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S e p tem b er

your industry magazine

The Business Issue organise, adapt and seek new opportunities

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Bosch Compress 3000 Domestic Hot Water Heat Pump

The heat pump that provides the answers! FeATures And BeneFiTs 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

Highly efficient heat pump – reduces energy use by up to 60% Programmable “smart” controls for user flexibility Large LCD display Noise Reduction Mode Time-of-use Tariff compatible – saving the user energy costs Modular design for ease of install, servicing and repair Energy use and operational statistics plus diagnostic functions

The Bosch Compress 3000 is an Air to Water heat pump has been designed with the plumber and end user in mind. “Smart” controls allow the end user to optimise the operation of the heat pump to suit their actual needs and reduce energy consumption. Time-of-use Tariff compatibility means even more savings for the user. Servicing and repairs are made easy with the diagnostic functions and modular design of the heat pump. To find out more about this product, Please contact Bosch on 1300 30 70 37 or visit for more information.

Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine

welcome. f r o m

t h e

E dit o r

Plumbing Industry House 525 King Street West Melbourne VIC 3003 T (03) 9329 9622 F (03) 9329 5060 E The Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine (Industry and Member editions and occasional supplements including the MPMSAA Group Training News, are official journals produced by the Master Plumbers’ and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA) ABN: 56 296 473 997 Print Post number: 381712/02399 ISSN: 1325-6289

Master Plumbers Association Locations Head Office 525 King Street West Melbourne VIC 3003 T (03) 9329 9622 F (03) 9329 5060

Brisbane Group Training SkillsTech Australia 760-776 Kingsford Smith Drive Eagle Farm QLD 4006 T 0424 165 308 F (07) 3854 2346

Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre

Welcome to the September issue of Australian Plumbing Magazine. We’ve given the mag a bit of a refresh – hope you enjoy the new look. This issue our focus is business and we cover everything from discounting, communication, customer complaints and employment.

This issue our focus is on business

Running a business can be a challenge and takes a huge investment of time, effort and money.

A successful business is one that is focussed on customer service, is well organised, adaptable and open to new opportunities. Our business feature looks at the effects of discounting on your business and how you can make it work for you. And our Social Media 101 piece looks at the benefits of using social media as a way to connect with clients and attract new customers.

4 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Charlotte Roseby talks to Master Plumber Norm Anderson about life as co-founder and director of a company that is leading the way in commercial and industrial sustainable plumbing. We also meet with Paula Withington and Kim Gallagher, the owners of Roofrite, to discuss the challenges of running a business and finding a balance between work and home life. At some point, most businesses will be faced with a customer complaint. We explore the most common types of complaints received by plumbers and the best ways to deal with them. We’ve also got all our regular news and features, including information on terminating employment, new privacy laws, managing risk and much, much more! Happy reading!

306 Albert Street Brunswick VIC 3065 T (03) 9356 8921 F (03) 9356 8929

Contacts Publisher The Master Plumbers’ and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA)

Editor Melissa Chrys T (03) 9321 0703 E

Advertising Tremain Walles T (03) 9321 0780 E

Suppliers Salt Creative Printgraphics Direct Mail Corporation

Melissa Chrys Editor Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine



COLLECT IN THE ARVO With Click&Collect, you can order everything you need in the morning and pick it up from 4pm that very afternoon from our dedicated trade drive-thru area. You can even place an order from your iPhone with the Masters App. Try it once and you’ll wonder why you ever ordered any other way. Find out more at your local Masters or visit


Simply present your Trade Member Card and Trade Charge Card for 5% off storewide*

Find out more and shop online at or call 1300 337 707 VIC: Ballarat, Box Hill, Braybrook, Burnside, Carrum Downs, Dandenong, Hawthorn East, Knoxfield, Mornington, Northland, Oakleigh South, Roxburgh Park, South Morang QLD: Cairns, Mackay, Morayfield, Nerang, North Lakes, Rockhampton, Springfield Central, Tingalpa, Toowoomba, Upper Coomera NSW: Chullora, Gregory Hills, Rutherford, Wagga Wagga WA: Baldivis, Bibra Lake, Ellenbrook, Forrestdale SA: Mt Gambier ACT: Canberra Airport *Excludes gift cards, trade packs and negotiated discounts. Apple, the Apple logo, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. 340505_AP_NAT

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24 From the CEO / 9 A message from our CEO and the Association’s President

Member news / 10 Gold Medal and Training Awards 2013

Industry news / 18 The rite stuff / 24 Master Plumbers members Paula Withington and Kim Gallagher talk about their business Roofrite

Green heat is award winning / 26 Business feature / 28 The truth about discounts and Social Media 101

32 NSG: reaching the heights – and digging the depths – of commercial plumbing / 32 Charlotte Roseby talks to Master Plumber Norm Anderson about life as co-founder and director of a company that is leading the way in commercial and industrial sustainable plumbing

THE VALUE OF Green Star buildings see page 36

36 Apprentice news / 44 Termination: landing you in hot water? / 46 The decision to terminate employment raises significant risk for employers

Australian Privacy Principles / 48

The value of Green Star buildings / 36

New laws will soon apply to the collection, storage and use of personal information

Not happy, Jan / 40

Is your business protected? / 50

At some point, most businesses will be faced with a complaint – how do you deal with customer disputes?

Ensuring your business has appropriate insurance cover will help mitigate risk and is an essential part of business planning

Taking care of business: debt collection and recovery / 42

Product news / 52

Getting paid is one of the key challenges facing many small businesses

WPC news / 62 The latest from the World Plumbing Council

Disclaimer Statements and information appearing in this publication must not be interpreted as having the endorsement of being the opinion of the publisher, which takes no responsibility for the correctness of the statements made. It is a condition of purchase or acceptance of this publication that the publisher does not assume any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage which may result from any inaccuracy or omission in the publication, or from the use of information contained herein and the publisher makes no warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to any of the material contained herein. The publisher shall not be liable for any failure to publish any advertisement where such failure results from circumstances beyond their control. If advertising material is not supplied in accordance with deadlines, the publisher reserves the right to repeat any material previously provided by the advertiser. The publisher reserves the right to refuse and edit material. All prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. Copyright Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.



To see Zetco’s comprehensive range of WaterMarked valves, contact us today for a free brochure or visit the website 1300 659 639

Delivering innovative valve solutions

The need to push for the separate recognition of plumbing as a licensed trade and a unique skill in now stronger than ever


from the President and CEO

Training remains a top priority The Association held the 106th Gold Medal and Training Awards in June. I was very impressed by the calibre of the award winners and by their commitment to ongoing training and education. Find out more about this event on page 10 of this issue.

Elections, the Building Commission and Licensing As you read this the Federal election will have occurred. We hope that this will result in a higher degree of certainty and confidence in the future and a resulting commitment to an increase in construction and housing activity.

Master Plumbers has a strong belief in the importance of training, education and continuing professional development.

The Association supported ACCI’s ‘Small Business Too Big To Ignore’ campaign to try and achieve recognition of the needs of small businesses during the election.

With new technologies, methods and ideas constantly arriving on the scene, it is essential that plumbers keep themselves well informed. Training and education is one of the best investments you can make in your business and your staff, and I encourage you to take advantage of the training and professional development on offer at places such as PICAC – it will definitely help you stay ahead of the game.

Around Australia, the trend towards combined “Building Authorities”, which include plumbing, is continuing. This has already happened in Victoria and is underway, or under consideration, in most other states. The need to push for the separate recognition of plumbing as a licensed trade and a unique skill is now stronger than ever.

Master Plumbers has always offered members and non-members post-trade training across a range of plumbing areas and I’m pleased to announce that our preapprenticeship training is proving to be very popular. Head to page 44 to see what the latest group of learners has been up to. The license level training also on offer is a great option for plumbers looking to increase their skills or expand their business. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about for a while, don’t put it off any longer. A busy schedule is no longer an excuse, Master Plumbers now offers online training, which means you can learn from anywhere – just log into a virtual classroom and participate in training from the comfort of your home. The Green Skills for Trades project has now been completed, this project ran for two and a half years and delivered free Green Plumber training to apprentices across Victoria. I’m pleased to announce that during this period, we delivered 3737 units of training to 1644 apprentices across Victoria – a great outcome for the project! Of course, Green Plumber training is still available to everyone, with 10 subjects now in the suite of courses being run from PICAC.

In Victoria, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has been established and the initial five Commissioners, including Chief Commissioner Bill Kusznirczyk, have been appointed. The Association is concerned about the lack of plumbing (and building) industry experience and representation on the Board of the Authority. We will continue to argue strongly that the Board needs to be expanded and to include better industry representation. In relation to National Licensing, the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement has been released for comment at state level. In relation to Plumbing, it recommends a three tier system of Plumbing Contractor, Full Plumbing License holder and Supervised Plumbing License holder. A range of categories of plumbing work would be covered, including water, sanitary, drainage, general gasfitting work, fire protection and mechanical services. Roofing and storm water drainage would remain as per the ‘status quo’ outside the regime and would be considered again when building licensing is considered. There is a lot of information in the detail of the scope of work that is covered by each category and the Association will consult with the State Government on issues that are raised. Further information will be circulated to members as it is released.

With so many options available, there’s sure to be something to suit every plumber. Visit to view the PICAC training calendar and find out more about the training on offer. Ken Gardner CEO Master Plumbers

Scott Dowsett President, Master Plumbers Association | 9

member news Top students and apprentices recognised Fifteen of the brightest secondary school students and plumbing apprentices have won awards for academic and skills excellence at the 106th Master Plumbers Gold Medal and Training Awards 2013. Spiros Kanellos won the highest award, the Andrew Letten Gold Medal Award, which was presented by The Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC, Governor of Victoria at a ceremony held at Federation Square on 19 June. Spiros was one of three nominees for the top award, along with Scott Mills and Andrew McIver. Eight awards were given to plumbing apprentices in Victoria who have excelled in their pre-apprenticeship or apprenticeship studies and job performance. One award recognised academic excellence and commitment of Indigenous secondary school students to encourage them to embark upon higher education. As Australia's largest plumbing industry association, the Master Plumbers provides its members with business services, industry representation, training and advice on industrial relations, employment and safety. Part of this work involves recognising the development and achievements of students and young workers to ensure a skilled workforce into the future. According to Ken Gardner, Chief Executive Officer of the Master Plumbers Association, the awards are an opportunity to recognise excellence in the plumbing sector and support the growth of young apprentices. “Awards of this nature are vitally important for nurturing apprentices and young people to ensure we have a talented pool of qualified individuals available in the future. These awards exist for that purpose,” Mr Gardner says. “They demonstrate the value to employers of recognising and rewarding talented and committed individuals.” The Association congratulates all the 2013 Award winners and thanks our sponsors for making the event possible.

10 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Spiros Kanellos The Andrew Letten Gold Medal Award sponsored by the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre and the Incolink Don Pritchard Award Emily Kelley and Samual Walsh Bannam The Cooke & Dowsett Sir Rohan Delacombe Award Lukas Theron and Jordan Kindred The Cbus George Stone Preapprenticeship Award Shariff Maaliki and Jack Murphy The Alfred Atherton Educational Award Scott Mills The Reece Frank Maskell Award Katherine Lipic The Rose Curtis Award sponsored by Marsh Insurance Brokers Ric Mantini The AG Coombs Award Andrew McIver The Energy Safe Victoria Encouragement Award Peter Shepherd The PBA Safety Indigenous Apprentice Award Mark Thistlewhite The City West Water Environment Award Dean Kovacic The HCAA Encouragement Award sponsored by the Heating and Cooling Association of Australia (HCAA) and the Australian Duct Manufacturers Alliance (ADMA)

Gold Medal Award Spiros Kanellos wins the 2013 Andrew Letten Gold Medal Award. Mature-age plumbing apprentice Spiros Kanellos, from Ormond, has won this year’s Andrew Letten Gold Medal Award, the highest honour bestowed on outstanding plumbing apprentices, at this year’s Master Plumbers Gold Medal & Training Awards, held yesterday, 19 June. The Gold Medal is presented to the plumbing apprentice who has demonstrated a strong commitment to off-the-job studies and has successfully completed the registration exam. Mr Kanellos also won the Incolink Don Pritchard Award, designed to encourage specialised studies in areas of new technology. Spiros’ employer, Gordon Brown from Kazlex, based in Caulfield, said Spiros excels in all areas of general plumbing and, as a mature-age apprentice, is confident and has brought life experience to the job.

“We were rapt when he won the awards and very happy that he has been recognised as a top apprentice. It’s a delight to know that his outstanding efforts have been recognised by the plumbing industry. Spiros’ willingness to go above and beyond is well-known to all of us and clearly the word has spread,” he said. “We intend to employ him on an ongoing basis, but he would be excellent in his own maintenance business as well.” Spiros also previously won the Best Third Year Plumbing Apprentice (General) Award for 2012 at Holmesglen TAFE earlier this year.

Spiros has just completed his apprenticeship and is continuing his studies in licensing, back-flow prevention, type A gas appliances and green plumbing. As an adult, and after travelling throughout Europe, he has developed an appreciation for the quality of Victoria’s water and said, “I aim to continue my education in green plumbing and ways of reducing the carbon footprint in the up-market developments our company works on.” Congratulations Spiros!

Spiros says the seed of a plumbing career was planted when he was little watching his father, who was a handyman, changing gal pipes and cutting threads. “From then on, I always enjoyed plumbing and wanted to be a plumber,” Spiros said. | 11




A big difference This air-conditioner is unique. It has no outdoor unit. The Italians have done it again. The Unico from Olimpia Splendid represents the latest in air-conditioning technology. Instead of a big outer box, it’s got two small holes. The air-conditioner is installed from the inside, quickly and without any complex masonry. This means fast and low cost installation. Four models with Inverter technology to choose from. Four models with On/Off technology. With or without heat pump technology. Unico. It means “the only one”, in Italian. You’ll agree. It’s unique.

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12 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

member news Spotlight on Indigenous students and apprentices The PBA Safety Indigenous Apprentice Award Peter Shepherd The Indigenous Apprentice Award is offered to the top Indigenous apprentice to encourage apprenticeship studies in all areas of plumbing. Peter Shepherd is part of the Plumbing Union Indigenous Apprentice Program. He tried a number of trades, including scaffolding and building, before deciding that his passion lay in plumbing. Peter is looking forward to finishing his apprenticeship and then helping other Indigenous students get involved in the industry. “I’d like to help other Indigenous kids like me get their own trade. I think I can give a lot back to the Indigenous community and it’s something I am really passionate about,” he says. Peter says he loves the variety of work in plumbing and the people he gets to work with, “You’re not working by yourself, you are working with a group of people who enjoy what they are doing and you can be on different sites every day.”

The Cooke & Dowsett Sir Rohan Delecombe Award This award is presented to two young Indigenous high school students embarking on high education or to provide assistance with their secondary schooling. Sammy Walsh Bannam Heywood & District Secondary College Sammy is a passionate footballer who recently played in the AFL KickStart Under 15 Championship competition in Queensland. His role model is his uncle, Nathan Lovett Murray who plays for Essendon Football Club. Sammy’s favourite subjects are PE and maths and he plans to attend TAFE to learn a trade as a back-up for life after football. Emily Kelley Wodonga Senior Secondary College Emily enjoys being creative and learning about different foods. She is planning to undertake a TAFE course in hospitality studies and doing an apprenticeship as a chef. She would like to work in the hospitality industry and also enjoys her studies in photography.

Preapprentices encouraged in future studies The Cbus George Stone Preapprenticeship Award The Cbus George Stone Preapprenticeship Award is named after George Stone, the Victorian plumbing industry’s first Gold Medal winner and a member of Master Plumbers for more than 46 years. The Award is designed to encourage students participating in plumbing preapprenticeship training to continue their studies in plumbing. Lukas Theron Swinburne Lukas enjoys working with his hands and enjoyed subjects like woodworking at school. He has always had an interest in plumbing and enjoyed his preapprenticeship training. His ultimate goal is to finish his apprenticeship and work towards being a good plumber. He’d like to one day start his own business and is most interested in drainage and refrigeration. Jordan Kindred Bendigo TAFE Jordan is looking forward to commencing his plumbing apprenticeship and says he enjoys learning about levelling and running pipework. He is keen to learn all he can before heading out on his own and starting his own business. “I see myself being a general plumber and being able to work in all areas,” says Jordan. | 13

member news

Welcome New Members

Share your photos and win! We're super excited and proud of our new look Master Plumbers branding and now we want to see how the new logo looks on your verhicle. Share your pics with us for a chance to win some great prizes. Win a Milwaukee Heated Jacket!

How to win! Take a photo of yourself with your vehicle/s displaying the Master Plumbers branding and send it to us at along with your name and membership number.

Send us a photo of your vehicle/s sporting the new Master Plumbers branding for your chance to win a Milwaukee Heated Jacket valued at $240! Perfect for chilly winter mornings, the M12 Cordless LITHIUM-ION Heated Jacket delivers unparalleled comfort to users on and off the job site. This jacket utilizes new cold weather technology to actively warm the body and stimulate blood circulation. Three sewn in carbon fiber heating zones distribute heat to core body areas.

Master Plumbers welcomes the following new members and affiliates who have joined the Association since June 2013. East Taps and Gas MP Mathews Plumbing Mallett Plumbing LA Gibson Plumbing

All the photos we receive will be published in future issues of Australian Plumbing Industry magazine and on the Master Plumbers website.

Australian Chillers & HVAC Solutions

Don't have the new branding?

Select Solutions

You should have received two new car decals with your renewal pack. Call the Membership Services team on (03) 9329 9622 if you haven't received yours or if you'd like some extra decals.


Shaq & Sons Plumbing & Gasfitting Southern Victorian Plumbing Pty Ltd Brett Martin Gas & Plumbing Red Hill Metal Roofing Pty Ltd One Airconditioning Adam Crean Plumbing Pty Ltd Your Friendly Plumber Pty Ltd Metrowest Plumbing Services Pty Ltd Brent Fuller Plumbing

Here’s our

CEO Ken Gardner

wly branded

with his ne

Have fun, we can’t wait to see your pictures!


Winners are grinners! Congratulations to the winners of our Renew and Win competition! The following members renewed their membership before 30 June and are now the lucky recipients of some great prizes thanks to Milwaukee.


Prizes included:

Brudenell Plumbing, Maidstone Dixon and Lee, Mildura Woodside Mechanical, Ballarat Cottrills Plumbing, Penshurst

Milwaukee 18 pc plumbers ice hard hole saw kit Milwaukee 28 pc hole saw kit Milwaukee 29 pc metric Thunderbold titanium kit Milwaukee 12pc demolition kit

14 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

At Raymor, we’re constantly building upon good things. From tapware to vitreous china we’ve expanded our range to give you more choices than ever. Our many cost effective options for the bathroom, kitchen and laundry come with generous warranties so you can be confident of your next install. Choosing Raymor will reflect well on you every time. Exclusive to Tradelink, call 1300 658 277 or visit for your nearest stockist.

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member news Get more from your membership Master Plumbers members can access a great range of discounts through our Member Benefits program. Here are some of the latest offers‌ Save at Westfield Shop til you drop at over 6,000 stores within Westfield centres. Access a five per cent discount of pre-purchased Westfield Shopping Centre gift cards. Gift cards can even be used at David Jones or on airfares at Flight Centres within the shopping complex.

Save on airline lounge memberships

Computer discounts from PowerBuy

Take advantage of big savings available on airline lounge memberships including Qantas Club and Virgin Australia Lounge.

Access savings on computers and IT equipment through PowerBuy. Benefit from cash-backs and coupons from many popular brands.

Dates for your diary Best in the Business Are you utilising the best business practices? Master Plumbers is holding a series of industry briefing events throughout October, come along to hear from industry experts and meet with fellow plumbers, industry suppliers and key stakeholders. Food and drinks provided and great prizes up for grabs!

Wednesday 23 October, 5.45pm

Annual Charity Golf Day

Red Pillar Cafe 1/226 Governor Road, Braeside

Friday 4 October 2013, Neangar Park Golf Club Bendigo

More dates to be released shortly.

Be part of our annual golf day and help support a great cause!

Member Christmas Party

For details email or contact Master Plumbers.

Join us poolside as we embrace the warmer weather and celebrate the end of another year.

Thursday 5 December, 6.30pm Rydges on Swanston Pool Deck Terrace 701 Swanston Street, Carlton Invites to be sent shortly. | 17

industry news 2013 Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants Australia’s apprentice plumbers have a second shot at financial assistance with the announcement that Rheem Australia is running its Apprentice Plumber Grants in 2013. This year there are 25 $1000 grants, which will be awarded to apprentice plumbers most in need of financial assistance and to help them pursue their chosen career. “The inaugural Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants were very successful, with around 300 entries from apprentice plumbers from around Australia,” says Rheem Australia CEO Matt Sexton. “We were overwhelmed by the response and by the number of heartfelt stories and amazing young and mature age apprentice plumbers out there, hence we wanted to implement a regular grants program.” In 2012 the judges were very impressed with the very high standard of applications. “It’s obvious there are a lot of apprentices of all ages who are committed to the plumbing industry, but might need a helping hand,” Sexton says. “Indeed, it’s clear that many apprentices have made considerable financial and personal sacrifices to enter the trade and further their careers. With that in mind, we wanted to provide some assistance to help successful recipients in achieving their dreams and career objectives.” Judges for the 2013 Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants will be looking for applicants who require financial help, in addition to those who might also be helping in the community or have future plans to do so.

18 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

“For example, one of the 2012 recipients, WA’s Ben Devenish-Meares, wants to provide plumbing services to help third world countries. And there were scores of other applicants who want to finesse their skills and one day either start their own businesses or continue their family’s businesses into the future,” Sexton adds. Winner will be announced at the end of September. To find out more visit

Green apprentices – Green Skills for Trades project completed Master Plumbers is pleased to report that the Green Skills for Trades project has successfully completed after two and a half years.

Over the life of the project 373 training programs were delivered across metropolitan and regional Victoria. 1644 apprentices participated in the training offered, completing a combined total of 3737 training units. Most apprentices did one or two subjects but 125 successfully completed all seven units required to achieve the full Course in Green Plumbers Environmental Solutions qualification. This is a great outcome for the development of sustainability awareness within the plumbing industry. Master Plumbers is pleased to acknowledge our project partners, CEPU – Plumbing Division and the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) in the completion of the Green Skills for Trades project. Many thanks also to our RTO partners without which the project could not have achieved such a great result; • Swinburne University

The project, funded by the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, was introduced to support development of sustainable plumbing skills and knowledge in the Victorian plumbing industry ahead of the introduction of six star residential standards. The project was focused specifically on plumbing apprentices as the next generation of plumber. Participating apprentices were trained in a variety of subjects focused on energy and water efficient plumbing systems. All the subjects were drawn from the nationally recognised qualification 22079VIC Course in Green Plumbers Environmental Solutions. Apprentices completed between one and ten subjects depending on their interests.

• Chisholm TAFE (Frankston and Dandenong campuses) • Victoria University • NMIT (Heidelberg) • GippsTAFE (Yallourn) • Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE • South West TAFE • Goulburn Ovens TAFE (Wangaratta and Shepparton campuses) • Apprentices Group Australia • Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria and Vic Tech Group Schemes For more information about the Green Skills for Trades project please contact Alexandra Mannell on (03) 93211 0710 or email at

The number one

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FREE TradeDoor is a FREE web based account and job management tool for plumbers. It allows you to access your Tradelink account so you can: • Order online • Search for products


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• Organise invoices • Track orders… and a whole lot more. What’s more, TradeDoor is now accessible on Smartphones and Tablets. So you can manage your account wherever you are - at home, on the job or in the car.

Open the door to bigger profits To learn how TradeDoor can benefit your business, talk to your Tradelink account manager or visit the website.

Scan & Test drive The new tradedoor

industry news Work Safe Week Work Safe Week 2013 begins nationally in October. In Victoria Work Safe Week will take place from 21 to 31 October. There’ll be over 100 free seminars and events taking place all over Victoria covering topics such as manual handling, return to work, health and wellbeing and heaps more. With 98% of attendees talking about their Work Safe Week experience and 74% of attendees in 2011 returning to their workplaces and making changes to improve health and safety after attending, Work Safe Week is your opportunity to learn the latest and stay up-to-date.

Energy Saver incentive to support Victorian plumbing businesses Plumbers are encouraged to join the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme as it could give them a competitive advantage. The scheme aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage investment, employment and technology development in industries that supply energy efficient goods and services. Also known as the Energy Saver Incentive, the VEET scheme focuses on: Water heating – for example replacing and electric resistance water heater with a heat pump, solar or high efficiency gas water heater

Dates for your diary

Space cooling – e.g. replacing a refrigerated air conditioner with a ducted evaporative cooler Space heating – e.g. installing a gas-flued space heater Replacing ductwork Installing a refrigeration fan Installing a water efficient pre-rinse spray.

12 September R U OK? Day 15-18 September Building Australia’s Future Conference 16 September National Stroke Week 4 October Walk to Work Day 10 October World Mental Health Day 21-31 October Worksafe Week 1 November Movember 14 November World Diabetes Day

20 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Plumbers who are Essential Services Commission (ESC) accredited can give customer discounts and special offers on a range of energy saving products and appliances. As well as using the incentives as a competitive advantage, businesses appear on the ESC VEET register at As an alternative to becoming an accredited business under the VEET scheme, plumbing businesses can also form a commercial relationship with a business already accredited under VEET. Through this arrangement, VEET compliance requirements are less onerous than those required to become a VEET accredited business in their own right. To find out more visit

New head for building regulator Minister for Planning Matthew Guy has welcomed the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) board appointment of former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Commissioner Joe Dimasi as the Chief Executive Officer. Mr Guy said that Mr Dimasi’s appointment followed a period of change for Victoria’s building regulatory structures and is part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s focus on building a strong, new industry regulator. “The experience that Mr Dimasi will bring with him from the ACCC and his previous government roles will ensure strong regulatory foundations, a consumer focus and operational leadership for the new VBA,” Mr Guy said. VBA Chairman and Chief Commissioner Bill Kusznirczuk said he looked forward to the wealth of experience and new ideas Mr Dimasi will bring to the role. “Mr Dimasi will bring stability to our organisation and provide a solid base for the VBA’s direction and additional responsibilities as part of the Coalition Government’s reform program. The new VBA will provide comprehensive, high quality service to consumers, while providing rigor and regulation to the building industry,” Mr Kusznirczuk said. “The VBA will improve consumer outcomes by providing appropriate balance, fairness and independence while also ensuring that disputes are resolved quickly, fairly and cost efficiently.” Mr Dimasi’s significant years of experience with the ACCC include senior roles setting up regulatory functions in areas including telecommunications, energy, transport and water. continued…

IT WASN’T A GOOD DAY TO LEAVE A WHITE CAR IN OUR CAR PARK. We had never cut more than five. But since we are obsessed with relentlessly improving our blades, we wanted to see if we could improve our records as well. And if any blade could do it, it was the LENOX T2™ Demolition. It’s engineered to deliver the longest-lasting, fastest-cutting performance in the industry. The result? We ran out of cars before the blade was done cutting. Anyone want to go for nine?

Don’t believe us? Go to to claim your free trial blade and take the UpBlade™ Challenge yourself.

LENOX Demolition Reciprocating Saw Blade / Model: 960


industry news Mr Dimasi was appointed a Commissioner with the ACCC in December 2008, after having served since 1996 as head of ACCC’s Regulatory Affairs Division. Prior to this position, Mr Dimasi had been an Assistant Commissioner of the Industry Commission (now the Productivity Commission). Mr Dimasi has been a senior economist in Victorian Government departments including Treasury, Premier and Cabinet, and Business. Mr Guy thanked current acting CEO Greg Hyams for his significant contribution to the establishment of the VBA and for his assistance in transitioning to the current regulatory regime. To find out more visit

$6.4 million to tackle Australia’s deadly asbestos legacy Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten has announced an additional $6.4 million for the new Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency to implement the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management. Asbestos is a cruel, indiscriminate killer and because of its widespread use over much of the 20th century, remains a persistent threat to Australians. Sadly, asbestos-related deaths are not expected to peak until 2020, and tragically, it has been estimated that another 30-40,000 people will be diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases in the next 20 years.

The creation of an independent, national Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency was recommended by the Asbestos Management Review. The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency commenced operations on 1 July and will implement the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management.

New CEO for Standards Australia Standards Australia has announced the appointment of Dr Bronwyn Evans as Chief Executive officer, due to the forthcoming retirement of incumbent Colin Blair.

The aim of the National Strategic Plan is to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres, in order to eliminate asbestos-related disease in Australia.

“The appointment follows an exhaustive and rigorous process in which many high-calibre candidates were considered and assessed,” said Dr Alan Morrison, Chairman, Standards Australia.

The additional $6.4 million will allow the Agency to develop strategies for awareness raising, conduct research, improve identification techniques and finding and sharing best practice in asbestos management and handling. For example, asbestos removal pilots will test the action chain from identification to removal to transport, storage and disposal.

An engineer by profession, Dr Evans will come to the role following an extensive global career in healthcare and engineering, having most recently held the position of Senior Vice President, Quality, Clinical and Regulatory at Cochlear Limited. Prior to that Dr Evans held senior positions at GE Healthcare and Ultrasound. Dr Evans is a fellow of Engineers Australia.

The Plan has been developed in consultation with state and territory governments, unions, industry, researchers, community support groups and others.

“Dr Evans will be the second consecutive CEO of Standards Australia who previously worked in standards development within the organisation. This practical and grassroots understanding of standardisation will be a significant advantage in the role,” Dr Morrison said.

The Agency will coordinate across all levels of government and stakeholders in the implementation of the Plan. Seven out of the eight state and territory governments are supporting the development of the Plan. The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council, with representatives from states and territories, unions, business and community groups, will assist the Agency in its work. The Agency also manages the first National Asbestos Exposure Register. The register captures the details of members of the community who think they may have been exposed to asbestos containing materials (ACMs). It is available at

Dr Morrison said an orderly transition is planned, with Mr Blair continuing to serve in the role until Dr Evans commences in October. “I would like to pay tribute to Colin Blair, who has focused the organisation’s efforts around our core mission of developing internationally-aligned Australian Standards in the national interest,” Dr Morrison said. As CEO, Dr Evans will be responsible for the implementation of Standards Australia’s 2014-18 Strategic Plan which unambiguously outlines the organisation’s vision, mission and priorities. Commenting on her appointment, Dr Evans said: “I’m excited by the opportunity to lead an organisation which I have respected for many years, and which offers such tangible benefits to the Australian community.”

22 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

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Orjan Lundberg, Executive Director – Green Star Certification Green Building Council of Australia discusses the value of Green Star buildings and the savings they are making.

How did Roofrite get started? Kim decided to go out on his own about 20 years ago. It started out as just him and an old bomb of a car. I remember him coming home one night thrilled because he’d gotten a $3000 job – it was a massive deal. We were so excited, but freaking out at the same time too. I remember asking him, “Can we do it? Will we manage?” Today we do jobs worth 100 times that amount and it seems totally normal! The business has grown – now there’s lots of people and lots of equipment – it’s more complicated these days.

How did you get involved with the business? I was involved from the beginning. I had my own career and was studying, but I had bookkeeping and management skills that I could bring to the business. I guess like a lot of wives I always did the books, I booked appointments and I helped out where I could. It was easy at the beginning.

So the business has grown and changed significantly since the early days? Gosh yes! Over time the business has grown and we’ve become a much more top-heavy organisation. At one point we realised the business was growing bigger than the skills we had, so I went back to uni again and got a Graduate Certificate in Small Business Management. That changed things for us. It meant we had a better understanding of things like marketing, branding and managing staff. It allowed us to implement systems and all the sort of things a well-run business needs but not all small businesses have the luxury of having.

24 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Another turning point came when we realised that we couldn’t do everything ourselves. One of the best decisions we ever made was to hire more staff. It meant we had to move the business out of our home, it forced us to put better systems in place and it gave us more defined roles. Our business is constantly evolving – we’re on a fun journey.

What sort of systems and technology have you engaged to help you run your business? We recently decided we needed to find a better way to run our business – there was so much paper work and there were gaps in our systems and in the way we delivered services. There were some things that we did really well, but other areas just fell down from time to time, despite our best intentions. It wasn’t good enough. You have to deliver the best performance at all times and provide consistent service for your clients. So we introduced a range of applications and a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program and that’s really helped. It’s allowed us to overcome our biggest challenge, which is the flow of information between admin staff and those out in the field. Our new system is fabulous; we’ve become virtually paperless and now everything is at everyone’s fingertips. We used to have reams of paper and things floating all over the office. It could be a total nightmare. Now everything is online and mobile. We create a client and a job and all the information goes in there – appointments, quotes, emails, attachments, notes, photos, plans, everything. We’ve cut down on a lot of double handling and it’s made life that much easier.

Our business is constantly evolving we’re on a fun journey

Because we’re spending less time buried in paperwork we’ve got more time for following up with clients to discuss quotes and issues. It’s made such a difference. A bit of home life has been reclaimed too – Kim’s no longer chasing things up late into the night.

What’s it like working with Kim? We’ve always worked together (our relationship started as a workplace romance!). Working with Kim is actually great fun and we both really enjoy what we do. Sometimes we might get a bit cross with one another, but then we remember that there are staff present and we have to be professional!

You guys have two daughters and run a demanding business – how do you get that balance between work and home? Honestly, it’s quite hard to find that balance. Moving the office out of home was a big adjustment. We thought that while we were working from home we had plenty of time for the kids, but we realised that while we were physically there, we weren’t really mentally present. After dinner we’d be back in the office and the kids would be playing nearby. Eventually it just got too busy at home and there was just too much overlap between our work and home life. Once the home office was gone we’d come home and initially we were a bit lost. We’d look at each other and think, “What are we going to do?” It probably took us about three weeks to properly relax.


rite stuff

Master Plumbers members Kim Gallagher and Paula Withington have run their business, Roofrite, for over 20 years. We spoke to Paula about the challenges of running a business and finding a balance between work and home life.

It made us realise that all we ever did was work! I mean we both enjoy what we do and it’s never been a massive hardship, but after the move we realised how much time we spent working and that we weren’t necessarily being productive. We were a bit worried initially that we might lose some business, but that hasn’t been the case. We come to the office for work, people call during business hours and it’s great to then leave at the end of the week and have a proper weekend.

Why did you decide to join Master Plumbers? Initially we thought we’d just use the Association for the branding – to give us a bit of a boost. But I was surprised when I discovered the amount of information at our fingertips – there are so many resources! When we started to grow the business and bring on staff we got some great advice and assistance from the workplace relations department. It’s great to be able to call up and get clarification or advice. Sometimes working in a small business is like being in a bit of a vacuum. The Association is a good way to network and meet some other plumbers and their wives. We’ve also taken advantage of some great training through Master Plumbers. We did some loyalty program training a while back and it really helped us see where we could make some improvements in our service.

What do you think has made Roofrite successful? The main thing is having great client service – we always strive for that. I take it so personally when something doesn’t go to plan. Obviously things can occassionaly go awry and I find it so mortifying! Kim is a very personable guy – he’s always got time for a chat and makes a real effort to get to know clients. He always spends time chatting with them and learns something interesting about them. I think that’s what makes people want to do business with Roofrite. We are really committed to great service. We stay in touch, confirm appointments, follow up quotes with phone calls and generally try to be as helpful as possible. We always try to remember what it’s like being customers ourselves. It reminds us how important that client relationship is. That’s how we’ve grown the business over the years. We always remember to treat people how you want to be treated. We try to instil those same values in our staff. We say, “Leave the job as if you are leaving your own house. Are you proud of the job you’ve done?” We’re very strict about our standards and ensuring our work is of the highest quality.

As a small business owner you can get scared of bigger things and making change and it’s this fear that can hold you back. But you can’t let it; change is what helps you perform better. We’re so proud that Roofrite has evolved from a man with a ute to a much bigger organisation. Sometimes the business contracts with economic times, but we’re still here and we’re different from before and I think that is because we’re not afraid of change or of looking for information and advice on how to make things better. Up-skilling is also essential – do more training! Training for yourself and for your staff is so important. Training your staff will give them better skills and hopefully make them want to stay with your business, but even if they do decide to move on, you’ve helped them find great opportunities.

Any final words of wisdom? Don’t be afraid to embrace innovation. Innovating and moving with the times is essential. We went from a small business that worked with subbies to realising that we had to properly employ people, so we got a HR consultant to help us put a plan into action.

Roofrite Guttering & Roofing Systems is located in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe. To find out more visit or call (03) 9499 8059. | 25

Green heat

is award winning An award winning heater that turns waste hot water into heat relies on copper to work, but rethinks an old metal in a truly modern way says John Fennell.

I have to admit I was pretty impressed when I saw the Recoh-Vert Heat Recovery System. And clearly I’m not the only one seeing it just won the 2013 Selector Best New Product Award at DesignBuild in Sydney in May. The Recoh-Vert system from Evo Building Products is basically a copper counterflow heat exchanger that heats fresh cold mains water by using the heat from the so called ‘grey’ water normally being wasted during a shower, or from the dishwasher or washing machine. As one of the DesignBuild judges, Paul Brace, pointed out “A product which shows clear innovative thinking. Responds to thermal heat loss within the water delivery mechanism of the pipe itself. With the ‘dual’ flow pipe pushing warm grey water past the incoming hot water to minimize power required to produce heat.”

Fair exchange It beat out the competition not only because it makes use of a waste product to produce energy in the simplest way possible, but helps re-invent traditional copper tube in a market that increasingly payback is fast requires buildings in comparison to be as energy to other efficient as possible.

energy efficient solutions

The company says that the Recoh-Vert can save between 50 to 70 per cent of energy from hot water appliances, reduce a 1000 kgs of C02 and potentially achieve a gas saving of over 200m3. Team the Recoh-Vert with solar panels and hot water system-also highly dependent on copper to work well I’d like to point outand virtually no energy will be needed the company also points out.

Normally when people shower hot water-and 90 per cent of most hot water in our homes is used for showering-is flushed to the drainage system without any attempts to reclaim and reuse the heat at all, but here it’s directed towards the heat exchanger system for re-use. The Heat Exchanger is basically a double walled pipe where shower water is discharged through the inner pipe in clever design that allows for the maximum extraction of heat. The heat is transferred through the tube wall to the incoming cold water traveling in the opposite direction on the other side of the tube wall. The very clever counter flow design, using telescoped copper tubes, allows for maximum heat transfer rates that expertly relies on copper’s great thermal conductivity. The systems suitability for a range of buildings is also smart. Because the design locates the system below the shower it’s perfect for multiple storey buildings and particularly commercial ones like hotels, hospitals or retirement homes where energy costs are a major issue, as well as two story homes. Evo Building Products are offering two versions of the Recoh-Vert-one for homes and the other for commercial buildings-and the company tells me that the low upfront cost combined with fairly simple installation and low maintenance means payback is very fast in comparison to other energy efficient solutions on the market. They estimate that an average Australian house would get a return on investment in 18 months while commercials install are even faster. In fact a case study conducted by Bristol University in the UK at their campus residence showed payback in just over 12 months. In other words it’s a system that will pay for itself many times over during its lifetime. Average annual savings can be equivalent to a small solar water heating system but at a fraction of the cost the company says and without any service requirements-and of course doesn’t need the sun to work.

While this is a brand new product in the Asia Pacific it’s been on sale in the UK and Europe for nearly 2 years with great success.

Green at heart This is such a timely product as well given the way energy costs keep rising. The Australian Energy Market Commission has estimated that electricity bills will increase by about 42 per cent between 2011-2014 and water heating can account for up to 30% or more of a typical home’s electricity bill. It fits in perfectly with the copper industry’s push to make sure copper keeps innovating to help support new ways to improve energy efficiency or deliver clean sources of power like wind, solar and tidal. And in the process find a crucial place in the shift to greener building. Green building is definitely one of the most important trends we’ve seen in the last decade and is already a multibillion industry that keeps growing rapidly each year. According to a recent global construction survey one-third of architects, engineers, contractors, building owners and consultants say they’re are now focusing their work on sustainable design and that by 2015 60 per cent of their work will be “green”. Copper’s staying in the sustainable picture for a few simple reasons-it has fantastic thermal and electrical conduction, its 100 per cent recyclable and seems to partner with just about any new technology seamlessly. And the Recoh-Vert is a great example of just that. Of course I wouldn’t be the head of the ICAA if I didn’t say I’m very happy that the Recoh-Vert not only puts a bit more copper in to our homes and offices, but does it by doing something for the planet and saving money in process. That’s a pretty good equation in my book.

John Fennell is CEO of International Copper Association Australia 26 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

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What’s the true cost to your business?

Every plumber wants to make a profit. That’s why so many plumbers get off the tools and start up a business for themselves. Profit at the center of every business owner’s decision making process, the number one factor in literally every critical decision It’s not enough made in the to win work or business. We are keep busy always asking, it needs to be “How will this profitable decision impact business profits?” There are many factors that impact profits and at a basic level within a plumbing business they can be broken into three broad accounting areas.

Discounting When discounting, very few plumbers appreciate the true cost of the discount or how it will impact your bottom line. Because your costs don’t change, it will still cost the same amount to complete the job(s) and therefore it’s only the revenue that decreases when a discount is given. The impact of discounting is as dramatic on maintenance and service jobs as it is for project works. If we consider service or do-and-charge work for this example, to recover any discount provided to your customer, the business needs to complete more service jobs to generate the same amount of profit. Yes, your business needs to more work to cover the reduced profit from providing the discount. What is not understood by most of us who discount is how much additional work needs to be generated and completed so the business can achieve the same profits. The table below illustrates the cost of discounting.

1 Total revenue

2 Less direct job costs Materials, equipment hire, allowances, site costs, sub-contracted labour This provides direct job profit or gross profit

3 Less business overheads Wages, fuel, communications, rent, all other expenses Equals business profit

Gross Profit Margin on Jobs 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Discount Given

Maintenance, service and progress claims, invoices raised against jobs

2% 25% 15% 11% 9% 7% 6% 5% 100% 50% 33% 25% 20% 17% 10%

- 200% 100% 67% 50% 40%



- 300% 150% 100% 75%

Increased competition tends to drive rate discounting with competing companies reducing labour rates in order to attract or retain particular customers, contracts or quotes. The real trick in understanding the table above is to work out the true cost of your employees. Once the “cost per hour” is calculated then the margin you are making on labour can be calculated. Many companies are hesitant to raise rates and often believe that they would lose too much business in doing so. Once you understand the cost of employees and what margin you make on labour, the table below illustrates what volume of sales you can lose yet retain profit amounts. Gross Profit Margin on Jobs 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Rate Increase

Discounting is often considered a dirty word, but how can you make it work for your business?

2% 17% 12% 9% 7% 6% 5% 5% 23% 17% 13% 11% 9% 8% 10% 50% 40% 33% 29% 25% 22% 15% 60% 50% 43% 37% 33% 30%

It is important to keep in mind that profit margins are the key to succeeding or not. Seemingly no one is surprised when particular companies liquidate even though they have been continually winning work. It’s not enough to win work or keep busy – it needs to be profitable.

20% - - - 400% 200% 133%

Firstly decide what your current margin is and then look at any discount you may consider providing your customer. Match the two up and you will see the increased percentage of work required to achieve the same level of profit within your business.

This article was written by Gerard Lyons from simPRO Software and this article originally appeared on

28 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Knowing your numbers. Brett Burden talks business profitability, hourly rates and the D-word. Do you often find yourself saying, “Where does all the money go?” or, “I seem to be working harder and harder but not getting anywhere”? Having worked with business owners for over two decades, I hear these statements from about 95 per cent of all my new clients and even more from those with service-based business, such as plumbing companies. My answer is always the same dull and boring reply, “you’re either spending too much or not charging enough.” And around 95 per cent of the time I can confidently say that it’s the latter. The example I use to help clients understand that they’re under-charging seems pretty simple but it’s an effective way of getting them mad enough to make the necessary changes. Say you were in the widget selling business rather than the plumbing trade and you sold the widgets for around the same amount that you paid, how much extra cash would you have at the end of the month? The answer is… around about the same that you had at the start of the month, minus your overheads of course. But let’s say you worked harder and sold double the amount. How much would you have at the end of the month now? Answer; about the same! At this point you’re probably thinking, “well that’s just stupid, who would do that?” Well unfortunately many business do exactly that, they just don’t know it. We’ve all heard the definition of insanity, right? It’s doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.” Clearly it’s time to try something different. Another question I ask my clients is, what is your hourly rate? I get answers anywhere from $55 to $110, and they’ll then look at me and say, “Is that about right?” How would I know, every business is different!

The rate you charge depends on the following: What is your overhead cost per hour? How many ‘actual’ hours does the business have available? What is the actual cost of your labour per hour? Until you know these numbers you or I can’t possibly figure out if you’re charging the right amount. So it’s quite possible that you are selling your widgets (hours) for around about the same as you pay for them. The next thing I hear from clients is that they can’t possibly charge any more because they’d never win another job. When I hear this I think, “So what you’re telling me is you’d rather continue to make zero (or possibly lose money) on each job?” If that’s the case wouldn’t you be better staying home and watching telly? I mean the result is the same isn’t it? The other major factor that gets in the way of being profitable is discounting. I’m not saying you shouldn’t discount, but there are times when it is and isn’t appropriate. Also, before you can even consider offering a discount, you have to be well aware of the costs to your business. Here’s a scenario that demonstrates why discounting is often considered a dirty word. Say your Gross Profit Margin (GPM) was 30 per cent and you decided to give a discount of 10 per cent. The impact of this reasonably small discount actually means that you would have to do 50 per cent more work over that same period in order to earn the same profit. This is why many people find themselves working harder for bugger-all return.

Here’s my advice. Before you give any more quotes, you must know your numbers. If this all sounds like gobbledygook and you have no idea where to start don’t despair. There are people around who have the answers – you just need to know which questions to ask. Here’s one final scenario for good measure. You have $100 and I ask you to add 20 per cent. Your answer, and the correct one, would be $120. Now if I had you discount it by 20 per cent what would you be left with? When this question is asked quickly you’d be amazed how many answer $100. (FYI the answer is $96) Knowing your numbers and understanding the impact they have on your business will allow you to build a business that can set you free. Brett Burden is a Master Plumber Affiliate and has worked with many members over the past five years. For a free evaluation on your business, email Brett directly on or call (03) 8684 2222.

you’re either spending too much or not charging enough

Now let’s say that you don’t know what your true margin is and you decide to give a 10 per cent discount because you’re told that’s the only way you’ll win the job. If your GPM happens to be only 20 per cent, it means you’ll need to do 100% more work to end up in the same place! Scary, hey? | 29

Social media


Tips for making the most of offers: Give high quality and exclusive offers

Wondering if social media is right for your business? The answer is a resounding YES. Social media is a great way to connect with clients, drive repeat business and attract new customers. Here, we explore two of the key platforms: Facebook and Twitter.

Let’s be friends Creating a Facebook page for your business is a way to build your brand and develop relationships with your customers. A lot of the time small business owners are stretched pretty thin in terms of time and budget. When you’re busy on-site all day, spruiking your business on Facebook is probably the last thing on your mind. But the value and reach that social media can give any business is something savvy contractors are quickly coming to realise. Facebook is the cheapest and fastest way to reach new business and remain topof-mind to existing clients. Spending around 10 minutes a day on upkeep for your page is enough to give your business a presence and genuinely help strengthen relationships with your customers. The smaller your business, the more important these connections can be to help keep your company thriving. Facebook helps your customers feel like you’re an actual person who is listening to them before or after a job or phone call. It is also the easiest way for existing clients to share information about you to their friends.

30 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Re-share offer post every three days; do not post a new one Pin the offers post to top of your page Offer text should be short with a clear call to action; leave out marketing jargon Images should be colorful and simple

Here are four really simple ways to make the most of your page:

1 Use photos to show off what you do Photos are the most effective means of drawing people to your page Facebook. The more interactions clients have with your photos on Facebook, the more word of mouth marketing works to spread the news of your business to your customers and their friends. People are always interested in what they don't usually get to see, so give them a behind the scenes look at what's happening on your jobs, the process and the finished product. This will allow followers to ask questions and open up a conversation with you that probably would never have happened otherwise. Also, a few pictures of your employees (preferably smiling) will further bring attention to the human aspect of your business. All it takes is a few strong shots from the camera on your smartphone.

2 Special offers Advertise any special promotions you might have going with Facebook's new ad unit called Offers. This ad allows a business owner to highlight their existing offers within the Facebook's ecosystem to a larger audience than they would be able to regularly reach when posting. This is usually a paid ad, but the first ad is free for small businesses. After your first ad has run, the price is dependant on how many people you wish your offer to reach. These ads are relatively inexpensive and can cost as little as $10. Think of this feature as pay to play reach for your business.

3 Schedule updates in advance As we said before, making time to update your page or remembering to do it regularly can be a bit of a chore. While it’s best to check on any queries or questions that might have come in during the day, you can pre-schedule posts when you have a bit of spare time so that your page is still active and out there. Facebook lets page owners schedule posts to be published at a later date. Maybe set aside a few hours on Sunday afternoon to schedule a few posts for the week to make sure you're giving your business proper coverage. You can schedule links, photos, status update and videos ahead of time.

What should I be posting? It may seem daunting coming up with things to post about but it’s actually really simple. Update about jobs you’ve done that are interesting, images of your finished work, work related articles or information you’ve come across that you’ve found interesting – anything from water saving devices to images of innovative designs. You can be professional while having a bit of fun with it – put your personality into your page.

How do I schedule my posts? Choose what type of content you want to post, write text for it and then click on the small clock icon in the lower-left of the sharing tool. Pick the future year, month, day, hour and minute you'd like your post to go live and then click schedule, easy!

4 Keep up with clients from your Smartphone When a person posts on your wall or on a post shared on your Page, it’s really important to answer them as quickly as possible. Answering questions, responding to compliments, dealing with complaints and removing spam is one of the most important ways to give your customers the best impression of your business. Your community is made up of your current and potential jobs, keeping in contact with them will strengthen their opinion of your business. Satisfaction breeds loyalty. If your customers feel both loyal to your business, it’s more likely you'll have a strong, long-term connection with them – and anyone they refer you on to. The best way to manage Facebook feedback with limited fuss and time is by using the Page Manager app. Download the app on your iPhone (if you have one!) to answer private messages, wall posts, comments on your posts or to deal with any other community management tasks. The app allows you to update your Page and check Page insights at a glance.

Tweet, tweet! Twitter began in 2006 as a simple text message service allowing users to communicate quickly within a small group. Since then it has evolved into a global service (with over 200 million active users) that brings users closer to their interests.

Twitter is for everybody Basically, Twitter is a public forum where anyone can read, write and share messages.

Short and sweet Twitter is made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It doesn’t seem like many words to get your point across, but there is a lot you can do with 140 characters, including posting photos, videos and links.

Connect to customers People turn to Twitter to talk about everything, including your business and the plumbing industry. Twitter is a powerful and effective way to connect and engage directly with present and future customers in real time. People use Twitter all the time, on desktops, tablets and a whopping 60 per cent of users connect via a mobile device.

Listen and learn Not ready to Tweet straight away? Before you start Tweeting, log on and see what your competitors are talking about. Follow key stakeholders and search for industry keywords to help gather information. It’s a simple way to gain insights and help develop your social media strategy.

What’s the deal with hashtags? Twitter users add the hashtag (#) symbol before words and phrases in their tweets in order to categorise them for others or to organise conversations around a theme. You can click on hashtags to see similarly themed Tweets.

What do I Tweet about? Like Facebook, people use Twitter to talk about what they care about, their interests and what is happening around them. They talk about people, brands and businesses. Twitter gives you an opportunity to engage with your customers and strengthen your brand. You can use Twitter to tell customers what you’re working on, post photos of completed jobs, send updates, post customer feedback and run promotions. Just like Facebook, you can use Twitter to offer your followers exclusive offers and discounts.

Anatomy of a Tweet

What if someone says something negative about my business? Many businesses avoid using social media for fear of potential negative feedback from customers. However, avoiding social media does not stop people from saying bad things about your business, it just means you’re not there to defend yourself when they do. Negative feedback happens to everyone. Acknowledging it and responding to it appropriately is an opportunity for you to demonstrate excellent customer service. How you handle negative feedback says a lot about how you run your business and how you treat your customers. If someone does post a negative comment on your Twitter or Facebook page, you need to stay calm and consider the feedback objectively.



Delete the comment. Chances are someone has already seen it and unless the comment contains inappropriate language or lewd comments, deleting will probably only make the commenter angry and make the situation worse.

8 8

Ignore it – this won’t make the feedback go away. Respond when you are angry. You need to write your response with a clear head, so take a deep breath, count to ten, read the comment again (objectively) and prepare your response thoughtfully.


4 4 4 4

Acknowledge the feedback with a thoughtful response Offer the customer a genuine apology Take the conversation offline: offer to call or email Offer the customer a solution

Click to follow user User name


Find us online!

Hashtags (#) used to categorise conversations You can add photos and videos to your Tweet

Reply, Retweet, Favourite

Search for Master Plumbers on Facebook and follow our page or visit us on Twitter @MasterPlumberAU | 31


reaching the heights and digging the depths of commercial plumbing Charlotte Roseby talks to Master Plumber Norm Anderson about life as co-founder and director of a company that is leading the way in commercial and industrial sustainable plumbing. The story of NSG Plumbing, a major commercial plumbing company, is one of determination and hard work – and a very clear vision. In 2002 Norm Anderson was working as a plumber in the commercial and building sector when he and a couple of workmates saw a critical opportunity: to create a new company with great work ethics and morals that would gain the respect of the industry. “We said to each other, ‘Right, let’s do this. Let’s go!’” says Norm. “Our aim was pretty straightforward: to be one of the major players in Melbourne and provide a quality service to the industry.” After setting their sights high, the workmates made a very sensible decision. ”We decided to get back to basics,” says Norm. “We bought a couple of utes and started back on the tools. We almost had to start again from scratch.”

32 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Given their combined experience, it wasn’t long before they landed their first major project and started employing plumbers to carry out the works, giving the team more time to focus on growing the business. “We had a vision of what we wanted to do and we achieved it fairly rapidly,” says Norm. Norm and co-founder Geoff Tait are now co-directors and construction managers of NSG Plumbing – a company specialising in commercial contract, maintenance, and design and construct hydraulic plumbing, with 80 full-time employees. Their focus is highly skilled commercial work and they are regarded as established leaders in the design, management and supply of sustainable plumbing for industrial and commercial developments and fit-outs. They also provide programmed commercial maintenance to major buildings.

Perfect partners: luxury and sustainability NSG Plumbing have plumbed a lot of high-end residential and commercial buildings in town, and making them Green Star compliant is a particular specialty. These projects have their own particular challenges, says Norm. “Their contracts can range from $20,000 into the millions. It’s never a cheap installation – there’s always a lot of detail. They are often exclusive, million-dollar apartments so the client has pretty high expectations of quality, fittings and finish.” NSG Plumbing recently completed work on Melbourne’s ‘Convesso Concavo’ in Docklands, billed as Australia’s most environmentally sustainable, luxury residential tower. The 31-storey Convesso was one of Australia’s first residential developments to be rated under the Green Star – Multi Unit Residential tool, introduced by the Green Building Council of Australia.

NSG PLUMBING: PROJECT SNAPSHOT The building boasts a range of sustainability initiatives that benefit tenants through reduced utility costs, improved internal temperature control and reduced environmental impacts. Better yet, the additional cost of these features was only two per cent compared to a conventional, non-green building. Convesso was designed to ensure high levels of water efficiency and reuse throughout the building. The apartments feature water-efficient shower heads, washing machines and dishwashers, all of which achieve a minimum 4 star WELS rating and water tanks are used for irrigation. These features reduce potable water consumption by 25 per cent. Convesso’s high-performance façade glazing and insulation to all walls and ceilings will reduce residents’ annual air-conditioning costs by hundreds of dollars every year. All kitchen rangehoods mechanically exhaust to the outside of the building and all apartments have operable windows to maximise crossventilation and natural light.

Convesso includes in-home smart meter displays in every apartment. The visual display provides residents with live data on electricity and water usage with estimated costs, plus data on the CO2 emissions they are generating. It’s amazing what a significant and underutilised little device this is: real-time feedback makes residents constantly aware of their energy use, helping them to reduce waste, save resources and save money.

Recognising our new specialised, sustainable skills Was sustainability a conscious business decision for NSG? “Sustainability came to us!” says Norm. “Well, actually, sustainability came to everybody 10 to 15 years ago. Our industry has changed – and has become much more interesting – because of the sustainability side of things.”

Forte Apartments, residential apartment building, 6 star green star rating GTV9 Development, Richmond, residential apartment buildings Convesso, Docklands, residential apartment building Melbourne Olympic Park, rainwater harvesting and filtration Southern Cross West Tower, office development including blackwater treatment plant C11 EXO, car park and residential apartments Harbour One, Docklands, residential apartment building BHP Billiton Headquarters, integrated fitout

“There’s so much more interest in sustainable work, and we’re highly engaged in it. Europe is ahead of us and we’re bringing their products to Australian construction. There’s something new every day, whether it’s a product or an idea.” | 33

“We’re not just doing plumbing anymore, we’re involved in blackwater and greywater treatment plants, rainwater harvesting, co-gen and solar hot water plants,” says Norm. Norm stops and adds: “But you really need to know what you’re doing to do this type of work. You need to be trained and you need to understand the whole system.” “It’s a different way of looking at plumbing,” says Norm. “We might be working on a $5 million project that houses over 1000 people.” Commercial plumbing involves complex issues such as pressure, gravity, flow, waste, drainage, temperature and safety. There is a high level of design and planning knowledge involved. NSG do design and construct as well as energy-efficient systems and specialised hydraulic systems. They have an in-house prototype facility for specific projects and complete hydraulic calculation and drawing facilities. With over 30 years experience in commercial plumbing, it frustrates Norm that people don’t recognise the high-level skills required by plumbers on large projects such as theirs. “At the moment in commercial plumbing there’s an attitude that ‘anyone can do it’,” says Norm, “… and that’s a problem”. Improving the image of skilled plumbers is something Norm is working on as a representative of the Master Plumbers’ National Council. He wants specialised skills to be better recognised; he doesn’t want to hear an expert in his field referred to as “just a plumber”.

The Melbourne and Olympic Parks precinct: stormwater harvesting In 2010, NSG began work on their part of the $366 million transformation of the Melbourne Park and Olympic Park precinct, which includes eight new indoor courts, 13 outdoor courts, new footbridges and a new retractable roof. It’s the biggest investment in the precinct since the Australian Open moved to Melbourne Park from Kooyong almost 20 years ago. The big-budget, 10-year construction aims to secure Melbourne Park as the world-class home of the Australian Open. But Major Projects Victoria also wanted to create a more sustainable sporting precinct – to give it a ‘green edge’. And that’s where NSG Plumbing stepped onto the field. The Melbourne and Olympic parks were top water users in the state, with major demands for irrigation and amenities. That definitely needed to change. With two million visitors a year at 600 events, including 650,000 visitors to the Australian Open, the precinct was experiencing huge peak demands. The precinct was also affected by strict water restrictions during the recent drought. Melbourne Park was trucking in recycled water from the Western Treatment Plant to try and keep up with the huge demand. NSG Plumbing worked closely with engineering company Arup to create an isolated stormwater harvesting and treatment system.

Working with a catchment area of around 18.3 hectares in total, NSG installed the complete system including buffer tanks, flow regulators, a gross pollutant trap, a pump station, huge storage tanks and a specially created treatment plant including carbon and multimedia filters. The greatest test for the builder – and no doubt the biggest headache – was installing a very impressive 4.5-megalitre concrete water tank cast in-situ under the oval for raw water storage. It was a hugely challenging job, says Norm, not only because of the sheer scale of it, but the tight timelines and the stop–start nature of the job. (They had to stop work when a ‘little event’ called the Australian Open began.) NSG worked within tough constraints like the architectural and aesthetic footprint of tanks and treatment plant, water quality requirements, existing geology and trees, and managing the tie-in to existing power supplies, sewage and potable water systems. However, NSG clearly like a challenge. Like most difficult and complex jobs, this turned out to one of which they are most proud. NSG achieved their goal of producing Class A recycled water and have enabled the whole precinct to be watered without mains water, saving over 45 million litres a year of potable water. “At the end of the job you get the satisfaction. Our name is on that job forever. We like to create a showcase.” To find out more on NSG visit

Training is vital, and is one of the solutions, says Norm. In fact it’s a priority for the whole industry. NSG are doing their bit. Last year the Plumbing Industry Commission presented NSG with their second Employer’s Award, which recognises an employer who has demonstrated support and commitment to the ongoing training and development of its staff. “NSG Plumbing is a strong supporter of post-trade training and has invested in staff training, with a focus on upskilling and developing the workforce’s knowledge in new materials and techniques in emerging fields of plumbing,” The Plumbing Industry Commissioner said.


The new stormwater harvesting system at Melbourne and Olympic Parks includes: • Diversion structures

• Buffer tank in treatment plant

• Detention structure

• Carbon and multimedia filters

• Flow regulating structure

• UV disinfection

• Gross pollutant trap

• Clear water storage tanks

• Pump station

• Distribution and irrigation

• Raw water storage tank

34 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

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The value of

Green Star buildings.

Orjan Lundberg, Executive Director – Green Star Certification Green Building Council of Australia discusses the value of Green Star buildings and the savings they are making.

36 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Green Star buildings use 51 per cent less potable water than average buildings

For more than a decade, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has been saying that Green Star buildings can slash greenhouse gas emissions, make significant savings on energy and water consumption and costs, and prevent truckloads of waste to landfill. Now we have positive proof. Our new report, The Value of Green Star: A decade of environmental benefits, analyses data from 428 Green Starcertified projects occupying 5,746,000 million square metres across Australia and compares it to the ‘average’ Australian building and minimum practice benchmarks. Just a few key findings include:

Energy Green Star-rated buildings have reduced electricity consumption by 580,000 megawatts per year – equivalent to 76,000 average households’ annual electricity use.

Emissions On average, Green Star-certified buildings produce 62 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use 66 per cent less electricity than average Australian buildings. The cumulative greenhouse gas savings from the Green Star-rated buildings surveyed, when compared to the average, totals 625,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – the equivalent of taking 172,000 cars off our roads.

Water Green Star buildings use 51 per cent less potable water than average buildings. That saving – more than 3,300,000 kilolitres of potable water a year – is enough to service 18,000 households or fill 1,320 Olympic swimming pools.

Waste The average new construction project has a 58 per cent recycling rate. In comparison, Green Star – As Built certified buildings are recycling 96 per cent of their construction demolition waste. In total, 37,600 truckloads of construction and demolition waste have been diverted from landfill due to good waste management practices.

The water-saving measures from Green Star buildings deliver significant payoffs, from cost savings to habitat conservation, and from reduced pressure on infrastructure to energy conservation, as improved water efficiency reduces the need for water pumping, delivery and waste water treatment.

With more than 600 projects around Australia – from offices to factories, shopping centres to schools, libraries to hospitals – now with Green Star ratings, we have plenty of case studies of buildings that have cut water consumption through clever design and smart technology.

Our research also finds that the higher the Green Star rating, the greater the environmental savings across the four key areas. When we looked at potable water consumption savings by Green Star certified rating, for instance, we found:

The Peter Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne is one of the world’s most advanced infectious disease research facilities. ‘The Doherty’, as it is known, has achieved a 5 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 rating and boasts a range of innovative water-saving ideas.

Green Star certification level

Green Star Saving Relative (kL/annum) (kL/annum) saving (%)

Standard practice (kL/annum)

4 Star





5 Star





6 Star





All ratings





Of course, the majority of data included in Green Star submissions are estimations of operational performance. While we have strong evidence that such estimates are representative of actual performance, the true test of a green building lies in how well its design performs during the occupancy phase. When released in October, the GBCA’s Green Star – Performance rating tool will enable project teams to compare predicted savings made at the design or construction phase with actual performance, and identify pathways to bridge any performance gaps. | 37

The Doherty scored a Green Star ‘Innovation’ point for one of the building’s water-saving features – a green roof installation that also works to treat greywater. While greywater systems and green roofs are not new, the combination of the two in a single system is a first for the Australian market and will deliver multiple benefits for the Institute. The green roof greywater treatment system is expected to produce up to 1.45 million litres of recycled water each year which will equate to around 60 per cent of the water required for toilet-flushing across the building. The vegetated roof will provide extra insulation which is estimated to reduce the energy required for heating and cooling by up to 10 per cent and will also enhance the ecological value of the site via native plants that will help to purify the air.

Lifestyle Working’s rainwater harvesting system can collect more than 1.3 million litres of rainwater for reuse across the building each year

Another Melbourne development, Australia’s first 5 Star Green Star – Office Design v3 rated strata title office, is also making impressive water savings. Lifestyle Working joins other Green Star buildings around Victoria Harbour in prioritising water conservation. Efficient 4 Star WELS-rated dual flush toilets, waterless urinals and 5 Star WELS-rated tapware reduce the amount of water consumed at Lifestyle Working each day. Rainwater is collected and stored onsite in a 45,000 litre tank, and then used for non-potable uses such as landscape irrigation and toilet flushing. Vegetable oil-based waterless urinals further reduce water consumption. Based on Australian Bureau of Meteorology data for rainfall in the Melbourne area over the last decade, it is estimated that Lifestyle Working’s rainwater harvesting system can collect more than 1.3 million litres of rainwater for reuse across the building each year. Cooling towers are traditionally a major source of water consumption in commercial office buildings, with thousands of litres of water a day used to keep air conditioning systems operating effectively. Relying on clever, passive design techniques, Lifestyle Working has no cooling tower, avoiding waterwastage with no common area heating or cooling and, of course, no related costs or maintenance. Another exciting project, this time a state-of-the-art library, community centre and office complex in Queensland, is The Corso at North Lakes. This $45 million development in the Moreton Bay region was the first local government public building project to achieve a 5 Star Green Star – Public Building PILOT Design rating.

Cost-effective water efficiency measures at The Corso are expected to reduce potable water demand by 41 per cent, when compared with a standard building of a similar size. Water reduction measures will include an electronic water meter and monitoring system with leak detection, and tapware and plumbing fixtures with high WELS ratings. Rainwater, air-conditioning condensate water and fire system test water will be harvested for restroom flushing, as well as for landscape irrigation. The Corso will also act as a learning resource for the entire community. A sophisticated building management system will collect, collate and display details of the energy and water consumption on a floor-by-floor basis. Visitors to the building will be able to engage with interactive, real-time information on energy and water and make daily, weekly, monthly and annual comparisons. Imagine the learning opportunities when analysis of water consumption and savings are just a few clicks away! As Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland says: “By providing real-time energy and water data, we’re hoping that visitors to The Corso might also become more conscious of resource consumption in their own homes.” “Water,” as Leonardo da Vinci said, “is the driving force in nature.” The evidence is all there: Green Star buildings are preserving nature’s most precious resource.

Download The Value of Green Star: A decade of environmental benefits from the GBCA website: Read more about Green Star – Performance: 38 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

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Consumers want all the information and to be reassured that they are not being exploited

Not happy, Jan At some point, most businesses will be faced with a complaint or negative feedback from a customer. While it can be a stressful and unpleasant experience, it’s important to remember that dealing with customer complaints and problems actually provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate your commitment to customer service and satisfaction.

40 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Resolving a customer problem is a great way to promote customer loyalty. By dealing with an issue effectively, you can turn a disgruntled customer into a brand ambassador who will happily refer you to new customers.

Peter Kikos is the Master Plumbers Divisional Executive Officer; he provides assistance to members and consumers regarding disputes and issues and helps facilitate a resolution between the two parties. As a result, he has identified some of the key reasons for customer complaints.

Communication is key “Communication is the major problem,” says Peter. “One of the most common complaints the Association receives is from consumers who believe they have been ripped off.” “Above all, consumers want more information and to be reassured that they are not being overcharged. “Here’s a common example. A plumber might visit a client who thinks they just have a blocked drain. Upon investigation, the plumber finds a more significant problem that requires more detailed, and therefore more expensive, work. “The scope of the work has changed and the client wants to know why. Why is there more work that needs to be done? How complicated is the problem? Why are they being charged more?” Clear communication is the key to avoiding customer disputes. You need to be able to communicate clearly to the client what the problem is, what you are going to do to fix it and what is involved and required. “Explain, explain, explain – that’s what I always tell our members,” says Peter. “Have a conversation with your client, encourage them to ask questions – this helps to establish a trusting and professional relationship with the client, which is absolutely essential.”

It’s all in the attitude “Don’t underestimate the importance of a professional appearance and approach,” says Peter. Basic things like being polite, knocking on the door, returning calls, being on time or ringing in advance if you are running late are all essential.

Handling complaints Whatever the reason for a complaint, developing a complaints handling procedure for your business is important. Your procedure doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should be a system that welcomes complaints, deals with them swiftly and includes staff training.

These are all things that contribute to a customer’s experience with your business and can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. “It seems obvious, but a huge number of complaints we receive relate to professionalism and attitude,” adds Peter. “If you turn up to someone’s house over an hour late with dirty, muddy boots and then proceed to be rude or aggressive, you’ve already got the client’s back up – further issues are pretty much guaranteed.”

Contracts and clarity A contract can be used for quotations, service contracts and variation requirements. A contract is recommended for use in all circumstances because it provides clarity for both you and the customer and is an important reference should issues arise. “The majority of complaints we receive from consumers relate to when the plumber does not provide a clear and concise quotation about the work and the cost of the work,” says Peter. “Once again, it comes back to communication. A contract provides a way for you to have a conversation with your client about the job and it means you’ve taken the time to establish trust and credibility with them.

Reputation and relationships “Your reputation is probably the most vital asset in your business,” says Peter. “People will talk to their friends, or post feedback on online forums. If they say something bad about your business, your reputation will be affected.” What do successful businesses have in common? They have excellent customer service and a focus on relationship management.

Here are Peter’s top tips for better client relationships: 1 Communicate clearly explain the job to the client fully and encourage them to ask questions. 2 Establish trust and credibility using a contract provides security for both you and the client. 3 Be fair charge a fair price for your work and manage the client’s expectations around timeframes and budget 4 Be professional in attitude and appearance

A contract forces you to explain the nature of the work to the client, it’s all in there; the details of the work, materials and charges. If there are any changes, they can be discussed up front. “Being involved in a dispute is actually really stressful. If you take the time to properly clarify what needs to be done and justify the costs – the quality of your work, the materials you are using, the time it takes – you will have more satisfied customers.”

An effective complaints handling procedure includes: Listening to the customer sympathetically Establishing the details of the complaint and gathering relevant materials (such as sales receipts or damaged goods) An offer to fix the problem – either by repair, replacement or refund

Your reputation is probably the most vital asset in your business

Staff who deal directly with customers need to be empowered to resolve the issue for a customer when a complaint is made. Make sure your staff are aware of the importance of complaints handling to customer loyalty. “When a customer rings to complain, they often want to talk to the person in charge,” says Peter. “Don’t be afraid to talk to them, often they just need some clarity or reassurance.”

Complaints are handled politely, sympathetically and quickly A follow up action, such as a letter of apology or a phone call to ensure the problem has been resolved. | 41

Taking care of business

debt collection and recovery Getting paid is one of the key challenges facing many small businesses. Debt collection is a necessary evil and following up unpaid and outstanding payments from customers can be time consuming and uncomfortable. Having processes and procedures in place will help you avoid debt and help you collect your cash when clients fall behind. An efficient process is also essential to make sure you don’t spend too much time chasing after unpaid invoices. Here are some helpful strategies to help make debt collection a little easier in your business.

Be clear about your pricing Ensure your clients understand the price of your service and what is and is not included in the quote. Never assume they know how you operate, ideally you should have a contract that clients sign before work commences. A contract provides clarity for both you and the client and can reduce the likelihood of disputes arising around payment and costs.

Invoice: correctly and on time Make sure your invoices do their job. It should be clear to your client how much they owe you, how to pay and when payment is due.

Debt recovery process While the steps above should help you avoid debt, if you are still struggling to get payment, the following process can help you get your cash. If a client hasn’t paid your invoice and you have chased them up, you can inform them that until the upaid account is settled you won’t be able to do any more work for them.

Friendly reminder Once payment is overdue, give customers a friendly reminder via a phone call or an email. Remind them that payment is due and has not been received and inform them that until the unpaid account is paid no further work will be completed. Ask when they will be making a payment and keep a record of the conversation (or email). Remember to be polite, they may have genuinely forgotten or paid into the wrong account!

Direct contact If there still isn’t a response, consider visiting the customer in person (or phone if previous contact has been via email) to ask for payment. This sometimes helps create a personal relationship with the customer that can be useful for future payments.

Formal letter of demand In the event that all attempts at contact have failed, consider sending a letter of demand. This is generally done as a last resort as it can damage your relationship with your client. If you still haven’t been paid then you should consider using a debt collection agency to collect the outstanding funds from your customer. A debt collector can help you draft final notice letters or can send solicitor’s letter on your behalf – a very effective alternative to legal action.

Send your invoices out as quickly as possible, the sooner the client gets it, the sooner it will fall due, then you can get paid and your cash flow won’t suffer. There are a number of cost effective software packages that can help streamline this process for you.

Overdue reminder

Need more help?

If the customer does not respond to your phone call or email, the next step is an overdue reminder. If your customer is a business, try contacting someone else in the business and let them know who you want to speak to.

The following websites have resources, templates and tips that can help you with your business.

Terms of payment

Final notice

Think carefully about your payment terms and what works best for you. Sending a clear message about when and how you expect to be paid will help you manage cashflow and customer relationships.

When the customer has not paid as per the terms and conditions agreed upon, it’s time to give them a final phone call or email to let them know you haven’t received payment.

Things to consider when setting payment terms include: types of payment; credit limits; early payment schemes; legal requirements; customer credit worthiness.

42 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013 (VIC) (QLD) (NSW) (TAS) (NT) (SA) (WA)

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apprentice news Kicking off a great career Fifteen preapprentices completed Master Plumbers’ preapprenticeship course which began in May at PICAC. The preapprenticeship is a 13 week full time course that aims to introduce learners to plumbing and provides industry knowledge, workplace exposure and hands-on experience. Participants gain basic skills that make them more attractive to prospective employers and have the chance to decide if plumbing is the right career choice for them. Preapprentices learn about the various types of plumbing and are given a general introduction into a number of streams, including general plumbing, roofing, drainage and gas.

44 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Delivered at the world-class Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC), the purpose-built preapprenticeship facility includes a sand-pit that allows learners to practice setting gradients, laying pipes and pipeline sizing. Learners also have access to other areas of the facility, which provides training in the latest sustainable plumbing products and technologies. Alexandra Mannell, manager Training and Industry Development at the Master Plumbers says, “Delivering our course at PICAC means we have some fantastic facilities at our disposal and has allowed

us to develop a course that provides learners with a really exciting and diverse experience. “Our preapps were introduced to all six streams of plumbing and got to try out a range of skills including welding, drainage and fire. We are also including activities like domestic and commercial site inspections so they can really get a good idea about the diversity of the plumbing industry.” To find out more about upcoming courses, costs and applications, contact PICAC on (03) 9356 8902.


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mastering workplace relations

The decision to terminate employment raises significant risk for employers, in particular the potential for legal action by the former employee. Sharon Kraemer, Master Plumbers Workplace Relations Advisor, identifies common issues of concern and simple practices to minimise risk. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) is the primary legislation regulating employment. The Act establishes employer obligations, employee rights relating to employment and provides options to seek remedy for alleged breaches.


Underpayment of wages and entitlements

• there is a valid reason for termination relating to the employee’s conduct or performance:

Despite best intentions, it is often not until after termination of employment that employers are notified of complaints about alleged unpaid wages and entitlements. Employees (or their representatives) may pursue these matters in the relevant tribunal. Alternatively, employees may lodge a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman, who may undertake an investigation on behalf of the employee. Where an employer is contacted by a compliance agency or employee representative, employers are advised to request details of the complaint (including evidence supporting the complaint) in writing, before proceeding. Master Plumbers can help assess the claim.

Unfair Dismissal Unfair Dismissal is termination of employment at the initiative of the employer without sufficient or valid reason and/or without the following a lawful procedure. There may be technical circumstances (known as “jurisdictional” or “threshold” objections) which prevent an employee from pursuing unfair dismissal including a short length of service. However, quite often it can be hard to separate the threshold objections from the substantive claim.

46 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Before proceeding with termination, an employer must be satisfied that: • the termination was a genuine or bona fide redundancy OR

– the reasons relating to conduct or performance are sufficient to justify termination – the employee was provided an opportunity respond to any reasons relating to the conduct or performance and sufficient opportunity to improve conduct or performance • The employee was notified of the reason for the termination (in writing) • The employee was not unreasonably refused a support person to assist in discussions relating to dismissal

Redundancy Redundancy arises when an employee is no longer required for work because the employer no longer requires the job to be performed by anyone. To be considered a genuine or bona fide redundancy in accordance with law, the employer must: • Not employ another person to perform the substantive duties of the redundant position • Comply with Award/Enterprise Agreement (industrial instrument) obligations to discuss changes (“consult”) with the employee • Consider reasonable options to mitigate/minimise the impact on affected employees (e.g. re-deployment, reduction in hours or work or accessing paid leave entitlements)

Serious misconduct Serious Misconduct is defined by the Fair Work Act 2009 as: • wilful or deliberate behaviour by the employee that breaches the contract of employment; or • conduct that causes serious and imminent risk to the health and safety of a person or the reputation, viability or profitability of the employer’s business. In cases of serious misconduct, employers must balance the need to act quickly whilst still following a lawful termination procedure. Employers must also exercise care when managing abandonment and termination due to injury/illness. Failure to follow appropriate procedure could create exposure to unlawful discrimination claims.

Establish and manage performance and conduct standards Employers are entitled to determine the reasonable/acceptable standards or performance and conduct required by the business. Though not expressed in legislation, case law establishes employee obligations including requirements to: • be ready, willing and able to undertake duties • follow the lawful and reasonable directions • display due care and competence in the performance of the work • account to the employer for all moneys and property handled in the course of employment • be faithful to the employer’s interests including avoiding conflicts of interest, protecting reputation and disclosure of information that could impact on the business

Could your employment practices land you in hot water?

Effective recruitment practices will ensure that the parties are clear on the terms and conditions of employment including: • identify the relevant industrial instrument or National Employment Standards (NES) with respect to remuneration, hours of work and leave entitlements

Termination pay Employers should always familiarise themselves with obligations relating to notice of termination and payment arising from the termination of employment including, wages, accrued leave, payment in lieu of notice and redundancy payments.

• implement contracts of employment, position descriptions and policies/ procedures which clarify the duties, obligations and standards required • effective record keeping including timesheets, payslips and leave records

Where the employee does not meet the performance/conduct standards, employers should take proactive steps to correct these concerns. Effective performance management will include notification of the potential consequences of failure to achieve required standards.

Warning Letters While there is no legislative requirement to issue warning letters, this sound and effective practice recommended by all workplace relations and legal professionals. A warning letter: • signals to the employee that the employer considers the matter to be serious; and • serves as documentary evidence that the employer has followed the correct procedure in affecting a termination.

Right to Representation In circumstance of grievance, disputes, investigations or legal proceedings, both employers and employees are entitled to representation. Refusal to allow representation (where requested) could result in a breach of lawful rights. This right also applies in investigations by the compliance agencies such as the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Master Plumbers’ members can access information, advice and resources relating to termination of employment. Our dedicated Workplace Relations Adviser can help clarify your obligations, assist in the management of termination and, where necessary, represent members before tribunals and compliance agencies. Please contact Sharon Kraemer on (03) 9329 9622 or 1800 133 871 or refer to our website for more details.

Australian Privacy Principles

From 12 March 2014 new laws will apply to the collection, storage and use of personal information. The 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) will replace existing privacy legislation. Solicitor James Hope explains. The privacy principles will generally apply to businesses with over $3 million turnover and government entities. However, there are circumstances where a small business operator could fall within the jurisdiction of privacy laws. For example, where a small business operator provides credit to an individual customer or contracts with a government agency. The application of the APPs to any particular organisation will depend on the type of organisation, the type of information it collects and the manner in which it uses that information.

The new legislation defines, personal information as information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable: a whether the information or opinion is true or not; and b whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not. Note: The rules relating to sensitive information are even more stringent than personal information. Sensitive information is a category of personal information that describes race and ethnicity, political opinion and association, religious and philosophical beliefs and affiliation, membership of trade associations or unions, sexual preferences or practices, criminal record, health information including genetic and biometric information.

Important information It is important to remember that the APPs do not operate in isolation from other laws. While the APPs may not apply in a particular circumstance or to a particular organisation, other laws exist such as contractual arrangements and various common law principles which may apply to the collection, use and storage of personal, private or confidential information. As a starting point, each organisation should review its own information requirements, including: • the type of information collected; • how the information is collected; • how the information will be used; and • how the information will be stored and accessed. Once the organisation has a clear view on its own information requirements and uses, it will be able to take steps to assess its legal obligations and adopt a suitable information policy.

The APPS are set out in 13 different elements APPs #1 to 5 APPs 1 to 5 deal with the collection of personal information, including: • for what purposes it may be collected; and • under what circumstances it may be collected. Generally, personal information may be collected: • with the consent of the individual; and • in circumstances where the information is reasonably necessary for the collecting entity’s activities. The collection must be done in a transparent manner in accordance with a proper policy.

APP #6 APP 6 states that personal information may: • only be used for the purpose for which it was collected (“primary purpose”); and • not for another purpose (“secondary purpose”) unless the individual consents to the secondary purpose or the use of the information for the secondary purpose falls within a limited range of exceptions. A common exception for secondary use is that the individual would reasonably expect use or disclosure of the information for that secondary purpose.

APP #7 APP 7 relates to the use of personal information for direct marketing is prohibited unless the organisation conducting the direct marketing provides a simple method for the individual to easily request that the direct marketing cease. WARNING

Care should be taken when sending out mass emails or mail-merge letters.

Individuals must be provided a simple and free “opt out” function.

APPs #8 & 9 APP 8 regulates use of personal information overseas and APP 9 prohibits the use of government related identifiers except in limited circumstances.

APPs #10 to 13 APPs 10 to 13 relate to the quality, security and accuracy of personal information and regulate how an individual may access their personal information, including the circumstances under which an entity is not required to grant such access.

Tip Tip

Personal information may be collected for the purposes of establishing the legal identity of a customer/client.

It may be reasonable that the personal information would be released to an adviser or agency in the case of financial/ legal advice or legal action such as debt collection.

48 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Find out more Fact sheets and further information about the Australian Privacy Principles is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), visit



OVERFLOW RELIEF GULLY & BOLTED TRAP SURROUNDS Designed to meet your plumbing needs The Plumbspec ORG and BTS range have been produced with unique and innovative design characteristics and are the only market option designed specifically to help the installer comply with ASNZS3500. The design is small and compact, making it a lighter option, easier to transport and carry. Available in 100mm PVC grey or Evo-Crete Max options, each comes complete with strong polypropylene grates with a dual sided dome or flat finish. The Evo-Crete Max version is uniquely fibre reinforced with a concrete blend and contains a PVC inset. The BTS has been uniquely designed with the screws on the outside of the O-ring for a genuine seal that has been previously missing from the market.



& EQUIPMENT BASES POLYSLAB AC For air conditioners, generators & other equipment

EVO-CRETE LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE Pre-cast blocks, slabs and bases

Evo-Crete is an ultra-lightweight concrete three times lighter than standard concrete, highly reinforced with a unique blend of polyolefin fibres offering strength and durability. Evo-Crete has been embraced by plumbers and other trades right across Australia as a durable and lightweight alternative to dangerously heavy concrete plinths, slabs or pavers. Available in a wide range of shapes and sizes to suit any application including flat and ripple top pre-cast slabs. Manufactured to ASNZ3500.4.

Detailed structural engineering and analysis is fundamental in maximising the strength-to-weight ratio of the entire Polyslab range. Polyslab is the innovative, lightweight and user-friendly alternative to a concrete plinth. Polyslab is made from highly durable, UV stabilised, recycled materials and is Australian made and owned. AVAILABLE IN:

SMALL 640 x 340 x 51mm @ 1.6kg with a 120kg load rating

MEDIUM 885 x 465 x 51mm @ 2.4kg with a 160kg load rating

LARGE 1130 x 650 x 51mm @ 6.5kg with a 160kg load rating

Evolution through innovation. *Conditions apply.



Is your business

protected? From Marsh Pty Ltd

Ensuring your business has appropriate insurance cover will help mitigate risk and is an essential part of business planning. In any industry, protecting yourself against liability claims is an important part of running a successful business. As a plumber, your days can be filled with jobs ranging from deactivating old gas lines, and laying new pipes, to fixing a leaking tap.

As a plumber, you may be required to perform a range of small and large scale jobs. Your work is your reputation, and a reflection of how professional and competent you are. Whether you’ve been working as a plumber for a couple of months, or for many years, you should seek to ensure that you are managing your risks and arranging adequate insurance cover.

As part of your business planning it is important to take the time to carefully assess your insurance requirements, and ensure you are adequately insured. For example, are you covered in the event: • You install defective products? • Your installation causes property damage? • You or one of your employees accidentally injures a member of the public?

Insuring your public liability

Plumbers are often under pressure to complete jobs, sometime in unrealistic timeframes, which can lead to oversights that have the potential to cause serious property damage or personal injury to members of the public.

Public Liability Property Damage


A plumber installed a washing machine in the top level of an apartment. He realised that he had no new gasket washers so decided to use old ones from his toolbox. Over the coming months the washers fail, leakage starts, with water collecting on the underside of surrounding cabinets, and transferring through to the ceiling below. Three years later the ceiling on the ground level starts to crumble. Upon further investigation many of the wooden support beams were water-logged resulting in part of the building being declared structurally unsound.

Public Liability Personal Injury


A plumber was working on the roof of a four-storey apartment building repairing gutters and replacing tiles. The roof was damp and slippery from a build-up of moss. The plumber placed his hammer down for a moment and it slipped off the edge of the roof, falling and injuring a passer-by. The impact left the victim with severe head injuries which required surgery and over 12 months of rehabilitation. The total claim cost is yet to be finalised, although the estimate is in excess of $300,000.

The total cost of rectification work was in excess of $100,000.

The hypothetical claims scenarios contained in this article are for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon as governing any specific facts or circumstances. Actual claims are governed by the specific policy terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions and are subject to individual claims review by applicable insurer representatives. *Plumbers working in Victoria may also require insurance which satisfies the minimum levels of insurance required by the Licensed Plumbers (Type B Gas fitting Work) Insurance Order. Plumbers working in Victoria seeking a Private Plumbing Work Licence require insurance which satisfies the minimum requirements of the Licensed Plumbers (Private Plumbing Work) Insurance Order 2002. Marsh can also arrange these covers so please contact a Marsh representative to discuss your insurance needs. Statements concerning legal matters should be understood to be general observations based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and should not be relied upon as legal advice, which we are not authorized to provide. All such matters should be reviewed with your own qualified legal advisors. Marsh Pty Ltd (ABN 86 004 651 512 AFSL 238983) trading as Master Plumbers Insurance Brokers (Aust) (“MPIB”) arrange the insurance and is not the insurer. The insurance solutions referred to in this article are underwritten by various insurers. When arranging insurance for you Marsh Pty Ltd will disclose to you the insurer and the basis upon which it acts. The MPIB name is owned by the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA) and used under licence by Marsh. MPMSAA receives a financial benefit when a policy is arranged by MPIB, enabling it to continue to provide further services to the plumbing industry. This article contains general information only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. For full details of the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations of insurance cover and before deciding whether a policy suits your needs please refer to the specific policy document or Product Disclosure Statement which is available from Marsh Pty Ltd. 11/0162 Copyright Marsh Pty Ltd, 2011

50 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Coverage for faulty products

Every plumber has a preferred list of suppliers, the ones who are trusted to provide quality products and good service. There are also suppliers who are the last resort, who you use when you are short on time, or desperate to pick up that rare valve that only a select few stock. It’s difficult to be expected to know every fine detail about how and where suppliers have sourced their products. However, a bad experience with a faulty product can have an impact on the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

Claim example

Defects Warranty Insurance Example

A plumber purchased a batch of underground water piping and proceeded to install it along the side of a new house. A few years later the pipe burst and flooded the underground garage, damaging property including a luxury vehicle. Following an investigation, the cause was found to be a manufacturing fault which produced fractures within the pipe itself. The total cost of the claim was over $60,000. The Insurer covered the cost of the claim then sought to recover costs from the manufacturer.

For plumbers working in Victoria, an additional extension to your Public Liability policy is required. Under the Licensed Plumbers General Insurance Order 2002*, plumbers working in Victoria are required to take out defects warranty cover. Its aim is to protect consumers in the event of:

Victoria only

• Poor quality workmanship • Non-compliant plumbing work (not meeting Australian Standards) • Non-completion of plumbing works For details on how this insurance affects you and your business, contact your insurance broker.

Please contact a Marsh representative to discuss your individual needs Marsh Pty Ltd trading as Master Plumbers Insurance Brokers (Aust) can arrange insurance for all of the aforementioned risks, and a number of other products designed to cover you and your business, including:

• • • • • •

Income Protection Insurance Motor Vehicle Insurance Business Insurance Machinery Insurance Household Insurance Tools insurance

Call 1300 300 511 Email Visit

UNDERSTANDING THE INSURANCE NEEDS OF PLUMBERS IS OUR BUSINESS. Marsh Pty Ltd, trading as Master Plumbers Insurance Brokers (Aust), has been operating in the plumbing industry for over 10 years. We have been working closely with Master Plumbers to provide insurance solutions tailored to the plumbing industry. For your insurance needs, contact Marsh, the preferred insurance broker to Master Plumbers & Mechanical Services Association of Australia. For obligation-free quote, call 1300 300 511 or email

Marsh Pty Ltd (ABN 86 004 651512 AFSL 238983) trading as Master Plumbers Insurance Brokers (Aust) (“MPIB”) arranges this insurance and is not the insurer. The MPIB name is owned by the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA) and used under licence by Marsh. MPMSAA receives a financial benefit when a policy is arranged by MPIB, enabling it to continue to provide further services to the plumbing industry. This ad contains general information only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. For further information about Marsh, visit 11/0204

Partnering for impactSM Marsh is one of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, together with Guy Carpenter, Mercer, and Oliver Wyman. | 51

product news Invisible Structures


Dux hot water

Invisible Structures Pty. Ltd. stands alone as a “one-stop-shop” multi-award winning industry leader for underground stormwater harvesting systems. Its Rainstore3 tanks are modular, very fast to construct on site with volumes from kilolitres up to many megalitres. As manufacturer and system installer, exemplary quality control is provided to the client. Unique to Invisible Structures, every tank is signed off at handover after liner integrity test. The client is rewarded by having no split responsibility (manufacturer, supplier, installer) for quality and long term tank performance.

Today’s bathrooms are not what they used to be. In many homes, they’re a statement of luxury and comfort. Best of all, superbly designed bathrooms are springing up in places you may not expect them – adjoining alfresco dining areas, in granny flats and guests suits – even in garage or ‘man caves’. Sadly, plumbing challenges often get in the way of builders or renovators achieving their dream design outcome.

Dux Hot Water has released its new Prodigy® 5 star gas storage water heater range, which boasts an outstanding 5 star energy efficiency rating, coupled with a unique design and convenient footprint size.

Australian modification to a U.S patented design to improve the long term durability and utility of Rainstore3 was developed. A further innovation, Rainstore3 Advantage, uses support columns inside the perimeter walls of the tank, guaranteeing an extremely cost-effective large-tank solution up to 3.2m deep. Rainstore3 Advantage is manufactured in Australia to ISO 9001 2008 and has been tested in local NATA accredited test laboratories to be capable of supporting any legal road vehicle with a safety factor of 2. Since 2002, hundreds of Rainstore3 tanks have been installed around Australia for both government and major developers in always different and often challenging site conditions overcome due to the 100mm tank dimension design flexibility unique to Rainstore3 allowing almost any footprint! Contact Jack Droomer on (03) 5263 1997, email or visit

Enter Saniflo Saniflo has a sophisticated, state of-theart plumbing solution that allows new bathrooms to be placed in locations too hard or expensive to plumb using traditional techniques. Saniflo’s quiet, concealable macerator pump system can transport waste water up to five metres vertically or up to 50 metres horizontally – easily reaching your nearest plumbing mains. And because it enables the use of small diameter uPVC waste pipes (just 20mm in diameter), it minimises the amount of disruption to existing structures. Simply put, the location of your bathroom is now limited only by your imagination. Saniflo products come with a two year warranty and can operate with water temperatures of up to 40 degrees. For more information call 1300 554 779 or visit

The new Prodigy 5 allows a simple replacement of older, less efficient systems. In fact, the Prodigy 5 has the same footprint (422w x 502d) as existing rectangular 3 star external gas units for a simple install. Utilising an Australian first patented design, the new Dux Prodigy 5 has been specifically created with high efficiency in mind, making it the ideal hot water heater to replace existing tanks that guzzle gas and result in high energy bills. Designed and manufactured in Australia, the Prodigy 5 dramatically reduces heat loss after the heating cycle, to maximise energy efficiency and offers outstanding performance by delivering well over 2,000 litres of hot water in a 24 hour period (at a 45°C temperature rise). The Prodigy 5 comes in two different tank sizes – 135 or 170 litres, and is produced in natural gas or LPG options. These sizes, coupled with outstanding hot water delivery, mean plenty of hot water, supplied quickly and at mains pressure. Commenting on the new Prodigy 5, Mark Lydiard, National Sales Manager at Dux Hot Water, said, “The new Prodigy 5 from Dux is a patented innovation, designed and manufactured right here in Australia and produced with the plumber in mind. The Prodigy 5 also has an adjustable thermostat for safety, efficiency and control over operating costs and performance, and is backed by a ten year tank warranty for additional peace of mind.” he added. For more information about the new Dux Prodigy 5 range, please visit

52 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

anything else is a compromise Locating & Leak Detection Pipe & Test Plugs CCTV Pipe Inspection Cameras Portable Water Jetters Trailer Mounted Water Jetters

call now

1800 816 830 or visit

product news Looking for a HOT business opportunity?

A concealed cistern for every application

Hot Water Professionals are experienced leaders in the hot water industry. Hot Water is what they know! Hot Water Professionals have been operating in Melbourne since 2000, and are highly regarded as specialists in their field.

Geberit has been engineering innovative and well designed products of the highest quality since 1874; with a heritage of expertise and innovation in concealed cisterns dating back to 1964. Today, Geberit is the market leader in Europe and an essential element in bathrooms throughout Australia, incorporating Swiss know-how into a range of cisterns, designed to suit Australian conditions.

They supply customers with new gas, solar and electric hot water systems, as well as servicing and repairing existing systems. They also carry out some general maintenance plumbing. Hot Water Professionals employ a team of highly skilled and experienced staff who work closely with home owners, property managers and body corporate managers to provide the best service and complete solution to their clients. Hot Water Professionals are expanding their network and are looking for qualified plumbers to be a part of this exciting opportunity. Joining the team will enable you to build a valuable asset, and benefit from ongoing support and guidance that the franchise group offers. Hot Water Professionals provide a full induction and training program, comprehensive business systems and processes, group marketing initiatives, and a centralised call centre. Register your interest at under Franchise Information Areas available throughout VIC, SA, WA and QLD.

Introducing Geberit cisterns – including our new Sigma cistern at just 75 mm (fits 75mm wall cavity) – it is the thinnest. Geberit concealed cisterns are easy to install, require only a few tools during installation and can be easily serviced from the front through the flush/access plate. With a 10 year warranty on cistern tank –one piece blow moulded tank for absolute water tightness – and a 25 year guarantee for spare parts availability. Compatible with any approved manufacturer’s pan. Just match the WELS Star rating of the pan and cistern. Geberit is the cistern you’d install in your own home. For more information visit www. or check out our installation and service videos on youtube: My Geberit Australia.

New Plumbspec range helps installers comply with directional flow requirements The Evolve Group welcomes to our plumbing product series the Plumbspec range of Overflow Relief Gullies and Bolted Trap Surrounds. Like all Evolve products, the Plumbspec ORG and BTS range have been produced with unique design characteristics. The Plumbspec ORG and BTS are the only market option designed specifically to help the installer comply with ASNZS3500 – “…must be installed with an overflow path, so that overflows will not cause damage to buildings (including contents) or danger to persons.” The design is smaller and more compact, making it a lighter option, easier to transport and carry. Available in 100mm PVC grey or Evo-Crete Max options, each comes complete with strong polypropylene grates with a dual sided dome or flat surface. Evo-Crete Max version is concrete reinforced with Evo-Fibre and contains a PVC inset. The BTS has been uniquely designed with the screws on the outside of the O-ring to create a genuine seal. A feature that has been previously missing from the market. Features: • Compact and lightweight • Dedicated overflow channel • Dual side flat and domed gate • Fibre reinforced concrete • Multiple options available For further information contact The Evolve Group’s marketing and media manager Paul Wilkie on (07) 3283 1196.

54 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013 | 55

product news Bostik

Aussie partners Honda

Bostik Australia has been manufacturing PVC Pipe cements and primers for over 40 years, and offers an extensive range of products specifically formulated for the plumbing market.

Australian Pump Industries has been recognised as a “Global Partner” by Honda. This is a huge compliment and symbolises a recognition that Australian engine powered products are world class.

Bostik is pleased to announce their new innovative one step applicator from Bostik. Now available in Bostik Plumb-Weld® Priming Fluid Red & Clear the Bostik one step applicator. With the Bostik applicator you won’t have to worry about messy application.

Aussie Pumps is a leading Australian manufacturer of engine powered pressure cleaners and fire pumps. Aussie Fire Chief pumps sell right around the world, including North America, SE Asia, Africa and even Europe.

The Bostik applicator makes application a breeze for small and large diameter pipes, and no need for messy rags. No more HR issues on site using the Bostik applicator as this is the safer alternative to rags. Bostik Plumb-Weld® is WaterMark certified and independently tested to Australian Standard AS/NZS 3879. It is also approved for potable water applications (AS/NZS 4020). Ask for Plumb-Weld® the trusted brand from your local plumbing retailer. To find out more visit

“Being recognised as Global Partner by Honda endorses the company’s quality principles,” said Aussie Pumps’ Operations Manager, John Hales. “We compete with third world manufacturers by focusing on top quality products powered by the world’s best engines,” he said. The company uses Honda engines because of the international aftermarket support programs. “We know we can send Honda engine powered products to almost anywhere and they’ll be taken care of in a professional way,” said Hales. Australian Pump is one of the biggest Honda engine users in the country and is highly regarded by Honda not just for its volume of production but for the close relationship and constant program of improvement of its engine powered products. “We’ve earned the Global Partnership status with Honda but it’s still a great stimulus to our development to see it formalised,” said Hales. For further information visit

Hunt Heating says ‘Si’ to Italy’s leading domestic gas boiler producer Australasia’s leading supplier of hydronic central heating systems has begun exclusively selling output from Italy’s leading manufacturer of domestic gas boilers. Hunt Heating is now offering products specially developed for the Australian market by Immergas from its base in Keysborough, Victoria. The first boilers being sold under the partnership are the Condensing 96.5% efficient HE 35 System internal and external models. The Condensing HE combination boilers deliver a constant flow rate of 20 litres per minute. In addition SE 36 System Internal and External are now available. Both Condensing and Standard Efficiency models have an innovative steel case, which allows external installations with maximum safety, a requirement in Australian homes. The complete range of heating only boilers have built in accessory option that enable easy connection to existing domestic hot water storage tanks. Paul Linley, Hunt Heating general manager, said: “We’re very proud to bring the Immergas brand to Australia and are sure the outstanding technical characteristics, quality and price of the company’s output will see it become extremely popular here.” Hunt Heating has long-term partnerships with major suppliers, providing secure access to top-class products. It operates through a network of independent hydronic heating specialists, with a proven history of quality workmanship and customer satisfaction, who can provide obligation-free quotations from plan drawings or site visits. The organisation supplies throughout Australia. To find out more visit Further details of Immergas can be found at

56 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Our cisterns are now simpler to install. All you need is a phone. █ █

Onsite phone support Free training*

At Geberit, we’re committed to making sure the trade is well trained and confident when installing the world’s leading range of concealed cisterns. Contact 1800 432 3748 for more information. * Onsite training is restricted to the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane and is subject to availability.

When it comes to super, you can rely on

At Cbus, we make meeting your super obligations easy: We have a range of online contribution payment options, including the Cbus Clearing House which will allow you to pay your employees’ super into multiple funds using the one system. Access to financial advice for Cbus members. Regular communication with members and employers.

At Cbus we invest back into the building and construction industry as part of our investment strategy, thereby creating jobs.

Tony Randall, Cbus Member, VIC

Read the relevant Cbus Handbook (Product Disclosure Statement) to decide whether Cbus is right for you. For a copy: call Cbus on 1300 361 784 or visit Cbus’ Trustee: United Super Pty Ltd ABN 46 006 261 623 AFSL 233792 Cbus ABN 75 493 363 262. | 57

RMIT Plumbing Apprentices – Ready For Your Business RMIT’s Plumbing apprenticeship is nationally accredited and developed in close consultation with industry to meet employer needs. Classes are delivered by teachers with up-to-date industry experience, using first class facilities and equipment. RMIT can help develop a program to suit the specific needs of your business. All classes are centrally located in the Melbourne CBD.

Programs include: • Cert II in Plumbing (pre-apprenticeship) • Cert III in Plumbing • Cert IV in Plumbing and Services TAFE programs are delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth funding for eligible students.

> Enrolments are accepted throughout the year. For more information phone 9925 4468 or email

For solar and efficient water heating products...

We’ve got you covered

Solar Water Heaters | Solar Pre-Heat | Heat Pump Water Heaters | Gas Water Heaters RESIDENTIAL | COMMERCIAL

Visit us online or call now to discover why going direct to Chromagen is the better supply alternative.


58 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013 AD0090 FINAL2 MasterPlumbers 2013 Half Page Advert 08-13.indd 1

26/08/2013 1:14:52 PM

product news Unico air conditioner Finally, an air-conditioner that comes with no outdoor unit. With the Olimpia Splendid Unico the outdoor compressor is completely eliminated, yes that’s right the all new Italian designed and manufactured Unico is the first fixed air-conditioner without the outdoor unit. Climate control now comes without external pipework or condensors and makes installation a breeze. The Unico comes with both inverter and fixed speed technology enabling it to deliver great performance. With the capability of delivering cool clean air in summer and warm fresh air in winter the Unico is perfect for any aspect of climate control. One of the Unico’s other is great benefits is it’s extremely silent making it ideal for bedrooms in fact you could call it perfectly noiseless. For more detailed information on the unique Unico contact Noirot Australia on (03) 9563 2778.

Go Premium, Go Elite, Go BOSCH The Bosch Solar Hot Water range combines 30 years of global solar product experience with the Robert Bosch quality promise, providing the most practical and cost-effective way of harnessing the sun’s natural energy for Australian homes. Bosch provides high quality and reliable solar hot water systems and is committed to providing sustainable solutions with one of the largest gas continuous flow hot water product ranges on the market today with the Solar Hot Water range including Elite and Classic systems. The Elite Series is a premium solar system featuring frost protection, suited to frostprone climates, and available in Split or Rooftop Solar Systems while the Classic Series is suited to mild climates and heats water directly via roof-mounted solar collectors and a ground-located storage cylinder.

Viega Propress: your reputation, your piece of mind It can happen, despite every precaution being taken, a drinking water installation starts to leak a few days or weeks after commissioning, due to a fitting that was mistakenly left un-pressed. This is despite the use of fittings that according to the manufacturer’s details should demonstrate the quality “will leak when un-pressed”. Such “mishaps” are prevented by the patented Smart Connect feature with Viega fittings. Normally when systems are tested, the pressure applied is static, so there are no pressure surges which occur during normal system operation when taps are turned on and off etc. To add to this there is usually a pressure differential between floors such that a five storey apartment may have a 130kPa pressure difference between the top and bottom floor.

Water heating is responsible for 25 per cent of energy usage and 23 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in an average Australian home. The installation of a more energy-efficient hot water appliance, such as a Bosch Solar Hot Water System, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on energy bills.

Leakage in an un-pressed state is achieved when using the Viega Smart Connect feature via a channel in the fitting. In the un-pressed state, water can flow into the channel through the sealing element and leak out (figure 1). In contrast, once the fitting is pressed in accordance with the specifications, the channel in the Smart Connect feature is permanently closed (figure 2).

Manufactured to the highest possible standards using premium quality materials, Bosch’s expert systems are fitted with an electric or gas booster so that hot water is guaranteed regardless of the weather outside.

In non Viega Propress fittings the omission of pressing may go unnoticed during the leak test. Leakage with resulting damage may occur if there are pressure surges whilst the system is in operation.

For more information on Bosch Solar Hot Water Systems, visit

Un-pressed Viega Propress fittings are guaranteed to leak over the widest possible pressure range; from 100 kPa – 650 kPa in a wet test and between 2.2 kPa – 300 kPa in a dry test. This allows for a central leakage test of the entire system rather than testing of individual sections.

Figure 1

Figure 2

To find out more call 1800 484342 (1800 4VIEGA) or email | 59

product news Electrolux in the hot water market Australia’s leading whitegoods company, Electrolux Home Products, is strengthening its presence in the hot water market this year through the new Kelvinator hot water systems. The comprehensive range comprises a total of 36 models spanning heat pumps, solar electric and gas boosted and gas continuous flow hot water systems. Matthew Spinks, National Sales Manager – Hot water Systems said that Electrolux had spent two years in the planning and development of the products and service offer before recently completing its extensive national distribution and operations network. “We’re now ready to fully engage with the industry across the states and in the different channels,” Mr Spinks said. “And the wide range and variety of models has been designed to cater for Australia’s diverse climatic conditions and availability of different energy sources. The hot water business represents the first time in many years that Electrolux has expanded into a new product category, to be called Watercare. The company chose the Kelvinator brand for the hot water range because of Kelvinator’s 90 year history and reputation in Australia. “The Most Trusted Brands poll rated Kelvinator highly while the Electrolux consumer insights research found the brand was synonymous with dependable refrigeration and heating and cooling appliances designed for the harsh and variable Australian climate,” Mr Spinks added. To find out more visit or call 13 62 26.

60 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

MightyLift: combining innovation, health and safety The MightyLift is a powerful lightweight lifting device that is designed to be versatile, portable, strong and most of all safe. The beauty of the MightyLift is that it is designed to lift plant and equipment in a safe and responsible manner. The MightyLift is an approved health and safety product which won 1st prize in the 2008 work safe awards. The MightyLift is simple to erect, non-motorised and suitable for single or double story work. It can also lift up to 120kgs; considering it weighs only 95kgs this makes it perfect for Hvac and Solar applications. New health and safety regulations make it mandatory that you provide a safe working environment for yourself and your employees. The MightyLift ensures both your employees are safe from harm and you are compliant. MightyLift will help keep you and your staff safe. To find out more visit

LENOX SPEED SLOT ® Bi-metal Hole Saws The innovative SPEED SLOT® Bi-metal hole saw from LENOX has been designed to offer builders and tradesmen superior performance in metal cutting, wood cutting and plug removal. ENOX has engineered an enhanced tooth form featuring revolutionary T2™ technology, an advanced nonbinding coating, and a thin kerf design to create a hole saw that makes cuts 2X faster through wood, and lasts 2X longer when cutting through metal compared to the prior model. Not only does it cut twice as fast and lasts twice as long, it also includes an innovative ‘speed slot’ to make plug removal quick and easy. The SPEED SLOT design features a wide staircase slot with multiple leverage points on a taller hole saw to provide quick and easy plug ejection with a standard screwdriver. LENOX SPEED SLOT hole saws are available in a variety of sizes from 14mm to 152mm. They are also available in multi-piece sets including general purpose, electrician and plumbing varieties.


NEW FEATURES INCLUDE: • ‘Favourites’ function to save product selections • ‘News’ section to get the latest information • New Caroma Marc Newson Bathroom range • Tutorials and technical assistance • Instantly updated • Zoom in on product images Download from the App Store, Google Play Store or visit

Australian Hydronic Total Eclipse Two leading brands, one market product and services second to none. Australasia’s leading supplier of hydronic heating solutions secures an exclusive product development partnership with Italy’s number one designer and manufacturer of domestic gas boilers.

Hunt Heating is now offering products specially developed for the Australian market by Immergas.

- compact design

Phase one is now complete providing a new range of standard Efficiency System boilers, Internal and External, Condensing High Efficiency Combination and System boilers, Internal and External all in stock.

- grundfos 15/70 pump

call us today 1300 00 1800

- high performance and efficiency - 1.5m mains lead with moulded plug - intelligent controller and weather compensation (optional) - hot water storage option - solar compatible Solar Hydronic and hot water storage solutions available end of 2013.

11 Fiveways Blvd, Keysborough, Vic 3173 T: (+61 3) 9798 5111 F: (+61 3) 9798 5133 | 61

wpc news Join the World Plumbing Council The World Plumbing Council is on a mission to develop and promote the image and professional standards of plumbing to the world. The WPC aims to promote the plumbing industry’s role in improving public health through the provision and protection of safe water and sanitation and to promote plumbing education and training worldwide.

Join the WPC There are three ways to join the WPC; individuals and organizations can support the work of the WPC by becoming an Individual, Full or Affiliate Member.

The WPC encourages, participates in and facilitates the exchange of information, research and technology applicable to the world plumbing industry.

Individual Members

WPC Membership benefits

The annual fee for Individual Members is

Participation on WPC committees, such as Education and Training, addressing issues on a global scale Network with like-minded, similarly passionate individuals from around the world who share your concerns and desire to affect positive change A voice in addressing worldwide plumbing issues and supporting the global promotion of the importance of safe, healthy plumbing systems Become a World Plumbing Day ambassador ~ act locally, think globally ~ access promotional tools online Attend WPC conferences and events ~ learning opportunities for both personal and professional growth ~ face-to-face networking Use of the WPC Member Logo (subject to logo use agreement)

62 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | September 2013

Individuals with an interest and commitment to the plumbing industry and its positive contributions to public health and the environment. US$55

Full Members Representative organisations in the plumbing industry, including trade associations, professional bodies, trade unions, registration/licensing bodies and manufacturer/wholesaler organisations. The annual fee for Full Members is


Affiliate Members Other organisations involved in or with an interest in plumbing, including individual manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, contractors, service providers and academic institutions that wish to be associated with the World Plumbing Council. The annual fee for Affiliate Members is


Don’t forget: World Plumbing Conference 2013 in incredible India! Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) is all set to play the role of a perfect host to 10th World Plumbing Conference, scheduled to be held in New Delhi on 14 and 15 November 2013. IPA is expecting delegates from several countries to attend this prestigious global convention. The Conference will provide a platform to understand and evaluate the vast possibilities this country of 1.2 billion people can offer. Indian plumbing fraternity is looking forward to meet, interact and network with their global counterparts, through this event. Find out more at


Rheem 27 6 STAR More hot water. More stars. ^

27L/min capacity * (more for when it’s needed)

6 STAR Efficiency (Save on energy bills)

Digital Display Monitor (Easier and faster servicing)

✔ ✔ ✔

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You get more with Rheem 27 6 STAR. More capacity. More efficiency. More economy. More features. So why would you recommend anything less?

To find out more call 132 552, or visit COMES ON STEADY, HOT AND STRONG


* At 25 C temperature rise. ✝ Rheem 27 models 874627/876627 ^ Rinnai models REU-VR2626WG/REU-VR2626WG-50 O

New van in the pipeline?

Caddy Van and Transporter will do the job. South Yarra Volkswagen Commercial Centre and Ringwood Volkswagen help make your workday flow smoother with amazing deals on two capable workers. Choose from the legendary Transporter for cargo requirements up to 9.3 cubic metres or the popular, urban friendly Caddy Van. With a choice of petrol and diesel engines, custom fit outs and award winning safety, our expert teams will tailor these vehicles to suit your job. Our state-of-the-art Service Centres have fully trained technicians with access to specialist tooling and Volkswagen Genuine Parts, ensuring the best care for your vehicle. And when it’s service time, both sites can provide you with a loan car to keep your business flowing. Visit us at Ringwood Volkswagen or South Yarra Volkswagen Commercial Centre to book a test drive today.





Ringwood Volkswagen 481 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood LMCT11064 Tel: 03 8873 6666













Your Volkswagen Partners






South Yarra Volkswagen Commercial Centre 96 Church Street, Richmond, LMCT 9803 Tel. 9428 6688

Capped price servicing is available on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles first registered in Australia on or after 1 January 2013 and applies to the first 6 standard scheduled services of your vehicle. Exclusions and conditions apply. For details on pricing, items not included in the capped price and for full terms and conditions please see Volkswagen Group Australia reserves the right to at any time modify or discontinue the Capped Price Servicing program.


API Magazine September 2013  
API Magazine September 2013