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THE BUSINESS ISSUE ideas to help you run, grow and develop your business



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2 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015 | 3

welcome. F R O M



Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine 15/306 Albert Street Brunswick VIC 3056 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: 100019076 ISSN: 1325-6289

Master Plumbers Association Locations Head Office 15/306 Albert Street Brunswick VIC 3056 T (03) 9329 9622 F (03) 9329 5060

Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre

Welcome to our June issue – the business issue! This edition is all about business and we cover a wide range of topics to assist you in running, growing and developing an efficient and profitable plumbing 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 and is adaptable and open to new opportunities.

this edition is all about business

In this issue, our business feature is full of expert advice covering off on topics including, debt collection, marketing, social media, the importance of knowing your numbers, customer service and more. One common piece of advice from our experts is to invest time into your business. All too often we are so busy completing job after job after job, that we forget about the importance of taking a step back and spending time to develop our business and plan for the future. Think about where you want your business to be in the short, medium and long term and how do you plan to get there!

4 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

We had such a great response to our Plumber at War article in the last issue that we have decided to continue the series. In this issue we remember Master Plumber, George Worboys. We are looking for more stories for our Plumber at War series, please give me a call if you have a story we could feature. On the member side of things, we’ve got stories from some of our long-time members who celebrate major milestones with the Association. We also have an exciting update on the successes of our partnership with Tradelink. Our Mastering Workplace Relations series looks at Employee v Independent Contractor and how to differentiate between the two, while our Safety Excellence series asks if your business could benefit from a Work Health & Safety Management Plan. We also have our regular industry and product news and much more. Happy reading!


Elaine Mathews Editor Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine

6/306 Albert Street Brunswick VIC 3056 T (03) 9356 8902 F (03) 9356 8929

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

Editor Elaine Mathews T (03) 9321 0703 E

Advertising Elaine Mathews T (03) 9321 0703 E

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28 Welcome / 8




Member profile: Barden-Steeldeck Industries / 32

Employee v independent contractor / 52

Charlotte Roseby talks business with Robert Hansen, Director of Barden-Steeldeck Industries

Phil Eberhard, Master Plumbers Senior Workplace Relations Advisor reports

Get with the program – the online program! / 55

Industry news / 20

Technology drives exceptional customer service for Reliable Plumbing / 34

World Plumbing Day at PICAC / 24

The business feature / 37

Over 400 plumbing industry stakeholders gathered at PICAC to mark World Plumbing Day on 11 March 2015

Industry experts offer clever tips, simple suggestions and some new ideas to help you run, grow and develop an efficient and profitable plumbing business

A message from our CEO and the Association’s President

Member news / 10 All the latest news from the Master Plumbers

Plumber at war / 26 Charlotte Roseby continues our Plumber at War series by remembering Master Plumber, George Worboys

Master Plumbers apprentices: making employment easy / 28

Plumbing finds its balance / 48 Plumbing’s not straightforward any more, but according to a new study the best systems balance all the options, says John Fennell

To get up-to-date on all the latest regulation changes in flexible duct, look no further than your computer, laptop or tablet – thanks to ADMA!

Safety excellence / 56 Do you have what it takes because we can help you? Rod Tresidder, Master Plumbers Work Health & Safety Officer reports

Product news / 59

Public liability run-off cover / 50

Hosting an apprentice from Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria has real benefits for business

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.



from the President and CEO

Win-win for small business

Making the most of your association

As we complete the budget cycle announcements by the Federal and State Governments we have had some great wins for small business and the industry as a whole.

The most difficult challenge in starting up as a plumbing contractor is the need to make the transition from being a good plumber to being a good business person. For many of our members this transition involves their partner making that transition as well and that is why the Association seeks to work with all those involved in running the business.

There are more than 300,000 small businesses (more than any other industry) in the building and construction industry who are winners from the Federal Budget. The $5.5 billion small business package will massively boost confidence, activity and jobs in the industry. In an industry as capital intensive as ours, the immediate write off of assets up to $20,000 will provide a much needed stimulus. Measures to cut tax for both small businesses and sole traders will also begin a reboot of confidence for both industry participants and consumers. Being able to influence these outcomes is where the membership of an association becomes critical. Our Association works with Master Plumber associations in other states as well as peak bodies, such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to ensure that small business and the plumbing sector is represented. I strongly urge you to join the Master Plumbers Association in your state and add your voice to the chorus. Becoming a member allows you to be an active participant in the future of our industry and to help ensure our industry remains strong and maintains its high standards.

Membership renewals

Of the services that your plumbing Association offers it is those around business planning, insurance, safety, contracts and employment that are the focus in this issue. Understanding all the costs in running your business, securing new work, recruiting staff and minimising your risk and liabilities are all critical. The Association has arranged a series of business breakfasts and barbeques information sessions to provide information on these issues and I encourage you to attend. In addition the Association has secured a range of products and services at discounted rates to help reduce the cost of running your business. These include: • BP Fuel Discounts

• Health Insurance

• Commonwealth Bank

• Work wear

• Vehicle Fleet Discounts

• Training at PICAC

• Software packages to assist in running your business

• Debt Collection services

• Accountant and business advisors

• Hire and apprentice with Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria

Again to get the most for you membership you need to access these services and most importantly – advise your Association of others you think would be worthwhile.

Membership renewals are due at the end of June! You should have received your renewal pack in the mail. Members who renew on time will be able to take advantage of some great savings on their membership fees.

The Master Plumbers continues to lobby and respond to government on issues such as:

With our consumer focused ‘Always use a Master Plumber’ radio, print, letterbox and social media advertising campaigns increasing from 1 July 2015, it is essential that you identify yourself as a Master Plumber. Use our brand on your website, vehicle, work wear, invoices and get recognised.

• Award Conditions

Your Membership Services team is always on hand to help you out, so give them a call on 03 9323 9622!

• Training Funding and Reform

• The benefits of the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme

• Apprenticeship Issues

• The need to reduce the cost of Standards

• Lack of consultation on additional Public Holidays • The need for the Watermark Scheme

It is your Association, working for your business and your industry. You should encourage other to become involved and to improve the professionalism and influence of the plumbing sector.

Scott Dowsett President, Master Plumbers Ken Gardner CEO, Master Plumbers

8 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

• The need for plumbing representatives on the Victorian Building Authority Board

member news Milestone members Members gathered at the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) on Thursday, 16 April to attend the Association’s Annual General Meeting. The Annual Report and AGM Minutes are available on our website. The highlight of the meeting was the presentation of Milestone Certificates for businesses who have been members of the Association for over 30 years. These certificates recognise their long-standing involvement and commitment to the Association and the plumbing industry. 40 YEARS



O’Shea Plumbing Pty Ltd Lawrie and Barbara started the business in 1978 from their home in Wantirna with Barbara looking after the admin and book work and Lawrie running the business. In 1980 they joined the Master Plumbers. Sadly in 2002, Barbara passed away from a condition called Mesothelioma, a condition directly linked to the inhalation of asbestos Barbara’s condition was likely caused by the washing Lawrie’s overalls which had been contaminated on worksites. At this time, the risks of working with asbestos were not fully known. Lawrie now works actively highlighting asbestos related issues in the plumbing industry and is Vice President of Asbestoswise. Lawrie is grateful for the recognition of Barbara’s death in The History of Master Plumbers book, as it continues to highlight the importance of asbestos awareness and remind people that not just the plumber can be affected but also your family. Today O’Shea Plumbing employs eight people with Lawrie’s son Greg co-directing the company alongside his father operating from their factory in Mount Waverley.

10 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

The AGL Group Pty Ltd The AGL Group was founded in 1969 by Alistair Law. Alistair and Terri Law began the business working from their home in Mentone, undertaking plumbing installations for the heating and ventilation industry. Alistair started installing gas heaters for swimming pool industry and enjoyed much success in this area, so he opened a retail pool shop in Cheltenham The commencement into the commercial pool industry started in the early 1990’s with projects such Royal South Yarra tennis club Crown Casino hotel and water features Alistair’s sons joined the business progressively; first Jamie in 1983, then Adam in 1992 and finally Matthew in 1996. In 2008 the three sons took over the business and today operate out of their premises in Braeside. Alistair unfortunately passed away in 2012 and is sadly missed. The business has now been operating for 45 years and has a fantastic name and reputation in the industry.


Laser Plumbing Sale Established in Sale, in country Victoria, Smolenaars Plumbing has been a family owned and operated business for 42 years. Built from humble beginnings, Smolenaars Plumbing has grown from a small but highly reputable business to become one of Gippsland’s leading employment providers for local

tradesmen, and one of the most highly recognizable domestic and commercial plumbing providers throughout the region. After joining the nationwide Laser Plumbing franchise in 2007, the business has continued to grow, and through the establishment of a second premises in Traralgon in 2009 they now cover a full 200km radius between Lakes Entrance and Warragul. Their two maintenance teams offer the largest range of plumbing and gas solutions in Gippsland, delivering a 24 hr commitment for Eastern Victoria service authorities, local RAAF defence and commercial clients. In addition to their specialised gas and plumbing maintenance services, the company also comprises a Commercial department, to undertake construction activities from housing to hospitals, nursing homes, shopping centres and schools; and a Civil department, which caters for infrastructure developments, new housing estates and detailed sewer works. A speciality of this arm of the business is complex sewer pump stations. Their construction and civil projects have taken them across the whole state, from Mildura to Echuca, and they currently also have a team operating in Canberra. With a strong focus on growth and development, the business continues to go from strength to strength, and has a clear vision for an exciting future.


R & S Pine Ltd Robert Pine began his apprenticeship with C J Dickinson Plumbing at South Kingsville in January 1967 after finishing at Williamstown Technical School. He started the plumbing business with his wife Shirley in July 1974 and a year later joined the Master Plumbers. He has employed apprentices and many subcontractors and still works on the tools himself with Shirley doing the administrative side of the business. In 1994 the partnership became a company, R & S Pine Pty Ltd. R & S Pine believe that a good customer relationship is a two way street and have aimed to always do our best by the customer. The majority of work over the years has been industrial maintenance in the petroleum industry, ship repairs, wool stores and scouring mills mainly in Williamstown and the western suburbs of Melbourne. In the early 90s until 2005 most of their work was maintenance at a large independent school. One of the most interesting ongoing maintenance projects, which began in the late 1970s, has been working on the museum ship HMAS Castlemaine, which is berthed at Williamstown. Work on the ship has included restoration of pipe work, replacement of fixtures and working with materials of that era. More recently they have concentrated on a couple of their long standing clients and a few small domestic projects as retirement gets closer and the business begins to wind down.


Bayswater Plumbing Service In 1950 Bayswater Plumbing was started by Phil Newman’s father, Fred Newman as a sole trader doing general plumbing work in the Bayswater area. By the late 1950’s Bayswater Plumbing had grown to employ more staff and branched out into metal deck roofing installations. In 1960 natural gas became available in Bayswater so with this opportunity the Newman’s became an agent for Gas &

Fuel with a shop front in the main street of Bayswater selling gas appliances and carrying out any gas installations.

Son Geoff commenced his apprenticeship with Rob in 1986 and won the MPMSA gold medal in 1990.

In 1969 Phil Newman joined his father’s business as an apprentice.

Rob has been plumbing for 57 years and still works on the tools with son Geoff. Rob has enjoyed friendship and interaction with members of the Master Plumbers for 45 years and is grateful for all the technical and business information, help and advice he has received over these years.

In 1970 Bayswater Plumbing joined the Master Plumbers. From 1970 – 1985 Bayswater Plumbing carried out domestic gas installations as well as industrial plumbing maintenance. The business was split in 1985. Phil Newman took over Bayswater Plumbing and the industrial plumbing work, and his father Fred remained in the retail shop front until his retirement a few years later. From 1985 to present date, Bayswater Plumbing has been managed by Phil and has continued its growth in the industrial plumbing maintenance field.


RG & CA Porter Rob Porter commenced as an apprentice plumber in 1958 with G.C.& N.J Edwards in Nar Nar Goon. Rob received the award from the Apprenticeship Commission of Victoria for outstanding apprentice Plumber & Gasfitter 1962. Rob served on the Master Plumbers Executive Board and National Council for many years and was a Chairman and member of the Gippsland Zone until the zones were centralised back to King Street, Melbourne. Graeme was also an active member of Master Plumbers for many years. Rob and Carol married in January 1966 and commenced their business partnership RG & CA Porter in 1968. Rob and Carol have lived in Officer all their lives with their two sons and families including six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Five generations of the family have lived in Officer and Rob is extremely passionate about the town. Rob has held the position of Chairman of the Officer & District Community Association and Chairman of the Officer Recreation Reserve for over 40 years and when he isn’t plumbing he can be found working down at the reserve.


JF Graham Plumbing John started J F Graham Plumbing in 1964 with four employees, doing light commercial and industrial plumbing. A lot of their work was installing water systems for poultry farms in the area. Over the years they grew to employ up to 18 people, but have since scaled things back to four, all of which are members of the Graham family. Steven, John’s son took over the company around six months ago, allowing John to enter and enjoy retirement. John’s grandson Jack, Stevens son, just starting his apprenticeship with the company this year. They currently service the Melbourne metropolitan and Mornington Peninsula area’s completing work on medical facilities, schools, factories and service stations.


Walter J Pratt Pty Ltd Walter J Pratt and his wife Lorice Pratt founded Walter J Pratt PTY LTD in 1965 with very humble beginnings, running the business from their garage in Doncaster East. The Pratt family have been very active members of the Association with Walter and his brother Adrian having both served on various boards over the years and Lorice was involved with the women in industry group. The Pratt family share the belief that the association has allowed them to make many industry friends and they in turn have assisted in making the industry a better place for all plumbers to work | 11

Milestone members within. The association is much like a football team and the volunteers that support the Master Plumbers and become actively involved should be celebrated as they spend countless personal and business hours on a voluntary basis and they should be commended The company has changed from a mainstream contractor completing exciting hydraulics projects like Federation Square, Melbourne Park, Museum Of Victoria, National Gallery and Melbourne Central shopping centre, to now specialising in water treatment around the country to the niche market for the aquatics industry. These include the FINA world championships pools, The Melbourne Sports Aquatic Centre and most major aquatic facilities around Melbourne.


Whitehead Plumbing Whitehead Plumbing joined the Master Plumbers in 1955. Whitehead Plumbing was first incorporated by Bill Whitehead on 5 April 1961; however the plumbing business had been running for many years prior. In November 2004 Mark and Julie Brittain, friends of Bill Whitehead, purchased the business as Bill was now 80 and ready for retirement. The business relocated from Clayton to Carrum Downs in 2007. In July 2011 Christopher Brittain, Marks eldest son, joined Mark as a director of the Company enabling Mark to reduce his working time and enjoy semiretirement. Mark’s son Benjamin is also actively involved working in the business. Chris has four children who one day will hopefully enter the business. Ben is due to become a father to a son soon. Mark has two other sons who also work in the plumbing field. The vision of Mark and Julie is very much family orientated, their aim is to preserve the business of Whitehead Plumbing and keep it as a family run company moving into the future.

12 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015


Geschke Pty Ltd In 1951 Brian Geschke and William Alfred Hayes started Hayes & Geschke plumbing and took pride in becoming members of the Master Plumbers on 18 April 1955. The business started general maintenance and small commercial and industrial contracts and operated in the Ormond area. In 1972 Steve Geschke, Brian’s eldest son, started his apprenticeship with the company. In 1974 John Geschke, Brian’s second son, also started his apprenticeship. As an apprentice he won the Andrew Letten Gold Medal and the Kembla Travelling Scholarship for the best plumbing apprentice of the year. In 1982 the Company changed its name to Geschke Pty Ltd. In 1989 Brain retired from the company and Steve and John became joint owners. In September 1989 Gareth (Dicko) Dickson started his apprenticeship with Geschke Pty Ltd. John Geschke’s son David started his plumbing apprenticeship on 12th December 2001 and Steve Geschke’s son Mark started his plumbing apprenticeship on 16th January 2006. In 2008 the Association of Hydraulic Services Consultants Australia AHSCA invited Geschke Pty Ltd to become a Commercial Plumbing affiliate member. In May 2011 Gareth Dickson joined Stephen and John as a partner and they have continued to expand, maintain and enhance the companies’ reputation to continually deliver major projects to builders on time and to the highest possible standard. In November 2012 Geschke Plumbing moved into its new purpose built offices and workshop at 45 Pacific Drive Keysborough. These premises have dedicated administration, plumbing management, computerised design, estimating, meeting rooms, a workshop with Oxy, MIG, TIG, ARC welding, a folder, guillotine, and lathe and there is a fully equipped gymnasium.

The team at Geschke look forward to the future, with the satisfaction of a history of achievement second to none.


JR Hood & Son Robert Jack Hood, the founder of J.R Hood and Son came to Mildura from Ballart during the Depression looking for a brighter future for him and his Wife Rita Hood, Nee (Jolly) and their son William Thomas Hood. Soon after, the town sewer came to Mildura. Jack’s business started to grow rapidly with 15 odd drainers working for the company. His son William (Bill) had begun working for a builder in the area and Jack asked Bill to come work for him. JR Hood & Son became a registered business name in 1964. The Business premises were at 144A Ninth Street then moved to its current location at 115 Ninth Street. Where it continues to provide an honest and modern service to the customers and the plumbing industry. Jack passed away in 1980 leaving Bill to continue the running of the business and relations with the Master Plumbers. Bill Hood continued to run the company for the next 20 Years before retiring due to age in 2005. Jamie L Hood and his wife continue to run the business today and are looking forward to future milestone with the Master Plumbers. Jamie and Fay’s son, Jamie William, may continue in his forefather’s footsteps but time will tell.


John Kennedy Plumbing & Building Services The company was started back in the late 40s by Mr Paul Vincent. Paul ran the business up until 1984, at which time John Kennedy took over as the proprietor. John had previously been an employee of Paul Vincent’s company from 1978 through to 1984. The company previous to John’s proprietorship was made up of plumbers and builders who would carry out maintenance work predominately in the


immediate area of the office site which was South Yarra . The company now engages plumbers and builders that cover the entire City and South Eastern suburbs and provide a complete ‘one stop shop’ trade service to their customers. John Kennedy Plumbing and Building Services believe in a simple formula for success: to provide a professional, reliable and quality service. John appreciates the Master Plumbers recognition of his long term commitment to the Association and believes that this union has undoubtedly added value to his business as a long and well established plumbing and building company.


Crewther Plumbing Building Maintenance

A. Crewther & Son , Peter Crewther Plumbing and Crewther Plumbing Building Maintenance have always worked in large commercial industrial maintenance plumbing, carrying out large maintenance work at The Shrine; Royal Exhibition Buildings; St Paul’s Cathedral; Fitzroy Gardens replacing all drainage throughout the Gardens and Ponds, managed many Westpac bank properties throughout Victoria; worked for the Shell Company and the current project is at Federation Square replacing fire service pipe work.

Master Plumbers welcomes the following new members, affiliates and corporate partners who have joined the association since March 2015. Lunn Sheet Metal and Mechanical Services Tradelink SP Solutions Hoad Drainage and Excavations Pty Ltd Biskon Plumbing TA Asquith Plumbing Pty Ltd

The Crewther family have been loyal associates of the Master Plumbers for 85 years and through four generations.

Your Choice plumbers

Over the many years, the company has experienced and survived the War years, recessions, change in business environment, locally and overseas.

Valleyclad Pty Ltd

In 1929, Arthur Crewther Snr was the owner of A. Crewther & Son and worked from Lt Latrobe Street, Melbourne. In approximately 1940, his son, Arthur Crewther Jnr then became Manager of the business.

Lenehan Plumbing and Gas

Impact Metal Roofing LJC Services Shore Hire Pty Ltd Titan Plumbing Services Geberit Pty Ltd SAI Global

Arthur became the President of master Plumbers in 1949. In 1953, the business transferred to Wreckyn St, North Melbourne. In 1978, Peter Crewther, Arthur’s son, the third generation, became Manager of A.Crewther & Son. In 1980, Peter Crewther transferred the business from Wreckyn St. to Lothian St, North Melbourne under the name of Peter Crewther Plumbing. In 2009, Peter’s son, David Crewther became the Manager of the business and changed the name to Crewther Plumbing Building Maintenance. David is a 4th year generation plumber and is still operating the company today. | 13

member news Master Plumbers and Tradelink Business Breakfast Over 110 Master Plumber’s members and Tradelink customers gathered at ACMI, Federation Square to attend the inaugural Business Leaders Forum bright and early on Monday, 4 May. MC for the morning, Robert ‘Dipper’ Dipierdomenico, kept everybody entertained. Attendees were delighted to receive business tips from Robert Verri and Sebastian Caruso from SP Solutions, hear about new technology from Paul Rapson from Rheem and access discounts and special offers from Jason Lanham from Tradelink. Of the event Ken Gardner, CEO of Master Plumbers said “We want to ensure the success of our members’ with what they need to stay ahead: advice, knowledge and support” Members and Corporate Partners can secure a place at our next business breakfast on Monday, 27 July 2015, which will focus on Industrial Relations and unfair dismissal. Book now to avoid disappointment – contact your Membership team on 03 9329 9622 or

MASTER PLUMBERS AND TRADELINK INDUSTRY BBQ COMING TO A TRADELINK STORE NEAR YOU Registrations are now open to attend our next in-store event at Tradelink.

Location: Tradelink Narre Warren 36-44 Lauderdale Rd Narre Warren VIC 3805

Date: Thursday 25 June 2015

Time: 4.30pm – 6.30pm For further information and to register, contact your membership team.

Congratulations to our Door Prize winners! James House, Cooke & Dowsett won four tickets to Richmond v Collingwood at the MCG, kindly donated by Rheem Australia. Tab Waymouth, Butler Plumbing won a Hot lap experience at Sandown Raceway with the reigning Porsche Carerra Cup champion and three times Bathurst 1000 14 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

winner Steve Richards, kindly donated by Laser Group and valued at $1,500! Mark Dessa, Australian Chillers & HVAC Solutions won an Insinkerator Evolution 100 valued at $1,200 and kindly donated by Insinkerator.


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member news News from Master Plumbers Tasmania Very sadly our year started off with the loss of Alan Humphreys, Principal Advisory Officer, Plumbing Standards and Regulation. Alan was tragically killed in a motorbike accident in early February. While we have not always seen ‘eye to eye’ with Alan on certain plumbing matters there was no doubting his dedication and commitment to the plumbing industry both at a state and national level. Alan will be fondly remembered and sorely missed. In April we held our 68th Annual General Meeting and welcomed in our new President, Michael Overeem, and duly thanked outgoing President, Robert Pearshouse. Over the past three years Robert stewarded the Association at a time of change and challenge. Robert’s youth and vitality in tackling issues head on has been truly inspiring and commendable. Robert will continue to serve the Association as a Board Member. President Michael Overeem, who was previously Vice President, shares the virtues of youth and we are expecting big things from Michael over the coming year – so watch this space. Michael is supported by incoming Vice President John Roberts and Treasurer Kaylee Coppleman. Of particular note we farewelled Steve Thomson, our long standing Board member and Treasurer. Steve has fought tirelessly for the Association and the welfare of the plumbing industry as a whole for several decades. Our membership, trade and industry has benefited greatly from Steve’s service and passion. For some odd reason Steve decided that he would in fact like to actually ‘retire’ – so we wish him well but look forward to his ongoing presence at our social and member events.

Our remaining elected Board members are Josh Drew, Andrew Cure, Ken Greig, and Anthony Balik. We have a great team to keep us moving forward and a strong platform from which to do so. Protecting and advocating for the welfare of the plumbing industry in Tasmania while supporting our members in the vital role that they play in ensuring public health and wellbeing remains our core business. To that end some of our focus will be on promoting roof plumbing and our ‘Master Roofers’. Roof plumbing is a trade we hold dear and one that we will not see compromised by builders without the required experience or qualifications operating under a restricted licensing regime. We believe the consumer deserves better than this. We will be ensuring that relevant information is available to consumers to enable them to make the right decisions to protect the integrity of their building and construction works.

On a lighter note we have our fabulous Winter Retreat 2015 coming up in August and all members are welcome. This is a time for us and our families to get together, relax, chew the fat, check out some new product and ideas, and make new mates. Until then happy reading and keep on plumbing! Angela Ayling Executive Officer



member news News from Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland The Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland (MPAQ) is the peak industry body representing plumbing contractors throughout Queensland, from sole operators to medium sized businesses to large contracting firms. We represent over 1,300 members across Queensland, which equates to over 4,000 plumbing professionals. The MPAQ’s significant membership base means that we have political and lobbying strength, as well as the ability to advocate policy to all key stakeholders. We are also in a position to highlight the pivotal role that plumbing professionals play in the living standards of all Australians. As well as being the collective voice for the plumbing industry, the Association offers its members a full range of professional services, from employment and workplace relations assistance to technical advice and training. These services assist plumbers to establish and maintain their businesses and plan for the future. The MPAQ participates on a number of national committees and/or boards including: • Master Plumbers Australia Ltd • Queensland Building & Construction Commission • Plumbing Industry Consultative Group • Building Industry Consultative Group • Service Trades Queensland • Queensland Gas Association • Backflow Prevention Association of Australia Reforms for water meters and a dedicated Plumbing Industry Regulatory Body under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission are all a part of the Governments first 100 day commitment to the Queensland plumbing industry. The water reforms have been highlighted as a key priority and MPAQ is working to ensure these high standards are restored by requiring the installation of water meters to be performed by a fully qualified and licensed plumber. Any work to do with the quality of our water supply and the health of our Queenslanders needs to be handled by licensed plumbers.

18 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

World Plumbing Day

Plumbing & Gas Industry Awards

The newly elected Queensland Labor Government showed their support towards Queensland plumbers on Wednesday 11 March, with Premier The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Treasurer, The Honourable Curtis Pitt, Minister for Housing and Public Works, The Honourable Leeanne Enoch MP and the Minister for Water and Energy, The Honourable Mark Bailey MP all attending the World Plumbing Day Industry Breakfast at Victoria Park, Brisbane.

In recognition of the industry skill and contribution to the community the Plumbing and Gas Industry Awards was formed in 2000 and now in its 16th year recognises the achievements of outstanding professionals in the fields of plumbing, drainage and gas fitting in the domestic and commercial market as well as apprentices, industry leaders and mentors.

This year marked the sixth annual World Plumbing Day, an international event celebrating the important role plumber’s play in protecting community health and the environment. Sadly, it is becoming more evident that plumbers no longer garner the respect that they once did, people forget how plumbing and sanitation has freed the populace from many diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery. People have become complacent with the ease at which they can access fresh water by turning on the tap or disposing of waste with the press of a button. The World Health Organisation has declared plumbers, the most important front line health workers around the globe for their contributions to the delivery of clean water and the removal of waste via sanitation. The plumbing industry makes an extraordinary contribution to human health and the environment however it is minimally recognised.

This year the presentation dinner will be held on 24 July at the Hilton Brisbane. Nominations have been received and the judging process has commenced. Tables and tickets are available for purchase and I encourage you to buy some to ensure you attend Queensland’s night of nights for the plumbing industry.

Plumbing Industry Panel & Expo – PIPE Our first two PIPE’s were held in April in Brisbane and Toowoomba. PIPE is the new trade night which gives plumbers the opportunity to keep up to date with industry information and provide the chance to speak direct with local plumbing manufacturers and suppliers in a relaxed environment. In May PIPE’s headed to North Queensland to visit Townsville and Cairns and the next round of PIPE’s will be held at the Gold Coast, Mackay and Rockhampton in August. The Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland is actively engaging the new Government to ensure that plumbers in Queensland are well represented and heard on all industry matters. For more information please contact me on

Penny Cornah Executive Director Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland

industry news PICAC NEWS PICAC Training Schedule out now! The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) Training Schedule for courses during the July – December period has been released. The comprehensive guide provides a breakdown of all scheduled classes for this period.

The Honourable Bill Shorten visits PICAC Opposition Leader Bill Shorten visited PICAC for a tour of the Training Centre on in early May. Our CEO and PICAC Deputy Chair, Ken Gardner joined representatives from the PTEU, PICAC and NFIA to show Mr Shorten our state-of-the-art facility. He was very impressed with the facilities and had the opportunity to meet and chat with some of the students. Of his visit Mr Shorten said, “It is great be here at this Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre where they’re training tomorrow’s plumbers today. What we see is the intersection of employers and unions working together to train a future generation of Australia’s plumbers. This is all about the jobs of the future, it’s about a high-skilled economy, it’s about training young Indigenous people to become plumbers in their communities, it’s about catching the wave of renewable energy.”

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Training courses worth noting include Type A and Type B Gas appliance servicing, which are not widely available outside PICAC and are expected to fill quickly. For plumbers seeking to gain their Victorian licence in any stream, the ‘Establish Legal and Risk Management Requirements for Small Business’ unit is required by the Victorian Building Authority and is running from August to October 2015. The course provides participants with the skills and knowledge required to identify and establish a range of business structures and to comply with the ever more complex regulatory, legal, taxation and insurance requirements of establishing and running a small business. As always, if there is a course that you or your business require which is not listed or is running on dates which do not suit, contact PICAC on 03 9356 8905 to discuss further. In most cases, arrangements can be made and tailored to your specific needs.

Victorian readers will have received their copy of the PICAC Training Schedule with this issue.


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industry news Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards The Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards is a new joint initiative driven by key industry stakeholders – Master Plumbers, the Plumbing Trades Employees Union, the National Fire Industry Association and PICAC. The awards will recognise plumbers and fire protection trades people at every stage of their career and across all plumbing and fire protection disciplines. This gala event will take place on 10 October 2015 at the RAVC club and it is a night for the entire industry to come together – not only to recognise those receiving awards on the night – but to also to reflect on our industry and where we have come from and most importantly the bright future we have. For further information and to register or nominate somebody for an award visit

NCC 2015 in effect from 1 May 2015 The National Construction Code 2015 (NCC), which includes the Building Code of Australia and Plumbing Code of Australia, took effect from 1 May 2015. This year marks the first time that the NCC has been made freely available online, enabling building and plumbing practitioners to improve their awareness of the requirements relevant to their industry. More than 33,000 people have already registered for free access to the NCC. Registering online with the Australian Building Codes Board also provides you with access to other free material such as non-regulatory handbooks, YouTube clips and educational material, as well as access to all previous editions of the NCC. Importantly, you will also be advised of future changes to the Code. Visit to register 22 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

EmployerLink update available from 1 June 2015 Incolink has been undertaking a major upgrade of EmployerLink, their online processing system, to provide employer members access to an online system with a range of improved processing features which is much quicker and easy to use. The EmployerLink update will be available to employer members from 8am on Monday 1 June 2015.

The EmployerLink upgrade will provide faster and easier access to all Incolink facilities which are currently paper based.

Prior to going live on 1 June 2015; Incolink has been providing formal advice directly to employer members to share more details of the changeover.

EmployerLink will be followed shortly with the introduction of WorkerLink, which will provide enhanced online access for workers, including online claims capability.

In addition to formal training sessions there are demonstration videos and a user manual available online; and as always Incolink’s dedicated customer service team are available via phone and email.

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World Plumbing Day 2015 at the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre According to the World Plumbing Council (WPC), 1 billion people around the world suffer from a severe lack of access to clean drinking water and 2.5 billion people have no access to safe sanitation. The result of these alarming statistics is that 80 per cent of diseases in developing countries can be traced back to inadequate water and sanitation facilities. Making it worse is that most of these life threatening diseases are completely preventable. World Plumbing Day is an international event held on 11th March every year, initiated by the WPC to unite the Plumbing Industry and to promote the important role that plumbing plays in the health, safety and sustainability of our communities. In order to raise awareness and promote this important day, the Plumbing Industry Climate

24 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

Action Centre (PICAC) has held an event to mark the occasion since 2012. This year’s World Plumbing Day event at PICAC was a resounding success, with over 400 people attending the Industry Forum, Trade and Career Expo and Apprentice Skills Competition held at the PICAC facility in Brunswick.

Industry forum

Big announcement for training in the industry

Skills competition

A capacity crowd made up of plumbers, apprentices, industry experts and representatives from all over Australia filled the Great Hall to attend the Industry Forum and kick off the day’s events. The theme for the forum was Impacts on the future of the plumbing industry – risks, challenges and opportunities.

Ken Gardner, CEO of Master Plumbers, along with Earl Setches, National Secretary of the Plumbing Trades Employee Union (PTEU), officially unveiled the exciting industry partnership between Master Plumbers and the PTEU – Plumbing Industry Training. Plumbing Industry Training oversaw the development and commencement of the Certificate III in Plumbing at PICAC.

At 7.00am, the morning of World Plumbing Day, 16 apprentices gathered at the PICAC facilities in Phoenix Street to undertake what is fast becoming one of the premier skills competitions for apprentices in Australia.

Minister for Skills and Training, The Honourable Steven Herbert and Minister for Planning, The Honourable Richard Wynne, attended to speak and to show their support for the industry. Both Ministers recognised the important role plumbing plays in the community and the key role training and development will have in strengthening its future. Minister Herbert acknowledged that “Plumbing is a growing industry embracing new technologies that’s helping to build a more sustainable Victoria.” Reconfirming the Government’s commitment to supporting the training industry, in particular the development of PICACs two new facilities in Geelong and Narre Warren, saying that “The Andrews Labor Government is supporting people of all ages to get the skills they need for rewarding careers.” The Honourable Natalie Hutchins, Minister for Industrial Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Local Government was also in attendance, arriving for a tour of the facility and a greeting with the latest intake of first year Indigenous apprentices. Alan Ross, CEO of CPSISC gave an insightful overview of the challenges the industry faces, including a shortfall in required apprenticeship starts, and put forward recommendations on how these issues can be addressed. Earl Setches, PICAC Chair, provided an update on the on the Indigenous Plumbing and Sanitation Foundation working to improve access to reliable drinking water and effective sanitation in the remote communities of Australia. Earl also took time to acknowledge the many contributions of an important friend of the centre. PICAC Patron Tony Arnel, was cited for his ongoing support of PICAC which commenced right back at the centre’s inception.

A game changer in the plumbing apprenticeship arena, Ken confirmed that “In February of this year, for the first time in Victoria and in a demonstration of industry collaboration, plumbing apprenticeship training developed by the industry was delivered to the industry here at PICAC.” Adding that “It is a course that will give students both the technical skills industry requires, but also prepare them to work safely, to be compliant with regulations and to understand the principles behind the technical work they will undertake in the industry. Delivering the new plumbing apprenticeship training at PICAC will allow students to work on the most up to date plumbing and related industry equipment in a world class industry owned and run training facility.” Following the forum, attendees gathered for an industry luncheon and were able to visit displays at the Trade and Careers Expo, where representatives from Registered Training Organisations and Industry Sponsors provided information about their organisations. The expo had an excellent turn out and proved valuable for attendees and sponsors alike, facilitating an opportunity to network, share knowledge and learn about new industry technologies.

Five Sprinkler Fitting apprentices and 11 Plumbing apprentices competed with a display of skills and knowledge in plumbing and mechanical services through a practical demonstration of competency. Judged by a panel of industry experts, the apprentices had to compete against the clock and each other to showcase their knowledge and capabilities. The competition finished after a gruelling six hours of hard work put in by the competitors. The judges reviewed the impressive show of skills and high standard of workmanship and selected the finalists. First place for the Sprinkler Fitting competition was awarded to Liam Minogue from Fire Industry Training and the Plumbing top prize was awarded to Aaron Bridger from Holmesglen TAFE. Both of the winners are employed by Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria. A special mention also goes to second and third place Sprinkler Fitters, Brett Caton and James Flynn. As well to second and third place Plumbing competitors Sam Gifford and Calan Haydon. Everyone was extremely impressed with the calibre of work presented by all participants. All finalists may now be eligible for selection to represent Australia and PICAC at the United Association International Apprentice Skills Contest in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For more information on the PICAC World Plumbing Day event visit | 25


George Worboys Master Plumber and ANZAC Charlotte Roseby continues our ‘Plumber at War’ series by remembering Master Plumber George Worboys, who returned from World War I and established Worboys Plumbing. When George Worboys began his plumbing career in the early 1900s, Melbourne’s sanitation system was still in its infancy. Not long before George was born, Melbourne had been known as Marvellous Smellbourne: an appalling stench wafted from the many cesspits and open drains, and ‘nightsoil’ collectors frequently dumped their loads on public roads. George’s parents would have probably either experienced, or at least been aware of, the savage outbreaks of typhoid in the 1870s and 1880s due to unhygienic conditions in the inner-city slums of Melbourne, in which hundreds of people died. There is no underground drainage system,” wrote Richard Twopenny in Town Life in Australia in 1883, describing Melbourne: “All the sewage is carried away in huge open gutters, which run all through the town, and are at their worst and widest in the most central part, where all the principal shops and business places are situated. These gutters are crossed by little wooden bridges every fifty yards. When it rains, they rise to the proportion of small torrents, and have on several occasions proved fatal to drunken men. In one heavy storm, indeed, a sober strong man was carried off his legs by the force of the stream, and ignominiously drowned in a gutter.” In 1905, when he was 14, George became an apprentice to Dick Suiter in Little Collins St Melbourne, a plumbing firm with 60 staff. Presumably, it would have been a busy place to work; after all, just seven years before, in 1898, Melbourne celebrated its first sewer connection to Werribee. Between 1900 and 1911, most households were becoming connected to the sewer system and installing ‘water 26 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

closets’, flushed by pulling a chain connected to an overhead cast-iron cistern. “The work would have been hard, heavy and dirty,” says Worboys Managing Director Peter Jensen.

George enlists in the Australian Imperial Force ‘for service abroad’ George Worboys had finished his apprenticeship when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1914, joining the ranks of the 6th Infantry Battalion. The battalion was completely recruited from Victoria, drawing from Melbourne and the nearby northern suburbs. The Australian War Memorial records show that the 6th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the First World War. It was formed within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914 and they embarked from Port Melbourne just two months later. An extraordinary four minutes of silent film footage exists in our National Film Sound Archive that records the loading of the transport ship “Hororata” on 19 October 1914. George Worboys was one of the men setting sail on this very ship, on this very day. In this piece of rare footage, hundreds of men wait on Station Pier in Port Melbourne while others pass sacks from hand to hand up the gangplank. It’s a huge operation; the transport ship also had to carry the troops’ military stores, as well as wool, metals, meat, flour and other food. Horses are slowly making their way up another gangplank, urged on by their handlers.

It’s a lovely Melbourne Spring day, and many of the men are lying in the sun while they wait for their turn to board. Others make their way onto the ship with their kit, awkwardly carrying their rifles. As the ship moves away, the troops wave their hats and handkerchiefs. They are a picture of excitement and innocence. It’s moving to watch and wonder which of these grinning men is George. After a brief stop in Western Australia, the 6th Battalion proceeded to Egypt. As part of the 2nd Brigade, the 6th Battalion later took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915, as part of the second wave, in the Gallipoli Campaign. This was also known as the Dardanelles Campaign – the Dardanelles being the highly contested narrow band of water overlooked by Gallipoli. After an unsuccessful attack there were many casualties. The 6th Battalion faced appalling conditions and the full horrors of war. George Worboys’ service records tell the rudimentary facts of what happened next: “Private Worboys… wounded in action at the Dardanelles 15/5/[19]15… Next of kin advised.” His casualty form details that he received a rifle wound and was moved to No. 1 General Hospital in Heliopolis, Cairo. A few weeks later he was admitted to the Convalescent Camp with “B.W. [bullet wound] foot… For return to Australia per [the ship] Hororata for Change.” “The injuries he sustained became serious lifetime concerns,” recalls George’s first apprentice and lifelong employee Norm Rhodes. “He returned to Dick Suiter plumbing but sadly his days of working on the tools were at an end.” George moved to office work.

PLUMBER AT WAR Do you know of a plumber who served in the First World War? Do you have a family member who joined the defence forces or perhaps volunteered as a nurse? We are collecting stories of plumbers at war, and we would love to hear your story. Contact Elaine Mathews on 03 9321 0703 or

1921: George begins Worboys When Dick Suiter’s plumbing firm went broke, George purchased what was left of the business and in 1921 began Geo. M. Worboys Proprietary Limited (later renamed Worboys Plumbing) and operated in Little Collins St Melbourne with more than 20 staff. As Norm, now in his 90s, recalls: “A short time later a legacy girl [a family member of a returned serviceman helped by the Legacy organisation], Patricia, 20 years his junior, recovering from TB, came into the picture.” George married Pat and vowed to take care of her and her young boy. To give Pat an occupation, says Norm, George opened an additional premises in Collingwood and put Pat in charge in the office. The marriage lasted until the end of their days. George was fiercely loyal to his fellow returned servicemen and his care and consideration for his fellow humans is evident. Most of his apprentices were “legatees” – sons of fallen soldiers. For many years the Worboys logo featured two soldiers carrying rifles. George made a lot of connections through his war days as well as the RSL (Returned & Services League of Australia) and the masonic lodge, and these worked to his advantage in the business, says Peter. “George offered readers of the RSL Duckboard Journal ‘a fair dinkum deal’. He picked up a lot of work. In those days, those connections opened many doors.”

not retiring until 1992. Albert Tressider was one of George’s first employees; his son Geoff now runs the company. “The chapters in history that I have memories of, with so many people spending their whole working lives working for Worboys,” says Norm. “That is why it has been my desire for the company to live on forever.”

South African and Active Service Association, says Alan, creating club rooms in central Melbourne “for the provision and comfort and convenience of its members.”

After the war: a life dedicated to returned service men and women

George died on Boxing Day 1945, aged just 53. The cemetery was lined with ex-servicemen, saluting, with a hand on their hearts. “This sombre and humbling occasion made me feel very proud of walking in the shadow of such a well-respected man and teacher,” says Norm Rhodes.

George had a deep concern for the welfare of his fellow returned servicemen, and was very active in the RSL movement and their quest to promote the wellbeing of returned men and women of the defence forces and their dependants. He was a life member of the Melbourne RSL sub-branch known as the Duckboard Club – the term ‘duckboard’ was first used during World War I to describe a slatted timber path that was laid down on wet or muddy ground in the trenches or in camps. In 1925 George became president of the Duckboard Club and would be so for 10 years, weathering the storms of the internal politics of the early days of the RSL and the divisions between the various national, state and Melbourne branches. Historian Alan Jackson has documented the struggles and animosities of those days, and is launching a history of the Duckboard Club later this year.

George built up the business, developing a strong reputation of good service, treating customers with respect and for ‘being there’ when needed.

He writes that George Worboys “not only stepped into the fight for the rights and welfare of returned veterans, but also into the fight within the RSL movement.” Clearly he was a brave man.

Worboys has a strong tradition of dedicated employees. His first apprentice Norm spent 54 years with the company. “George was like a father to Norm, Norm was his blue-eyed boy,”, says Peter. Norm remembers his time with George Worboys very fondly. He eventually took over the full working operations and became a Director of the company,

George had a rare ability to build bridges between people and organisations, bringing together the activities of his own RSL branch and Legacy – an organisation in which he was a founding member, dedicated to caring for the families of deceased and incapacitated veterans. George is also credited with negotiating a merger of the Duckboard club and the

The Master Plumbers and returned soldiers lose a champion

“His death was not merely a blow to his friends”, writes historian Alan Jackson, “but a matter of deep concern to all those interested in the returned soldiers’ movement.” Alan has discovered a tribute to George Worboys in the Duckboard journal, January 1946. It reads: “A stout friend and a fair fighter: assuredly no mean epitaph. Nor was he just a man of words and pious aspirations: his hand was always ready to dive in his pockets to help a good cause; not could he even be persuaded to accept one penny for expenses incidental to his services for the Branch.” “George Worboys was able to establish a highly successful business and he earned no mean respect for fair dealing… Here let us say Farewell, good and faithful friend.”

A troopship departs for the front You can see the footage of George Worboys’ ship, the Hororata, being loaded up at Station Pier in Port Melbourne at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s website: departure-of-the-australianexpeditionary-force. | 27

Master Plumbers apprentices: making employment easy. Charlotte Roseby discovers the advantages of group training – for employers, apprentices and the industry as a whole – and discovers that hosting an apprentice from Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria has real benefits for business. Pancho Grech loves his job. He’s the Manager at Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria (PAV) – the Master Plumbers group training scheme – and he’s been here for eight years. He’s just calculated the number of jobs he’s overseen for his apprentices: it’s over 3000. “I love this work. To enjoy your job and also do something beneficial for someone else is a rare thing.” As part of the group training scheme, PAV selects and employs apprentices then places them with host employers. The scheme provides employers with enthusiastic, motivated first to fourth year plumbing apprentices for short and long-term placements, without the commitment of employing them. “We manage both the contract and the apprentice, leaving employers free to do what they do best: run their plumbing businesses,” says Pancho.

Group training: designed to make employment easy “Group training” is an alternative employment arrangement that was developed in the early 1980s by the building and automotive sectors – with support from government agencies – largely in response to the needs of many small businesses that found it difficult to employ apprentices for the full duration of their apprenticeship. The particular focus originally was the building, construction and automotive industries, given the unpredictable nature of their work cycles. At that time there was also a real concern about future skill shortages for the industry. The Master Plumbers Group Training Scheme, now PAV, was established as a group training organisation by the Master Plumbers in 1981 to meet the growing needs of the plumbing industry. PAV is the legal employer of the apprentices. All the normal costs associated with taking on an employee, such as wages, allowances, superannuation, workers’ compensation, sick pay, holiday pay and other employment benefits are rolled into an hourly rate and charged to the host employer. (Group training organisations, as not-for-profit bodies, also receive government funding to enable them to do this.) They now have 192 apprentices.

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Employers don’t have the commitment of taking on an apprentice for the full four years, says Pancho. They have the flexibility of periods as small as a week to two years, depending on their workload. Some of the companies don’t employ any apprentices at all; they get all their apprentices from PAV. “It really cuts down on their admin work, not having to administer the paperwork associated with employing an apprentice. We specialise in that. We provide a flexible workforce whenever they need it.” PAV certainly takes away a lot of what we all know are the particular hassles of employment: recruiting and selecting apprentices, managing training (both on and off-the-job), and making sure that apprentices complete the training contract. PAV provide their apprentices with ongoing support. PAV Field Officers, Andrew Delidakis and Steve Marks look after all the PAV apprentices, making onsite visits, monitoring their performance both at work and in their offsite training, and providing that extra ‘pastoral care’ – all to make sure the apprentices get through the whole process with flying colours.

Allstaff Airconditioning: filling the gaps Master Plumbers, Allstaff Airconditioning, are about to mark their 40th year as market leaders in the mechanical services industry, “so we know what we’re doing, and know what we need,” says Rod Coleman, Labour Manager at Allstaff. And what they need, is apprentices to fill their short-term employment gaps. Since its inception in May 1975, the national group of companies has grown to a team of over 300 staff across the country, working on large-scale infrastructure projects. Current major projects in Victoria include Eastland Shopping Centre, the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, and 150 Collins Street. Their plumbers specialise in skills like steel and copper fabrication, first class sheet metal, steel welding, rigging and specialised refrigeration. Rod and Allstaff Airconditioning engage the services of PAV to host apprentices as they are needed on projects, according to demand – and what they do is a mark of their integrity. “We’re proudly not a hiring and firing company,” says Rod, “We don’t want to hire someone and then have to let them go after three months. That’s why people really want to work for us.” Rod manages a huge number of staff: Allstaff has 100 plumbers currently out on site – and that number can grow to 150. Of their 100 plumbers, 10 are their own apprentices and 11 are Master Plumber’s apprentices. Does it work having a mix of their own apprentices and Master Plumbers apprentices? Emphatically yes, says Rod. “It’s a really good mix. The apprentices get to know us, and they get exposure to mechanical services work and pick up new skills. They all work really well

together. And why wouldn’t they? We are all working together towards a common goal,” says Rod. Rod thinks Pancho and his crew “do a sensational job. PAV look after their apprentices really well, and then we look after them well when they come to us.” Master Plumber’s apprentices really fill the gap in the industry, says Rob, and it’s such an important way they support the industry as a whole.

Complete Plumbing: completing their workforce Master Plumbers, Complete Plumbing Contracting, have been employing PAV apprentices for 10 years now. Their company employs over 80 staff, working on many of Melbourne’s biggest new commercial and residential construction ventures, as well as industrial and institutional projects. Their extensive portfolio makes almost eye-watering reading. Among many others, they are currently plumbing the Marco Apartments in Southbank, which is 435 apartments in two towers up to 40 stories each; Vision Tower Apartments: 564 apartments over 71 levels in Elizabeth St Melbourne; and the Yorkshire Brewery development in Collingwood: 356 apartments in five buildings. In the commercial area they are working on the 140-suite Brady Hotel, the Avenue Shopping Centre and the UNIBIC biscuit manufacturing plant of 15,000 square metres. To help get the job done, they currently have 10 Master Plumber’s apprentices. “That’s roughly 10 percent of our onsite staff,” says Harley Young, General Staff Manager of Complete Plumbing.

“Our workload is quite cyclic. Our contracts could be 12 months to two years. When we’re busier than normal, it makes sense to top-up our own staff with Master Plumbers apprentices. It gives us flexibility – that’s the key word.” On the large Yorkshire Brewery project site in Collingwood they have four Master Plumber’s apprentices out of 32 staff. At the moment, the apprentices are busy roughing-in the services. “They’re doing the things apprentices should be doing: installing pipework and learning the fundamentals of plumbing,” says Harley. “We don’t like to use apprentices as just labour hire; we like to teach them the skills of plumbing. They are definitely not there to sweep up. They’re being utilised. Some of these guys have already had good experience in other trades or roles working with their hands, it’s easy to get them up to speed.” If the apprentices don’t have the exact skills to fit the job, Harley says, they sometimes swap over staff to find someone whose skillset matches the current project. With 10 years of apprentices on the books, Harley is deeply impressed with the quality of the apprentices. “We see them over a period up to 12 months. It’s good to see them grow and develop. The quality we’re seeing now is better than we have ever seeing before.” To what does Harley attribute the success? “It gets back to PAV’s employment practices. Whether it’s a gut feeling or their processes.”


Dream apprenticeship: dream apprentice Stephan Putter is a first-year apprentice, employed by PAV and hosted by Complete Plumbing, who couldn’t be happier with his recent change of career into plumbing. Straight out of school, Stephan worked for seven years as a civil technician, dealing with big pipelines. He then moved “into the agricultural side of things” in the thoroughbred industry. Stephan was assistant stud manager, and managed a few farms in the Seymour area, until circumstances changed. “We needed to move closer to the city for the kids and my wife’s work. And I wanted something familiar.” He says (Both, deciding becoming a plumber sayson Pancho.) was easy and it sounds like he’s rather a natural. “I enjoyed pipeline work and I was good at it. I see plumbing as a very clean type of work. It was easy to decide.” He became an apprentice with PAV after doing a pre-apprenticeship at PICAC. He is one very determined apprentice, happy to be studying again – though starting his pre-apprenticeship did give him pause for thought: “Becoming a student again was a bit of an adjustment but I had mentally prepared myself to … get back to basics. Learning from other people is very important so it was important to have the right mindset to do it. And I did, and I found it easy.” He also had the challenge of moving to the city at the same time, giving up the clear morning air and the horses for peak hour and city streets. “I’m a country boy, so it was a bit of an adjustment. My wife found it easy. But I’ve adjusted now and really taken to it.” Stephan has been with Complete Plumbing since November and is now working on a new residential construction. He’s discovered he particularly loves gas and copper work, “but I’ll take on anything. “It’s a really good company to work for. They’re always ready to teach, and give you a go. They give you a job only if you’re capable, then let you get on with it.” “The most important thing to apprentices is to give them a fair go, and to give us opportunities to prove ourselves, then everyone gets the reward.” “I’m very happy. I’m living the dream at this stage.”

30 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

The “elite of apprentices” Part of PAV’s key to success is a stringent, highly selective hiring approach. Their apprentices are handpicked, and Pancho is continually proud of the results. “We want these apprentices to be able to hit the ground running. Our plumbing apprentices are very impressive, very early on in their placement. They are the elite bunch of apprentices.” Pancho looks for particular characteristics in a potential candidate; and after his years in the job he can pick them. “We want somebody who has a real passion to become a plumber,” he says. They also look for that something extra in their apprentices – something that will definitely help them along the way: people skills. “We look for apprentices with very good people skills because, after all,” says Pancho, “these apprentices might be working in a different workplace from week to week. If they don’t look forward to that, they won’t be successful.” “We induct our apprentices very well; we provide them with protective clothing and tools, so when they hit the job site they look very professional. They have a professional attitude as well.”

Apprentices with life experience A relatively recent, positive, development is the increased number of adult apprentices being employed across the industry. PAV has many adult apprentices who have come to plumbing as a change of career. “I don’t think any trade can fill their requirements. The quality juniors aren’t there in huge numbers – they’re being attracted to other industries other than trades, like IT.” Although the move to employ ‘second career’ apprentices originated from necessity – a shortage of juniors – it’s been a rewarding, very constructive change for the industry, with adults becoming much sought-after apprentices. “They’re very focused,” says Pancho. “We’re all benefiting from their maturity, life skills and people skills.” Just as you might imagine, training adults has also made a positive difference in the classroom setting. There’s definitely been a positive change in dynamic, says Pancho. The adult apprentices are a great influence, not only encouraging the juniors to dedicate themselves to learning, but to also instil a great work ethic and an appreciation for their opportunity. “A lot of the older blokes have already been working so hard, and they’ve probably taken a pay cut to become an apprentice, so the younger guys start to really appreciate how lucky they are to have such a good start in a good career at such a young age… they work harder.” Harley Young from Complete Plumbing thinks it’s a great move. As well as apprentices in their mid-twenties, he’s just started hosting a Master Plumbers apprentice who is 55.

“We’re now seeing a range of people. It‘s great to see PAV giving people an opportunity, and it’s great to see people retraining themselves. And that’s great for us, because we get someone with life experience.” To employers like Harley, life experience often more than makes up for the lack of work experience. The added benefit, according to Harley, is that many adult apprentices have had a wide range of work experiences and many have run their own businesses. “That means they have been on the other side of the fence,” says Harley. “They understand the trials and tribulations of what we go through as employers. We can work together on a common goal.”

Creating well-rounded plumbers Harley not only believes employing apprentices through PAV makes good business sense for employers; he believes it ultimately creates good, well-rounded, qualified plumbers: “It’s good for the guys getting a different mix of skillsets; it gives them great skills.”

apprentice – and a high achiever. “He was an apprentice of ours who won just about every award going,” laughs Pancho. “Now he’s got a domestic plumbing business and it’s great to see him evolve, and also to have a laugh with him and reassure him if he gets stressed out.” Pancho also appreciates the longstanding relationships with his clients – the host employers. Some he’s never met in person, but gets to know them over the phone, sometimes over years. “We get to know them very well,” he says. “Sometimes even over 20 years.” As Pancho and his team get to know a company, they are able to precisely match up an apprentice suited to, not only the skills required, but the company culture. “They ring us because they trust us.” “It’s a shame the industry is so pressurised. It’s a volatile industry. But group training is going to be the way of the future.”

Motivated, hand-picked apprentices: the comprehensive recruitment process, along with pre-employment training, ensures that you have access to motivated, skilled apprentices. Flexibility: hire from one week, to the full term of an apprenticeship, based on your labour needs. Reduce your paperwork: PAV take care of all employer-associated administration including payment of wages and superannuation, Work Cover, supply of personal protective equipment, enrolment at trade school and completion of the training agreement. Cost-effective: the apprentice fills in a weekly time sheet so you only pay for hours worked. Extensive support: PAV staff manages all the training and skill development. They monitor the apprentice’s performance within your workplace, ensuring a successful placement.

“There’s definitely huge benefits to the apprentices,” agrees Pancho. “Many plumbing companies specialise now, so apprentices will learn one or two, or at the best three types of plumbing. With us, apprentices get experience in domestic, maintenance, construction, commercial high-rise buildings, air conditioning, sanitary and roofing. They wouldn’t get that with one employer.” Many of Pancho’s apprentices are now fully qualified and have become managers, onsite foremen or they have their own businesses. They keep in touch and now Pancho provides many of his former apprentices with apprentices. “Because I know them so well, I really cherish the relationships.” Pancho singles out Chris Wilkinson who was a PAV

What are the benefits of hiring a PAV apprentice?

For information on hiring or becoming a PAV apprentice please visit or contact Pancho Grech, Andrew Delidakis or Steve Marks on 03 9329 9622 or | 31


the view from the top Charlotte Roseby talks business with Robert Hansen, one of the four Directors of Barden-Steeldeck Industries.

Unlike most Master Plumbers, Robert Hansen looks up to admire his company’s work – not down. In the case of most of his projects, a ladder wouldn’t even help; to properly appreciate the scale of Barden-Steeldeck Industries’ work, you would need a helicopter. Their business is roofs. Big ones. Barden Steeldeck Industries (BSI) have worked on many of Victoria’s iconic projects and have worked with most of Australia’s major commercial builders. They have become Victoria’s numberone pick in major roofing projects, and here’s proof: out of all the buildings in the Burke St – Collins St precinct of Docklands, Barden Steeldeck has roofed all but two of them. That in itself is a pretty amazing thing, says Robert. “We started working on Docklands buildings 15 years ago and we’re still down there. One project after another: NAB, Lend Lease, Myer, ANZ… we’re pretty proud of our efforts there.”

32 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

Climbing the ladder to the roof Notching up over 30 years in roofing, Robert has been involved in all aspects of the business from on-tools general roof plumbing to supervising roofing gangs, estimating projects and developing company policies and procedures. Like many long and successful plumbing careers, Robert’s entry into this highly specialised field was very pragmatic. Two years into his general plumbing apprenticeship Robert began working with his uncle who happened to be a roofing plumber. His uncle subcontracted to Reg Mullin’s well-known company, Barden Roofing. After a short hiatus overseas the young Robert returned to find he had no more work with his uncle. A bold move changed his career: “I rang the director of the company… I started the next day with Reg Mullins in Barden Roofing.” This was the beginning of a lifelong working relationship between Robert and Reg. One of those almost magical relationships you often find in plumbing that secures the apprentice to their employer for life. “I knew Reg through my uncle’s work. We always had a connection – he became like a dad to me.” “Reg Mullins was a very genuine, very honest guy. He was very committed to his staff and the people around him. I think that helped him make a good living because he always had good people around him. He was one of the gentleman of the industry. There’s not a lot about like him. A real gentleman.”

Business history: roofing, guardrails, sheet metal and waste bins Reg had been a partner in Barden Roofing since 1974 with another great name in the business: Barry Stokes. They were clearly a clever pair. Barry left Barden Roofing and become very successful in a company called Deck Guardrail, which was eventually bought by Australian Temporary Fencing and now supplies guardrail to the whole of Australia. Reg continued with roofing, merging Barden with Steeldeck Industries, which was involved in many of Victoria’s major projects during the 1970s and 80s. Steeldeck Industries had earlier acquired Holvex, an old and highly reputable roofing and sheet metal firm. The Holvex name lives on with the continuing manufacture of architectural waste bins and ashtrays. The company grew under Reg’s steady hands. “He was proud of the position he built up in the industry,” said Robert. “He enabled Barden-Steeldeck to became not only one of the best roofing companies in Victoria – it became the best.” With wonderful continuity, when Reg was about to retire in 2006, Robert Hansen, along with long-term employees Michael Shacklock, Mark Fisher and Nick Mullins were given the opportunity to purchase the company. It was a very successful move. Between them – two Barden and two Steeldeck employees – they had project management, estimating, supervising, foremanship, as well as plentiful ‘on tools’ experience. It means, says Robert, that responsibility is equally shared.

A successful approach: quality, honesty, integrity While others have buckled, Barden Steeldeck has stood firm. The company has survived recession, company mergers, the innate financial instabilities of the construction industry – and bad weather. The pressing issue in roofing right now is keeping a level playing field, says Robert. “People get desperate when things get hard and things get quiet. They then undercut in order to get the job but can’t see it through. “Reg built equity in the company to be able to finance large projects, which is very difficult – you can’t just walk off the street. You need backing behind you to be able to guarantee the work.” “Five major companies have gone broke in recent years. There was a lot of inclement weather and a lot of downtime in 2013. That was a time for us to take stock,” says Robert. “We decided to stand firm. Not drop our prices. We need to keep being sustainable for the long term.” This genuine commitment to quality and integrity is impressive; it’s a testament to Reg’s original vision. “We’re prepared to do it all the right way: quality assurance, OHS, the industrial aspects. So many other companies try to undercut to get an edge. With our ethos, we can still be the top of the tree. We are effective and competitive. If we are down there, swimming with the sharks, it’s not profitable and its not manageable.” Barden-Steeldeck’s integrity, and financial stability, has led them to roof some of Victoria’s most iconic projects.

Southern Cross Station The Docklands precinct is the work they’re most proud of, but their roofing work on the award-winning redesign of Southern Cross Station is their ‘BBQ project’ (the project you mention when you are at a BBQ and people ask you what you do). Roof plumbing isn’t a well-understood profession, but mentioning the roof of Southern Cross Station always gets Robert a “Ahhhaaaa” moment.

In a joint venture with Queensland company Unison, Barden-Steeldeck were contracted by Leighton Contractors to install the Southern Cross Roof. It’s a stunning-looking roof; however, it was designed as a very practical solution to the problem of diesel fumes and pollution which tend to build up beneath the roof in a train station. The roof also needed to meet the challenge of a low-energy-use building. The roofscape, with its rounded forms and ventilation hoods at the peaks, was designed to let the station ventilate itself naturally, without air-conditioning or large diesel extraction systems. The system of louvres prevents the emissions from remaining trapped within the roof. The roof geometry was developed in parallel with the prevailing wind conditions of the station. With 35,000 square metres of Kalzip Stucco embossed, curved and tapered aluminium roofing in a wave pattern, the installation was quite the challenge. Each sheet on the project was designed using computer software to finalise the curving and tapering. “No sheet was the same,” says Robert. An onsite roll forming facility was set up nearby in Fisherman’s Bend, where the individually produced roof sheets were manufactured and then transported to site. The train station needed to remain operational, so each of the module spans were erected incrementally. The final installation was 12 months on the job for Barden-Steeldeck. During construction, there were up to 25 employees working at any one time, on day and night shifts. Many staff needed to complete rope access training. They also supplied and installed permanent aluminium handrails and the aluminium access bridges across the pillow skylights. It was a very challenging project, says Robert with typical understatement. “We’re pretty proud of that one.”

Kennels, treatment plants and shopping centres “There have been some nice looking jobs,” says Robert. Barden-Steeldeck are never short on interest as well, it seems.

For the new indoor kennels for the RSPCA Burwood, BSI recently installed the roofing, wall cladding, framing and ventilation for the five separate building for the 200 kennels. It included a ‘shower tower’ facility to help cool the kennels during summer. Their recent Tarago Treatment Plant project was quite some time in the making. Barden-Steeldeck designed, manufactured and installed the roof over a 72-metre diameter water tank, including the support structure and Kalzip aluminium roofing. “We worked with scientists in metallurgy to work out a way of avoiding aluminium, which needs to be replaced every 25 years, but also avoiding electrolysis between different metals. We worked for two years on the roofing structure and finally convinced Melbourne Water on our method. We used long-length aluminium sheet roofing, with a slightly curved roof with a stainless steel structure.” Barden-Steeldeck are now working on a large project, which will be appreciated in its own way by horses, dogs cats and bees (yes, bees): it’s the post-entry animal quarantine facility.

Master Plumbers, master roofers Barden-Steeldeck have been members of Master Plumbers since the early 1970s when Reg and Barry first began Barden Roofing. “Being a Master Plumber matched Reg’s ethos to a ‘T’,” says Robert. And it clearly still matches their ethos. “The value of the membership for us is being part of a group: it’s supportive, and it’s a way of getting involved with other plumbers with the same issues. The backup industrially is great. Plus, being a ‘Master Plumber’ has a real ring to it. It says you are reputable and professional, and that stands you in good stead.” Robert is hoping that they can carry the company through to the next generation, project by project. “My son is in the business, and we hope he’ll carry on. He’s got itchy feet at the moment, so we’ll see”. | 33


drives exceptional customer service for Reliable Plumbing. When being the best isn’t enough It’s no longer enough for business owners to rely on employing highly skilled, experienced people; clients expect more than that. Look at any commercial-plumbing tender doing the rounds today and see where “plumbing expertise” comes in the list of selection criteria; it won’t be at the top. Clients focus instead on making their hard-earned dollars stretch that little bit further, and expect their maintenance spend to add value to their operations. It’s one way that hard-pressed facilities managers justify budgets that are increasingly under threat from the relentless pressures of cost-reduction.

Chris reviewed areas where technology could make a difference for his company. With multi-site clients that include the University of Melbourne and Parliament House, often with hundreds of items of equipment to maintain, administration and other highly repetitive clerical tasks are an obvious target. As Chris says:

Each business owner takes an individual approach, but at Melbourne-based Reliable Plumbing Services, owner and director Chris Malcolmson decided several years ago to use technology to underpin the exceptional service his clients expect. No surprises there – but Chris hasn’t limited his ambitions to plumbing technology, and adopted best-practices from other high-tech sectors.

“We want to disprove the widely held belief that plumbing maintenance is simply an unavoidable expense. Eliminating waste of any type is a great way to demonstrate our commitment to raising the bar in commercial plumbing.”

Technology as a differentiator In a connected world, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are making ‘traditional’ communications obsolete. For many industries, mobile devices are everyday business tools – when was the last time you signed for a delivery on a hard-copy document? So why not plumbing? Mobile technology, essential for service-based businesses on the move, offers much more than just a convenient way of keeping in contact with people. 34 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

The benefits for Reliable are considerable – and not just client-facing. Chris’ technology initiative offers demonstrable advantage for customers, while sending a clear message to potential employees: “This is a company that moves with the times.”

Computerised maintenance management Frustrated with the time his people wasted on non-plumbing activities and by his inability to track their hours accurately, Chris vowed to find a better way. Some basic fact-finding convinced him that a mobile maintenancemanagement system had massive potential for his business. “I found out how other service companies handle the workload. I talked to people in larger organisations and discovered how they streamlined work flow. I learned that many of them relied

on mobile technology to manage every aspect of their working day – exactly what I’d been looking for. I researched cloud-based maintenance-management systems and I found that there were several providers offering front- and back-end support for small and medium-sized service businesses like ours. This had to be the way to go.” Chris developed a comprehensive list of must-have features for Reliable’s new software; these included: • Simple, accurate time-tracking for field technicians • Online inventory management • Scheduled maintenance management • Automated invoicing direct from job records • Reduced data-entry for admin functions • Real-time job tracking • Schedule optimisation for field technicians • Direct import of customer service requests and supplier invoices Chris wanted a business tool that supported increased productivity and captured every billable hour, while allowing access from any location with an internet connection. He reviewed the features of several systems and discovered additional benefits; these included an ability to import and to enforce compliance with Occupational Health & Safety procedures and completion of Safe Work Method Statements. After evaluating three well-specified Australian packages, Chris selected IMS Service Track ( as Reliable’s preferred package. Three years in, he has first-hand experience of the advantages it brings.

Melbourne-based Master Plumbers Reliable Plumbing adopted mobile technology to gain a competitive edge with clients that expect their maintenance spend to add value to day-to-day operations. Owner Chris Malcolmson implemented IMS Service Track, a cloud-based maintenance-management system, to demonstrate that plumbing maintenance isn’t simply an unavoidable expense. Three years in, results have exceeded expectations, with tangible benefits for clients, for the company and for Chris himself.

Improving the client experience Client facility managers enjoy real benefits, with remote access to log service requests, create new jobs and view progress on open work orders. They also have a comprehensive range of real-time information, including open-item reports, asset-specific reports and total workload by job status. Chris visits clients regularly. “No matter how good the software is,” he says, “we never forget that people buy from other people – it’s essential to maintain personal contacts. Getting first-hand feedback lets me tweak our approach for each customer and deal immediately with any issues that arise.” When clients take time to pay compliments to Reliable’s approach, Chris knows his guys are doing the right things. Here’s Chris Tyson, Facility Manager at St Hilda’s College, Parkville: “Chris and his team rolled out Service Track two years ago and it’s made a huge difference to the way we work together. We manage everything that’s going on without leaving the office, and the amount of admin has reduced significantly. One feature that’s a big hit with me is the automated email we receive confirming a job is complete. I also get advance visibility of the upcoming workload on scheduled maintenance, which allows me to plan around the Reliable team while they’re on site. Approving payments is much easier as we know the invoice will tie up with the job record, so we can check it as soon as the work is finished. I can’t imagine going back to a manual system and I’m encouraging other subcontractors to follow Reliable’s lead.” Reliable’s investment in technology adds value for both parties. For Chris, the improved utilisation of his people’s time means no lost revenue and massively

reduced duplication of effort. Clients not only enjoy operational benefits – Reliable’s initiative shows them to be a forward-thinking, proactive partner that adopts new, cost-effective technologies as they become available.

Building benefits for the individual The Reliable team have noticed the difference too; it’s been a very positive experience. For one technician, it influenced his decision to join the company. Luke Urquhart, a qualified plumber with 13 years’ experience in the trade, started work at the end of 2014 and is now Reliable’s Team Leader at Parliament House. “When I came for interview”, says Luke, “Chris told me about Service Track. I soon realised that Reliable is not your average commercial-plumbing company. I’d heard about mobile maintenance systems, but never had a chance to try them. With Service Track, life on site is so much easier – it helps me work safely and professionally, and customers really like it. When I first joined Reliable, I helped with annual compliance inspections for more than 700 safety showers at the University. I expected a mountain of paperwork, but we recorded everything on our iPads and phones. Even test certificates are electronic, although customers can print them if they want.”

Keeping the company in control Chris says Service Track has exceeded expectations on many counts. Timesheets are a thing of the past, as cloud-based records have taken over – with no duplication of effort between operations and finance, as information is available to all authorised users as soon as it’s entered.

“We cover all our accounts and admin tasks with one full-time member of staff plus a part-time Finance Manager. That’s the same number of people we had five years ago when the company was half the size,” says Chris, ”and they were pretty busy then”. “One other factor is the increasing number of tenders we submit for public-sector contracts. Experience of using a computerised maintenancemanagement system is almost always a mandatory requirement, and without Service Track, we couldn’t comply.” “Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself,” says Chris, “and don’t expect the process to be easy. Decide what results you want from your investment and write everything down. Then spend time taking advice and evaluating a small number of options, and once you make your decision, be persistent. It doesn’t come good overnight.” “I wish I had started using this system sooner. It’s great for clients, for everyone who works at Reliable Plumbing and for me as a business owner.” Chris wants to encourage other business owners considering an investment in technology. Implementing a cloud-based system has been a major step forward for Reliable Plumbing – and one which contributed substantially to the company’s success. Anyone wanting more information about the project is welcome to contact Chris for an informal discussion, on chris@reliableplumbing. or via the Reliable Plumbing website | 35

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36 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015


Where’s your money?

If you don’t know your numbers you’re running your business blind, says Robert Verri, SP Solutions. As a business owner you spend a lot of time, effort and money bringing in revenue, but revenue does not necessarily mean that you are operating a profitable business! It could be that you are winning some jobs but the revenue you are charging is not adequate to cover your expenses on that job. Another possibility is that your profits are too small to pay for the time and effort you spend keeping your business running. Evaluating your profitability is an important facet of operating any business. ‘You have to know your numbers’, manage your cash flow, measure your profit and loss, determine your break-even point, and understand all the financial aspects of your business.

This can be daunting for any business owner — but there are fast and easy ways to master your numbers. Here are four questions you can ask yourself before you get started: 1 Am I significantly above

break-even level?

Your break-even number is the amount you spend running your business on a monthly basis. It includes both fixed and variable expenses like building lease, wages, supplies and other items. To be profitable, your revenue production must be higher than your expenses. Pull up your last three months’ worth of expenses, and compare it to your income. If you can answer yes to this question, then you are profitable. If not, it’s time to dig deeper into the numbers to determine what’s really going on and take some serious steps to correct it. 2 Is my business a worthy


You invest your time, effort, heart, and energy into your business but is it providing you a satisfactory return? How many hours are you working each week? What kind of salary do you receive? You might be profitable, but if you’re struggling to maintain the time and emotional investment required to stay that way…It’s time to restructure! 3 Are you planning to make a profit

Rob Verri is a Partner at SP Solutions. Rob thrives on the challenge of solving his clients business improvement issues. His key motivation being to provide greater levels of business service and advice. The focus at SP Solutions is on ‘empowerment’. They do this by looking at your business growth aspirations, and monitoring your results to achieve consistent and constant improvement. To start to clear the fog on your numbers please call Gemma Robinson on 03 9355 0500 to book a complimentary ‘1 on 1’ meeting with an SP Solutions Business Consultant

this year? Do you have a detailed budget with cash flow projections in place?

Most small business owners don’t do any annual planning, or if they do they do it poorly. In the majority of cases they may set a budget or a sales target to do ‘last year plus a little bit’, so this year looks a lot like last year and the year before and the year before that.

In our view you should start your annual planning with your target profit. If you’re unsure what the target should be why not start with doubling last years profit. That is, if you made $100k this year go for a $200k target next year, if you made $200k go for $400k, if you made $1 million go for $2 million. Why not be ambitious and push yourself? Once you have your profit target you need to create a model which shows you what your business should look like in order to produce that profit. At SP Solutions, we help our clients to develop a three way budget, which highlights the Profit and Loss Statement (income and expenses), your Balance Sheet (assets and liabilities) and most importantly your cash flow. By analysing what the numbers need to look like, you create a plan for the year and identify the right projects to achieve your plan. Then, all that’s left is to follow the plan. 4 If you have a plan –

are you monitoring it on a monthly or quarterly basis?

We all have the best laid plans and intentions; and then we get busy. More important than the plan itself is the setting aside of time every week or month to review your results with your management team and to measure your progress against the plan, even if that’s only you and your bookkeeper. However, at least each quarter you should be sitting with your Accountant to have a defacto Board Meeting to review the actuals against the plan or budget, and to review your projects. This will help with planning for the next quarter. To keep it simple, hit your daily, weekly or monthly targets, and then you’ll achieve your annual plans and at least double your profits.

Focusing on your numbers can dramatically increase a business’s profit and cash flow. We’ve found that knowing your numbers improves your accountability to your own results. This in turn improves how the business owner sees their business. If you don’t know your numbers you’re running your business blind! | 37

Tax time


Are you donating extra money to the Government? With the end of this financial year fast approaching, time is quickly running out to get your tax affairs in order – it is time for Tax Planning, Sebastian Caruso reports. Whilst Kerry Packer may have become a multi billionaire through his family’s various business interests, a significant portion of his wealth would have arisen through clever, legal, tax minimisation strategies. He once famously implied though that minimising tax should not be limited to the nation’s wealthiest individuals, but be undertaken by “anyone in this country”. Back in 1991, Mr Packer made the following statement to a Government inquiry into the print media industry: “Now of course I am minimising my tax, and if anyone in this country doesn’t minimise their tax they want their heads read. Because as a Government, I can tell you you’re not spending it so well that we should be donating extra.” Do you need your head read? Or are you keen to follow in Kerry’s footsteps and ensure you are doing all you can to minimise your tax? At SP Solutions our goal is to help you build your desired level of wealth. Just like Kerry Packer did over 20 years ago we understand that one of the keys to successfully building wealth is through the planning for and minimising of your tax liabilities. The concept is fairly simple; legally minimise the tax you have to pay, which maximises the cash you have in your pocket. This extra cash you now have can be used to build wealth either through reducing debt, purchasing assets or reinvesting into your business. We call this Tax Planning.

Annual Tax Planning varies from business to business as there are many factors that impact their tax positions. These include existing economic conditions, the performance of their business, their current personal and family situations and changes to tax legislation, rates and thresholds. Every April to June we meet with our clients to analyse and discuss all the above factors in conjunction with reviewing their year to date income and profit. As a result, we can estimate forthcoming tax liabilities, develop strategies for minimising tax liabilities and create a plan and oversee implementation of the plan prior to 30 June. Tax Planning also provides an opportunity to ensure compliance with some of the more technical requirements of the tax legislation, including: • Assessing existing Unpaid Entitlement arrangements and ensuring any required repayments are made. • Documenting how profit will be distributed from a trust and therefore minimising the possibility of the ATO imposing penalties for not determining trust distributions prior to 30 June 2015. Finally, Tax Planning facilitates more informed discussion and decision making around: • Managing cash flow in relation to the tax payments better, and • Reviewing the financial performance of your business and facilitate discussion on business improvement prior to the financial year end.

Sebastian Caruso joined SP Solutions in 2009 and now deals with clients in his role as Senior Business Consultant. The key driver that he strives for constantly is to ensure that he is always teaching his clients, while simultaneously learning more himself. Call Gemma Robinson on 03 9355 0500 to book a complimentary ‘1 on 1’meeting with an SP Solutions Business Consultant to discuss how they can help you stop donating extra money to the Government now! 38 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

How Tax Planning helped some of our clients A client was receiving quarterly activity statements from the ATO with significant PAYG Instalment obligations based on an extremely successful prior year. A review of the year to date financials and projections to the end of the financial year indicated that the current year was not looking as profitable. Through tax planning we were able to justify reducing the final two quarters PAYG Instalments which greatly assisted our client with their cash flow. Another client was keen to establish a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF) to enable them to purchase new premises for their business. However, their existing superannuation balance was not enough to both justify the establishment of the SMSF or to fund the purchase. Having calculated the shortfall of funds required, at tax planning time we were able to forecast the business profit and ascertain the ability of the business to increase super contributions. We took advantage of the contribution caps prior to year end to increase their member balances. This provided a tax benefit to their business, whilst also providing enough funds to justify establishing an SMSF and purchase a property. A client in the construction industry had a child who turned 18 during the year. We were able to plan to distribute to the child from a trust, and in turn significantly reduce PAYG instalments, providing cash flow advantages and improving the groups tax position substantially. Planning makes all the difference. You would have felt the pain of receiving an unexpected significant tax bill in the past. The good news is that with some planning you can help reduce the chances of this happening again. Through Tax Planning, you can discover and plan for any tax liabilities, and even improve your overall tax result by having an expert help you identify and implement strategies to minimise your tax. But as Kerry Packer pointed out back in 1991, don’t leave tax planning to the wealthy.

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How to make Facebook work for your business Facebook marketing is an extremely cost effective way to connect with your target audience; Chloe Liu explains how to get the most from using this platform.

4 easy steps to grow your Facebook fans 1 Create an eye-catching and well-branded Facebook Cover Used wisely your Facebook Cover can help you drive more leads and sales. It’s visual, and it helps you make the first impression to connect, sell and get people interested in your services.

4 Create a complete profile with the necessary information. Setting up a Facebook profile is one thing, making it work is another! A complete profile makes a good impression and may compel your visitors towards taking next the next steps - enquiry and making an appointment.

How to write your posts to get likes and shares 1 Problem to solution: Share your plumbing work before and after with images or direct upload videos and short captions. People like to see the transformation, similar to weight loss or cosmetic surgery. It creates ‘wow’ factor.

2 Provide a link in email signatures and quotes Every email you send is a business opportunity, whether it’s to your colleagues, friends, clients, suppliers or other contacts. It increases your chances to engage with them further by simply adding your Facebook link. Particularly, those quotes you send to prospective clients.

3 Add a Facebook Like box to your website This helps drive traffic from you website to your Facebook page, the more opportunities customers have to interact with you, the better. Did you know Facebook is going to launch a new Facebook Page Plugin to replace like box? The new feature is highly customised and will give you more visual appeal to attract more fans. Check out to find out more.

2 What’s in it for me: Write your posts with benefits and value as a core focus. Storytelling is a powerful way to get people to engage with you. Share your client’s story in an authentic way; why they come to you, what happens before, during and after. Show the positive relationships you have with your clients.

3 Run a poll: Polls are a great way to get people invested in a discussion. Examples of polls, how do you select a plumber? What plumbing help do you need right now? Then Share the results of your poll to increase interaction. 4 Theme Friday: be creative here. Ideas like employee of the week, client of the week or anything interesting to catch fan’s eyes. 5 A contest post: Everyone loves a good contest! This is one of the fastest ways to get more shares and likes. There are many great contest apps out there that you can integrate on Facebook AND grab emails to add to your list as well. Throughout all your postings do not forget to use the hashtag”#” for your posts, particularly your unique hashtag. It is the fastest way for your posts to get recognised. #MasterPlumbers

Facebook Advertising Facebook Ads is a very powerful advertising channel that allows you to highly target prospective clients with specific messages. When creating you Facebook ad you can select different criteria to ensure that your message gets to the correct person. Gender, age, location and interests break downs help you achieve this. Now, it’s over to you. Take the next steps to succeed with your Facebook Page to boost your business.

Chloe Liu helps businesses grow more leads and sales through online marketing strategies. She runs a boutique marketing advertising agency-Viva Results in Sydney. If you like to know more about her work, grab your Free Rockstar Facebook Page Step-By-Step Guide here:

40 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015


Smart strategies for

Online marketing


80 per cent of Internet users now own a smart phone. Just catch a train these days to see the hundreds of faces lit up by the gazillion smart phones sold around the globe each year. We’ve now passed the tipping point of desktop versus mobile use. It’s clear as day that if you’re not optimizing your digital marketing for mobile devices, you’re going to be left behind. Your website is your digital shop front. It needs to communicate vital information in an instant, while looking a million bucks across smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Here are a few tips for mapping out a successful online strategy.

Digital Marketing Strategy Websites come in all shapes and sizes, so what your business needs will probably differ from the crowd next door. The first thing you need to decide as a business is what are the outcomes you wish the website to deliver? Do you wish to drive sales (online or offline)? Increase in-bound enquiries? Encourage users to become members of your business or organisation? Or simply inform potential customers of your offering? Once key business outcomes are defined, this will identify which technologies are required to achieve these goals.

User Journeys Work with your digital partner to map out the path you wish your customers to take through your website. This means deciding on the priority content you want your visitors to see. This is especially important on mobiles and tablets where screen real estate is limited.

Responsive Website Design First things first, you need a great looking website. One that is well designed, un-cluttered and looks the business across smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. This is called a responsive website. The design adapts to the type of device you are viewing the site on. This was once a ‘nice-to-have’ but now it’s an ‘absolute-must-have’. Google is now penalising rankings for websites that are not mobile-friendly.

Content Management System (CMS) Relevant, up-to-date content is of highest importance. Nothing will lose a customer quicker than arriving at your site to find dated information. Stagnant content also means that Google won’t be your friend either. Google will rank your site higher if there’s relevant, current content that’s regularly updated. Keyword-rich content that is directly related to your industry will help you storm up the rankings. To ensure this happens, there are many types of content management systems available. You may only need something simple such as a WordPress site, or if you’re product-based there are great tools such as Shopify or Big Cartel that offer simplistic online shopping environments. Stepping up from here, you may require a more sophisticated CMS. Working with your digital partner will give you the ability to custom design how you structure and deliver your content, products or online business processes that are specifically integrated with your back-of-house systems.

Customer/Member Relationship Management (CRM) Gone are the days of clunky CRM systems that cost a bomb to setup and roll out across your organisation. New generation, fully-featured cloud-based software is available to manage all aspects of your business or organisation from a single touch point, from any internet-connected computer at anytime.

Digital Communications Now you are managing your membership database online, keeping your members abreast of your latest offerings becomes a snap. Your relationship management tool should talk directly to a campaign management tool such as Campaign Monitor or MailChimp. These industry-leading products make it simple to keep your customers in the loop with your latest and greatest via slick looking email marketing campaigns.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Analytics Once you have your new online presence, it’s now time to let the world know! Work with an SEO consultant to help achieve organic search engine growth. Or for instant featured listings, setup a pay-per-click campaign to instantly boost traffic to your site. Ensure your digital partner links your site to Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools so you can track site traffic and quickly identify any issues that may hinder your search engine rankings.

Tie in your social media channels We all know the power of social media. Make it simple for your customers to share your site content across their favourite social media channels. One-click to share across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest should be standard.

Chose a qualified and capable digital partner Getting your online presence wrong can be an expensive and time-consuming exercise! With a glut of ‘website developers’ in the market, it can be difficult to chose the right one to suit your business. Do some research first. If you are embarking on a large-scale online project then speak to customers of some of your potential digital partner’s to hear about their experiences. Selecting the right digital partner can make or break your online business success.

Dave Hickling has been involved in designing and developing websites since 1996 and is one of the principles at AMS (Association Membership Software). AMS is a fully featured, all-in-one cloud-based software solution that empowers businesses and associations to streamline administrative work-flows, manage website content and communicate better their customers and members. For further information visit | 41

The 6 M’s of Marketing


How to create habitual return on investment from your marketing efforts Far too many small plumbing businesses are undisciplined with their marketing efforts, and it’s easy to understand why. It can be a daunting to get it all up and running and working effectively. Too many small businesses are looking for the ‘holy grail’ of what will work in terms of marketing offers for their industry. The bad news is that there is no such thing. Thankfully, there are some key disciplines you can quite easily start implementing in your business to transform your ongoing marketing efforts into a systematic, habitual and profitable process. We call this habit structure The 6 M’s of Marketing.

1 Market(s) In most plumbing businesses you’ll usually target one of more of the following markets: Commercial Projects, Commercial Service/Maintenance, Residential Service/Maintenance and Residential Projects/Renovations. Each of these target markets have very different requirements, types of customers and ways of operating and making decisions. So, the first step is to get clear and list which of these target markets your business is geared towards, it could be just one or could be all four of them.

2 Message(s) As far as your message(s) goes, typically you should be thinking in three different streams of thought: 1) Branding; what are your Unique Meaningful Selling Points or what makes you different. As a plumber you’ll need to very clearly understand the market(s) you’re targeting and what they are unhappy with or desire from plumbers, things like: Arriving on time, cleaning up after yourself, reliability of work performed, response time, work guarantees etc. 2) What is your Brand Personality and attributes including items like visual images, colours, fonts etc. 3) Call to Action Offers, time sensitive offers or discounts, savings etc… Typically these are run for a limited time, eg “For the month of July only…”

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3 Medium(s) or Mechanism(s) This can be a daunting task. Your mediums or mechanisms are literally how you will get your message out to your potential market(s). With my clients, we use our ‘Marketing Mediums Selection Tool’ which has every conceivable way of advertising in it, over 60 potential mediums and mechanisms and we simply start by selecting the potential mediums to use and then refine it down from there depending on the clients annual marketing budget.

4 Money Having clearly defined all of the above it is time to look at money. 1) Set an annual budget for marketing and 2) allocate those dollars across your selected mediums. The details of this process are too longer for this article – however, in a nutshell you are essentially producing an annual marketing budget that has the investment per medium and total spend for the year.

5 Manage Now it’s time to execute. This area can take a lot more time than people estimate. To coordinate all of the activities in your marketing budget can be time consuming. You’ll have plenty of emails and admin type tasks to make sure all of the mediums in your budget are begin used properly, things like ad placement, copy of ads, account setups etc. Make sure everyone who is involved with this step have a plan and a way of working to deadlines to get everything done.

6 Monitor Finally, you need to monitor the results from all of your marketing efforts. It is key to track every single lead that comes in to the business and allocate that lead to the medium it came from. Once you have this information, you can analyse information such as Lead Target vs Actual by each medium and for the budget as a whole. 2) Number of meetings or quotes from each lead and ultimately number of customers from each medium and for the budget as a whole. In closing, the main outcome of your marketing efforts should be (this is the definition we use when coaching clients to keep them focused on what the purpose of marketing is): “Consistently produce the right number of the right type of leads in line with the budgeting marketing dollars and company brand and image guidelines.” Your job as the business owner and leader of your business is to create a system and structure within your business that ensures you regularly and habitually, year in year out, do what is needed to achieve that simple outcome in your business. Follow the 6 M’s of Marketing and you’ll be well on your way to making that consistently happen. Finally, to answer one of the most asked questions in terms of Marketing: Which messages and mediums are the best to get results in a plumbing business? Short answer: The ones that your monitoring and tracking reports tell you are working and providing the needed leads and new customers. There are no shortcuts, you’ll need to be consistently trying, tracking and tweaking. Stick to the discipline of the 6 M’s above and you’ll have created a system that your team can run for you and that will provide the answers to what marketing options are best for your business.

Eric J. Gregory is the Author of ‘Would you like Profits with that?’ and the founder of Gregory Business & Trades Coaching which specialises in working with SME Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. For more information about Eric and his company please visit

Viega Pressrings

Reaches what seems unreachable.

The maximum flexibility in any situation Especially in restricted locations such as pipe service ducts, under sinks and getting around obstacles, pressing fittings becomes a really constricted activity – these places are often unreachable with rigid press jaws that require the pressing tool to be at right-angles to the pipework. The patented Viega press rings and the jointed press jaws allow the press ring to rotate by up to 180°. Together with the 180°-rotating head of the Viega Pressgun, even the unattainable becomes child’s play to accomplish. Viega. A better idea!

5 reasons


it’s time to Incorporate

Most plumbers start their journey as a Sole Trader with an ABN and personal tax number. This may be a good solution in the early stages of your business however as your business grows it is important to create and operate as a company as soon as possible. Registering a company, aka incorporating, may seem daunting, but it’s easier than it may appear and is an important part of getting your legal foundations sorted. Although the word ‘incorporation’ tends to scare the life out of tradies, it’s nothing to fear. Incorporating is simply a process that helps you advance your owner operator business into a professional company providing you with a professional edge. We look at 5 of the key reasons that it’s time to incorporate your Plumbing business.

1 You’re taking on apprentices and employees In order to grow your business and profit; hiring apprentices and employees will help your business gain momentum. Apprentices and employees will be attracted to working for a company over a sole trader. A registered company provides a sense of security and structure. Becoming a company will allow you to protect yourself and employees with WorkCover. This gives you the ability to take out sickness and accident insurance which are essential elements to protect employees of your business.

2 Limiting your liability by creating a separate legal entity One of the leading benefits of incorporation is that it allows you to distinguish between your personal assets from your business assets by creating a separate legal entity. As your business grows, there is an increased risk to your personal assets, which could be used to repay debts to vendors, creditors and customers of the business. Registering as a company will protect your personal assets, such as houses or cars, if for some reason the company is sued.

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5 Adds a professional face to your business Distinguish yourself from the competition and give your business a professional identity. This builds a sense of credibility with customers and creates a sense of legitimacy to customers and suppliers by adding a Pty Ltd after your name. Why let the competition win your quotes and tenders?

3 Tax

Incorporating your business is also a step towards growing your business.

The last thing you want to be doing is paying more tax than you need to be!

Applying online

Operating as a Sole Trader is very common when starting your own business and initially allows the sole trader to reduce the tax payable on employment income if losses are made. However as you build up your business this level of tax can become a disadvantage. For instance the business income will be added to the owner’s income and this could mean that tax is paid at a higher rate. Luckily corporations can be taxed at a lower rate than individuals. If you are generating a certain level of revenue/ profit it is more tax-effective to operate as a company. Companies are taxed at 30% corporate rate and this will allow owners of the business to separate their personal income and save.

4 Shareholders and owners There is always a potential for dispute when operating with one or multiple business partners. Incorporation allows owners to have a clear idea that their investment in the company is determined simply by the number of shares they own and not by any pre-incorporation verbal or written promises. These shares can be owned and transferred by shareholders thus dealing with departures or new additions can be managed seamlessly. Furthermore the end of the business doesn’t have to be when you decide to retire. A company can be sold or shares can be transferred. This ensures your database of customers can be continued to be serviced by your brand and reputation.

The good news is incorporation no longer needs to be difficult. It is now available to do so online and it will be a speedy process. At LawPath we offer a streamlined ACN registration, bundled with legal and accounting services to get you moving in the right direction. LawPath will also help give you a competitive edge with a range of complimentary legal documents to assist you and your clients, including important web policies, contractor agreements and workplace policies to name a few.

To sum up Incorporating your business is a big decision, whether you are a sole trader or have a few employees. Incorporating your plumbing business is a vital step to cement your business in a professional sense as well as limiting liability and decreasing taxes. This is the first step to take your business to the next level as an effectively managed and structured company. Why make things harder for yourself?

Dominic Woolrych is a Legal Product Manager at LawPath, Australia’s largest online legal service. LawPath has helped over 6,000 small businesses and families get the legal protection they need. For further information visit


Debt collection and recovery

Getting paid is one of the key challenges facing many small businesses, Katherine Hawes explains. The key to any business is to be paid in full, on time. Although as small business owners, we have many tasks to complete each day, getting paid on time should really be one of our highest priorities as for many of us, cash flow is key. Here are some of my top tips to make sure you get paid on time: 1 Be clear and upfront about the costs of the job. One of the key reasons customers don’t pay an account or only pay part of the amount due is that you have not clearly communicated the costs involved such as time and materials needed. Therefore, ensure your terms of engagement are clear from the beginning. Also, be careful how you quote for a job, don’t under quote and then add on extras later on – your customers will become annoyed and this often leads to non-payment of accounts. 2 Communicate to your customer any changes to the original costs quoted. Don’t assume that they will want to pay extra for better quality – make sure you ask first! Also, if the scope of work changes due to weather or unforeseen circumstances clearly discuss any additional costs with your customer.

4 If a large piece of work is spread over a few months, be sure to include in your contract part payment requirements, rather than waiting until the end of the contract for full payment. This will minimise the risk on not being paid at the end. If your customer fails to pay the part payment, you can then start to take action, including legal action, sooner rather than later. 5 Remember being in business is about managing the relationship you have with your customers. This relationship needs to be clear from day one by having clear trading terms and conditions in place.

In some cases, there may be the need to implement debt recovery process. I recommend that all credit managers follow this procedure: 1 Send an official letter to the customer requesting a full payment or offer instalments when this is possible. 2 Contact customer by phone no more than 10 times in 30 days. 3 Obtain a judgment order. This will legally recognise the debt and inform the customer that they have to pay. 4 Send a Letter of Demand 5 Issue and serve a ‘Statement of Liquidated Claim’ 6 Receive a court order for your money 7 Collect your money then through one of these methods:

a Examination summons

b Writ of execution against goods or land

c Installment orders

d Bankruptcy and liquidation

e Liquidation Hopefully, somewhere along the way before getting to item 4 or 5 you will ultimately get paid! However, if things do end up going beyond this point, I recommend taking legal advice as the process can be loathsome and lengthy.

3 If you have taken on a particularly large job, whether in terms of time or money, do some research on the company that is contracting with you? Has anyone else heard of them? What other building work have they undertaken? Use your other trade contacts to find out about the company before accepting the job.

With over 20 years’ legal and business experience, Katherine Hawes is the founder and principle solicitor Aquarius Lawyers which offers low cost and fixed legal advice to businesses. To find out more about her work please visit or contact 02 9615 9635. | 45

Leaving customers



with your service

How to distinguish your company with a customer focused culture Let’s start with a couple of quotes that speak to the heart of what true customer service is:

Good manners have much to do with emotions. To make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them. Amy Vanderbilt

Maya Angelou

Your team must have the right mindset and a genuine desire to deliver excellent customer service. There are disciplines most people acknowledge as true, but very few actually follow through on them and create a company that consistently provides remarkable customer service. In coaching small businesses for over ten years, these are the disciplines I believe are essential to have in place:

1 Culture, values and why you exist, must be genuine

3 Focus on the mission not the commission

Culture is possibly the most critical component of your business. Start with core values that are non-negotiable to you. Qualities like urgency, honesty, frugality, creativity etc. These values should guide your team even when you are not around. They must be real, explained and upheld. Your cause speaks to why you’re in business, for example, my company cause is: ‘To help SME Business Owners and their teams create quality lifestyles through business success’. Your culture is the outcome of the way your team operates as a result of your values and cause.

If your focus is purely on money, success may come, but the stability of it will be questionable. To quote Benjamin Franklin: “He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. Like Amy Vanderbilt says in her quote, your customer service will be more exhibited than felt and your customers will pick up on that.

Discipline #1: List the values that are non-negotiable. Get clear on your Cause and why you’re in business. Finally, communicate and constantly remind your team why these are important and then live them on a daily basis.

2 Find, keep and grow the right team Hiring the wrong people will cost you more in the long run. Skill is important, attitude is a non-negotiable. What kind of attitude? One that fits perfectly with your company culture, cause and values. When hiring, hold out for the right people to stand a chance of success and growth. Discipline #2: Ensure your recruitment process allows you to find the right team members. Then provide support, guidance and leadership to allow them to grow within your company.

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You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.

Discipline #3: Do the right things because it’s the right thing to do. That sentiment is often overlooked and underestimated. Do not compromise your company culture, cause and values, they are the things that will deliver you profit.

4 How and what you are delivering Build a great business model that genuinely helps people through fantastic products and services and do that in a way that leaves people feeling it was a pleasurable experience worth talking about. Discipline #4: Educate your team on exactly what is expected of them to create an exceptional experience for your customers. Show them how to deliver your product and service and how to achieve the outcome the client is looking for. People very quickly forget wonderful customer service if the actual delivery is poor. We’re emotional creatures after all!

5 Find, keep and grow the right Customers ‘The customer is always right’ is wrong. Some customers won’t fit your values and culture and they are free to go elsewhere. This requires judgement, but when you’re clear on what you stand for, you’ll know who your ideal customers are. Don’t pander to a customer just because they have money in their pocket, remember, money is the bi-product. Discipline #5: Look after the right customers exceedingly well. With the wrong customers, be OK with acknowledging you’re not a match (in a way you and your team feel most comfortable). One final quote for you, actually more of an insight, by Karl Popper, called the paradox of tolerance: “A tolerant society will be destroyed by its tolerance to intolerance”. Do not tolerate intolerance in your company when it comes to your culture, cause and values. Find team members who embrace those same values and accept nothing less and you’ll be well on your way to creating remarkable customer service and plenty of profit as a bi-product.

Eric J. Gregory is the Author of ‘Would you like Profits with that?’ and the founder of Gregory Business & Trades Coaching which specialises in working with SME Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. For more information about Eric and his company please visit

“As a proud supporter of the Leukaemia Foundation since 1986 and as the Principal Partner of Light the Night, Bridgestone Australia continues to support the Leukaemia Foundation as our sole charity so they may ultimately achieve their vision and mission.” Andrew Moffatt, Managing Director Australia

Making a real difference through strategic partnerships Supporting a not-for-profit is not just the right thing to do; it also has positive effects on an organisations triple bottom line! Stephanie Hechenberger, General Manager of Victoria & Tasmania from the Leukaemia Foundation explains.

Charity events are common in the market place and many companies are successfully leveraging these engaged audiences encouraging them to experience products at the event or generate traffic to store or website through special offers and trials.

Both companies and not-for-profit organisations are putting greater emphasis on strategic partnerships. Key to these partnerships is a focus on long-term stability and impact and the desire to leverage each organisation’s assets for maximum mutual benefit. And it’s making a real difference.

A good strategic partnership with a not-for-profit can also boost relationships with staff, customers and suppliers by providing genuine opportunities to demonstrate shared values, and a platform for team building activities. Companies can extend their involvement in a partnership to include staff volunteering, on-site fundraising activities, workplace giving, matched giving, capacity building, and ambassadorships.

These strategic partnerships enable non-profit organisations to stretch beyond current corporate and government programs and policies to instigate change in an efficient and effective way. For those companies yet to leverage the power of a strategic partnership, the first step is to abandon the idea that they are supporting a charity – as this sells the not-for-profit sector short. Not-for-profit organisations have dedicated followers, and key relationships and networks that may not otherwise be accessible to brands or companies. They have strengths in the number and passion of their followers and relationships which can work hard for partnership brands.

A win – win situation A strategic partnership with a not-forprofit is like any other business partnership, both partners need to win. This means channelling the resources of both organisations into something that’s worthwhile. Simply put, companies need to find a not-for-profit partner whose advocates share their consumer’s profile. And by understanding their individual footprint, networks, and resources, these organisations can come together around a shared voice and message to amplify both organisations’ efforts. The continued move towards “triple bottom line” reporting has forced organisations to become smarter and more accountable for expenditure outside core business investments. A strategic partnership is much more than just a sponsorship. It is about finding a meaningful connection and creating genuine, mission driven outcomes

together. A strategic partnership between organisations that have aligned ideals and visions is also more likely to resonate with both organisations’ internal and external stakeholders. Strategic partnerships are most successful when two organisations have compatible values and strategy, a clearly articulated and shared mission, with recognised short and long term goals. Continual measurement and evaluation, good governance and transparency should underpin the partnership. There are many thousands of registered not-for-profit organisations in Australia which do outstanding work and contribute directly to a better community, both in Australia and abroad. This means that there are many not-for-profits vying for funding and support, giving companies a substantial range to choose from. Most larger not-for-profit organisations are incredibly business savvy and understand their key business metrics including growth opportunities, customer loyalty and retention, overhead management, pricing, return on investment and the market in which they operate. The right partnership can positively impact on a company’s triple bottom line.

In order to leverage the opportunities to their full capacity it is important for both organisations to promote the partnership, to internal and external stakeholders and the general public. Good not-for-profits really understand public relations, advertising and marketing and how they can contribute to the success of their partners’ efforts. Now get out there and make a difference!

Not-for-profits we like: Asbestoswise Bully Zero Australia Foundation

Finding the right not-for-profit partner can aid companies to reach and communicate with specific audiences, increase awareness, accelerate market acceptance, reinforce the brand values and positioning, and help keep their brand top of mind.

Camp Quality

Let’s make this work – together


Cause related marketing, the use of charity brands to drive product sales, can help build brand or product credibility by associating the product with a respected not-for-profit. This type of partnership can elevate brands amongst competitors and maintain or build loyalty with existing customers.

Indigenous Plumbing and Sanitation Foundation Plumbers Without Borders

Whitelion | 47

Plumbing finds its balance

Plumbing’s not straightforward any more, but according to a new study the best systems balance all the options, says John Fennell.

Any plumber knows how fast plumbing materials and fittings types are changing. Which means one system is not always best in terms of cost, time, application or environmental impact, and that’s exactly what a new study has found. We asked one of the most highly regarded, independent plumbing system estimators in the business, Mr Nigel Essex of SX Estimates from Sydney, to compare the costs of different plumbing systems for a typical 10 story, 175 room hotel building. The estimates included both labour and materials costs based on average commercial market rates. It was compiled in accordance with the Australian Standard Method of Measurement, and only pipe work and fittings were considered.

The comparison was conducted on one or a combination of the following pipe systems: • Copper incorporating silver brazed (CTS) • Copper with PressFit fittings (both full range and ≤ 50mm) • PE-X • PP-R • Stainless Steel with PressFit fittings As each of the plumbing systems have advantages in a particular size range and application, the estimate was broken down in to three sections being: 1 Roughins (Small diameter 15-20mm mainly to plumbing outlets) 2 DCW – Domestic Cold Water (≥25mm diameter cold water plumbing)

Time, money and materials It was clear that PE-X provided the most cost effective solution for the small diameter (roughin) and this has become the predominant domestic plumbing material. Brazed copper plumbing was the most cost effective for larger diameters greater than DN50 and copper PressFit fittings provide the cheapest option in the mid-range sizes. When considering the different plumbing systems within a building it’s also worth looking at the breakdown of labour and material components. The small diameter roughins consume a higher proportion of labour compared to larger diameters. Hot water has a higher cost due to the need for recirculating plumbing. For both hot and cold water systems it clearly shows that copper PressFit and CTS copper are the most cost effective systems.

3 DHW – Domestic Hot Water (≥25mm hot water plumbing)

Full installed costInstalled Full



$450,000 $400,000 $350,000









$150,000 $100,000 $50,000



48 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

PE-X Roughin

PE-X Roughin Cu PressFit ≤ 50mm Cu CTS > 5 PE-X Roughin Cu CTS 25-100mm


Big picture Cost is not the only factor when selecting piping materials and other things to consider include: • Use a reputable, proven quality product with local support and expertise. • Use the right tools for the job, many systems require proprietary tools to make a joint and these can mean costs and new skills. • Flame free installations may be necessary in historic or sensitive building.

• Only metallic pipes should be used to connect solar hot water and uncontrolled heat sources. Some PressFit fittings have temperature limitations as do most plastic pipe materials. • Check for chemical contaminants like petroleum, liquid fuels or other solvents around that could leach into the pipe material. Metallic pipes are impervious to leaching of chemicals or gases.

• Exposed to direct sunlight means plastic pipes should not be used unless verified by the manufacturer. • Multi story buildings require higher water pressures to get the water to the top of the building and systems should be able to handle these. This study confirms that plumbers and building contractors should always evaluate all options, and care needs to be taken with new unproven systems that may leave the builder and plumber with expensive repairs.

cbus 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. • 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.

Call Cbus on 1300 361 784 or visit Read the relevant Cbus Product Disclosure Statement to decide whether Cbus is right for you. Contact 1300 361 784 or visit for a copy. Cbus’ Trustee: United Super Pty Ltd ABN 46 006 261 623 AFSL 233792 Cbus ABN 75 493 363 262. | 49

Public liability run-off cover Within any industry, covering yourself against public liability claims can be a vital part of running a successful business. This cover can be important not only during day to day activities, but also after your business has ceased trading.

CASE STUDY Responsibilities for businesses Due to the demanding nature of the plumbing industry and the high volume of work that is often carried out, things can go wrong when completing work for customers. It is therefore important that plumbers have in place appropriate insurance to cover their businesses in the event that an incident does arise.

Plumbers Liability ‘Run-off’ cover In a situation where you may have retired or sold your business, you could still be at risk of having claims made against you. In order to minimise this potential exposure, plumbers should ensure insurance cover is maintained by holding an active public liability policy that will provide cover for resultant damage to property at the time of the loss. This is otherwise known as ‘Run-off’ cover. If you are thinking about ceasing trading, we may be able to organise ‘run-off cover’ from your existing policy arranged by Marsh Advantage Insurance ‘Run-off’ cover will often provide insurance for the same risk exposures as a standard liability policy.

Jeremy, a plumber who retired from work in 2008 and closed down his business, ensured he was covered by insurance from day one. However after he was no longer trading, he decided to cancel his public liability policy.

For more information regarding any of the above, please contact a representative at Marsh Advantage Insurance, trading as Master Plumbers Insurance Brokers. 1300 300 511

Four years after Jeremy closed his business, a claim was made by one of his previous clients. This client suffered a large amount of water damage to their premises as a result of defective work done on some pipe fittings in the bathroom. Because Jeremy held a public liability policy at the time the work was completed, he was able to claim for the rectification of the defective work. However, because Jeremy did not hold an active public liability policy at the time the claim was lodged against him, he was unable to claim for the resultant damage, which in this instance was water damage to the property. He was then found personally liable and as a result, had to bear the cost of all rectification works himself. If Jeremy was a plumber trading in Victoria, the Victorian Defects Warranty would leave him liable for six years following the completion of the faulty work. Please note, whilst the defects warranty cover is only mandatory for licensed plumbers operating in Victoria, it is recommended that all plumbers nationally understand the important role public liability and ‘Run-off’ cover can play.

In the next issue

Did you know that plumbers using subcontractors may be held liable for personal injury and property damage claims arising from their works? In the next issue we will discuss the importance of being aware of the exposures with regards to subcontractors and some steps to protect yourself and your business.

About Marsh Advantage Insurance: Marsh Advantage Insurance is a leading provider of insurance broking services for businesses across Australia. Our company is built on a culture dedicated to understanding the risk and insurance needs of local and national businesses that operate in our cities, regions and communities. We are driven by a commitment to deliver industry leading service and value for our clients. Marsh Advantage Insurance sits alongside Marsh as part of Marsh & McLennan Companies, a global team of professional services firms offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and human capital. 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 decided whether a policy suits your needs please refer to the specific Product Disclosure Statement which is available from Marsh Advantage Insurance Pty Ltd. Marsh Advantage Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 31 081 358 303 AFSL 238369) arrange the insurance and is not the insurer. The Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia receive a financial benefit when a policy is arranged by Marsh Advantage Insurance, enabling it to continue to provide further services to the plumbing industry.

50 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

IS IT TIME TO RENEW YOUR PLUMBING LICENSE? Contact Marsh Advantage Insurance for a competitive quote and join the 4000 plumbers across Victoria already with us. We can arrange public liability insurance starting from $589*, and email your certificate of currency directly to the VBA. To get a quote, call 1300 300 511 or visit *Premium includes statutory charges and broker fee and is based on two licensed plumbers on domestic plumbing work with turnover less than $200,000 per year with nil previous claims. Acceptance of cover is subject to underwriter guidelines. Master Plumbers Insurance Brokers (Aust) (MPIB) is a trading name of Marsh Advantage Insurance. The MPIB brand name are owned by the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA) and used under license by Marsh Advantage Insurance. Marsh Advantage Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 31 081 358 303, AFSL No. 238 369) arranges this insurance and is not the insurer. MPMSAA receives a financial benefit when a policy is arranged by us, enabling it to continue to provide further services to the plumbing industry. Public liability insurance is underwritten by Vero Insurance Limited (ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230 859). This page contains general information and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers, refer to the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which is available from Marsh Advantage Insurance.

Employee v independent contractor As our “on-demand” society continues to develop and services are offered in ever varied and more convenient ways, businesses must remain mindful of the traditional factors that determine whether the individual providing those services is an employee or an independent contractor, Phil Eberhard, Master Plumbers Senior Workplace Relations Advisor reports. The question of whether a person should be categorised as an employee, or as an independent contractor, is one that has been debated and discussed for a considerable period of time. There are numerous Court decisions that consider the variety of issues involved in determining this. Unfortunately, there is no one simple test that an employer can use to determine whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor. The Courts will in fact use a multi factor test to determine this. It is important to know the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor because of the Sham Arrangements provisions (Sections 357, 358 and 359) that exist in the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). Under the FW Act it is illegal “to represent to the individual that the contract of employment under which the individual is, or would be, employed by the employer is a contract for services under which the individual performs, or would perform, work as an independent contractor”. Additionally, the FW Act prohibits an employer from dismissing or threatening “to dismiss an individual who is an employee of the employer in order to engage the individual as an independent contractor to perform the same, or substantially the same, work under a contract for services.” It is the facts of the case itself that determine the outcome. It needs to be understood that the Courts will look at the whole of the relationship to determine whether a person is best described as an employee or as an independent contractor. Having said that, there are a number of principles or guidelines that can assist an employer in making an assessment as which the person is best described. These have been developed over the past couple of years and are based on various decisions of the Courts.

One of the primary or principle determining factors is how the person was originally engaged. An employee is engaged under a contract of employment. An independent contractor is engaged under a contract for services. The contract of employment is completely different to the contract for services. Generally speaking, the following scenarios may be used to determine that the person is best described as a contractor: • the contract for services is generally given for a particular task / function which allows the contractor to accept other jobs from other persons / companies and the contractor carries the financial burden of loss / profit for the job; and • the contractor maintains a high level of flexibility as to how work can be undertaken, which includes the ability to sub contract the performance of the work; and • the contractor can determine their own hours; and • the contractor will charge an ‘all up rate’, so in other words, the ‘all up rate’ is the rate that is paid (there are no additional payments – like superannuation, annual leave loading, etc), the rate is all inclusive; and • the contractor can advertise their services to the general public; and • the contractor would supply their own tools, materials, etc, required for the job; and • the contractor is required to provide their own insurance (workcover, public liability, professional indemnity, etc).


Generally speaking, the following scenarios may be used to determine that the person is best described as an employee:-

In Abdalla v Viewdaze Pty Ltd t/as Malta Travel¸ the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (Commission) found that:

• the contract for employment is (generally speaking) ongoing; and • the employees primary obligation is to their employer and as a consequence, they are unable to accept other jobs from other persons / companies; and • the employee does not carry the financial burden of loss / profit for the job; and • the employee’s employer will direct the employee as to their start / finish times and the address / location of the work to be performed; and • the employee will paid an hourly / weekly rate of pay and the employer will also be bound to make additional payments – like superannuation, annual leave loading, etc; and • the employee may supply their own hand tools, but bigger tools and materials required for the job will be provided by the employer; • the employees employer is required to provide all of the insurance (workcover, public liability, professional indemnity, etc) on behalf of the employee.

“Whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor turns on whether the relationship to which the contract between the worker and the employer gives rise is a relationship where the contract between the parties is to be characterised as a contract of service or a contract for the provision of services. The ultimate question will always be whether the worker is the servant of another in that other’s business, or whether the worker carries on a trade or business of his or her own behalf: that is, whether, viewed as a practical matter, the worker could be said to be conducting a business of his or her own. This question is answered by considering the totality of the relationship.”

In the same decision, the Commission found that:

“Parties cannot alter the true nature of their relationship by putting a different label on it. In particular, an express term that the worker is an independent contractor cannot take effect according to its terms if it contradicts the effect of the terms of the contract as a whole: that is, the parties cannot deem the relationship between themselves to be something it is not.”

Should a Member have any questions about the difference between a person who should be categorised as an employee, rather than as an independent contractor, or as an independent contractor, rather than an employee please contact Phil Eberhard, Master Plumbers Senior Workplace Relations Advisor on 03 9321 0720, 0425 790 722 or | 53

54 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015 00103 PROMO FULL Mag Advert_AU_2.indd 1

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Get with the program

– the online program! To get up-to-date on all the latest regulation changes in flexible duct, look no further than your computer, laptop or tablet – thanks to ADMA! The Australian Duct Manufacturers Alliance (ADMA) has developed a training program to address the requirements of flexible duct selection and correct installation as specified in the new HVAC AS/NZS 4254.1 flexible duct standard, AS 4859.1 thermal insulation standard and National Construction Code flexible duct requirements. The online program was managed and developed through the Master Plumbers with funding support from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), Plumbing Joint Training Fund and the Heating and Cooling Alliance of Australia. The course was trialled at the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) with pre-apprentices and licensed tradespeople. The ADMA Online training program was described as ‘The best tradesperson training program of its kind’ as judged by the ’ LEARNX Foundation Awards’ at the Melbourne Convention Centre on 14th October 2014 and received a Gold Medal’ in the Best E Learning Services Category. Melbourne-based company 9 Lanterns Pty Ltd developed the program. Paul Sterling, ADMA Chairman, was delighted that ADMA received such a high recognition in receiving this award and is looking forward to rolling the program out to the industry.

Changing regulations Architects, specifiers, councils and other authorities have been informed of the new Regulations. ‘This course will equip the entire industry to be abreast of the latest requirements and educated accordingly’, Paul continued. It is the responsibility of HVAC tradespeople to be ‘up to date’ with the current requirements, which include; • Selection of flexible duct’s thermal value determined by electorate of each installation that is located via the Climate Zone map (ABCB map). • Selection of flexible duct determined by the type of system installed (gas ducted, ducted reverse cycle, ducted evaporative cooling). • Installing, securing and hanging flexible duct correctly with appropriate products. The VBA and other Regulatory authorities throughout Australia are responsible for ensuring that flexible duct is correctly selected and installed by appropriately qualified practitioners to the current National Standards. It is strongly recommended that installers are familiar with the new requirements for selecting appropriate thermal value, installing, sealing, and hanging/ supporting of flexible duct.

‘It is envisaged that apprentices, qualified plumbers, duct installers, duct manufacturers/importers, architects, specifiers, regulators, councils, authorities and other interested parties will form the cohort of students for the program.’

Cost – $70 (A Certificate of Completion is issued at the end of the course). The Certificate will not endorse the student to install flexible duct unless they have received approval from their regulatory authority. In Victoria, the VBA provides this approval which is mainly to licensed plumbers.

Here are some frequently asked questions to help you decide.

Q “I am a Mechanical Services plumber and have been installing flexible duct for 25 years, so what’s different”?

Some points for consideration:

• Is the duct labelled? • Is your supplier providing you with duct that has been tested by an accredited authority? • Does your supplier provide you with certificates/evidence that the duct complies with testing requirements to Australian Standards? • Do you know what certification you need to ask your supplier for ? • Have you chosen the correct Thermal R Value determined by electorate of each installation that is located via the Climate Zone map (ABCB map)?

Q Are there changes to the way flexible duct is hung/ supported?

There are a number of changes including: the size of the hanging strap, the distance between supports and the correct support at bends.

Q Is it really necessary to do this course?

If you and your staff want to be up to date with current selection and installation of flexible duct requirements – it is essential!

Q Why should I bother when regulators are not enforcing these regulations?

Get up to date with the New Regulations AS 4254.1-2012 – Register today! Students can login and undertake the course in their own time.

Is this course for me?

The course would mostly benefit those in the HVAC sector, including duct manufacturers, regulators, trainers, distributors and other key stakeholders in the industry. Register your interest by contacting Master Plumbers at PICAC on 03 9356 8902 or

The VBA has informed that their inspectors have undertaken this program and are enforcing these requirements. Also, consumers deserve and expect a ‘fit for purpose’ product. Several consumers have approached Consumer Affairs, VBA and Master Plumbers to enforce this. Some installers have been directed to remove and replace flexible duct at their expense if it has not been ’thermally’ selected correctly as per Building Codes of Australia requirements and or not installed to AS 4254.1 standard. | 55

Safety excellence. Do you have a Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS) in place? Rod Tresidder, Master Plumbers Work Health & Safety Officer, discusses the many benefits of implementing one. What is a WHSMS? Work Health and Safety or Occupational Health and Safety, depending on the s tate you live in, needs to be managed just like the other critical aspects of your business. The best way to do it is to adopt a systematic approach to managing health and safety risks. That is, Health and Safety needs to be considered just like the other things you need to manage as part of your business for example: quality, productivity, finance, accounting, industrial relations, insurance etc. and having systems in place makes it easier to manage these things. The same applies to health and safety. Having Health and Safety Management Systems makes good business sense.

What are the benefits of a WHSMS?

What are the features of an effective WHSMS

A WHSMS can benefit any organisation, no matter how big or small, by:

Whether your organisation is big or small, complex or basic, your WHSMS should:

• helping create safer work environment;

• have top management’s commitment to managing WHS risk;

• reducing injuries and injury related costs by pre-empting injuries allowing employers to save money on medical expenses, the injured employee’s wages, insurance claim excesses, replacement labour and increased workers’ compensation insurance premiums;

• have top management demonstrating WHS leadership;

• improving business opportunities because many companies have preferential purchasing policies that favour purchasing products or services from companies with an WHSMS; • providing measurable systems that can verify WHS performance; • demonstrating that the organisation is meeting legal requirements, and

• promote the involvement of staff in the development and implementation of the WHSMS • be supported by the organisation’s overall management system and sufficient resources • make the WHSMS’s structures and processes visible to employees and relevant to all business activities all the time, and • ensure that WHSMSs are regularly updated because WHS risks can increase at busy times, or when changes are occurring (eg during restructures, changes of products and services, changes of suppliers).

• enhancing the organisation’s reputation. Research shows that there are clear links between good WHS management systems and long-term business efficiency.


56 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

Do you have what it takes because we can help you?

How to develop an effective WHSMS?

WHSMS Audit Tools

There are five steps to an effective WHSMS, and these steps form a continual cycle of improvement and consultation is a key element of each step.

1 Top management commitment and a WHS Policy The policy is a general plan of intent which guides or influences future decisions. It is the basis upon which measurable objectives and targets and the WHSMS is developed.

2 Planning Plan how to deliver the WHS policy, objectives, and targets to ensure hazards arising from work activities are identified so that risks can be assessed and then controlled.

3 Implementation Implement the plan by developing the capabilities and support mechanisms necessary to achieve the WHS policy, objectives, and targets.

4 Measurement and evaluation Measure, monitor, and evaluate WHS performance, to determine the effectiveness of risk management, and if necessary take preventative and corrective action.

5 Management review and improvement Review and continually improve the WHSMS, with the objective of improving WHS performance. CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT


Once the WHSMS is in place it is important to regularly audit the system to determine whether it is operating as expected. WorkSafe has produced a WHSMS Quiz to assist businesses to quickly evaluate the current status of their WHSMS. WorkSafe has also developed an audit tool to assist with this process called SafetyMAP (Safety Management Achievement Program). SafetyMAP provides a set of audit criteria, which current performance can be measured against. To find out more visit Master Plumbers also offers an auditing service to members.

Master Plumbers can help you

Master Plumbers has a Work Health and Safety Unit that can assist you with all your safety needs. Our Work Health & Safety Management System workshops have been running since 2009 and have been developed in conjunction with key industry stakeholders to provide plumbing employers with the tools they need to comply with the WH&S Act. The workshop will allow you to be able to develop an effective WHSMS to achieve a safe workplace and comply with their basic legal obligations. The workshop helps plumbers further develop an understanding of WHS requirements and presents the latest developments in the industry. All participants receive a comprehensive WHSMS/site safety plan template based industry standards and the plan is expandable for those enterprises wishing to develop fully compliant AS4801 or ISO 1400 system as the business grows. To find out more visit or contact Rod Tresidder on 03 9321 0745 or

Master Plumbers WHSMS success! “In the past, as a small business with lots of paperwork to keep on top of, we missed out on a variety of jobs with Building Contractors, especially those doing government work, due to the lack of an effective Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS). Our workmanship was held in very high regard and our price was competitive, however because we didn’t have an effective WHSMS in place, we would sometimes lose out on the job. When we addressed our WHSMS, our first port of call was the Master Plumbers. I attended a very informative Work Health and Safety Workshop with Rod at the Master Plumbers who helped us develop a system that we then implemented in our business. This has allowed us to secure some major jobs ahead of bigger companies, due to our effective WHSMS. We are now running much more efficiently and more safely, and we are reaping the benefits!” Matthew Conheady, Director, GC Plumbing, Warrnambool






Indoor Safetray Installation with Optional Elevating Post Kit Indoor Safetray Installation

Save time and money! The Unitray, a new tough polymer safe tray and connection system let’s you install HWUs to code fast and efficiently. Cost effective: Use the all in one Unitray system instead of a copper tray and fittings and save. Easily assembled in less than 1 minute. Easy to order and install: Safe tray with supports, tundish and connections all supplied in one package. No soldering required – compatible with threaded, HDPE fusion welded and Fernco connections . Versatile: Multiple tray sizes available to suit 25 litre to 315 litre HWUs. Circular space saving design fits where square trays won’t. Optional elevating post kit available to meet food tenancy requirements or when connecting to an existing outlet located anywhere under the tray. Safe and compliant: Complies with and exceeds AS 3500 National Plumbing Code requirements. Manufactured from non-electrically conductive material for safe installation. Ultra Violet (UV) light stabilized materials suitable for long term external use. Engineered and certified to support and exceed maximum load requirements.

Outdoor Installation with Post Kit as an Elevating Platform

Available at: 4/27 Birubi Street Coorparoo Qld 4151 Australia

And all good plumbing stores.

More information at: e: w:

Proudly Australian Designed and Manufactured

product news Unitray – Hot water unit installation made easy The Unitray is an exciting new product – an all in one Hot Water Unit (HWU) installation system. The Unitray can be assembled and ready to support a HWU in two minutes or less. It is an efficient system designed to save you time and money, especially when meeting the requirements for commercial and multi dwelling installations. Each kit comes with a moulded polymer safetray with built in elevating ribs, a tundish and T-connector. All the parts come ready to install, clipped into the safe-tray – no more wasted trips for forgotten parts. You’ll also only need a few tools for your next HWU install. The Unitray only needs a roll of Teflon tape to setup and it can be connected to Code in a couple of minutes with threaded connections, Fernco or fusion couplings. With fewer variables to consider, the Unitray system ensures easier quoting too. The round tray design provides flexibility in waste outlet placement and is available in three sizes – small – 25 & 50 litre capacity units, medium – 80 and 160 litre capacity units and large – 250 and 315 litre capacity units. An optional stable elevating post kit is also available to allow connection to an existing waste anywhere under the HWU. The engineer certified Unitray is built to last too, from UV resistant HDPE. It conforms with and exceeds all current AS 3500 standards (National Plumbing Code). Unitray is available at your local Tradelink, Reece and all good plumbing stores. For further information contact or visit

Manage your largest expenses with Fleetmatics With today’s growing competitive society, owners and managers are always looking at ways to make their business more effective and save costs. Fleet management solutions can help businesses achieve exactly this. The online platform provides visibility into a company’s two biggest expenditures; fuel and labour, and then provides tools to help decrease these costs and generate better profits. Take companies that have manual timesheets for example. These businesses can’t readily see when their staff begin their day, when they ended it and what they did in between. It can often become essentially an honour system and it can result in longer hours and overtime, which can be a huge waste of money. With a system like Fleetmatics REVEAL, businesses can see when staff started, when they ended, when they show up at a customer’s site, and similar activities throughout the day, making it difficult to falsify timesheets. Then there are fuel savings. In 2012, Australia’s light commercial vehicles consumed a total of 5,526 million litres of fuel. When one hour of vehicle idling wastes multiple litres of fuel, the litres and, in turn, costs, can really add up. The integration of a fuel card system into the platform can also effectively put a stop to the inappropriate use of a fuel card, such as workers pumping fuel into personal vehicles. Identifying these situations can save businesses money on lost fuel. For every dollar saved on the bottom line, it’s like adding an additional $5 to the businesses’ top line revenue, meaning multiple returns, for little investment. For further information visit

Bostik – smart adhesives Bostik is a leading global adhesive specialist in industrial manufacturing, construction and consumer markets. For more than a century we have been developing innovative adhesive solutions that are smarter and more adaptive to the forces that shape our daily lives. Our Bostik Gecko who is renowned for its remarkable bonding abilities that allow it to cling to almost any surface, run up polished glass and support its entire body weight with a single toe. The gecko logo symbolizes Bostik’s smart adhesive solutions that are flexible, efficient and adaptive. Bostik’s products comply with all Australian standards from technical to OH&S. Our knowledgeable sales representatives are available to work with our customers to develop engineered product solutions in conjunction with our Melbourne and Sydney laboratories. Our product range is wide and encompasses all technologies in sealant and adhesive applications for the Construction and Industrial Markets. Our new Bostik PVC Cements and Priming Fluid Range will be launched in July, into the plumbing market and you will start to see the new packaging in your local plumbing stores. Bostik PVC Pipe Cements and Priming Fluid Product Features: • For bonding with PVC -U Pipes and PVC-U Fittings • For bonding PVC – U Pipes to ABS Fitting • Suitable for us in contact with drinking water – AS/NZS 4020 • Meets WaterMark certification • Low VOC • Available – Type N for Non Pressure, Type P for pressure applications and Priming Fluid. • Priming Fluid comes with Bostik applicator for easy application • Sizes Available: 125ml, 250ml, 500ml, 1L and 4L • Available July For further information visit | 59

product news Dux Manufacturing announces an exciting future ahead 2015 is shaping up to be a year of change for Dux Hot Water. At the end of last year, Dux Manufacturing was purchased by Noritz Corporation, an international hot water powerhouse and Japan’s leading manufacturer of residential and commercial water heaters. Dux is one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of storage and solar water heaters, while Noritz specialises in gas continuous flow water heaters. The focus, according to Dux, is very much about leveraging Noritz’s technical capabilities to build better and more competitive tanks in Australia, as well as introducing new and improved water heaters. “We are proud to be part of Noritz Corporation,” said Simon Terry, Dux CEO. “Noritz has a clear focus on hot water, producing over two million water heaters

Tax change drives Jetter sales Drain jetting has become even more affordable for plumbers thanks to the 100% tax depreciation rule change made by the Government in the May 2105 budget. Small businesses can depreciate assets up to the value of $20,000 immediately, with no limit on the number of assets claimed. “We getting a huge response from plumbers looking to take advantage of the new tax break”, said Jetters Edge principal, Bill Miller. “Record low interest rates and the new tax depreciation rules mean lots of plumbers are looking to upgrade their gear and maximise their tax deductions before the end of this financial year,” he said. The Jetters Edge offer a wide range of jetters from the Aussie Cobra 4300psi machine, a real workhorse, right up to the big King Cobra, a Honda twin-cylinder powered 5000 psi machine with a huge amount of grunt.

60 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015

annually. Japan is one of the world’s highest users of hot water and arguably the world-leader in hot water systems. We are delighted to be able to take advantage of this expertise.” “We are very excited about working together with Dux staff and network to achieve further growth of the Dux business,” said Soichiro Kokui, President and CEO of Noritz. “Noritz will bring a significant amount of water heating technology, new products and expertise to the Dux business that will contribute to a very strong and exciting future.

This year also marks the 100th birthday for Dux. “We’re proud of the fact that we have been making water heaters for Australian homes since 1915,” said Simon Terry. “Our rich, century-long history of innovation enables us to not only look at our hot water achievements of the past, but it also brings the future into focus.” An exciting future certainly seems to be heating up.

“Noritz is committed to continue to provide high quality products and services to Dux’s customers in the Australian market. We believe the combination of Dux and Noritz is an ideal partnership.”

For example, an Aussie Cobra jetter package starts from as little as $7,652 ex GST. For a sole trader paying 45% tax his nett price becomes $4,209 after tax back. The Jetters Edge, Miller’s Sydney based pressure jetting specialist operation is at the cutting edge of high pressure drain cleaning. Bill Miller worked with Australian Pump Industries, the country’s biggest manufacturer in developing machines that take the danger and the hard work out of drain cleaning. “Our machines can clean drains in as little as four minutes with plumbers telling us that the average is around ten minutes. By the time you clean up after the job you’re gone within twenty minutes,” he said. Purchasing an Aussie Cobra through “The Jetters Edge” is simple with finance being approved sometimes within twelve hours. Rates are cheap and provide plumbers with a real opportunity to value add their business and build profitability. The machines, built on the big production line at Australian Pump’s Castle Hill based two and half acre factory, are manufactured to ISO9001 Quality Standards and use “Big Berty”

super heavy duty triplex pumps to provide loads of pressure and flow. The Jetters Edge claim there are only three reasons why plumbers should invest in a high pressure Aussie Jetter. “It’s safer, it’s easier, and it’s a lot more profitable,” said Bill Miller. For further information contact The Jetters Edge or Australian Pump Industries or visit or



The Dux Plumbers Handbook is a comprehensive product and technical guide. It is a valuable tool which will make it easier than ever to access vital hot water information on-site, right when you need it. The Dux Plumbers Handbook offers: specification details

rough-in diagrams

technical & spare parts information

installation guides and animations


PUMPS Allflo Pumps & Equipment - the manufacturers of NischeFire pump systems for the fire building protection market. NischeFire pumpset packages are all fully compliant with all current Australian Standards and relevant fire codes, including AS2941, AS2419 and AS2118. With delivery, service and commissioning available Australia wide, we are looking to work with plumbers, builders and fire contractors to meet the needs of today’s fire pump market.

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T: 1300 760 070 E: W: TECHNOLOGY 62 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | June 2015





product news More to like in new Raymor range

Pressing jaws for copper

Superior Pex no longer a pipe-dream

Raymor gives you more of what you want, so you can get the job done right. More choice, more quality, more value – there’s a whole lot more to like about the crackin’ new Raymor range.

Building upon a proud heritage of delivering innovative tools to the market, Ridge Tool Australia announces jaws for copper pressing as part of RIDGID’s commitment to continual development of technological precision products. Jaws for copper pressing are available to suit the RIDGID RP340 or RP210-B pressing tool.

A top-notch new piping system is set to transform the tricky and often boring task of installing PEX piping. TradePex is the latest and most complete PEX system on the market.

With Raymor you can bet you’ll get great products at a great price, with designs that your clients will love. Raymor recently added more than 140 new lines to its suite (excuse the pun) of top-quality products. The crackin’ new range showcases the latest styles and designs, with handy features your customers will love, like basins with waste hair catchers. When it comes choosing products for their new kitchen, bathroom or laundry, your clients will love the new range. You’ll love the new Raymor range too. Raymor has been handpicked for tradies with features to make your job too easy, like one-piece mixer bodies and PEX line tails to eliminate leakage and reduce the risk of bursting. Raymor also gives you extended warranties across the whole range, including seven years on sanitaryware and 15 years on mixers. Raymor is all about plumbing.

The Next Small Thing In Pressing! RIDGID® introduces the ultimate in press tool technology: the RP 210-B. For a fast and reliable way to join copper, stainless steel and PEX, the new RP 210-B has more capacity than any compact press tool on the market. This model is 2 inches shorter and 25% lighter than our previous compact tool and features the longest service interval available (32,000 cycles), an improved swivelling barrel, and a powerful 18V Lithium-Ion battery. Now you can do more…with less!

Specifications: Jaws for copper pressing: 15, 20, 25 & 32mm Head rotation: 270 barrel/jaw swivel

With over 65 years’ in the industry and the backing of multinational company Fletcher Building, Raymor gives you quality you can trust at a great price.

Hydraulic Ram Output: 24kN

The new Raymor range is available exclusively at Tradelink Plumbing Centres and Northern’s Plumbing Supplies. Drop into your local Tradelink to check out the new range, or visit

Power source: 18V Li-Ion battery or AC adaptor

Operating temperature range: -10 C to 60 Approximate cycle time: 5 seconds

Weight: 2.5kg (without battery)

For further information contact Ridge Tool Australia on 1800 743 443, or visit

Hassle-free plumbing shouldn’t be a plumber’s pipe dream, so TradePex makes your job easier without compromising on quality. TradePex is flexible and tough with high quality fittings – all brass and no plastic – that fit both water and gas. The system features the highest pressure rating of PN20, with PN16 also available. It is resistant to freeze damage and stress cracks, and has the highest quality dezincification-resistant brass fittings that meet AS2345. The cross-linked polyethylene PEX pipes are durable at high temperatures, have a high tolerance to wear and corrosion, and provide fast and flexible installation. TradePex also offers a hydronic underfloor heating EVOH OB pipe solution, designed to suit this specialised application. Made from polyethylene raised temperature resistance tubing (PERT), hydronic provides a healthier and more evenly dispersed heating solution than air-forced systems. TradePex sets new benchmarks and also features a 25 year warranty, backed by multinational company Fletcher Building. TradePex plumbers have the best PEX! TradePex is exclusively available at Tradelink. To find out more, drop into your local Tradelink branch or visit | 63

product news Viega launches new concealed cisterns in Australia Viega, one of the leading international manufacturers of installation technology, has released a new range of concealed cisterns in Australia – the Mono Slim. The focus is on providing a slim-line, dual-flush cistern that’s easy to install and use. And the cisterns can be fitted with a comprehensive range of architectural flush plates from Viega. The German made, awardwinning Mono system has an installation depth of only 8cm, which means it is ideal in stud walls or in front of masonry walls. It also has a WELS 4-star rating based on a 3 and 4.5 litre flush, with the capability to increase it up to 6L for a large flush. Another key feature is the insulation of the cistern, which is designed to stop condensation as a result of cooler than room temperature water refilling the cistern.

The cisterns have been created with a single piece flush valve which has a dual benefit – i.e. there is a short travel distance, plus less ‘force’ is required to flush the cistern. “Additionally, if maintenance work is required, it can be removed in one piece, so that no parts can fall into the cistern by mistake,” explains Robert Hardgrove, Viega’s Technical Manager / Strategic Projects. A one piece inspection shaft also ensures the cistern is sealed, so during construction it prevents plaster, tile work mortar, water, dust or other contaminants getting into the cistern. Ease of installation is also a major point of difference. The mounting plates on the cistern and on the frame enable simple assembly, plus the water supply connection comes completely preassembled. It means the connection to the feeder pipe is possible from outside, without opening the cistern.

New Brivis Buffalo – Exact fit changeover BIG savings The new Brivis Buffalo 5 Star Classic Heater has been designed with efficiency and reliability in mind. The perfect solution for replacing your customers’ existing Buffalo, the Buffalo 5 star has the same gas pipe connection, flue position, base dimensions, electrical connection and base box – almost identical to its predecessor, but with an all new 5 Star Energy Rating. Allowing for quick and easy installation – you can provide 5 star savings and efficiency with minimal fuss. Plus, with savings of $331* on annual running costs compared to a standard Buffalo, the Buffalo 5 is a simple upgrade choice.

An investment in a Buffalo 5 is sure to provide many years of trouble-free, high-efficiency comfort, as well as reduced gas consumption. Brivis Climate System was recently required by Rinnai and has now proudly become a Rinnai Australia Pty Ltd subsidiary company. * Energy savings are compared to a standard Brivis Buffalo. Running Cost Data is based on Australian Standard AS4556-2011. House Heat Load 0.2MJ/ HR/m3 and 600 Hours of operation (100 days at 6 hours per day). Annual Energy Consumption – as per AGA Star Ratings for Ducted Gas Heating Systems. Gas Price = 1.6 cents per MJ/HR). Savings based on Average House Floor Area for New Homes built in 1995, with 2.4m ceiling. Actual savings may vary due to variations in factors such as fuel costs, house size, thermal insulation and heater usage patterns. * Source: ABS 1301.0 Year Book Australia 2005

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Another of the cistern’s features is a translucent rubber washer with higher chlorine resistance for the Australian market.

Designer flush plates The Mono cisterns can also be combined with Viega’s extensive range of awardwinning flush plate designs – one of the most comprehensive and diverse ranges available. “Regardless of a bathroom’s architectural style, Viega has a flush plate which can fit harmoniously into the design of any bathroom,” Robert says. “They’re designed to match a wide array of ceramics and taps.” Viega’s flush plates come in a choice of short or long, chrome, stainless steel, plastic or glass. For more information on Viega’s Mono cisterns and flush plate range, visit

DRAIN CLEANING MACHINE “Turn the power drill in your tool box into a powerful, cost effective drain cleaning machine” Loud, expensive and cumbersome jetting equipment is now a thing of the past with the arrival of the latest sewer cleaning innovation from Europe – Sewer i No noise, no mess no fuss!

Apprentices. For our industry. Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria is the industry’s group training scheme dedicated to providing plumbing businesses with high quality, highly skilled apprentices to meet their needs. Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria is a flexible and cost effective way of accessing extra labour when you need it most.

To find out more, call (03) 9329 9622 or visit

Contact Austeck for an obligation free Quote & Demonstration

1800 287 835 A 11/77 Bourke Road, Alexandria NSW 2015 W E | 65

product news Meet the dazzling NEW product launch piece by Rems: the Mini-Press 22 Volt The REMS Mini-Press 22 Volt ACC is a universal press tool with the ability to press connections of up to 40mm. It’s super light and super-fast! The REMS pressing tongs with auto locking are quickly applied and easy to use. With a weight of only 2.5 kg and a length (including Pressing Tongs) of only 31cm, the 22 Volt Mini-Press can be used anywhere, free-hand, overhead or even in very confined spaces. With only one hand required to work the Press, this leaves your other free to multi-task and work faster!

Relax and enjoy your winters with Hunt Hydronic Heating Australia leading hydronic boiler brand Immergas just got bigger with Hunt Heating announcing the launch of a ground breaking new wall-mounted boiler, the InTec. With a compact design focused on ease of operation and installation, the latest addition to the Hunt Heating domestic range delivers on all levels – quality, reliability, energy efficiency and value. Now with advanced combustion management, the InTec boilers continually control and adjust the gas flow to deliver improved energy efficiency. Initially available in 12Kw & 30Kw internal and external models in addition to the 30kW combi version delivering a staggering 20 litres of domestic hot water per minute Compatible with Gaudium Solar Hot Water solutions with multi zone management built in, Intec is available with a market leading three years manufacturers’ parts and labour warranty. Installing the Hunt Heating Premier pack will upgrade the Intec warranty for an additional two years!

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The cordless feature offers freedom to move AND with a powerful battery motor (21.6V, 380W) it last and lasts. After work, simply use the Quickcharger (Li - Ion 230 V, 50 - 60 Hz, 70 W) to recharge the battery, ready to resume. The universal cordless radial press comes with automatic circuit control which offers further security and safety. It has leading compression times of under four seconds at 50 percent more pressings. The automatic locking of pressing tongs and auto expiration of the pressing process gives you additional security. Add in a tip switch, emergency stop AND built-In LED work light for further ease of use.

More Heat Required! The Immergas Victrix Pro range is the new addition to the Hunt Heating light commercial offering. Designed specifically for Australia the fan-assisted condensing boilers are available in four models ranging from 55kw to 120kw IPX5D rated the four models are suitable for internal and external applications. The stainless steel isothermic condensing module and built in Grundfos modulating pump provide best in class operating efficiencies. For projects with even higher load requirements and using the latest range of accessories the system has the capability of achieving a maximum output of up to 600kW by cascading up to five boilers with wall mounting, free standing and back to back fixing options. Built from high-quality components, the range has been designed with commercial and larger-scale residential properties in mind. The Victrix Pro boilers also offer substantial ‘green’ benefits, such as energy efficiency, working at around 97.5 percent efficiency at maximum load condensing and low emissions, releasing less than 40mg of NOx per kWh, reduced consumption with very high modulation range 1÷10.

It comes as a BASIC PACK, which includes: REMS Mini-Press ACC 22V Planetary gear, eccentric reciprocating pump and compact high power hydraulic system Tip switch, emergency stop Built-in LED work light. Battery Li - Ion 21.6 V , 1.6 Ah Quick charger: Li - Ion 230 V, 50 - 60 Hz, 70 W. Sturdy steel case For further information please contact Ancra Australia on 1800 4 26272

The optional Boiler Cascade Manager spreads the load evenly between the boilers, optimising the ever-changing demands of the system. This helps to provide a rapid warm up time in response to multiple requests. Independently if demand falls low enough, a single boiler can run on its minimum output, minimising energy use. For further information please contact Hunt Heating on 1300 00 1800 or visit



designed & built for Australia from Italy’s No1. boiler manufacturer 3





• Factory fitted external case • Stainless steel isothermic condensing heat exchanger • 1:5 Modulation Rate • IXP5D electrical insulation • Built in Frost Protection • Grundfos 7m Pump Module • Factory fitted plug and electrical lead • Solar compatible • Intelligent Management Interface • Dedicated “secure” floor heating parameter • 10 Year Manufacturers Heat exchanger warranty 11 Fiveways Blvd, Keysborough, Victoria 3173 T: 1300 00 1800 or (+61 3) 9798 5111 F: (+61 3) 9798 5133 E:



Internal Wall Hung Boilers: InTec 30 Combi InTec 30 Heating only InTec 12 Heating only Can be combined with Gaudium Solar Plus systems External Wall Hung Boilers: InTec 30 Combi InTec 30 Heating only InTec 12 Heating only All models available as Natural Gas & LPG

The smart choice. Experts in Domestic & Commercial Hydronic Heating & Cooling Systems.

call us today

1300 00 1800

Be Impressed with Zetco

IAPMO WM-000110 AS 5830.1

Full range 15-50mm Approved for water and gas Press x press, press x female, press x male

AGA 5301 AS 4617

Nut & tail, which includes Zetco’s continuous flow water heater kits (Aust Pat No 2006 200 845 & Pat Appln No 2013 242 783)

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