects, did not require connection to a sewer or water supply.

New technologies on show The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge culminated in the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing in November 2018. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was joined at the expo by the Chinese and other governments, global innovators, development banks and private-sector players, all of whom committed to the acceleration of the commercialisation and adoption of ‘disruptive sanitation technologies’ worldwide over the next decade. Companies from around the world displayed sanitation solutions at

the expo. The solutions all aimed to eliminate harmful pathogens and convert human waste into by products, such as clean water and fertiliser, without the need for connection to either a sewer or water line. To do this, the toilets incorporate their own small-scale waste treatment plants, known as omniprocessors. At the expo’s opening session Bill Gates said: “It’s no longer a question of if we can reinvent the toilet and other sanitation systems. It’s a question of how quickly this new category of off-grid solutions will scale.” Following the expo, 20 reinvented toilet and omni-processor technologies and products have been made available for licensing and production. Many of these are already considered to meet newly published international standards on the operational requirements for standalone, unconnected-to-sewer sanitation technologies. The standards set targets for safety, processing capability, operational performance and waste by-products aimed at ensuring user safety. ■ 1 S K Berry. (2018). A ‘smart’ toilet could stop us from flushing away our most valuable health information, argues this doctor. Available from:









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Ready to serve Many (volunteer) hands make light work, as the Spreydon Tennis Club in Christchurch recently discovered firsthand. Story by Je t’aime Hayr.

WE DON’T ALWAYS get to hear about the efforts of volunteers who do their bit to improve their communities—but they can make a big difference to a lot of people. That’s something the Spreydon Tennis Club members know from personal experience. Over the years there have been many upgrades to the tennis club. However, as it is dependent on fundraising and volunteers, there had never been enough money left in the kitty to sort the bathroom facilities. “Other key areas within the club have taken precedence, like junior equipment, coaching and working towards the replacement of four of the court surfaces that are breaking up due to age, earthquakes and general wear and tear,” explains Vice President Chris Robinson. “At each club meeting the state of the men’s urinal was brought up, but the committee had not been able to justify taking money from the other areas to sort out the bathrooms.”

Tackling the plumbing

When Chris asked his mate Rob Wallace of OnToIt Plumbing for his expert opinion on the men’s and women’s bathrooms, Rob didn’t hesitate to put up his hand to help. “The men’s bathroom had a decrepit urinal and a really poor layout with absolutely no storage space,” says Rob. “It was built in 1978 and desperately needed an upgrade so that it was actually functional. The women’s bathroom was also really shabby. “I decided to volunteer my own labour time regardless, but also suggested Chris put a proposal to the Canterbury Master Plumbers to see if they would give OnToIt Plumbing a hand as a community project. The proposal got accepted and from there it’s been a team effort.” “We were thrilled when Plumbing World in Brisbane St, Christchurch, kindly supplied all the wall products: urinal, sinks, toilets, mirrors, shower door and tapware,” says Chris. “We also had amazing assistance from Blair at The Flooring

Above: Spreydon Tennis Club in Canterbury was in desperate need of upgrades to its bathroom facilities..

Warehouse, who offered to lay the vinyl free of charge. Mainland Auctions sourced hand driers for the toilets, Air Con Masters (electrician Stu Masters) picked them up and installed them and PD Arthur Buildings also helped out. All these people have come on board due to the initial commitment from Rob and the Canterbury Master Plumbers.”

The task in hand

Rob explains the work that took place. “With the help of volunteers, we managed in a day to get the men’s bathroom 100% done and the women’s bathroom stripped. In the men’s bathroom, we removed the old stainless full length/width urinal and replaced it with a porcelain wall hung urinal on another wall. The hand basin was also moved to accommodate an upgraded simple wall-hung, single level tap basin. The women’s bathroom was reworked to free up valuable space for a large walk-in storage/cleaning tub facility. An up-to-date over-height toilet was installed to cater for the older members, along with a new basin and mixers, mirror and storage facility. Rob says he’s going to put in a drinking fountain for the juniors too. Chris and a team of club members carried out the building work, plaster and painting. A lot of the tennis club members came down to lend a hand and Dux Secura Pipe Supply shouted everyone pizza for lunch. The results have the whole club smiling, says Chris. “Everyone is ecstatic. It just goes to show that, when one organisation is willing to come to the party and help out, it often brings in many others keen to lend a hand. For that, the Spreydon Tennis Club is very grateful for Rob, OnToIt Plumbing and Canterbury Master Plumbers.” ■

Above: Before, during and after—the men's toilet facilities at the club have been transformed, thanks to the voluntary work of members from the Canterbury Master Plumbers. April/May 2019 63


Google Ads: lift your game Your plumbing business may need to rethink its digital marketing budget in light of rising costs for Google Ads. THE COST OF marketing for plumbers is increasing. A monthly budget of $1,000 is considered the minimum to make Google Ads viable. On top of that, as of late last year, Google is now collecting New Zealand GST on all Google Ads spend. Previously known as Google AdWords, Google Ads is an online advertising platform where advertisers bid to display brief adverts. Kim Voon, CEO of Auckland digital marketing agency Insight Online, says that where in the past it was enough to get by on a budget of $100 or $200 a month—back in the days of 10 and 20 cents a click—anything less than $1,000 these days is probably not going to offer a strong return on investment. “With GST we’re talking about $1,150 a month if you want to see returns. If you’re a plumbing group with a number of staff, that’s not too much of a stretch. But the increasing number of people advertising on Google Ads is escalating the online bidding process. 64

April/May 2019

“To really be able to use data to improve your campaign, and get a return on investment, you need to buy a hundred or two hundred clicks a day—it varies widely day-to-day. The plumber’s space is super competitive.” Voon says there are about 100,000 searches for plumberrelated keywords every month. For something like the ‘Plumber Auckland’ keyword, bid prices range from $4.60 to $8.70 per click. ‘Plumber North Shore’ costs $4.50 to $7.80, ‘Hamilton plumber’ can vary from $3.20 to $8, whilst ‘plumbing Pukekohe’ costs from about $2.80 to about $5.60 per click. “The most common mistake—and it’s an expensive one— is the tendency by some plumbing firms to go as broad as possible. For example, using keywords like ‘customer service’ just won’t get the cut-through. ‘Plumber Auckland’ or ‘Plumber Wellington,’ and ‘Plumber Christchurch’ are too broad and too competitive. “The fear is that if you’re not going broad, you’re missing out. Whereas in fact, you miss out when you go too broad with your keywords because your budgets will be stretched too thin. You need to be specific if you want cut-through. Everybody bids on keywords like ‘Plumber Auckland’,” he says.

Four tips to success Kim Voon offers the following four tips for plumbing businesses that use, or are contemplating, an Adwords campaign: 1. Cultivate a point of difference A point of difference is very important. If, for example, you specialise in a particular type of ‘gas fitting’ or ‘drain unblocking’—by sector perhaps—use it in your Google Ads campaign. 2. Radius target local Everybody wants to be Auckland-, or Wellington- or vv Christchurch-wide for fear of missing out, but you are better to use local neighbourhood names in your keyword targeting. “You can location target your ads to appear within, say, a 10-kilometre radius of your business. There’s probably a ton of business within your local area and Google will show them your ad first,” Voon says. 3. Pimp your ‘Google My Business’ profile Make sure your ‘Google My Business’ profile is smart, professional and supported with lots of reviews. Five stars convert a lot of business. “If you’re going to be spending more money to generate leads for your plumbing business, don’t spray and pray—be strategic and considered in your approach; test and measure and apply what works. “Having a sales page on your website, one that just ‘hard sells’ the merits and benefits of doing business with you, will also make a difference. Use a combination of text, imagery, testimonials and social proof to get cut through,” Voon says. 4. Consider ‘retargeting’ as an option To make the most of your Google Ads spend, Voon suggests adding ‘retargeting’ as an option to your campaign. This will target advertising at people who have visited your website before. “To make it work effectively, you’ll need to consider two things. Firstly, do you get enough traffic to your website to generate a list to retarget? Second, what offer would you retarget them with, considering these people know your business? Retargeting works best when you’re showing them something that makes sense after they’ve seen your website. “Don’t spam people with generic ads; that will just annoy them. Think about what people will need after they’ve visited your site. It’s likely they might have an emergency or need some help, so write your ad with that in mind.” ■ For more information visit:

About the author: Kim Voon is the founder of Insight Online, an Auckland based search agency specialising in SEO, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager and Google Advertising. Clients include Air New Zealand, KidsCan and MightyApe.

JAPAN 2019




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Ready for 6 May? SMART BUSINESS

Employment law changes are on their way soon, as Lisa Duston explains. 90-day trial periods

Upcoming employment law changes include restricting 90day trial periods to employers with fewer than 20 employees (currently any employer is able to use the 90-day trial period) and reintroducing rest and meal breaks. Employers with 20 or more employees can enter into agreements containing a 90-day trial period until 6 May. From this date, they will no longer be able to do so, but can include a probationary period to assess a new employee’s suitability for the role. Unlike trial periods, probationary periods do not prevent employees from pursuing a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal.

Meal & rest breaks

From 6 May, employers must provide set meal and rest breaks based on an employee’s work period.

Employee’s work period

Minimum meal & rest break entitlements

Between 2 and 4 hours

One paid 10-minute rest break

Between 4 and 6 hours

One paid 10-minute rest break and one unpaid 30-minute meal break

Between 6 and 8 hours

Two paid 10-minute rest breaks and one unpaid 30-minute meal break

More than 8 hours

A corresponding increase in the number of breaks to match the extra hours worked


Above: Set rest and meal breaks are being reintroduced.

The specific time during the work period when meal and rest breaks are taken is to be agreed between the employee and employer. If agreement cannot be reached, the timing of breaks will be as set out in legislation. The above rules are minimum entitlements. Any meal and rest break arrangements entered into before 6 May that provide lesser entitlements to employees will be overtaken by the requirements. Employees will still get the benefit of any entitlements their employment agreement provides for that are more favourable than the minimum breaks set out above. ■ All Master Plumbers employment agreement templates will be updated to meet the new requirements. About the author: Lisa Duston is HR Manager at Master Plumbers. Lisa offers HR advice to Master Plumbers’ members at competitive rates (first 30 minutes free). Contact Lisa on 021 245 1704 or email

The cost to advertise is $60+GST for Master Plumbers' members; $100+GST for nonmembers. Just send your text (up to 100 words) to

Plumbing & Gasfitting Trainer

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Are you ready for the employment changes coming up? Need peace of mind? Talk to us about all your recruitment requirements, whether you be a supplier or small to medium business. We specialise in roles related to the construction industry including all office staff, sales, estimators etc. We can offer immigration services for high demand roles. If you require staff, we can help you. A Prompt and Professional service. Get it right the first time! Candidates – Please jump online to register expressions of interest for fantastic trade-related roles. Contact us for a no obligation consultation. Catherine 021 0295 6991

Highly rewarding position Free parking, South Auckland If you enjoyed your apprenticeship training – then why not become an industry Trainer? ICE delivers training options for apprentices/employers and they are growing. As a trainer you’ll be running hands-on, practical teaching and assessment. Needed: • Licensed in both trades • Able to use social media • Natural affinity with young people, able to connect with them You’ll receive full training, an attractive salary, a range of great benefits AND you’ll be shaping the minds of young people! To find out more just call Annie O’Keefe 09 362 0528 or apply on-line.


April/May 2019

Hiring in South Taranaki Opportunity for a licensed or certified plumber/gasfitter/drainlayer. Lifestyle change: 5 minutes from the sea, 30 minutes from the mountain. A wellestablished business (30+ years), providing services to residential, commercial and industrial multi-site clients across Taranaki. Must have: • Relevant qualifications and registration with the PGDB • Motivation to provide quality work and superior service • Ability to work independently, or share your skills and knowledge with an apprentice Particular interest in applicants with investment/business ownership aspirations. Will provide professional development support. For more information or to apply, please email your CV and cover letter to


By the book

Picking a bookkeeper You’ve decided you need a bookkeeper… but how to pick the right one? Lynn Render of the Institute of Certified NZ Bookkeepers has 8 tips. CURRENTLY IN NEW Zealand, anyone can call themselves a bookkeeper and there’s no legal requirement for that person to have any qualifications at all. Alarming isn’t it?! So, what are some ways you can ensure you get the right person for the job? 1. Qualifications – Can they show you any qualifications from a legitimate training provider? If in doubt, you can contact NZQA. 2. Experience – How many years on the tools do they have? Have they worked within your industry before? Do they know the unique needs of your industry? 3. Questions – Are they asking questions to gain a better

understanding of your business? If some of the questions are challenging, that can be a good sign. 4. Ongoing learning – Can they show a commitment to ongoing personal development? Are they staying up to date with new developments, the requirements of the IR, ACC and the like? 5. Software – Do they have a good working knowledge of the accounting software package you use? Do they recommend software that will better suit your needs, upgrades or add-ons? The right software can save you a lot of money in the long run. 6. Associations – It’s always a good sign if a professional is a member

of a professional body, such as The Institute of Certified NZ Bookkeepers. The Institute’s Find a Bookkeeper page was created specifically to help you find fully certified members: www.icbnzbai. 7. Rapport – Do you get along? Will you feel comfortable discussing what can sometimes be very personal or private information with this person? 8. Your gut instinct – An oftenundervalued tool. Does this person feel right for you? If you had to make a two-second choice, what would it be? ■ Next issue we will focus on what your bookkeeper needs from you.


Payroll: going online MASTER PLUMBER PETER Jackson manages a busy team of 12 plumbers, drainlayers, roofers and gasfitters on Wellington’s Kapiti Coast. His wife Sonya manages the business, with responsibility for all office and administrative duties including invoicing, supplier payments, and employee payroll—the most important elements of keeping any business afloat. Slow and continual business growth and an increasing workload has seen Peter Jackson Plumbing relocate premises to accommodate the growing fleet of vans, and back-office systems put in place to ensure productivity and business efficiency.

A costly overpayment The 21-year-old business has survived the test of time—but not without a few hiccups along the way. Ongoing changes to IR systems and processes have put additional pressure on business owners to ensure they meet reporting obligations. This means more time spent on calculating PAYE, leave entitlements, WINZ payments and KiwiSaver. The overpayment of a departing employee made Sonya realise they needed to make some changes to their payroll system. With multiple instructions from IR regarding changes to child support payments, payments had been miscalculated over a period of months. It wasn’t until the person had left that Sonya and her accountant realised he had been overpaid. “It’s a situation that every employer dreads,” Sonya said. “It was the tipping point for me to move from manual

ongoing changes to IR systems and processes have put additional pressure on business owners 68

April/May 2019

For this plumbing business, moving to an online payroll system has increased speed and accuracy.

systems and processes. In the beginning it was faster and easier to use accounting and payroll software, but as technology progressed I realised I needed to move to a cloud-based payroll system that would provide me with flexibility to log-in from anywhere to manage and process payroll.”

Moving to the cloud “My accountant recommended Thankyou Payroll and we started with this at the beginning of a new financial year. I was amazed at the time it saved me and at the accuracy of the calculations and reporting. “The time I spend on processing the weekly payroll has been cut in half and Thankyou Payroll now manages PAYE calculations, IR payments and reporting. “But it is more than time saving. The main benefit is accuracy and the ease of being able to access the information and records at any time, from anywhere.” Access and flexibility gave Sonya the confidence to take an extended overseas family holiday, knowing she could set up the weekly payrolls in advance and log in while she was away to make any adjustments to timesheets and payments. “Payroll ran smoothly and I was able to relax and enjoy my holiday—it was a total game changer,” she says. “That confidence and assurance that calculations and payments are correct is worth so much to a small to medium business owner.

Above: Sonya Jackson says the time she spends on processing the weekly payroll has been cut in half.

“I now don’t live in fear of an employee coming in and saying, ‘I don’t think I got paid correctly’ as I know we are in good hands.” ■

payroll ran smoothly and I was able to relax and enjoy my holiday

Payday filing changes As of 1 April, Inland Revenue now requires all employers to file information about employees, leave entitlements, tax withholdings and more within two days of each payday. As a listed IR intermediary, Thankyou Payroll helps small businesses take the hassle out of payroll and payday filing by reporting employee information automatically to the IR through its online platform—saving employers hours with each pay run. To support and assist New Zealand employers comply with the most recent IR Payday Filing obligations, Thankyou Payroll has an Online Employer Guide to Payroll. This easy-to-follow guide helps New Zealand employers understand the process and obligations of running payroll. Download the guide from the Thankyou Payroll website

Fleet software in action


Discover how two of Teletrac Navman’s customers maximise the impact of this GPS fleet software system in their businesses.

FROM FLEETS OF five to over 100, GPS fleet software systems are useful tools for gaining insights, improving health and safety, and reducing costs for Kiwi companies. Professional Farm Services: smart fleet management Professional Farm Services install and maintain water systems, milking machines, electrical and effluent systems. With around 12 vehicles, director Dave McMillan uses his fleet management system for charging accurate mileage, assigning the nearest crew to jobs, navigating rural areas and keeping track of customer maintenance. With the GPS system, the business has made savings in charged-out mileage of around $125 per vehicle per month. “Before the installation, the guys would leave the shop, go to a farm, go to another farm and back to the shop. They would guess the mileage at about 20km, but that was way under. Now we know the exact mileage and can apportion it correctly to the right client,” says Dave. Office staff use the software to locate vehicles, decide which is closest to the job, then route staff via the most efficient way. If material or equipment needs to be collected, the office staff can see who will be heading through that area next, to minimise unnecessary side trips. As well as tracking their own WOFs and vehicle maintenance through the system, Professional Farm Services also use it to better maintain a client’s equipment. Using the inbuilt geo location tool, they can keep accurate records of site visits. “We can go into the system to see how many times we have visited a particular pump to maintain and repair it. Being able to access this information also helps us cross reference with our invoicing,” says Dave.

Above: Fleet management software gives in depth insights into each vehicle’s data and location.

BPS Plumbing: a 21st century business BPS Plumbing in Northland do a range of work from irrigation and dam supply to pumps, water tanks and home plumbing. Owner Russ Louie uses his fleet management system to streamline maintenance, improve invoicing accuracy, reduce his paperwork and improve driver safety. “Now we are efficient, fast, and responsive,” says Russ. A detailed overview of each vehicle’s use has vastly improved maintenance, especially with Northland’s metal roads causing additional vehicle wear and tear. “The maintenance scheduling and reporting has been crucial for us,” says Russ. Russ also integrated Teletrac Navman with his SmartTrade job management system to generate reports about where his plumbers drove, how far, how long they were there, then compare this with the timesheets. The integration has created a huge saving in time and paperwork, which in turn, has improved cashflow. “If one of the boys travels from Kerikeri to Paihia, then to a merchant in Kerikeri, then to a side job, then back to the Paihia job, now I have all the information I need to correctly assign the travel charges to the right clients.” ■

Electronic RUC Save admin time and maximise rebates on your off-road distances with Teletrac Navman’s NZTA approved electronic RUC system. RUC Manager automates the Road User Charges licensing and rebate process. “We didn’t realise how much easier it was going to be. RUC Manager has streamlined everything,” says Jeff Smith, Managing Director of Swanson Transport.

Above: Dave McMillan of Professional Farm Services.

Platinum Partner

April/May 2019 69


It’s in the air Confused about how to tackle airborne health risks? Philippa Gibson offers a simple management model and notes some common errors. THE COMMON REFRAIN is that health risk management is hard—harder than safety risk management. I want to challenge that belief—it’s different but not harder. Good health risk management is a combination of activities that need to work together to be effective. Under the HSW Act 2015, PCBUs must eliminate (and if not eliminate, minimise) all risks associated with carrying out work. This includes work involving airborne health risks. Health risk management must consider a number of aspects—identification, assessment, control, review—with exposure monitoring being just one of them. PCBUs must understand and manage the risks of hazardous or toxic substances at work, so any limitations in their knowledge about these risks needs to be recognised and acted on. When I talk to people who are struggling with health risk management, certain common factors often come up. For example, they might be focusing on just one part of health risk management, not the whole. Or they might be focusing on things they know (eg, exposures or health monitoring data)

and ignore the things they don’t know, such as uncertainties in monitoring data or the effectiveness of controls. The information below outlines the key elements of good health risk management—and some examples of classic mistakes I’ve encountered.

1. Health risk identification

Some workplaces have safety data sheets (SDS), but don’t read them. I was involved in a health risk management prosecution where the business had pages and pages of health and safety risk information in its SDS, but did not use this information to identify its chemical health risks. (The pictograms alone could have alerted them to risk.) Another common problem is not identifying dusts as health risks; while another is assuming that only liquids and gases are hazardous substances.

 Good health risk management means: •


Acknowledging the health risks SDS are telling you are present. Read the descriptions of what the substance can do to a person. Researching the potential health risks that could arise because of the process or activity—they may not be covered by an SDS. Not assuming it isn’t hazardous just because it may not be covered by hazardous substances regulations.

April/May 2019

 Poor health risk management means: • •

Ignoring what the SDS is saying about health risk, and just having an SDS because ‘you’re supposed to’. Not considering what additional health risks arise from the work done (eg, does heating of chemicals, or a chemical reaction, cause an additional health risk?). Not identifying all health hazards, including physical, chemical, biological, psychosocial and ergonomic hazards.


2. Health risk assessment

The key to health risk assessment for workers is understanding the actual exposures they experience as they move around the workplace and do different tasks. The type of exposure they experience may vary with different activities, and in different locations inside and outside. Their level of exposure will vary as they move closer to or further away from the health risk. Mistakes occur when only a single set of data is used to make judgements around risk in situations where exposure varies considerably from day to day, job to job, or season to season.

 Good health risk management means: •

Considering all the ways exposure could occur—on the skin, through the skin, inhalation, ingestion, injection. Considering if some workers are more at risk from inhaling the substance (eg, a substance that can have effects on reproductive ability, reproductive capacity, or can affect foetal development. Or, for people with asthma, a substance that irritates the lungs). Exposure monitoring—engaging a competent person to develop a sampling strategy that will provide an adequate picture of workers’ exposure profiles. This will include the variation in exposure that will occur from different work patterns, differing work conditions, different work locations. Assessing the effectiveness of current controls, eg assess if the extraction ventilation system is effective, if respiratory protection is doing what you expect it to do (suitable type and fit). Considering the things you can’t be sure about (uncertainties), such as can we say we always know what levels of exposure are, or do some things beyond our control affect the level of exposure?

When I talk to people struggling with health risk management, certain common factors often come up

Other mistakes I have seen in risk assessment include using outdoor dust measurements meant for resource consent purposes (environmental monitoring) to make judgements about worker health risk. The problem is that the environmental samples do not reflect the exposure experienced by the worker. Another mistake I’ve seen is using a gas meter to measure levels of a substance that can’t be detected on that meter. When the results show—not surprisingly—no reading, it is assumed there is no exposure and therefore no risk.

 Poor health risk management means: • • • • •

• •

Only thinking of it affecting the skin, not of the vapour being inhaled. Thinking that if doesn’t smell or doesn’t smell strongly there is nothing in the air. Thinking if you can’t see dust, gas, vapour, fibre or mist there is nothing in the air. Ignoring susceptible workers, or those who may be more at risk than other workers. Not considering level of exposure (exposure monitoring) in determining if there is risk, or if risk is suitably managed, or in determining what type of controls should be used. Focusing on exposure monitoring when there is clearly an exposure that needs controlling—exposure monitoring doesn’t control the exposure, it just measures it. Applying exposure monitoring results to exposure standards without understanding the health risk basis of the exposure standard, or understanding good sampling strategy, or understanding the variation in exposure across the work or place of work. Assuming the controls are working effectively but doing nothing to assess them. Focusing only on the things you ‘know’ about the risk, and not considering the limitations of that knowledge (eg, our health monitoring is showing no negative changes in lung function, but is that testing going to show changes caused by respiratory disease before it’s too late to do anything about it?) >

Build to last. Build with pride. aquatherm have 20 years experience in New Zealand, providing long lasting, high quality products. Call us on 09 570 7204

April/May 2019 71


3. Health risk control

It’s not uncommon for extraction ventilation (LEV) to be designed by in-house engineers who may not have the appropriate skills, such as the correct design of capture hoods. This is something the PCBU is likely to have to get outside expertise or advice on. The law is clear that controls used for managing health risks must be effective and fit for purpose. This means the design, testing and maintenance of LEV etc must ensure it does what it is meant to—control the airborne contaminant and effectively manage the health risk.

 Good health risk management means: • •

• • •

Applying the hierarchy of control and providing the highest level of protection. Being aware of the limitations of PPE, and not going straight to PPE as a control. It’s at the bottom of the hierarchy because of its limitations. Designing control systems based on good risk assessment data. Assessing and maintaining control systems to ensure they are working effectively. Ensuring PPE when used fits correctly, is the right type for the exposure and provides a suitable level of protection compared to the level of exposure. Providing training, information and supervision to workers to ensure controls are used effectively.

4. Health risk review

I have seen workplaces regularly gather exposure and health data that indicate controls are not working, or that workers may be getting harmed, but nothing is done in response to those red flags. A common response I hear from PCBUs is something like: “Sure, we have a number of workers with reduced lung function, but they are smokers—they are doing this to themselves, so it’s unfair to expect me to control exposure to respiratory health risks when they are wrecking their own lungs anyway.” PCBUs might not have control over what workers do or expose themselves to out of work, but they do have complete control over the workplace (workers not following reasonable instruction aside) and have a responsibility for managing health risk at work. If health monitoring shows an adverse change in health, it is a red flag to review controls. If that review comes back showing all parts of the health risk management system are working effectively to manage risk, then that change in health is unlikely to be as a result of damage caused in that workplace.

 Good health risk management means: • •

 Poor health risk management means: •

Going straight to PPE as the form of control without considering the need for higher levels of protection. Assuming every worker can and should use respiratory protection—those with cardiovascular or respiratory disease, for example, should have a medical assessment before being cleared to use respiratory protection. Not considering the limitations of PPE or the additional risks they can introduce (eg, respiratory protection + physical work + hot work conditions = heat stress risk). Designing and installing control systems (eg, extraction ventilation, or isolation) without understanding good design for control of airborne substances, nor understanding how that substance behaves in air in that workplace or for that job or activity. Assuming the control systems are working and effective without any verification, testing, or maintenance of those controls.

About the author: Philippa Gibson is Principal Scientist Work-Related Health with WorkSafe New Zealand.

This article was first published in the Jan/Feb edition of Safeguard magazine, New Zealand’s leading publication to help you manage health and safety. Ask for a free sample copy at 72

April/May 2019

Regularly reviewing controls to ensure they are effective (eg, testing ventilation systems). Reviewing controls if anything indicates they are not working (eg, worker complaints, health effects occurring). Doing appropriate health monitoring, understanding its limitations, and treating it as a tool to prove that controls are effective rather than as a tool to show you if something is going wrong. Doing exposure monitoring to verify that controls are effective at managing workers’ exposure.

 Poor health risk management means: • • •

Not reviewing controls or maintaining them. Not responding to complaints or red flags that suggest exposure is not controlled. Treating health monitoring as a way of identifying if something is going wrong, ie. waiting for adverse effects to show up before doing something about controlling risk. ■

New RPE guidance All WorkSafe personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance can now be found in one place on its website: https://worksafe.govt. nz/topic-and-industry/personal-protective-equipment-ppe/  This includes a new section on respiratory protective equipment (RPE), with • updated RPE guidance for workers and businesses • a respiratory selection tool.

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Toolbox tips Knee problems? New research by The IPG in the UK has revealed that nearly 75% of working plumbers experience problems with their knees, yet only 41% have discussed the issue with their GP. The IPG, which surveyed 184 plumbers, also discovered 57% of plumbers surveyed felt that they would need to undergo knee replacement surgery in the future due to the hardships of the profession and 59% also felt that they would be forced to retire early. Working on your knees for many hours a week can have a detrimental effect, especially if no protective workwear is worn. However, even with kneepads 77% said they still experience issues—and it’s not just the older plumbers. “We would like to urge all plumbers and installers to ensure they are using specialist protection whilst on the job, from apprentice level all the way up to those who have been working in the trade for decades,” said Tony Dark, Director of Trade, at The IPG. “It is also essential that if any plumber or installer starts to have any trouble with their knees that they consult a GP straight away in order to discover any possible problems early on to avoid more serious issues.” Read the full article at

Secure your stuff A collision in Hamilton in early February between two vans saw Waikato police warning tradies that unsecured tools and cargo can become painful, if not deadly, missiles in an accident.

In a Facebook post (see picture), police said wood and tools came flying out of the van as it collided with another vehicle that had crossed the centre line. “Upon impact the contents of the Toyota Hiace (including tools) have come flying forwards, towards the driver and his passenger. “If you are a tradie or own a company this may be an opportunity to consider any improvements that you can make [in case of an emergency].” Site Safe says putting a barrier between people and objects makes good sense, particularly for tradies and construction workers. G Force on people and objects during collisions at about 50kmh are usually around 20-25 times normal. So, for a brief instant, even a 1kg water bottle will have the force of 2025kg as it flies forward. To minimise the risk, keep things secure and keep tools and materials separated from people via a reputable cargo barrier. Properly fitted barriers may also offer extra protection if the vehicle rolls. Site Safe also recommends liquids are securely stowed in correct bottle containers and, where possible, fuel should be in a separate trailer.



New ACC subsidies The first round of funding opened this February for construction businesses wanting to apply for new ACC workplace injury prevention subsidies. The subsidies are designed to help small to medium businesses (typically 6 to 99 employees) access workplace health and safety support, such as training. Three rounds of sector-specific funding are planned in 2019, with the other two expected in June and September. Find out more at

Photograph by NZ Police

Men needed!

74 82

April/May 2019 2019 February/March

A Massey University study is looking at what factors stop men in the construction industry seeking help for mental health issues. Volunteers are needed to take part in an anonymous, online survey, which takes 10-15 minutes. Each survey participant goes in the draw to win one of 50 $40 Mitre 10 store vouchers. Take the survey at ■

Diagram courtesy of Placemakers.

Short ’n snappy health and safety tips to share with the team.


Safe and ready

A new training programme from Site Safe is ensuring overseas workers are safety-ready when they arrive in New Zealand. ELECTRICIANS IN CANADA preparing to work in New Zealand are being given entry-level health and safety training before their arrival. This marks the start of a new Site Safe programme designed to enable tradespeople to hit the ground running and be ready to work safely as soon as they reach New Zealand. Site Safe Chief Executive Brett Murray says the new partnership with international tradespeople exchange provider GlobalTrade eXchange, or GTeXpro, helps ensure a smooth transition for highly sought after and skilled workers, such as electricians. “This is great news for those employers taking part in the programme, who benefit from taking on staff who have a solid understanding of Kiwi health and safety expectations,” he says. The initiative is part of the Commonwealth eXchange program, which was developed to provide pathways for skilled tradespeople to expand their knowledge by working between different countries. This in turn should support the long-term sustainability of skills by providing increased work mobility through times of peaks and troughs in different countries. GTeXpro international electrical assessor Leon Zaffiris says providing quality training and knowledge in advance helps the new arrivals to be successful when working in Kiwi workplaces.

Above: The first batch of Canadian electricians to be upskilled for NZ in their home country, under the direction of Global Trade eXchange. They are also being given safety training via Safe Site NZ to be work-ready when they arrive.

“Providing health and safety training, in conjunction with the necessary New Zealand trade-required learning in their home country, helps protect the individual and provides a sound base of knowledge about the industry they are about to work in— adding real value for their employers in New Zealand.” The first group of Canadian electricians was due to start work in New Zealand in February. ■

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New recruits

A Masterlink presentation at the latest LSV programme produced several potential apprentice candidates. Like the idea of a government subsidy for taking on an apprentice? Plumbing businesses that sign up Masterlink apprentices through the government’s Skills for Industry scheme are eligible to receive $10,000. Many of the available WINZ candidates will have gone through the six-week Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) programme at Burnham Military Camp, designed to boost their self-discipline and self-confidence. Three members of the Masterlink team attended the latest LSV course at Burnham in February to give a presentation to the three LSV platoons on the advantages of becoming a Masterlink plumbing and drainlaying or gasfitting apprentice. “Each platoon comprised about 30 people,” says Masterlink’s Lisa Duston. “There was great engagement and interaction with our session and we were impressed by the quality of the participants. From that event, we interviewed nine people and profiled the successful potential candidates to hosts around the country.”

Above: One of the LSV platoons hearing about the benefits of a Masterlink apprenticeship.

The team was due to hold a second presentation in April, as NZ Plumber went to print, with another set for May in Auckland, where a new LSV facility is about to open. To register your interest in the Skills for Industry scheme, contact Lisa Duston:; 021 245 1704.

Up for a challenge At just 16, Carlos Crawford is our youngest ever apprentice to sign up for a Masterlink apprenticeship. Carlos Crawford started with host company Riverton Plumbing & Drainlaying in Southland in midFebruary. Around the same time, he successfully completed the cycling section of the two-day Coast to Coast Challenge. Carlos was part of a three-person relay, with his fellow team members completing the running and kayaking stages. Congratulations Carlos – you’ll go far!

Above: Carlos on the cycling stage of the two-day 243km Coast to Coast Challenge, which starts at Kumara Beach on the West Coast and finishes at New Brighton Beach in Christchurch. His fellow team members Violet Armstrong and Rawiri Tipuna completed the running and kayaking stages. Left: Carlos successfully completing the challenge.

On the road with CPD

Come and see us at the 2019 PGDB & Mico CPD Roadshow. The 2019 PGDB & Mico CPD Roadshow starts on its journey through NZ on 30 April in Arrowtown and ends on 10 September in Auckland. As ever, Masterlink will have a presence at all venues with tradeshow sessions, so do drop by and say hello. If you are considering taking on an apprentice in your business, have a chat with us about the Masterlink programme 76

April/May 2019

and the benefits of using our group scheme over hiring an apprentice direct. The 2019 CPD sessions are for next year’s relicensing (1 April 2020-31 March 2021). Find the schedule and book your session at trade/cpd


Feedback on proposed training reforms Results are in from The Skills Organisation’s industry survey.

infographics here focus on plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying sector feedback. More than 920 employers responded to the survey—204 of them PGD employers.

OVER HALF OF employers say they’ll hire fewer apprentices if the Government implements its proposal to merge polytechs into one national body, according to new Skills research. The Attitude to the proposed changes Agree Most employers will have to deal with the new megapolytech for apprentice training

Enrolment of most apprentices, on job and off job learning, will be controlled by the new megapoloytech A new centralised megapolytech is good for the industry


24% 7%















68% 50%




Disagree 18% 4% 14%


66% 45%





26% 30%




62% It will become difficult for employers to train apprentices




Discourage young people from taking on a trades career


19% 40%





14% 15%

Bring uncertainty for employers on how training will work

57% Strongly Agree

14% Slightly Agree

Take on an apprentice Need extra hands on deck? An apprentice is what you need With a booming construction sector, there’s never been a better time to think about growing your business. Taking on an apprentice can get your business pumping.

SOUND GOOD? Get started by calling Skills on 0508 SKILLS (754 557) to find out more.

Nothing changes for me - Less likely to take on - No longer hire - Hire less apprentices



Discourage some employers from taking on an apprentice

Survey results among 204 PGD employers

Likelihood to hire apprentices given proposed changes



Impact of the proposed changes Training programmes will become more theory based and out of touch with what skills employers need




Slightly Disagree

14% Strongly Disagree

Respondents by region


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The places you’ll go PLUMBING WORD’S YOUNG Plumber of the Year competition is open to New Zealand plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers aged 31 and under—whether at apprentice, Tradesman or Certifying level. Julian Parker was the very first winner of the competition when it launched back in 2017. The finalists were judged on their workmanship, accuracy and speed in plumbing and gasfitting tests based on everyday requirements of the job—and Julian came up trumps, winning around $20,000 worth of prizes, including a trip to Fiji for the Plumbing World Shareholders Conference in May 2018. Winning the competition has also opened up new horizons for Julian, including the opportunity to work for KE KELIT in Austria. “Without it, I wouldn’t have met the contacts and friends I now have, which led me to this position,” he says.

Overseas experience After the competition, Julian continued working for The Lewis Plumbing Company in his hometown of Rotorua until August 2018, then headed overseas for his long-planned OE. He started in Mexico with some friends and travelled through Central and South America for four months before heading towards Europe. “I had always planned to work in London, but when an opportunity came up to work for KE KELIT in Austria I got pretty excited at the thought of it. I felt that it would be a challenge but that I could take plenty away from it and extend my knowledge of the industry.”

without it, I wouldn’t have met the contacts and friends I now have

Winning the inaugural New Zealand Young Plumber of the Year competition has opened up a world of opportunity to Julian Parker.

Above: Julian Parker outside the KE KELIT headquarters in Linz, Austria.

Julian’s job at KE KELIT Austria involves working closely with installers and absorbing industry information from the experts he is surrounded by. “I am currently working within the technical office,” he told NZ Plumber at the end of February. “We recently had a trip to Zwickau in Germany to test a new product for its performance in the testing facility within the university, which I found really interesting. We had good results so have now moved onto further testing in the workshop.”

Huge learning curve He has also been working with design programmes for calculating heating systems, which will hold him in good stead for the future. “A fair bit of what I’m doing here is relatively new and different to what I’m used to,” he says. “I’ve not had a lot to do with underfloor heating, ceiling heating and cooling and radiators before, so it’s a huge learning curve and something I’d like to see more of in New Zealand.” Julian says he and his work colleagues are taking advantage of the chance to improve their respective language skills (“they now get most of my Kiwi humour”), and he has been busy translating and adjusting some of the KE KELIT new product information for English-speaking clients. When he was presented with the chance to attend the annual ISH exhibition in Frankfurt in March, Julian jumped at the chance. “I’ve known about ISH for a few years now and had planned on attending at some point in time. Now I get the best of both worlds going there and supporting KE KELIT.”

Bringing new knowledge home

Above: Julian beside KE KELIT's underfloor heating samples.

Julian plans to work for the company until June, before heading back home to New Zealand. “The standards and innovation within the company have blown my mind and I look forward to working with their products in the future,” he says. In the meantime, he’s also looking forward to coming home to become a Certifying Gasfitter and enjoy a good old Kiwi lamb roast! Entries for Plumbing World’s 2019 Young Plumber of the Year competition are now open. Visit for details. ■ April/May 2019 79

Read the latest edition online APRIL/MAY 2019



Call for mandatory legionella testing


So much more than a humble loo


Mixed reactions to government proposals





So much more than a humble loo

Mixed reactions to government proposals


How Nelson plumbers were affected by the wildfires

Inside this issue


Rest and meal break changes: what you need to know

Discover future trends for toilet technology




Last chance to register for the NZ Plumbing Conference!




Building the dream Meet a young couple starting out in their plumbing business

39 Legionella: call for mandatory testing Results of Australian study are a cause for concern


Auckland commercial An Auckland commercial plumbing firm’s thoughts on the market


CEO Greg Wallace on the government's review of vocational education; the Mobilcard that’s a membership card; new van back designs; training bond agreement template


All shook up Mixed reactions to the government’s proposals for training reform

Feeling the heat Nelson wildfire impact on local APRIL/MAY 2019 plumbing firms


29 Heat pumps: a sound comparison Operating noise levels are a major factor in selection 30 Ventilation & extraction Open-flued gas appliance installation and servicing 32

20 Mainzeal: landmark court case Why subcontractors expect to see little of the $36 million 4

Hydronic heating 101 An overview of the options

New resources in the spotlight



Are you SMART smart? Understanding the benefits of SMART central heating controls

Certifying plumber-drainlayer pathway An update on the PGDB’s transition pathway proposal

54 Big beach clean-up Hirepool gets behind National Seaweek 54 Rental home standards New regulations expected mid-year

40 Total access New MBIE universal design guidance includes sanitary fixtures and fittings

56 Sam’s speak Are you getting the privileges you deserve as an employer?

47 Tech points Technical updates in brief

56 Hydroflow Innovations Expo Hydroflow’s first showcase event pulls the crowds

48 Standards spotlight Ring main plumbing systems


Reeling ’em in Mega prize for Mico Taranaki Fishing Comp winner


Latest fines Breaches of competition and health and safety laws


Not child’s play The PGDB’s new consumer campaign


Office talk Updated your website lately?

INNOVATION 58 Savvy sanitation Innovative technologies are set to revolutionise toilets

ASSOCIATIONS & BRANCHES 63 Ready to serve Willing volunteers make light work of a Canterbury tennis club bathroom revamp

April/May 2019



On the cover: Kohler is among the manufacturers with a focus on maximising futuristic technologies for sanitaryware.


64 Google Ads—lift your game Why you may need to rethink your digital marketing budget 66 Ready for 6 May? Employment law changes are coming into force 67 Picking a bookkeeper How to go about choosing the right one for your business

76 Masterlink messageboard Skills for Industry update; see you at CPD; and a young apprentice with drive to succeed 77

68 Payroll: going online How moving to online payroll has helped this plumbing company

SUPPLY LINES 69 Fleet software in action How two Teletrac Navman customers get the most from this GPS fleet software system


Safe and ready This new Site Safe programme gets overseas workers safety ready before arriving in NZ


Industry feedback on proposed training reforms Results of Skills’ survey on the government’s training proposals

79 The places you’ll go A world of opportunity for this 2017 Young Plumber of the Year winner


Dodgy plumbing No explanation needed…

70 It’s in the air A simple management model for tackling airborne health risks


Toolbox tips Short ’n snappy health and safety tips to share with the team April/May 2019


NZ Plumber April-May 19_p1-39.indd 4-5


4/04/19 7:24 PM

So much more than a humble loo


Mixed reactions to government proposals

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Award winning and proudly brought to you by Master Plumbers


DODGY Plumbing

Keep them coming! Send your Dodgy Plumbing examples to the Ed:

Dodgy, doolally and dangerous—we’ve got ’em all.

Up close and personal

Downright dangerous

This photo, sent in by Stuart Lee, was taken at the corporate function centre of a well-known Auckland sports stadium. “An efficient use of all available space, right?” he says.

“Was called to this job for a suspected gas leak,” says Paul McCallum of Allpoints Plumbing. “When looking to isolate any pilot lights to test the gas for leaks, found the internal cylinder installed in a cupboard on the lower floor of the house that was open at the back to the crawl space with no flue. Instead it has wires dangling where the flue should have been. Directly above was a bedroom and then the rest of the 3 bedroom house. “When opening the gas meter cover, could smell gas immediately and hear the meter going. The galv pipe into the ground was so rusted that when soapy watered it, bubbles came out from all sides. “Gas meter and cylinder was isolated and owner told not to use until pipe replaced and cylinder sorted.”

Hose it down

A photo of a dodgy hot water installation sent in by Jonathan Robertson. “I was told the owner was a bit of a ‘mad scientist’. At first, I thought he had wrapped the pipe around the cylinder to try to pre-heat the water to the dishwasher, but actually the hose was connected to the dishwasher drain pipe!!”

Well hung

“This photo was taken at a restaurant,” says Brent Churchouse of Allsorted Pumbing & Gasfitting. “Certainly a good water seal!” Please send the biggest size photos you have. The bigger the file, the bigger we can show it on the page!

April/May 2019 81


DODGY Plumbing



Raining sideways

Love this photo that landed on the Ed’s desk the other day…

DIY disaster

“Came across this after customer who had recently purchased and moved into house complained of a gassy smell!!!” says Phil Barson of Jason Brown Plumbing. “LPG continuous flow installation breaking pretty much every standard. The water valves underneath were even upside down and covered in gunk. Found out it was done by a house flipper who obviously gave it a go themselves. “Removed non-compliant installation and installed hot water heater on natural gas, and sorted out the mess of plumbing pipes under the house at the same time. Don’t worry the cat is alive…”

Pick 'n' mix

“I had to remove a vanity unit for replacement, which also required the gib board to be removed,” says Rod Olive from Gas Safe NZ of this photo. “You can imagine the surprise. Needless to say, it was all removed, re piped and pressure tested before refit.”  82

April/May 2019

Going where? And another mix up

“Found this while attending a late night call out in Manurewa, Auckland,” says Peter Kelsey of Estate Plumbing.

“Yes, that’s a toilet discharging into the inspection of a grease trap,” says Aaron of Complete Plumbing. “Hole knocked out at top of bend for a vent. The landlord had the cheek to say the tenant had to pay.”

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Profile for NZ Plumber

NZ Plumber April-May 2019  

- Home heating technical theme - Looking to the future: innovations in sanitation - Universal design guidance for sanitary fixtures and fitt...

NZ Plumber April-May 2019  

- Home heating technical theme - Looking to the future: innovations in sanitation - Universal design guidance for sanitary fixtures and fitt...

Profile for nzplumber