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your industry magazine

the INNOVATION issue chasing that lightbulb moment


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welcome. f r o m

t h e

E dit o r

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

The innovation issue Chasing that lightbulb moment

15/306 Albert Street Brunswick VIC 3056 T (03) 9329 9622 F (03) 9329 5060

Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre

It’s the first edition of Australian Plumbing Industry magazine this year and we are setting the precedent with our forwardthinking innovation issue. We hope it’s the inspiration you need to get the cogs turning to bring your brightest ideas to life. You’ve probably noticed that we’ve got none other than The Block’s Scott Cam on the front cover. Roving reporter Matt Reynolds grills Scott about what it means to be an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador and gets the truth about what really goes on behind the scenes in home improvement shows – read all about it on page 50. Speaking of which, The Hall of Shame is back with a vengeance on page 25. A lot of our readers have been enjoying our new regular fixture on the Master Plumbers Facebook page – don’t forget to ‘like’ us to be judge and jury facing the latest in crimes against plumbing every Sunday. On the flipside of the coin we are bringing you some very good examples of plumbing innovation with two Master Plumbers Member Profiles. Laser Plumbing’s Daniel Smolenaars talks through his progressive approach to recruitment and morale boosting in the workplace on page 30. And don’t miss the success story of Horton Poulter, one of the first graduates from the Master Plumbers Group Training Scheme who went on to achieve great things with his Creative Plumbing business on page 40. We’re also talking to Plumbing and Fire Industry award finalist Kelly Stallwood of Geschke

4 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

about how far her Civil Engineering career has taken her. Feeling like being a part of plumbing history and having your say in the big debate? Industry veteran Neil Cox passes comment on the finer details of the refrigerants issue, while Master Plumbers Technical Liaison Gary Bath dispels the myths behind the upcoming 2018 Regulations sunset in plain English so you know where you stand. Need a helping hand with communication innovation for your business? We’ve got hot tips to optimise your plumbing business’s digital presence with Google’s Duncan McGrath on page 46. And WorkSafe are assisting us with ideas to convey health and safety messages in a more engaging way using the power of video on page 42. Hope the first quarter of the year is proving profitable for all Master Plumbers Members.


Kate Stephenson 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 Kate Stephenson T (03) 9321 0703 E

Advertising Elaine Mathews T (03) 9321 0798 E

Suppliers Salt Creative Printgraphics Direct Mail Corporation

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26 Welcome / 8 A message from the Association’s President and our CEO

Member news / 10 Industry news / 20 The Hall of Shame / 25 Catching more crimes against plumbing red handed

PICAC Geelong opening / 26 Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declares our newest training facility open

Plumbing: the close of the 20th Century / 28 Member profile: Daniel Smolenaars / 30

30 Refrigerants: Just the FAQs / 34 Neil Cox shares what you need to know about the refrigerants issue

Sunsetting of the 2008 Plumbing Regulations / 36 Master Plumbers’ technical advisor Gary Bath explains how the changes will affect you

Our homage to plumbing through the ages continues page 28

50 Why innovation means profit / 45 Digital discoverability with Google / 46 simPRO tech special: plumbing simplified / 48 From the trenches / 50 Exclusive interview with Scott Cam

Mastering workplace relations / 52

Streamlined ambition / 39

Phil Eberhard gives his expert advice

An interview with Geschke’s Kelly Stallwood

Cyber threat – Is my business at risk? / 54

Member profile: Horton Poulter / 40

With Marsh Insurance

Lights, camera… safety! / 42

Renovations get copper glow

WorkSafe special

Digital strategies to get the competitive edge / 44

Australian copper / 56

Expert tendering workshop / 57 Chris Dennis shares her expertise

Product news / 59

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.

Our key projects for this year are to make sure that our members have the information and training opportunities to take advantage of whatever changes occur


from the President and CEO

Innovation in communication

Our first ever innovation themed issue of Australian Plumbing Industry magazine pays homage to the Association as a progressive institution. For me innovation is an ideology that is a part of the underlying ethos of the Association and a driving force for our Members and industry as a whole. As a Member of the organisation, you have already taken the step to innovation in your plumbing business. You have a wealth of resources at your disposal, from industry best Industrial Relations and OHS, to legal matter and technical advice. But simply paying your Membership doesn’t activate your Membership. You need to be involved to get the most out of what the Association offers. Call on our experts for advice. Attend the Business Breakfasts and training events. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice. We’re here to help. This is your Membership and we invite you to use it to your advantage. We are always looking for innovative ways to engage with our valued Members, either to convey information, or even just to keep in contact. We’ve been building our community on social media and have already seen successes in our Member Online Forum, where Members can talk to eachother and amongst themselves. If you haven’t explored it yet, make yourself a part of the discussion on It’s important to connect on new levels and we hope that our communication will always be a two way street. With this in mind we hope the year ahead is a good one.

Have your say on the sunsetting of the regulations

Welcome to 2017 where the level of uncertainty internationally through BREXIT and the US elections makes Australia look relatively stable. There are wildly differing views, however, about the impact of events on our country and consequently on our industry. Our key projects for this year are to make sure that our members have the information and training opportunities to take advantage of whatever changes occur. These could include changes to regulatory standards and enforcement activities as well as new products and sustainability requirements. How to operate a business profitably needs to be emphasised both to members in terms of costing and quoting business and to the Government in terms of the cost burden that new regulations impose. The major focus this year will be on the review of the Plumbing Regulations in Victoria, which sunset in 2018. These regulations, which cover both licensing and technical requirements are the protection that is required for your trade and for the public. It will be essential to work with the Government to ensure that the existing relations are enforced and that the new regulations continue to meet the needs of the community. An extensive consultation program will be required and I hope that you take the time to contribute to the review. We will keep Members updated on the process. Keep an eye on your e-news, and for regular updates and opportunities to contribute. There is also an extensive program of industry Business Breakfasts and forums proposed for the year ahead. I look forward to seeing you there.

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

8 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

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Members Christmas Function How Members celebrated the season in style Melbourne turned on blue skies and festive charm on Wednesday 7 December for the exclusive Master Plumbers Members Christmas Function held at the Boatbuilders Yard in South Wharf. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as Members gathered to socialise over beers and bar food and reminisce on the year that was. Welcoming guests, Master Plumbers CEO Ken Gardner looked back on twelve months of great achievements in the plumbing industry, remembering our Business Breakfasts at The Cube in Federation Square, the success of World Plumbing Day, and the celebrations of the Master Plumbers’ 125 year milestone. He paid homage to the rising stars and industry heroes who gained their rightful recognition at the Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards and Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria Awards. He also recognised the Master Plumbers Member Online Forum that launched in March and took the opportunity to introduce the new Member Liaison and Technical Adviser, Gary Bath to the team. Then it was over to Association President Scott Dowsett who discussed the ever strengthening relationships within the plumbing industry, without which the launch of the new PICAC Geelong training centre would not have been possible. He took the opportunity to applaud PICAC Geelong’s opening and contemplate what 2017 would hold, with plans well under the way for PICAC Narre Warren.

Peter Jensen awarded Life Member status But after looking to the future, it was time to look to the events of the past to present one of the Association’s most esteemed members with a great accolade. Peter Jensen was awarded a Life Member status, which he accepted with a warm and moving speech.

Thank you to event sponsors

10 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Peter has been plumbing for 46 years, all of them at Worboys, now in its 95th year. In his acceptance speech, he recognised committee member and past PresidentLife Member Jack Williamson, a man that loved and worked very hard for the Association. ‘He instilled in me the idea that the Association was run by the Members for the Members,’ said Peter, whose career highlights include an asbestos awareness roadshow around the state in 2004 with Lawrie O’Shea, as well as conferences in Queensland , Hawaii, New Zealand and India. He also will never forget the 2015 Europe Conference Tour. Peter has been a Master Plumbers board member since 2000 and has always been an active force in the battle to prevent deregulation and the dumbing down of the industry. He played an integral part in the development of PICAC Brunswick and is an advocate for the progressive training methods PICAC employs. Peter also recognised how being a Member has been a great way to connect with others in the industry, including manufacturers and industry stakeholders. Congratulations to Damian De Vincentis “We have a great industry where from BeOnd Plumbing you can specialise across all who took away the sectors,’ said Peter. I’m continually major door prize from surprised with the projects our Business Breakfast members take on across our country events – a fantastic and sometimes overseas. Plumbers tool box courtesy are a very versatile lot, who are always of Tradelink ready to improvise and are always looking at doing it better to get the edge. That’s what makes plumbers great.” | 11

There was one guest at the Boatbuilders Yard who definitely stole the show. Guests couldn’t help but notice the Copper Man at the entrance. This brassy personality was Peter Jensen’s sculptural creation, inspired by the Tin Man from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. An idea borne from an old hot water service that was ‘too good to scrap’, Peter’s first attempt at sculpture was brought to life in a garage in Mitcham and took 12 months

12 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

to create. In his short lifetime, Copper Man has had a run in with Victoria Police, attended hens and bucks parties, a 60th birthday in outback Bendigo and practiced with Melbourne’s Ice Hockey Team. He also boasts a working water feature, with various spouts, is transportable on his own trolley, has his own belt made from two gas meter bends and lighting in his lantern and head. Rumour has it he is also a very affable chap!

Be a Master Plumber. Become an industry leader. Protect.



Protect your business.

Save time and money.

Develop your skills.

Advice and resources on employment and recruitment

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Discounts on relevant industry training for you and your staff

Information and assistance on workplace health and safety Use the Master Plumbers logo and branding to market your business

Deals on vehicles, fuel, banking, insurance, safety gear, work wear, health insurance and much more Business templates and services

Events and networking opportunities Fortnightly eNewsletter, quarterly magazine, eAlerts, Facebook and Twitter

Be found with ‘Find a Master Plumber’ on

Join today. Call 03 9329 9622 | Visit | Email | 13

member news Master Plumbers and Tradelink Business Breakfast Our last Business Breakfast of 2016 was always going to be one to remember. Triple Olympic gold medalist and member of the “Oarsome Foursome” Drew Ginn hosted the early morning networking event which ran with an Occupational Health and Safety theme. Our panel of experts and room full of guests were up bright and early on Thursday 24 November for the closing Business Breakfast of the calendar, held at The Cube in Federation Square. Members were in for a treat as Olympic rower Drew Ginn told an inspiring story of recovery, rowing and reaching your goals. He also passed around his impressive collection of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, the substantial weight of which came as a surprise to many who had never held Olympic glory in their hands before. Drew’s talents don’t just stop at rowing and his bright spirit shone through in an engaging talk. His unwavering energy and tireless dedication make him an inspiration to many that really set the tone for the morning.

To kickstart the health and safety theme, Steve Thornley, WorkSafe Group Leader of Hazardous Industries spoke next. Coming into the summer months, he gave timely advice for working at heights, with roofing plumbers firmly in mind. He shared expert advice about safer options for working on roofs or at heights and put some smart guidelines in place for reasonable practice. WorkSafe Construction Program Manager, Dermott Moody, joined Steve at the end of his presentation for an informative question session.

Our last speaker of the day was Lance Garret, who informed Members of some exciting new product release information from Tradepex, rounding off our last early morning rendezvous at The Cube.

Want to be a part of our 2017 Business Breakfasts? We’ve got exciting news for 2017 – our Business Breakfasts are coming TO YOU! You spoke and we listened – we’re taking our meetings out of the city and focussing on metropolitan areas. Perhaps you already attended our first one of the year on 23 February. The theme was Industrial Relations and the venue at Essendon Fields was a great start to the show! Here’s the program for the rest of the year – hope to see you there: 14 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Next up was Peter DiBiase, WorkSafe Improvement Programs Officer, who spoke about the prevalence of injuries among younger members of the workforce. With so many young apprentices employed in the plumbing industry, this was a great opportunity to find out what inspectors are on the look out for. Members received takeaway tips for promoting a safer culture in the workplace, with an emphasis on reaching out to those with less experience – after all, younger workers are at a much higher risk of being injured than those with more experience.

18 May Riversdale Golf Club, Mount Waverley Marketing theme

18 August Mantra Bell City, Preston Health and Safety theme

17 November Caulfield Race Course, East Caulfield Business Operations theme

Business Breakfasts are free events for Members and Tradelink customers. Business partners or administration team members are also welcome to attend. Call 03 9329 9622 to register your interest.

Calling all Plumbers, Sprinkler Fitters, Fire Protection Professionals, Hydraulic Consultants, Sales Reps, Apprentices and Businesses‌ Do you or someone you know deserve to be recognized for your contribution to our industry?

SAve tHe DAte Saturday 5 August 2017

the 3rd Annual Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards Saturday 5 August 2017 The Savoy Ballroom Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Find out more at BRIngIng tHe PlumBIng AnD FIRe PRoteCtIon InDuStRIeS togetHeR

16 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

member news

Welcome New Members

Event dates for March to May Friday 10 March World Plumbing Day at PICAC Brunswick

Monday 22 May Work Health and Safety Management Workshop

Thursday 30 March Master Plumbers Annual General Meeting

Monday 29 May Master Plumbers Bendigo Forum

Thursday 18 May Marketing Business Breakfast

The Association’s role in 2017

Master Plumbers welcomes the following new members, affiliates and corporate partners who have joined the Association since December 2016. Luke Campbell Plumbing Services Rainbow Air Conditioning

The Master Plumbers Board is committed to future proofing our industry. Your Association will continue in 2017 to remind the Government and the regulators of the critical issues that need to be addressed. Get involved with these discussions and share your ideas. Have your say in the Members Online Forum visit

These include: • The renewal of the plumbing regulations in Victoria in 2018 – the existing regulations sunset. • The current interpretation of offsite work being allowed as part of a “watermark” certification rather than being plumbing work. • The need to resolve the status of apprentices who have completed the Cert III component but have not passed their journeyman’s exam. • The need for a building products approval scheme and the enhancement of the “watermark” scheme. • Reform of the way that legally enforceable Standards are made available to plumbers.

Plumb HD Horwood Plumbing Pty Ltd Drain Works AAD Walker Plumbing & Maintenance TIG Plumbing & Gas Fitting Pty Ltd Mulder Plumbing Impact Plumbing & Refrigeration Pty Ltd All Round Plumbing and Drainage Ascot Group Fielding Plumbing Rapid Cold Airconditioning Pty Ltd Med Gas Systems Pty Ltd Prowse Plumbing Pty Ltd Laser Plumbing Horsham Banks Pty Ltd

6/306 Albert Street Brunswick VIC 3056 T 1300 222 727 F (03) 9356 8929

training@pica /PICACaus ICACaus

Training to sk ill, u p-s

-skill d re l an kil

Save at the pump with Master Plumbers! As a Master Plumber you have access to discounts on both the BP Plus and Caltex Star Card programs. You may even wish to join both programs. These programs allow you to save up to 2.5 cents per litre off the pump price.

To view the benefits of each program log in to your Member Dashboard at

CEPUT EC Plumbing

Technical Education Centre

PICAC TrAInIng SChedule

Download the latest PICAC Training Schedule at

January–J une 2017


If you require any further information about our fuel discounts or any other membership benefits, please contact or 03 9329 9622. | 17

member news News from Master Plumbers Tasmania Welcome Members and Happy New Year! Tasmania is set for a bigger than expected building and construction boom which will be rolling out over the next six to eight years with an estimated $1.2 billion in works. While most works will be in the south of the State there are some projects planned for other parts of Tasmania. More than ever our members need to be well placed to take advantage of the opportunities available now and into the future. What we do know is that our labour force needs to be strong and capable of growing not only with quality apprentices but also opportunities for older tradespersons to transition into more operational and managerial roles.

Tasmania is set for a bigger than expected building and construction boom with an estimated $1.2 billion in works In partnership with Work and Training, Tasmanian Independent Builders Association and On Road Off Road Training, MPAT has received State Government funding to deliver a pilot program – Work Ready for the Building & Construction Industry. The Work Ready for the Building & Construction Industry Program will provide six weeks of intense technical and employability skills training and workplace experience to 16 young jobseekers to ensure they have the skills they need to be ready for work. Our members Twentieth Century Plumbing, Express Plumbing and Howrah Plumbing will provide work experience and mentor training. We are also working closely with the Tasmanian Building & Construction Industry Training Board (TBCITB) to develop a Workforce Development Plan for our industry. Once complete, this plan

18 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

will identify the deficits we currently have in the industry and the strategies that we need to implement to overcome barriers and strengthen our position. Running parallel to this we have formed an Education Sub Committee with the principal objective of focusing on the image, marketing and recruitment of suitable apprentices; the delivery and resources required to ensure apprentices are receiving contemporary and quality based learning; pathways of units contained within the Certificate III and robust validation processes with stronger employer buy in. MPAT will be working closely assisting members on the roll-out of the new building legislation, and as is often the case, there will most probably be some bugs to iron out in the coming months. The Director, Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) has signed off on a number of Determinations which have been published on the CBOS Website, they include: • Director’s Determination Categories of Plumbing Work • Director’s Determination Categories of Building or Demolition Work • Director’s Specified List Determination 2016 • Referral to Function Control Authorities Determination 2016 • Certificates by Qualified Persons for an Assessable Item Determination 2016

• Special Fire Hazard Materials Determination • Director’s Determination – Mandatory Contract Provisions – Version 1.0 December 2016 CBOS has also produced some guidance material including: • Building Determination Q and A • Guide to the Building Act 2016 • Consumer Contracts Guide We will keep members up to date with regular eAlerts, meetings and forums to ensure we transition as smoothly as possible over the coming year under the new building regulatory regime. Another project on the go will be the roll out of some new member benefits so stay tuned for some great offers in 2017. Most importantly MPAT is here to serve our members. We have a range of services and assistance available and if we don’t have it in house we will soon find it. No job is too big or too small – so make sure you give us a call any time for advice and support on 03 6272 2199. Special thanks go to Claudia Jewellers, Crisp Ikin Agencies, Rinnai, Samios and Milwaukee Power Tools for sponsoring our super member Xmas presents and congrats to all the winners! Angela Ayling Executive Officer

why choose a career in plumbing? plumbing apprenticeship

A highly skilled and challenging career! Types of plumbing

What to expect

Plumbing is a highly skilled trade. It offers a variety of work in different areas:

As an apprentice plumber you will:

• • • • • •

Water supply Sanitary Gasfitting Roofing Drainage Mechanical services

Benefits of a plumbing apprenticeship

Plumbing career pathway 1

High school

Install plumbing fixtures and pipework


Pre Apprenticeship Certificate II

Install and test appliances


Apprenticeship Certificate III

Repair and maintain plumbing systems


Registered plumber

Work outdoors, inside buildings and at heights


Licensed Plumber Certificate IV

Communicate with colleagues and clients


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Work in domestic and commercial environments

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To find out more about a career in plumbing visit, email or call 03 9329 9622 | 19

industry news International internship launch for 2017

Worksafe urges workers to do more after ‘horror 2016’

Do you know an apprentice who has always dreamed of taking their plumbing career overseas?

Victorian workplaces must do more in 2017 to prioritise safety following a horror year in which 26 people lost their lives at work.

Perhaps you are an apprentice who was inspired by the story of Bryce Healy’s Danish Internship in the December edition of Australian Plumbing Industry magazine? Well we have great news – we are starting to take applications for another lucky intern to experience working as a plumber in Denmark’s capital this August. More details will be released soon about how to apply on and through the Master Plumbers and Apprentice e-news letters and Facebook page. If you simply can’t wait, drop us an email to register your interest:

The warning from WorkSafe Victoria follows the worst year for fatalities since 2009. WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, described the number of workplace fatalities in 2016 as “horrific”.

Find out more about how to disseminate the health and safety message to your workforce and prevent accidents on page 42.

“Tragically, 26 Victorian workers did not make it home safely at the end of the day and their families didn’t get to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their loved ones,” Ms Williams said.

Rheem Plumbing Grant Are you an apprentice plumber or about to start your apprenticeship this year? The newly bolstered Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants scheme is ready to launch for 2017 and could be just the helping hand you need.

Dates for your diary Clean up Australia Day 6 March International Women’s Day 8 March World Plumbing Day 11 March World’s Greatest Shave week 16 March World Water Day 22 March Good Friday (PH) 14 April Easter Monday (PH) 17 April

20 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

“Since we launched the inaugural Rheem apprentice Plumber Grants program, we’ve awarded $150,000 in grants to apprentice plumbers around Australia,” says Rheem’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Taylor. “For 2017 we’ve bolstered the grants after taking into consideration substantial feedback from apprentices, teachers and employers.” “We have increased the value of the grants after assessing the myriad applications for previous grants and speaking with scores of apprentices, plumbing teachers and employers,” explains Chris. “From this feedback, we determined that the greatest financial hardships were affording fees, text books and tools. That’s why we’ve reassessed the grants program and boosted the value to provide even greater tangible assistance.”

Applications for the 2017 Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants program close on Sunday 12 March 2017. Successful grant recipients will be announced on Friday 14 April 2017. Apprentices can nominate themselves, or their employer can nominate on their behalf with a form that is easy to download at where you can find more details about the application. You can also find out more on the Facebook page:

World Plumbing Day is held on 11 March to celebrate the important role plumbing plays in our community

World Plumbing Day at PICAC – March 2017 You have probably heard about World Plumbing Day by now. This international event initiated by the World Plumbing Council and held on 11 March each year recognises the important role plumbing and plumbers play in the health and amenity enjoyed by our communities. Friday 10 March marks the celebrations at PICAC Brunswick – and there are plenty of ways you can get involved. In support of World Plumbing Day, PICAC conducts a number of activities to build the reputation of our great industry. The collaborative event will aim to:

Plumbing Apprentice, Sprinkler Fitting Skills Competition

• Further position PICAC as an industry leader.

The day kicks off early with leading apprentices from across Victoria competing and displaying their skills and knowledge of plumbing, mechanical services and fire protection in a practical demonstration. The finalists are eligible for selection to represent PICAC and Australia at the United Association International Apprentice Skills Contest in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The activities on the day will consist of:

Industry Forum

• Apprentice Skills Competition

Stakeholders from across the industry are invited to attend an information forum where they will hear from significant keynote speakers focusing on issues affecting the plumbing industry today.

• Promote the vital role plumbing plays in societal health and wellbeing. • Increase awareness of PICAC and our commitment to skills and education excellence.

• Industry Forum • Plumbing Trades Exhibition

The World Plumbing Day 2017 theme is – ‘Sustainable growth for our future and our community’.

Plumbing Trades Exhibition Organisations set up informative displays of industry innovations, cutting edge products and sustainable solutions for attendees. Attendees and exhibitors alike have the opportunity to network over a casual lunch, learn about and showcase important new technologies relevant to the industry. We look forward to reporting back in our June edition with some photos and updates of what happened on the day.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Linkedin Like to be up to date with plumbing industry news? With regular Hall of Shame DIY Plumbing disaster updates every Sunday, Funny Dunny Friday and latest news, the Master Plumbers Facebook page is the place to be for everything to do with the industry. We are also relaunching regular content and advisory posts on the Master Plumbers Linkedin page to keep you across all things training, recruitment and morale boosting – don’t forget to follow us on there to be first to know about everything including job vacancies and tips from the experts about how to boost your business. | 21

industry news Energy assessment grants from Sustainability Victoria Sustainability Victoria is calling for applications to the Boosting Productivity energy assessment grants program for small and medium sized businesses. Grants will be offered to businesses with less than 200 full time employees, spending over $20,000 a year on energy, to enable them to carry out an energy assessment, and identify and implement energy improvements. Funding is available to cover 50 per cent of the cost of an energy assessment at two levels: • A basic energy assessment which provides up to $2,000 towards the cost of an assessment. This is recommended for businesses spending between $20,000 and $50,000 on energy per annum • A detailed energy assessment which provides up to $6,000 towards the cost of an assessment. This is recommended for businesses spending more than $50,000 on energy per annum. Register here: services-and-advice/business/ energy-and-materials-efficiency-forbusiness/boosting-productivity/ energy-assessment-grants

Make a change in a community that needs it with the Reece Grant The Reece Grant is an initiative that aims to improve the quality of life within underprivileged communities by supporting Reece customers undertaking projects to provide clean water or improve sanitation. Reece is giving over $40,000 in support across communities in Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Nepal and Indonesia. With over 315,000 children under the age of five dying annually from preventable diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation, the need for plumbers and specialists to assist these communities has never been greater.

Think you have got what it takes to get involved and make a difference in the community? Find out more about the project and how to apply here

The major recipients this year are father-daughter duo Lauren and Ian Stevens, who have been awarded $16,000 to support their project in Cambodia, visiting two local primary schools in the province of Kampong Speu, 70km west of Phnom Penh. The project commences in

Our response to the great plumber wages debate Earlier this year, the media were up in arms in a sensationalised story claiming that the fees of tradespeople had skyrocketed, with plumbers reaching the top spot in terms of hourly rate and callouts. According to the Herald Sun, plumbers were charging the most out of every tradesperson, upwards of “a whopping $78 an hour”. We all know this really does not account for the bigger picture of what it takes to be a plumber into consideration. We all know plumbers are responsible for their own vehicles and tools; not to mention their own upskilling, marketing, recruitment and health and safety.

Consequently, the hourly rate charged is not reflective of the take home pay of tradespersons. In addition, many tradespersons work for a business, and as such, their salaries are paid by the business and are independent of the hourly rates charged.

Master Plumbers CEO Ken Gardner has passed comment on this issue before and is clear that these hourly rates do not illustrate the whole story.

Businesses that do not charge enough money to cover costs and make profit are at risk of failure. The Master Plumbers Association supports the application of hourly rates that lead to successful businesses.’

‘Other expenses that must be factored into the hourly rate include tools and equipment, vehicles and their running costs, licence and registration fees and administrative costs to name a few.

22 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

February next year and will provide students with access to safe and clean water latrines, hand washing stations and a sustainable water sanitation system.

What’s your take on the issue? Why not join the debate on the Master Plumbers forum?

Master Plumbers debate key industry issues in Sydney CEO of Master Plumbers Ken Gardner, Master Plumbers Australia Chairman Noel Abercromby and Master Plumbers Queensland Executive Director Penny Cornah met with the Hon Craig Laundy MP, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science in Sydney in late January to advocate on behalf of the plumbing industry on a range of issues, including WaterMark, Point of Sale Legislation, Non Conforming Plumbing Products, National Licensing and Modular Construction. Master Plumbers Australia (MPA) raised and debated these crucial issues on behalf of our Members and all industry stake holders. MPA together with Plumbing Products Industry Group (PPIG) held a joint forum in Canberra in October last year. PPIG represent manufacturers and importers of all plumbing products, associated valves/ meters and plumbing and fittings. Ken was among fifty representatives from the plumbing industry to visit Parliament

House for the forum. The aim of the collaboration was to influence decisions that are made on the plumbing industry such as WELS legislation, WaterMark certification and work with the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB).

Master Plumbers Members: Don’t forget to have your say and join the discussion at

Changes to main to meter installations process City West Water (CWW) will be introducing a change to its current process for the installation of all general (drinking) and recycled water main to meter connections, including general (drinking) water and recycled water meter installations. For all new plumbing applications lodged from 1 July 2017 CWW will engage its meter services contractor, Select Solutions, to install all main to meter connections for all sized general (drinking) and recycled water services, which includes: • Installation of the CWW approved meter(s) • Where required, the installation of the main to meter pipework in the nature strip/roadway into the property boundary, inclusive of excavation and reinstatement • Tapping of the CWW general (drinking) / recycled water mains • Plugging of a redundant general (drinking) /recycled water service.

Specific details and all applicable costs will be included on the plumbing application and/ or the applicable development offer. CWW believes this process improvement will standardise the installation of all related works as well as protect plumbers and community due to the ongoing changes and requirements associated with: • Traffic management laws • Working on asbestos mains • OHS requirements with excavation works • Meeting relevant Australian and WSAA standards

As a value added service, CWW will also offer the customer the option to have the installation and testing of the required backflow device on the general (drinking water) service (containment only) during the main to meter connection. This would be at an additional cost to the described works above and there will be an option on the plumbing application customers to select this option. The customer may still request their own plumber to install any required backflow device(s). For any further enquires please call the Technical Team on 1300 299 228 or

• Water meter manufacturer installation requirements.

Note: All work involving the provision of a Fire Service will not form part of this new process and remains the customer’s plumber’s responsibility to install. The conditions under which these will be permitted will be included in the applicable development offer. | 23

All the latest from the Victorian Building Authority

industry news VBA Roundup Water temperature for personal hygiene purposes

Do not use composite pipe externally in bushfire areas With bushfire season well under way, the VBA would like to remind all gas fitters about the restrictions around using composite pipes in Bushfire Prone Areas and the application of AS 3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas. Composite pipe (e.g. PeX/Al/PeX) is gaining popularity among gasfitters because of the ease of installation. However, in accordance with AS 3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, composite pipe cannot be used on the exterior of any residential buildings in a designated Bushfire Prone Area. Bushfire Prone Area (BPA) maps were designated across Victoria in 2011 introducing minimum bushfire construction requirements for all residential buildings (class 1, 2 and 3) and attached garages (class 10a) in these areas. Find out more:

Hot water temperatures must reach the right levels to ensure hygiene but the VBA has seen a recent increase in the number of systems installed that do not have the appropriate water temperature control device(s) fitted where the supply is for personal hygiene purposes. The requirements for tempering the outlets of personal hygiene fixtures apply to all new installations and where the heated water piping is being altered such as in a bathroom renovation.

are not to be used in lieu of a temperature control device. Only a water heater complying with AS 3498 and marked with the following will be deemed compliant:

Although some water heaters may have mixing valves built in to adjust the hot water delivery temperature, these devices


Updated WaterMark Schedule On Tuesday 15 November 2016, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) announced the release of updated versions of key documents for the mandatory WaterMark certification scheme. The WaterMark Certification Scheme Schedule of Specifications (WMSS) is a complete listing of the plumbing materials and products that require Watermark certification. The WMSS also lists the Specifications that particular products or materials must be certified to in order to receive WaterMark certification. The WMSS can be accessed at

Regulatory requirements for the off-site construction of plumbing systems The VBA is aware of the growing practice of plumbing systems being constructed in locations such as factories and workshops before being transported to site for installation and commissioning. Examples of systems that are commonly constructed in this manner include bathroom pods, HVAC risers and skid-mounted heated water systems. The VBA has published a fact sheet clarifying the regulatory requirements applicable to the construction of plumbing systems in off-site locations. 24 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

The Regulatory requirements for the off-site construction of plumbing systems fact sheet aims to address industry uncertainty regarding the application of the regulatory scheme to this type of off-site construction of plumbing work. Find out more:

Gasfitting standards: Amendments to AS/NZS 5601 Parts 1 and 2 Plumbing practitioners carrying out gasfitting work are advised to familiarise themselves with the recent amendments to the relevant standards for gasfitting installations. The relevant standards for gasfitting installations, both for general installations (AS/NZS 5601.1) and for caravans and boats (AS/NZS 5601.2) were amended by Standards Australia on 11 May 2016. Find out more:

Insurance on plumbing work Before starting a job requiring a compliance certificate, a licensed plumbing practitioner must provide the consumer with a document containing information about plumbing practitioners’ insurance. The VBA has created an example information sheet about plumbing practitioners’ insurance that may be provided to a consumer by a licensed plumbing practitioner. Find out more:

of all H he T


DIY plumbing disasters New regular feature

Back by popular demand our Hall of Shame is back to capture crimes against plumbing red handed. DIY disasters are everywhere these days – of course licensed and registered plumbers would never make these kinds of mistakes. Good job you can always rely on a Master Plumber to get the job done right every time! Can you believe these beauties are DIY plumbing disasters from a brand new kitchen and laundry?

Exhibit A: Gas flues connected to a 250mm x 50mm vertical duct rising over three floors, (the flues are 3 x 250 litre Gas Storage units).

Got any DIY plumbing disaster snaps you would like to share? Send your pictures to for their rightful place in The Hall of Shame!

Dear DIY weekend warrior – what on earth were you thinking?

Check out these renovation attempts by supposed handymen. Guys, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals!

Always use a licensed/registered Plumber to ensure your plumbing doesn’t end in disaster! | 25

Daniel Andrews declares PICAC Geelong officially open! The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews and Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle joined key leaders from across the industry at the official opening of the new Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) campus in Geelong, on Friday 25 November, 2016.

26 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Over 100 Industry representatives attended the opening, which celebrated the completion of the first phase of PICAC’s new Geelong Centre. The second Victorian campus for PICAC marks a crucial step in making quality industry training more available, with construction on a third site in the south eastern suburb of Narre Warren due to start early in 2017. This exciting new facility will enable PICAC to greatly improve training delivery in areas to the West and North of Melbourne and provide unique, world class training to more students than ever before. The building itself consists of two levels with four training rooms, double height open training area and a machinery and operating area. The second level includes a specialised training at heights facility. The project, designed by FMSA Architects, consisted of three phases with the first phase contract valued at approximately $4 million. In keeping with the high standards of the Brunswick Centre, the Geelong Campus is a Green Star rated building featuring hydronic heating and cooling coils set into the concrete slab as well as other water and energy efficient systems. A key focus of the building was to create multipurpose training spaces that are flexible enough to deliver a range of specialised training, while also adhering to sustainable principles.

committed $5 million to PICAC, the diverse training needs of the plumbing and fire sectors will be greatly enhanced, ensuring the community can continue to benefit from a prosperous and strong industry. “This is about putting people first and giving workers in the plumbing industry the specialist skills and training they need to help build our state’s future. We’re also supporting retrenched automotive workers and allowing them to retrain in one of Victoria’s key growth sectors” said Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.

Thoughts from Master Plumbers CEO Ken Gardner We spoke to Master Plumbers CEO Ken Gardner about where Master Plumbers fits in to PICAC Geelong, their position on education and training and the importance of apprenticeships to learn more about the impetus behind its launch and ideology.

“PICAC Geelong is an extension of the PICAC philosophy. We started in Brunswick originally training plumbers in green plumbing This is about putting people post trade training. first and giving workers With our industry partners, Master in the plumbing industry Plumbers deliver the the specialist skills and pre-apprenticeship, training they need to help the full apprenticeship build our state’s future. and the licencing qualification, as well as backflow, gas installation We’re also supporting and a raft of other training courses. For Geelong, it will be post trade retrenched automotive training, the pre-apprenticeship and workers and allowing some of the licencing qualifications them to retrain in for now. Over time, we expect to deliver Plumbing, one of Victoria’s a comprehensive range of training key growth sectors. from Geelong. Through strong support from the Andrews Government, who have

We appreciate that it’s very difficult to get members to drive to Brunswick to train after a long day. It’s important we spread our training facilities across the state. We believe the demand is there. The great thing about PICAC is that it’s training by the industry; designed in conjunction with the industry, delivered by the industry. All of the students have links to industry partners so it’s a win win for all. So what’s next? Through PICAC and our partners, we have merged with the Services Training College in Brisbane. We will consolidate the plumbing trade into a group called Plumbing Industry Training, which will be responsible for delivering the apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training in all of our centres. We will move from being a Victorian based training institution to being a national training institution. It’s our aim to integrate all of these organisations. Master Plumbers strongly supports the idea of a traditional apprenticeship. The four years which involve six or seven weeks in a training institution crucially include time practicing and developing those skills on job sites. We try and encourage people to get the breadth of experience they need across the disciplines of plumbing. This can be very difficult as plumbing businesses tend to specialise these days. That’s where a Group Training Scheme like the one we offer has benefits, you can move from company to company and get different sorts of experience as you move around. But we believe competency and being signed off as a plumber is more than just passing the theory, it’s demonstrating you can do so at a proficient level over and over again. We have to practice this as part of our apprenticeship. That’s how people learn and it’s worked very well for a long time.”

Daniel Andrews | 27


The close of the 20th Century In the third instalment of our fascinating History series, Amanda Bain reports on how plumbing developed towards modern times. The Association finds a new home Investment in property assets was a vital move to help the Association grow in the future, and in 1969 five cottages in Kings Way, South Melbourne were purchased. However, soon after work began on the site to prepare it for the Association’s new home, they were sold to the Board of Works for a substantial profit that then enabled the purchase of premises at 188 Batman Street, West Melbourne in 1972. Remembered for its lurid purple carpet, the offices were ideally located and had ample space to accommodate trade nights as well as a museum of plumbing artefacts and products. The Association relocated again in 1985 to modern and extremely functional offices at 525 King Street. Plumbing Industry House would be home to the Association for the next 30 years and included large meeting rooms, a commercial display area, contractor’s offices and a library.

Training and technology In the 1960’s, key issues faced by the Association were the lack of finance available for construction projects and the introduction of high rise dwellings, which provided both challenges and opportunities. Further advances in

28 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

technology associated with this new style of construction saw product manufacturers step up to assist with the spread of knowledge by offering training sessions to members on their new inventory. When major changes to the education system arose in the early 1970s with the reduction of the apprenticeship from five to four years, the threat of unskilled labour loomed. Master Plumbers continued to advocate for the need for a highly skilled workforce in this essential profession, and in 1981 the Association launched its Group Training Scheme. The Association’s longest serving employee, Vin Ebejer, was appointed in 1985 to manage the scheme which gave apprentices exposure and experience across a wide range of plumbing sectors. Its innovative approach also appealed to employers who didn’t have to commit to a four year apprenticeship term and could boost their workforce on an as needs basis whilst the Association took care of the administration. The resulting increase in apprentices over the coming years was commended by the Minister for Employment and Training. You can read the story of Horton Poulter, a graduate of the first ever Group Training Scheme on page 40.

Environmental focus The environment came to the forefront of discussions in the early 70’s with the Association recognising that it must address issues relating to water and energy conservation. Later in the 1990s, a new era of environmentally conscious building design emerged requiring new products and technologies that minimised water and energy usage. Further on in the new millennium, the Association recognised the influential role of plumbers in promoting sustainability. Master Plumbers recognised how crucial it was to position themselves at the forefront of this new era in environmentally conscious building design and launched the Climate Protection Project in 2001, later renamed the Green Plumbers Program. The project was hugely successful and won the 2006 Premier’s Business Sustainability Award in the small business category.

A watershed moment for the industry Industrial relations was also back on the agenda for the Association during the late 60s. The proposal for a federal award resulted in a national 24 hour strike with 20,000 plumbers across the country walking off the job. The unrest did not last long though with members of the Association and the union quickly returning to an affable state. But the issue of a federal award didn’t go away and was once again an issue of contention

with the trade unions in 1975. This time the Association succeeded and the Plumbing Trade Construction Agreement came into effect in 1976. It was a watershed moment for the industry. Only one association from all the states could be registered per industry, and that was Victoria.

Strength in numbers

The winds of change swept through the industry in the 1980s with new directions in education and training, shifts in government policies towards a national economy and deregulation, a decline in local manufacturing and a rise in imported goods. The Association had already realised that it would need a strong and persuasive voice in order to continue to protect its members and uphold standards in plumbing, and appointed its first Executive Director, Bernard Gardiner, in 1978.

A reorganisation of the Association followed in 1992 to better represent the specific sectors of the industry. Groups for sanitary plumbing and drainage, gas, heating, mechanical services, air conditioning, fire services, asbestos, metal roofing and wall cladding groups were all established.

While still hoping for compulsory registration to be introduced, in 1981 the Association launched the Plumbers Guarantee Scheme, a voluntary program that provided consumers with an assurance against sub-standard work. The Scheme attracted considerable media attention with the Premier attending the launch and coverage appearing in The Age, The Herald Sun, Channel 10 and many radio stations. Further changes to how the industry operated evolved in 1985 with the establishment of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainers Board in 1985, which required all plumbers to be registered before being able to undertake any work. Master Plumbers strongly supported this move which streamlined the licensing, by laws and regulations which they had to work under.

By 1991 the Association was one of the biggest and strongest of its kind with around 1,300 members. To celebrate the 100 year centenary a function was held at Parliament House followed by a gala dinner at the World Congress Centre.

Deregulation was again a critical issue in the early 1990s and the Association actively campaigned for the continued regulation of the different categories of licensed plumbers that directly influenced public health and safety. The push was to adopt the Victorian model as the national standard and following the introduction of the Building Act and privatisation of the water and gas industries, the Association championed the cause for a new, modern licensing system. To strengthen its position and voice as the leading industry body with key stakeholders, the Association took the controversial decision to formally become the national organisation. It was a huge undertaking that involved three years of court cases and invoked the anger of the other states. However, the Association could see the benefits to its future vision and brand in having this level of national recognition. Landmark legislation was introduced in 1996 to establish the Plumbing Industry Board which would oversee the occupational and technical regulation of plumbing. The Association strongly

supported this move. Under the reforms it was now illegal for anyone not registered with the new Board to use the terms plumber, gasfitter and drainer, now protected titles befitting of the level of expertise and skill required to carry out these tasks. The reforms also meant that licensed plumbers and gasfitters would need to self certify their work and complete a Certificate of Compliance, as well as hold compulsory insurance. Many were concerned about what this meant for their business. The Association called a meeting of its members to discuss the issues and over 1,100 plumbers turned up – the largest meeting the Association has ever held. In response, the Association established a specialised insurance brokerage and risk management service in 1996 that was dedicated to plumbers. In the same year the first Master Plumbers Executive Board was appointed including representatives from all sectors of the industry. The Association was working in harmony with the union in areas such as apprenticeships and training, and excellent relationships with government that were proven when then Prime Minister John Howard attended the 91st Gold Medal and Training Awards in 1998.

Our final article on the history of the Association in the June edition will review our activities from the start of the new millennium to the present day, and give you an idea of what to look forward to from the Master Plumbers in the future. | 29

Daniel Smolenaars:

A modern approach to recruitment

Ever wanted to know the formula for recruiting a winning team for your plumbing business? We might have just what you are looking for‌

30 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Some of my apprentices have risen up through the ranks to become shareholders

ThIS motivateS them to feel a part of the business AND underlineS our collaborative culture

Daniel Smolenaars heads Laser Plumbing Sale and Laser Plumbing Traralgon with a progressive attitude to recruitment that’s a welcome breath of fresh air. The company employ around 35 site staff and seven office staff on a broad range of construction and maintenance projects, including a large civil division laying pipe for land developers, local water authorities and an substantial job at the Sale RAAF base. Although the business is thriving at the moment, times haven’t always been so forgiving. But off the back of the economic downturn came a new attitude which bore renewed success. ‘We like to do business a little differently,’ says Daniel. ‘Our new approach came off the back of bad times. We have gone through some significant hardships. There was some bad decision making, mostly due to employing staff who are weren’t aligned with our vision. We have learned a lot of lessons about business and staff culture. As a Manager, you have to take responsibility for the success of the business and

satisfaction of our clients and staff.’ Daniel attributes his second wind of success to a reinvigoration of working values, which have become mantralike in their importance to how his business operates. Perhaps you could take away a few tips from this holistic approach to procedure – you might find their ideas useful food for thought when you next consider your staffing situation.

There’s a professionalism in business that is supported by chaos | 31

Responsive Placement

Nurture ambition and creativity

It’s crucial to play to an employee’s strengths and harness those within the business. If someone is good at their job, a common mistake is to ‘reward’ them by making them managers and sticking them in an office. Often misplaced, they will not flourish, but flounder. Our advice is to allow people to grow within the environment they naturally succeed in. Staff want to grow in their profession, so provide them with the opportunity to move up technically.

Always mentoring staff to think of others and be aware of their surroundings, we encourage freedom and flexibility. Within our workspace, we nurture ambition and capability, breeding a sense of belonging and purpose. We honestly want people to look forward to coming to work, it helps to encourage a team culture, this is not an unrealistic goal. High staff turnover is expensive in business. We give the staff opportunity to provide feedback about what bothers them and we do our best to change that. If your staff feel valued, they will value their work.

A plumber thinks it’s far more important to lay pipe in the ground properly rather than sign off on a project or invoice – it’s important to learn to play to people’s skills. To get around the problem, hire someone else with expertise in that field. We have just employed a new project manager, Chloe to come in and manage our projects and support our high-end technicians to deliver our projects – it’s working really well. Ensure cultural alignment

Most importantly, we employ people who have the courage to act and are passionate about people and enriching lives. We give as much as we gain and operate a fully collaborative workplace, where ideas are always welcome on the table. We employ two business coaches who both hit different marks through working with our team across different strategies and projects. But we don’t force staff to all be the same – we allow them to flourish, while staying aligned to our core values. We try to reward those who aren’t afraid to step up and take on a new challenge.

32 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Listen and Learn

No matter what a person’s age or experience, we can always learn from them. We promote this democratic culture in our workplace, which encourages a willingness to learn through curiosity and ambition. It’s important to listen to the ideas of young people today and get them on board. They can even rescue you from a technology or ideology rut. The future leaders of our business are all from the Y Generation. We invite the young people we recruit along to the Master Plumbers meetings and awards nights to meet inspiring industry veterans like Kevin Shinners, Peter Jensen and Scott Dowsett. It’s invaluable to understand where the industry has come from and that they understand the importance to continue the legacy and take it in any direction they choose. It works better when it comes from the heart. Some of our apprentices have risen up through the ranks to become shareholders. These kinds of incentives not only motivate them to feel a part of the business, but also underline our collaborative culture. Our staff have

been known to push me out of the way when I am a hurdle to productivity and business efficiency. As a business owner I could be a hurdle to them and reign them in but for me it increases efficiency and profitability to run with this level of initiative. Family oriented culture

We appreciate that our staff are much more than just their working selves. It’s crucial to promote a healthy work life balance, where fathers can be fathers and mothers can be mothers. If a staff member needs the afternoon off to go to his daughter’s sports day, we do our best to accommodate that within the business. Believe it or not, when recruiting an apprentice we make the time to chat with the candidate’s parents before signing them up. If they are good, community minded people, their kid is more likely to have a good culture. Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but for us it really works! Invest in the community

It’s been our mission for quite sometime to raise the profile of the blue collar work. Blue collar has always been viewed as a dirty job and not that appealing but it’s all about fulfilment. There’s no point going and becoming an accountant if it makes you miserable. That is what we are promoting through educational outreach. To attract talent, you need to start in the secondary schools. We often have ‘come and try’ days at educational trade shows. There’s a broad representation of white and blue collar work. It provides the kids the opportunity to dabble in different types of work experience.

Why I’m a member of the Master Plumbers ‘I think the Master Plumbers is an unbelievably dynamic organisation. As a board member I can see that they are so far ahead of the game. As a Member, you need to take every opportunity to get involved to understand how influential the organisation can be. Your Membership is an opportunity to invest in your industry, and be a part of the push to raise its profile. To really get the most out of it you need to attend the events and functions, read the newsletters and contribute to the plumbing community as much as you can. It’s great to have the Association there as an unwavering industry support network through good times and bad.’

We like to bring our younger employees along to engage with the students and they often end up building something for the day. It’s not just about recruitment, we also engage with not for profit organisations. I’ve never really considered myself handy on my feet but I somehow managed to win a charity Dancing with the Stars competition a few years ago where our score collaboratively earned $60,000 for a housing for disabled youth project. Not enough people get involved in not for profit initiatives. We are making it our mission to guide and inspire people to get involved. It’s not just good for business – it’s good for your soul. Lean on your support network

Our organisation has been a part of the Master Plumbers for 40 years. It has been great to have this support network on hand. The greatest benefit has been the accessibility to mix with industry peers. The Master Plumbers is a unifying voice of reason that binds the industry together. If all of the Master Plumbers members tried to implement change individually, it wouldn’t work; but together the strength is immeasurable. I think a lot of people underestimate how Master Plumbers helped build and stabilise the industry. It’s great to have such a steady and progressive support network. What the Master Plumbers does is amazing. But you only get out what you put in. Attend the events, ask for help on OHS or Industry Relations. Be resourceful and dedicate time to the industry. But remember Master Plumbers is a conduit to the business; while they aren’t there to run your business, they will assist you.

Practice resilience

We experienced some challenges in 2007’s economic downturn but were not ready to succumb to the fearmongering. I’m a firm believer in the power of positivity. We rallied our troops and instilled the ethos that we weren’t going to participate in the financial crisis – it was mind over matter and we were going to keep going. It was our decision to run our own race, taking on as many jobs as we could to keep momentum. This worked to a certain extent, but then started to fall short. While we seemingly grew and flourished, we made some misaligned decisions and didn’t manage our growth. After a lot of staff left, we saw it as a chance to wipe the slate clean and recruit much more carefully so as bring the business a fresh start. Every dollar we made we invested back into the business. I never put myself first. The staff who stuck by us are good partners who have been with us for many years. I think every business owner could learn good lessons from these peaks and troughs. Now we’re well and truly back on top of things, it’s our job to teach future generations how to manage good times and bad. I guess everyone gets concerned about workloads. As humans, we tend to jump at opportunities rather than back ourselves. With better planning, less reactiveness and recruiting the right staff, we are stronger and more unified now.

A fresh face on the team Last year there were just 638 female plumbers and 1,432 female electricians registered in Australia, representing less than two per cent of the workforce in trade industries. But due to forward thinking recruitment drives, this figure is on the rise. 18-year-old, Jade Morrison from Sale in East Gippsland had wanted to learn a trade for a while. After completing work experience with Laser Plumbing Sale, she decided that she had found the trade for her. One year into the apprenticeship, Jade is yet to find one skill in plumbing she favours. “I am learning something new every day and am now understanding why things are done the way they are.” Daniel sees hiring women in the trades as bringing new skills to the job. “Women view jobs differently to men and, onsite, this can be a great asset. With Jade, we assessed her attitude and attentiveness in comparison to other work experience students we had throughout 2015 and found her to be the best cultural fit for our team. Whilst all workers have their strengths and weaknesses, we chose to focus on the strengths that Jade brought which included her willingness to learn.” Jade’s confidence in the team has continued to increase with her peers also pleased with her progress and ability to learn on the job. “I get treated the same as everyone else on the job which is great”. | 33

Refrigerants: Many a flag waving, patriotic Aussie has sat around the brass top of a pub bar on a hot day and expounded on the wealth of ingenuity apparent in those bred with a genetic love for Jimmy Barnes and meat pies. They’ll no doubt start with plastic bank notes, run through the bionic ear and stabilise around the winged keel. If it’s a particularly hot day, a drip of sweat running off the tip of the nose will set off another idea and bring them around to refrigeration. They will confidently list the work of Geelong’s James Harrison, inventor of refrigeration. As with most tales from the pub tales, there is kernel of truth in there! James Harrison didn’t invent refrigeration, but he did manage to build and patent the first industrial size working vapour compression system in the mid 1850s. It was capable of producing ice and used ethyl ether as its refrigerant. Of course, Harrison was a Scotsman. This article aims to resolve some of those disputes that pop up around the pub bar at the end of a long day’s work. When it comes to refrigerants, their application, their properties and their future, here are just the FAQs!

Refrigerant history timeline

The perfect refrigerant A refrigerant can be described as a substance that is generally a fluid and is used in the refrigeration cycle. In most instances, it must be able to undergo a transition in phase from liquid to gas and back to a liquid form again.




Water and sulphuric acid


Petrol ether and naptha




Sulphur dioxide and methyl ether


Methyl chloride

• Have excellent thermodynamic properties



• Be non-toxic


Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

• Be non-flammable


Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)


R22 (HFC)


R134a (HFC)


R410a (HFC)


Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs)

The perfect refrigerant would:

• Be non corrosive • Have a moderate density in liquid form • Have a high density in gaseous form • Have a high heat of vaporisation • Be non ozone depleting The perfect refrigerant does not exist!

What the… common acronyms What does SGG mean?

What is GWP?

What is an ODS?

What does ODP mean?

Synthetic greenhouse gas (SGG) in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry is a term that describes ODS that fall under Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 which is administered by the ARC.

Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of how much heat a gas traps in the atmosphere relative to CO2 (which has a GWP of one). Simply put, its GWP is the best measure of how much a substance will contribute to global warming if released into the atmosphere.

Ozone depleting substances (ODS) refers to compounds recognised as detrimental to the environment by the Montreal Protocol, i.e. HCFCs and CFCs. The later Kyoto Protocol covers the phase down of HFCs.

A substance’s ozone depleting potential (ODP) can be used in conjunction with its GWP to determine how detrimental its release will impact on the environment, specifically to the ozone layer. The reference point for ODP is the CFC R11 at 1.0.

34 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

just the FAQs Choices, choices

Who is in charge?

Different fluids have different characteristics in greatly varying degrees. This means the choice of refrigerant is often a choice where trade-offs must be introduced.

Simple question, complex answer!

CFCs and HCFCs were a great choice as refrigerant as they were non-flammable and mostly non-toxic. They did however have sizeable ODP potential and left a giant hole in our very important ozone so they had to go. HFCs seemed like the solution. They are non-ozone depleting and our ozone layer seems to be on the mend. Then along came global warming and rising sea levels, and with a GWP many hundreds or even thousands more than CO2, they too have to go. Natural working fluids such as hydrocarbon and ammonia are our environment’s best friends, but they are flammable and can be toxic.

The Protocols

The last couple of years have seen the next generation of SGG’s introduced into the market. These gases fall into the HFC (eg R32) and HFO (R1234ze) categories and have greatly reduced but relative to natural working fluids, still high GWP’s. They are also introducing a new wrinkle into the equation with their low levels of flammability.

Federally, the ARC The Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) was established in 1995 specifically to target the safe handling and disposal of harmful ODS refrigerant gases under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989. The sole aim of the resulting national refrigerant handling license (RHL) and the refrigerant trading authorisation (RTA) was to reduce emissions of these harmful substances. Anyone in Australia who handles a fluorocarbon refrigerant gas, ie CFCs, HCFCs or HFCs, or works on equipment that has or does contain such a gas must have a valid RHL. The types of activity are all encompassing and include decanting refrigerant or manufacturing, installing, commissioning, servicing or maintaining or decommissioning refrigeration or air conditioning equipment.

Montreal Protocol

The last word…

• Australia signed in 1989

If there is one thing this article should have taught you, when it comes to refrigerants the only certainty is uncertainty. Refrigerants have come and gone, and come again.

• Many substances covered already phased out, eg CFCs • Australia committed to total phase out of HCFCs by 2020 (R22) • Phase out refers to imports, R22 in Australia will get more and more expensive but will still be available

Kyoto Protocol • Australia signed in 1998, ratified by parliament in 2007 • Kyoto Protocol binds signatories to emission reduction targets • Refrigerant phase down is one method that can be employed to reduce emissions, hence HFCs are now firmly in the sights

We started with ammonia and we are now seeing an expansion of its use once more, particularly internationally. It’s a great refrigerant, as is hydrocarbon in the right application and properly designed and installed. And above all, natural refrigerants, or natural working fluids as they should accurately be termed, are not harmful to our planet. Of course, synthetic refrigerant gases have been front and centre in developing our modern world. Think air conditioning, the refrigerated cold chain and cold beer. The multinationals have been nothing if not adaptable in their response to the transition through CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs and now into HFOs.

Anyone purchasing, selling or trading a fluorocarbon refrigerant must have a valid RTA. The handling licenses and the trading authorisations are not one and the same, eg an individual and his work mates might hold their own, individual handling licenses but his employer may hold a single RTA that all employees can operate under. The penalties for non-compliance with the ARC licensing regulations are severe, and can result in businesses being ordered to cease trading. Most importantly, natural refrigerants, such as hydrocarbons and ammonia, do not fall under ARC licensing, but are subject to state based controls.

State level, it depends… In addition to the ARC licensing, in Victoria, when it comes using refrigerated systems for the heating /cooling of buildings, you will be required to be licensed or registered with the Victorian Building Authority.

One would expect that innovation to continue, refrigerants are big business. Consider this, the International Institute of Refrigeration estimates that the global annual turnover in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector, which employs 12 million people worldwide, is $USD300 billion! One thing we all agree on is this, the future of refrigerants will be flammable. This is something that the industry as a whole needs to accept and adapt to. With the appropriate training, safety considerations and equipment, this is not an insurmountable problem.

Neil Cox is an independent writer. He is the founder of Neil Cox Ink, a boutique marketing and communications consultancy specialising in the building services sector. | 35

Sunsetting of the Master Plumbers’ Technical Advisor Gary Bath shares all you need to know to prepare for the renewal of the plumbing regulations in Victoria in 2018. What are the plumbing regulations? Australian Standards are the regulations that most plumbers are familiar with, for example: • AS 5601 parts one through to five which cover sanitary installations, hot and cold water supply, roofing/ stormwater and sanitary drainage work or • AS5601 which is the standard used for the majority of gasfitting work. These types of national Australian Standards are the main source of reference for practitioners within the plumbing industry. The Plumbing Industry Regulations 2008 are used, amongst other things, to ‘call up’ these national standards for use in Victoria. 2018 marks the sunset of these regulations, and as an Assocation, we are doing everything we can to work with the Government to ensure that existing regulations are upheld to serve the needs of the community and industry best. The Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 provides that all regulations have a sunset (expiry) date of generally 10 years which is from the date on which the regulations are made. This is to ensure that the regulations are regularly reviewed so that they remain efficient and effective. Before remaking regulations, the responsible Ministers for Environment, Land, Water and Planning, are required to ensure that consultation occurs with affected parties, and that the impact of the regulations on individuals or groups is assessed. The Plumbing Regulations 2008 are scheduled to expire in November 2018 and consultation with stakeholders and evaluation of the effectiveness of these existing regulations was due to commence from June 2016.

36 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

The Regulations cover licensing and technical requirements and are there to protect the plumbing industry and the public. The Master Plumbers intends to be a driving force in the review for the new regulations to serve their purpose.

How does the assessment of the existing regulations take place? The Minister will request information from the VBA. This includes performance under the current regulations, any changes that may be required to cover new or emerging technologies and analysis of the costs/benefits to maintain existing systems of regulation. This information will be used to provide a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS). You may view a copy of the 2008 RIS on this website: A project has been initiated by the Department to develop regulations to replace the existing ones. It will rely on technical expertise provided via the VBA and the Plumbing Advisory Council (PAC). The existing regulations will undergo a technical analysis to determine broadly: • How the regulations currently operate • Whether the regulation is required • What risks would be associated with not remaking the regulations. Out of this project, a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) will be prepared which will eventually be made available for public comment.

Our advice: Make sure you comment to have your say! Members can do so at

What you need to know

What is the role of the Master Plumbers for this issue? Master Plumbers will be represented throughout this process through our involvement on the Plumbing Advisory Council. In addition we will also be active in suggesting changes that will enhance/ improve the current regulations. Many of these suggestions have been developed through our Member feedback and numerous forums held over last year. A few examples of the issues that the Master Plumbers Association would like to see considered are: • Some clear definition around the scope of work for which a Licenced Plumber is responsible for larger, commerical plumbing works • Apprentice requirements for Registration, (currently there is not a requirement for an apprentice to serve a minimum period of supervision to gain Registration) • Whether the availability of “Provisional Registration” for Apprentices who have yet to undertake their Journeyman Exam might be considered • Consideration for the inclusion of the servicing/maintenance of thermostatic mixing valves as a specialised class • Continuous professional development • How new Australian Standards are incorporated into building projects that are under development •

How pre-assembled plumbing units, eg bathroom pods are covered by the existing compliance regime

• How commercial/larger plumbing works are regulated currently, (should consideration be given to a separate endorsement to reflect the potential for higher risk in this work).

2008 Plumbing Regulations So exactly what are these Plumbing Regulations and how do they impact on your work and the industry as a whole? Let’s look at the plumbing regulatory system and where the Plumbing Regulations fit in.

Victorian Building Act 1993 The Building Act 1993 governs all building activity within Victoria. It sets the legislative framework for the legislation of building construction. Part 12A of the Act sets the legislative framework for the regulation of plumbing work in Victoria such as:

Plumbing Regulations 2008 The Plumbing Regulations 2008 contain:

The Plumbing Code of Practice

• The scope of work for the various classes of plumbing work which currently consist of the main classes of: - Water Supply work

Volume three of the Australian Construction Code is administered and maintained by the Building Codes Board, it contains the technical provisions for the following:

- Irrigation (non-agricultural) work

• Water Services

- Sanitary work

• Sanitary plumbing and drainage systems

• Establishment of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and its responsibilities relating to the regulation of plumbing work • The powers available to the Victorian Building Authority’s Inspectors and Auditors in enforcing and monitoring the compliance regime around plumbing work • Requirements relating to the registration and licensing of plumbers

Plumbing Code of Practice

- Drainage work - Roofing (Stormwater) work - Fire Protection work - Mechanical Services work - Gasfitting work

And the specialised classes of: - Backflow Prevention work

• Requirements relating to the self-certifying regime via compliance certificates

- Refrigerated Air-Conditioning work

You can view a full copy of the Building Act 1993 at the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary documents website:

- Type B gasfitting work

- Type A Appliance Servicing work

• Stormwater drainage systems • Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems • On-site wastewater management systems It will also contain the list of variations that apply to all Victorian practitioners as well as the list of “deemed to satisfy solutions” such as Australian Standards like AS3500.

- Type A Appliance conversion work - Type B gasfitting advanced work • The qualifications and experience requirements for registration and licence • The fees payable for registration and licence applications • Any specific technical requirements that each class of plumbing work must comply with, such as Plumbing Code of Australia, Australian Standards.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Throughout 2017, the Association will be utilising our e-news bulletins, member forums and website to keep all Members informed about the regulations process and provide an opportunity for you to have a say in how our industry is regulated in the future. | 37

Are you PICAC trained? At PICAC we are committed to providing the highest quality training by the plumbing industry for the plumbing industry.

A wide range of industry specific courses are available including:

Classes are delivered in world class facilities with experienced and knowledgeable trainers, specifically tailored to current industry requirements.

Can’t find what you need?

• Asbestos Removal

Courses can be designed to suit your organisation’s specific needs.

• Type A & Type B Gas Appliance Servicing

Call 9356 8905 for more information.

• Backflow Prevention

Download the training schedule from today.

• Medical Gas • Welding • Occupational Health & Safety

PICAC. Meeting the training needs of the plumbing industry. 38 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Streamlined ambition:

an interview with Geschke’s Kelly Stallwood For most of us, an uphill struggle sounds like a chore. But for a girl whose childhood was spent fell walking and camping in England’s rugged North with her father, climbing any kind of mountain is taken easily in her stride. With a passion for water and sanitation innovation from a young age, it’s little wonder bright spark Kelly Stallwood was nominated as a finalist for the Rose Curtis Award at last year’s Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards. A graduate of Edinburgh University and Civil Engineer at Geschke, her unwavering ambition and bright ideas have catapulted her career from Yorkshire to Melbourne, with plenty of curve balls in between. Prepare to be inspired by the story of a sure shooter who refuses to take no for answer.

Hi Kelly, how did you find yourself in Australia? For as long as I remember I have always wanted to live in Australia. The UK company I was working for when I graduated couldn’t get me the transfer I was looking for, so I came to Australia with no established work, determined to find it. I found what I was looking for at Geschke, where colleagues became like family. They’re a great company who are very supportive. When I first made the decision to prolong my stay in Australia, Gareth (one of Geschke’s Directors; pictured with Kelly on trail run) was kind enough to let me stay with his family for a time. Gareth continues to be a great mentor for me and I’ve come along way with his support.

Talk us through a key project you have worked on.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

One of our most significant ongoing projects is at a quarantine facility in Craigieburn. We put in 8km of main infrastructure including water, fire, gas, and sewer. We are now back there working on a later stage including the construction of the QC3 Avian Facility. The first stage of works was a huge project for Geschke and my role was to coordinate all our works. I did a range of work including service coordination, programming and managing quality assurance.

I would love to pursue a career to improve water supply and sanitation in developing countries, improving lives in a community that needs it. I thrive off problem solving; presented with limited resources and plenty of challenges, I would relish finding a solution for the betterment of a community.

What is it that keeps you motivated at work?

While studying my Masters in Civil Engineering at the University of Edinburgh I took a direct exchange program to Iowa University. Nobody really jumped at the opportunity. Some Americans don’t even know where Iowa is. But it is one of the greatest things I have ever done. I had no idea what to expect. When I got there, it was the coldest winter they had experienced in 60 years, with temperatures reaching sub 40. Walking around campus, my eyelashes would actually freeze together! But the people I met were fantastic and it is without a doubt one of the most valuable experiences in my life to date. It taught me to never be deterred by the unexpected. Often the path you didn’t intend to choose leads you to the greatest opportunities.

I have an inherent desire to streamline processes. And working within the construction industry certainly provides endless opportunity to do just that. My whole career has been based on continued development and pushing boundaries and this is no exception at work. Keeping up with continual changes and demands for procedures and programming within the industry is never ending. Our ideas are continually challenged. This continual demand for change can be met with animosity. But I love the challenge! Often I find if I’m not learning something new I don’t know what to do with myself. In this innovative world of change, we have to adapt and evolve with it.

Talk us though one of the most standout moments of your career.

Read more of Kelly’s story at to find out more about her project in Craigieburn. | 39





40 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017


Dare to diversify


It’s all about finding your niche and being ambitious enough to bring different skills to the table

Horton Poulter:


Founder and Director of Creative Plumbing Horton Poulter is a poster boy for the Master Plumbers Group Training Scheme. It all began at the start of his plumbing career when he was awarded the highest industry accolade possible as a young apprentice. ‘Winning the Andrew Letten Gold Medal back in 1984 was a huge boost for my confidence and recognition of the work that I put in,’ says Horton. At a young age, this was just the leg up I needed in my career – it’s all about believing in yourself. It was a stepping stone for me, which gave me the courage to start my own business.’ Poulter’s Creative Plumbing has gone from strength to strength since, and it’s a story that’s evolved with innovation and adaptation as key drivers.

Dare to take on jobs that are beyond your capabilities

‘My role has changed dramatically since the beginning,’ says Poulter. ‘When I started, I was doing everything; plumbing, quoting, staffing, accounts… now I have learned to delegate. I have recruited a full time estimator, an accounts person and more people to delegate to, which frees up my time to focus on running and winning jobs.’ Creative Plumbing mostly take on large commercial projects in Melbourne and some regional areas, having recently found a flair for new plumbing technologies in dairy production facilities. ‘We don’t do your average plumbing jobs. We try to target projects that many people would be reluctant to bid for. It’s all about finding your niche and being ambitious enough to bring different skills to the table. We did a lot of work with Woolworths for a while – we were one of about three in the state who were trusted to complete their upgraded stores while they were trading.’ ‘Innovation is key to our success. Our expertise in the dairy industry is a prime example. The jobs are extremely hard to map out. It’s something that not many people are prepared to price for due to intense planning and complexities. You’re potentially putting yourself at risk accepting a job like that – there’s so much to consider in the great unknown, from materials to manpower. But we’ve been successful in stepping up to the task.

The science ‘We have been working at the Fonterra dairy plant in Stanhope, at a new cheese and mozzarella plant. There is a strict cleaning regime that employs a heavy component of chemicals to ensure sterility. The cleaning process uses hot water with the chemicals that inherently corrodes some types of pipework. Acid resistance of this pipework is critical to the longevity of the plant’s system. There are two materials that can be used to get around this. One is stainless steel, which is expensive and requires a specialist welding crew, the other more accessible option is fibreglass.

We have chosen to work with fibreglass technology that I imported from New Zealand. I researched it on the internet and went to NZ to meet the team in person. Armatec environmental are a cutting edge Kiwi company. Although small they are progressive. They are head supplier to Fonterra in New Zealand so the relationship was already made. All I had to do was build on it. To innovate you have to look beyond the prescribed way.’

The staffing ‘Taking on a broad mix of jobs requires varied amounts of staffing at different times. I have a trusted team of plumbers, but sometimes we need more. Going back to my roots, I recruit my apprentices through the Master Plumbers. I have an allegiance and loyalty to the Master Plumbers Group Training Scheme, as I was part of the first group of apprentices to complete an apprenticeship. It gave me the opportunity to get into plumbing, so I like to reciprocate. With apprentices available across various disciplines, it also gives us the flexibility to expand. When business fluctuates, we can retain our core group of plumbers but also diversify and recruit temporary apprentices to add to our pool of skills.’

The pricing ‘For me the trick is to break the job into components, meticulously segmenting each task as much as possible. A good starting point is to get your team to break down and record the amount of time spent on jobs eg stormwater, roughing in, or fit off. Our guys provide timesheets that refer to those specific segments. I can then use that information to check that we are pricing things at the correct rate

for future jobs. Costing, budgeting and allocating manpower then becomes easier to come back to a breakdown of components and time spent.’

The bright ideas ‘Discussions usually happen on site not in the boardroom. I’m always open to ideas and improvements. It’s very much a collaborative effort, not just me telling. I listen to all my team members and try and activate their ideas. We are pretty progressive in that way. When we are dealing with such complex projects, many heads are better than one. It’s always our mission to make it simpler, safer and take any measures to increase productivity. So we throw it all on the table to the boys – in a world of ideas, everything is up for grabs.’ Things are made easier sitting face to face. It’s all about communication.

What being a Master Plumbers Member means to me: ‘I’m always grateful to take the opportunity to get involved in anything to do with the Master Plumbers. They have always been an indispensable support network for me as an advisory body. When we take on a new job, if we encounter issues, I know I can come to the Master Plumbers to ask about industry advice, how to conduct things on site and regulations. It’s nice to have something to fall back on. Plus, in peak times, we draw on their resources to maintain our workforce and bring in apprentices to our skills pool. That’s why I’ve been with the Association for over 30 years.’

I have an allegiance and loyalty to the Master Plumbers Group Training Scheme I was part of the first group of apprentices to complete an apprenticeship | 41

View the scissor and boom lift animation videos at

Lights, camera... safety! It’s common knowledge that humans acquire, store and process knowledge in different ways. Some people need to write something down to absorb its message. Others prefer to sketch it. But there’s one thing that seems to work across the board – employing the visual medium of film to disseminate a complicated message. 42 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

As pioneers of a number of OHS video campaigns, WorkSafe Victoria are leading the charge to broadcast the OHS message to a broad demographic. With the advancement of technology, videos, mobile Apps and even games are much more accessible, attainable and user friendly than a textbook of rules and regulations, especially when addressing a younger workforce, or those with limited literacy. Now to put these ideas into action… How WorkSafe Victoria’s health and safety videos used clickbait to engage a younger audience Faced with the issue of conveying the health and safety message to young people, sometimes you have to think outside the box. WorkSafe’s Senior Communications Advisor Sarah Tulloch was part of the team who were the driving force behind the 2016 Young Workers video campaign, targeting 15-24 year olds from high risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, retail and hospitality. Here she explains their strategy.

Critical operator information Scan before using Here’s how they did it “From January 2012 to December 2014, more than 4,000 young Victorian workers were injured on the job. Young people in the workplace are vulnerable; they’re new to the working environment, inexperienced when it comes to work processes and have lower cognitive maturity. Crucially, they’re also vulnerable to serious injury – often requiring hospitalisation. Young workers are digital natives. They are used to a constantly changing world with access to everything at their fingertips. They are heavily engaged with the internet and social media through multiple devices. They require unique channels and styles of communication, and it’s critical they’re spoken to in a language they understand, and on platforms they use. Getting cut-through with this audience is challenging. But with minimal budget, how do you earn the attention of an ad-dodging audience with the dry subject of work safety? Introducing The Click Bait Safety Announcements, WorkSafe lured young workers into knowing their rights. “We leaked seemingly real CCTV footage online, accompanied by thumb-stopping headlines and screen grabs – catching people’s attention with the promise of a shocking workplace accident. The videos were featured on popular websites such as Buzzfeed and posted anonymously on social media. In just six weeks, and with a modest media investment, the Click Bait Safety Announcements campaign reached over nine million people, with an average completion rate of 71 per cent assisted by almost 200,000 actions on Facebook. Our target audience’s dark fascination with the problem, presented the perfect solution. And we helped make sure they don’t become the next click bait story themselves.”

“The health and safety of young workers is important to everyone, and a strategic priority area for WorkSafe Victoria. This campaign is designed to empower young workers and make them aware that a workplace injury could affect them for the rest of their lives.” Meg Tempest, WorkSafe Communications Program Manager Videos are working really well in terms of outreach but with new Apps and interactivity ever on the rise, it’s finally possible to take it one step further. Increasingly we are seeing smart innovations harnessing technology to explain and bring things to life on site. Master Plumbers Members may well have seen the Pro-Vis AR information sheets tacked up on worksites. Their interactive way they present health and safety information is impressive. We live in a world where print is no longer a static medium. If you’ve downloaded the app you will know how easy it is to hover over areas of the Pro-Vis paper and activate a portal to deeper information on health and safety issues like asbestos, PPE gear and working in confined spaces. WorkSafe have done the same to accelerate their practical and easy to understand scissor and boom lift animation videos, targeted directly to the construction industry to make concepts easier to understand. QR code stickers are placed on the boom and scissor plant and links up to the educational animations via the worker’s mobile phone. All you need to do to access the information is download the App. Driven by animation, the videos are easy to understand – even if you don’t speak English.

Use a mobile phone QR code reader to scan the code or visit

Award-winning safety-tech innovators CodeSafe were finalists in the CodeSafe National Safe Work Australia Awards for ‘Best Solution to a Workplace Safety Concern for 2014’ and winners of the Worksafe Victoria 2013 ‘Health and Safety Invention of the Year’ award. Here’s what their Managing Director Jacqui Broadhurst says. “WorkSafe Victoria and Safe Work Australia have both recognised the benefits of mobile, visual, just-in-time learning. They too have engaged CodeSafe to produce content, delivered via the CodeSafeQIN App, to their target audiences. WorkSafe Victoria have utilised this delivery mechanism to reinforce Inspector training in the areas of Provisional Improvement Notices, as well as ARREO Right of Entry protocols, with further projects already underway. The CodeSafeQIN mobile App allows organisations to not only make content available quickly and efficiently, but to monitor engagement levels with that content and receive feedback and answer queries instantly.” Clearly to get the OHS message across, it’s time to invoke technology to get messages over the line.

Master Plumbers are happy to assist their Members with all health and safety needs and offer information about health and safety video messaging. To find out more contact Rod Tresidder on 03 9321 0745 or email | 43

Digital strategies. To give you the competitive edge and find new clients Being digitally innovative may not be first on the list of priorities for your business. But while you may think you’re a plumber – you are also more than likely a digital expert – or at least you can be with a few key tips. James Martin, Head of Technology at Oneflare gives his winning advice for getting ahead online – and trust us, it’s easier than you might think! In 2017, it has never been so easy to get your business name out there and to use digital tools to grow your business. Here are my top three digital tips to attract new customers to your business.

1 Optimise your website

2 Customer relationships

3 Online marketplaces

Firstly, if you don’t have a website, then you should create one. Your website needs to make it easy for your customers to get in contact with you. At the end of the day, you want to convert as many website visitors into customers as you can.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is extremely important in attracting and gaining repeat business from customers. When you interact with a customer, you should record information digitally. This information would usually include contact details, what job they require, when they last engaged with you and what preferences they might have.

Local service marketplaces are online tools that help local service professionals, like plumbers, connect with customers who need a job done in their local area. A local service marketplace can provide a constant source of quality customer leads for your business, at a fraction of the price of traditional online advertising methods. Local service marketplaces can provide plumbing businesses a place to build their profile, configure their service area and lead notification settings and start connecting with clients – in real time.

A prominent and clear “call to action” should be the starting point for facilitating those conversions. For instance, “click to call” or “get a free quote” buttons are common call to actions for small businesses. Make sure they stand out so visitors can easily spot and use them. Likewise, consider how you allow customers to contact you. Traditionally a lot of plumbing and trade business websites use a contact form with limited fields. However, our research indicates the user is actually more engaged when they complete an online form filled with more relevant questions. So, think about the information you want and design your contact form to give your customers a more tailored response.

There are many free tools you can use to record information, like Google Sheets. However, more advanced customer relationship management tools, such as InfusionSoft, allow you to do so much more. For instance, you can segment your customers and perform automated tasks, like send timely text messages after a job has been completed asking the customer to leave a review on popular review sites such as

You don’t have to be a tech genius, or a computer expert to get your business online to give you access to customers you wouldn’t normally be able to attract. Spend some time evaluating your online approach, and see what you can implement to make your businesses marketing approach more innovative.

About Oneflare Oneflare is an online marketplace that connects people to more than 90,000 businesses in over 150 categories to quote for jobs needed around the home, from cleaning to pest control, gardening, painting, building, interior design, pet care, beauty services, accounting and everything in between.

44 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Why innovation means profit. With over 35 years of business experience, Philip Coombs has implemented a simple yet proven approach to improve overall business performance, and to identify pathways to success. Here he discusses innovative ways to raise your business profits.

“Creativity is thinking up new things, innovation is doing new things.” Theodore Levitt The world of an SME is complex and tough. It’s critical for all business owners to focus on activities that improve profitability as a paramount concern. Recent ABS reporting has confirmed what I have been telling my clients for many years, that innovative businesses earn greater profits. The importance of innovation cannot be underestimated in both the corporate and government sectors, yet it continually surprises me how many SMEs don’t think innovation applies to them. As a profit coach and business owner for some 25 years, I can tell you nothing is further from the truth – innovation equals profit, so let’s look at how you can introduce innovation into your business. As a starting point what do we mean by innovation? A definition I obtained from is “the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value, for which customers will pay. To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost, and must satisfy a specific need.” To survive in business today, we must continuously evolve to keep up with the ever changing market and customer needs. These changes need to be quantum leap changes and to achieve this, they require innovation.

To be profitable in business you need differentiation from your competitor, and the greater the degree of differentiation, the more business you will win and in turn improve your profitability.

So if innovation is the key, how does an SME business introduce innovation? I recommend you focus on applying innovation to the way you do business – your method or process, with specific application to either how you win work – your sales procedure, or how you do the work, which is your delivery procedure. Start by selecting the one procedure you believe, if you could do it better than your competitors, would give you a sustainable competitive advantage. By way of example, I will use the sales procedure. Conduct a brainstorming session and include an external person, and document your sales process, as it is today, step by step. The next step is to brainstorm ideas on how you could do it better, differently or faster, in ways that your customer will highly value. For example what impact would it have if you could provide a quote to every customer within 24 hours?

Foster creativity. Your best ideas must be captured. Think big, don’t place self-imposed barriers in the way of change. Encourage curiosity, not only by asking questions on how you could do things better, but also ask why do you do it, and don’t forget to ask what if you could do things another way. This process can a refreshing and enjoyable exercise, best completed away from the office and day to day distractions, to ensure you capture all ideas. This simple process can be adopted by any size business, with an incredibly high impact at low cost. It does require commitment from the top to stop working in the business for a few hours and enable free thinking – but it’s well worth it.

Innovation is for every business and can be the key to growth and improved profitability. If you would like assistance to conduct an innovation workshop, contact: Simply Business Philip Coombs ‘The Profit Coach’ 0419 834 678

Select your best ideas and work out how to implement them. Include the ‘how to’, which becomes your new process and make sure you develop a simple action plan to implement, to ensure your creativity turns into innovation. | 45

Digital Discoverability: How to make the most of your business presence online

The way most Australians find a product or service – including a plumber – is to search for it online. But will your business be listed when someone types ‘plumber’ into a search engine? The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Amanda Ogilvie spoke to Google’s Duncan McGrath about how to get your plumbing business to the top of the Google search – here’s what he said. Consumer behaviour has fundamentally changed: search engines and smart phones Today, 90 per cent of Australians not only go to Google to find a business, they expect to be able to call your business directly from the result page, because they are searching on a smartphone. Imagine a busy parent arriving home one night to a flooded kitchen. They have groceries in the car, a baby on their hip and a smart phone in their pocket. They aren’t going to fire up their laptop or look for a business card; they are going to use their phone on the spot to look up an emergency plumber in their area. You want your business to be discoverable in any moment of customer intent.

46 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Businesses using digital tools are doing better Australian businesses that use digital tools most effectively are 1.5 times more likely to be growing revenue than those that don’t. They’re seven times more likely to be hiring, they’re eight times more likely to be exporting and they’re 14 times more likely to be innovating.

There’s a consequence to failing to respond to this consumer behaviour, if when people go online and search for you, nothing appears. Not only do they not find you, they do find one of your competitors who has maximised their digital presence. The research tells us 40 per cent of Australians will look at the location and the contact details of a competitor listing if they can’t find the business they were specifically looking for.

A digital presence enables you to capitalise on demand driven by positive word-of-mouth recommendations, whether these come from a friend’s online status update or a conversation over coffee. Only seven per cent of recommendations originate online; the A digital presence remaining 93 per cent still enables you to come the old-fashioned way, in person. However, capitalise on the way people act on this demand driven information has changed, by positive and your digital presence word-of-mouth is critical to them finding recommendations your business.

90 per cent of Australians go to Google to find a business AND expect to be able to call your business directly from the result page, because they are searching on a smartphone

Establishing your digital business presence

Does a business still need a website?

There are some quick, easy, cost-effective things you can do to establish your digital business presence.

For most businesses the answer is ‘yes’.

The first thing is to create a free Google My Business listing. Go to au/business and sign up for your Google My Business listing. Set up a profile by entering all your information, it only takes about fifteen minutes. Once you’ve been verified, when someone searches for your business name and location it can appear on Google search and maps. Your phone number will be ‘click to call’ so people who see that result on their smart phone can call you direct.

Explore Digital Garage from Google

Having your own website allows you more control, so it can reflect your brand from top to bottom. Your website also plays a key role in establishing your legitimacy. It shows that you are a genuine business, you can be trusted, and you are professional and contactable. In the trades, trust is critical; the whole relationship is built on trust. A customer is letting you into their house, and they might not even be there.

Delivering a good customer experience online and on mobile Using the right keywords, adding good content, and making sure all the information a customer is looking for is easily found on your website are all important.

The Digital Garage from Google The Digital Garage digitalgarage-au. is the one-stop shop to learn all the digital skills you need to grow your business. You learn about more than just Google products; it also covers email marketing, social media, search engine optimisation and web analytics. Digital technology has changed consumer patterns, and people now look for products and services online. Around 60 per cent of Australian small businesses still don’t have an online presence, yet the businesses using digital platforms effectively are doing better business. Make sure your plumbing business is ‘findable and contactable’ online when a potential customer goes looking. Thanks to Google’s Duncan McGrath for his expert digital advice.

One of the key measures for search engine optimisation (SEO) is: does the site work properly on a mobile phone? Overwhelmingly people are now using mobile phones to find businesses, especially tradespeople. The better the experience your mobile site can give a customer, the more likely it is that Google will show your website at the top of the organic search results. Another key point to remember: Google rewards relevance. | 47

Plumbing simplified. Embracing business management technology means you’ll have more time to spend growing your business, rather than running your business, says simPRO.

From cloud computing to collaboration tools, there’s a growing list of technology trends influencing trade businesses of all sizes and kinds, including plumbing. Technology and small business increasingly go hand-in-hand, as products on the market now offer levels of automation that can handle significant workloads, enabling businesses to welcome new clients, expand to more regions and enter new markets. The growth of digital business models and, in particular, lightning-fast automation technology means businesses can be more efficient and streamlined today than ever before; technology woven into the fabric of trades businesses leads to less time spent on administration, and more time in making profit. Smart field service businesses are seeking improved productivity – and better relationships with their customers – through the use of technology by digitising everyday processes like quoting, scheduling, invoicing and even stock management. Integrating this new job management technology means business managers can also manage their own technicians better, and the real-time data it can provide helps to pinpoint areas where the business could improve. The ability to have scheduling, estimating, dispatching, routing, GPS, reporting (and more) features accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop from one cloud means businesses can work smarter, while technology is the only thing working harder.

48 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Taking control of business Job management software offers comprehensive tools for plumbers to assist with all facets of the business, including customer management, project quotation and estimation, stock control, and invoicing, among others. It offers businesses the opportunity to gain a big picture view of business operations, as well as allowing managers and workers to micro-zoom on individual jobs. It means streamlining workflow through automating, and staying on top of jobs by tracking technicians, monitoring status and progression of jobs – all in real time. And it means trade business owners are able to spend more time working on the business, rather than in it – able to focus on the higher-level business necessities like setting growth strategies. Increasingly, trade contractors around the world are adopting this new technology. More than 80,000 users globally currently use simPRO job management software – and many say the software allows them to focus on growing their business, rather than running their business.

It helps your business – and your employees Many businesses even report better quality jobs following the application of software. They explain that the software saves them time and money as field technicians gain that big picture snapshot of jobs in the system, along with their workload, so they can manage their time more effectively.

Enhanced communication and collaboration Many businesses are a mess of paperwork, client notes, and invoices, which means more time spent on an avalanche of administration, and less time spent building valuable client relationships. Business management technology allows the business to respond quickly to customers’ needs and facilitates efficient, simple communication across the entire workforce. Office and field staff can stay completely connected and up to date in real time throughout the entire workday, which proves advantageous in a field such as plumbing where technicians are often on the go and interacting with customers daily.

The ability to have scheduling, estimating, dispatching, routing, GPS, reporting (and more) features accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop from one cloud means businesses can work smarter, while technology is the only thing working harder

Field technicians can use their mobile devices to view their entire work schedule, share data with the office in real time, and invoice and collect payment on site; there’s no longer need to text, call, or drop by the office. Customer details and history, stock levels, manuals and more sit snugly in the back pocket – accessible at the tap of a screen. Which means that when a technician arrives at a job site, they have access to all their business tools they need to complete the task, and the business overall can go from quote to cash much faster. Plumbing businesses with field workers also have the ability to ensure they take the most efficient routes using smarter GPS systems.

CRMs Investing in client relationships is more important than ever before, as customers are free to submit unmoderated reviews online for almost any business across the globe within seconds. Plumbing businesses are now looking to sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) technology to facilitate quality, long-term client relationships. In addition to helping businesses manage their growing volumes of customer data, CRM also provides insights into customer behaviour which, in turn, helps product targeting and future product development. Good business management software will have the ability to integrate with CRM systems.

To find out more about job management software for your business, get in touch with the simPRO Software team on 1300 139 467 or visit | 49

Why you’ve got to be

in it to win it! Matt Reynolds interviews Scott Cam

Some 30 years ago, Scott Cam kickstarted his trade career as a carpenter. He never dreamed it would lead to TV stardom, let alone land him a Logie collection. But as an Australian Ambassador for Apprenticeships, it’s much more than fortune and fame for The Block’s inimitable figure head. Roving reporter Matt Reynolds discusses the importance of apprenticeships, the future for the trade industry; money and advice on taking advice with the man himself. 50 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Matt Reynolds Hi Scott, you

MR Do tradespeople have a responsibility

recently teamed up with the Australian Government to become an Ambassador for Apprenticeships, what exactly does the role involve?

to pass on their skills to the next generation?

Scott Cam It’s crucial to make

sure school age kids are aware that apprenticeships are a viable and rewarding alternative to university. I don’t think young people realise there are over 400 different types of apprenticeship available. It’s my responsibility to outline the benefits of trades and encourage young people to investigate them. It’s an attractive prospect to get paid while you study and learn the skills of a new job. There’s a shortage of tradespeople at the moment and that’s only going to get worse. In five to ten years’ time a trade is going to be the gun job. MR Do you anticipate that wages

will be higher in the future because of the predicted shortage? Sc Absolutely. There are many

tradespeople out there now but they’re like me, in their 50s and 60s and set for retirement in the next few years. It’s time to get the kids involved. Some of my old apprentices now get paid up to $90 an hour, which is not bad coin! It’s a lucrative job that will always be in demand. MR Do you have any financial advice

for tradespeople? Sc A lot of tradies I know are stressed out

about chasing money and paying wages. It shouldn’t be the case, but that’s the reality. Most businesses get paid when they do the work; tradespeople get paid often two weeks or a month later. Due to this – and all the other factors, stress for tradespeople running their own business is quite high. But if you want to live in a nicer home and have a better life you have to run your own business.

Sc Yes, I think they do. There’s an

unwritten obligation to keep the trade alive and moving. The other part of my role is convincing people about the value of taking apprentices on and what it can do for their business. I’ve met with the federal minister to discuss incentives and subsidies to encourage more of it. Take companies like Boral for example, they’re worried that in ten years there will be no one to lay their product because brick laying is a dying trade. We need to reinforce the great life of being a tradesperson; working hard, getting out and about, creating something and at the end of the day cracking a beer and feeling fantastic about your achievements. MR The Block can give home owners

an unrealistic expectation of some of the time frames involved with renovation work. What are your thoughts on this? Sc With home improvement shows on

TV every night, perceptions of what is feasible in terms of timeframes and attainability have been shifted. Tradespeople come up to me and tell me that people expect their new bathroom to be built in a week. Sure, we do that on the show, but if someone thinks that the building activity on The Block will be a reality in their own home, they need to get a handle on things! You’re not going to get 30 people all working in your house at the same time and a bunch of other tradies all standing by ready to jump in. In the real world, tradies have other jobs on. You might have to wait three days for a job even to be started. As far as advice for home owners goes, know your limitations, know your budget and minimise your variations. Variations are the biggest cause of heart ache between client and tradie. It’s all about managing expectations. MR What’s the biggest plumbing

disaster you’ve had on the show? Sc Everything is tested and certified

on the show and if it’s not right it gets ripped up and done again. But accidents still happen. Like when there is no fall

on the bathroom floor and the surface water runs right out the door. I’ve seen it so many times and still don’t get why it happens. MR What’s the worst advice you

hear given to tradespeople? Sc I’m not an advice person, I don’t seek

it and rarely give it unless I’m asked, my apprentices excluded. My theory is that really, advice only suits the person giving it. You’ve got to learn to make your own decisions about how you live and how you work. MR I know you don’t

like to give advice, but since I’m asking, can you suggest anything for young apprentices? Sc Work really hard

When you get home from work as a first year apprentice you should need to lie on the lounge room floor for two hours and sleep

and march from A to B. Don’t drag your feet when you walk. When you get home from work as a first year apprentice you should need to lie on the lounge room floor for two hours and sleep like I did. Then get up and eat as much as you can. That’s where you should be at if you’re working hard, nothing less than that. If you put 110 per cent in you’ll get so much more out of life, whatever your profession. MR One of your biggest career

achievements has to be that Gold Logie win. Was it a big surprise? Sc I’ve watched the Logies all my life and

never believed I would end up winning the silver and the gold. My wife and I had a good laugh about how surreal it all was. What was probably even stranger was the fact that we decided to turn the Logie into a stubbie opener. I routed it in to the underside. My son had his 18th birthday party a couple of years ago and it got handed around all night. MR Scott Cam… it’s been a pleasure.

Thanks again for doing this. Sc Really nice interview mate,

I’ve enjoyed it. Cheers!

From the trenches [Matt Reynolds] Matt Reynolds is an award winning plumber who writes about the game as an industry insider. You can connect with him on Twitter @MrMattReynolds or find him as the Director of XRM Plumbing Services on LinkedIn. | 51

Unfair dismissal. Discovery of evidence after the dismissal

Phil Eberhard, Master Plumbers’ Senior Workplace Relations Advisor examines the contentious issue of unfair dismissal. A recent Fair Work Commission (Commission) decision (Shayne Finemore v CMIB Insurance Services P/L, [2016] FWC 8517, 29 November 2016, Commissioner Gregory), has reconfirmed that evidence “acquired after the time of dismissal can be taken into account… (in determining whether the dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable)… even if the employer was unaware of those facts at the time, and did not rely on them when the dismissal occurred”. However, the Commission qualified that statement by finding that the new, or additional information, needs to “be established by evidence provided to the Commission at the time of hearing”. Shayne Finemore (Finemore) applied for an unfair dismissal remedy in relation to her dismissal from her employment as an Account Executive with CMIB Insurance Services Pty Ltd (CMIB). Finemore was dismissed as a result of serious misconduct. During her employment, Finemore had been given permission by CMIB to remotely access information from the CMIB Server. However, prior to her termination, CMIB revoked that permission. Whilst searching Finemore’s sent emails, CMIB had found that Finemore had emailed various pieces of information to her personal email account.

52 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

CMIB met with Finemore and raised this (and other issues) issue with her. In her defence, Finemore advised CMIB that the information that she had emailed was working files, not reports or client lists. Finemore also advised that the working files did not contain phone numbers, addresses, or full client names. CMIB terminated Finemore’s employment. After Finemore’s termination, CMIB became aware Finemore had (prior to her termination) downloaded and retained “further confidential information. This was contained on a USB stick she had previously used to store personal photos. However, it had been discovered it had also been used to download a range of confidential information, and this had occurred… after Finemore accessed the server at work from home”. CMIB became aware of the “further confidential information” after a broker from another insurance company had contacted CMIB and advised that CMIB should check the contents of the USB. Upon checking the USB, CMIB found that a number of highly sensitive and confidential documents (client lists, submissions, templates, working documents, etc) had been downloaded. CMIB relied on this additional information to justify their dismissal of Finemore.

CMIB submitted that Finemore made no mention of the “further confidential information” because Finemore “was not aware, at the time, that… (CMIB)… now knew of the existence of the USB stick and the information and data loaded onto them”. The Commission found that “the evidence of… (CMIB)… and the answers provided by… Finemore in cross – examination, suggest the Excel spreadsheet was more than a working document containing little or no client information”. The Commission found that Finemore wanted to retain the “further confidential information” after leaving CMIB. Finally, the Commission found that Finemore “was initially evasive and unresponsive in that meeting, until confronted with evidence of the emails being sent… (Finemore’s)… explanation then about wanting to update the documents from home, when this task could have been carried out much more efficiently at work, was considered less than satisfactory”.

mastering workplace relations

evidence acquired after the time of dismissal can be taken into account

Summary: lessons to be learned The Commission’s decision reconfirms that if an employer finds additional information that supports the decision to terminate the employee’s employment then that is admissible before the Commission. However, the employer would need to put that evidence to the Commission at the time of the Commission hearing and demonstrate the relevance of the material. There were a number of other matters considered by the Commission in the decision, however, the pertinent aspect of the decision relates to the information found after the termination of Finemore’s employment.

Having said all of that, it needs to be re-stated that an employer needs to have a valid reason for terminating an employee’s employment. This includes, amongst other things, a fair and reasonable process, for example; the employer putting the allegations to the employee (generally speaking, and preferably, in writing), the employer directing the employee to attend a meeting to discuss the allegations, the employee being given the opportunity of having a support person present at the meeting, etc.

Master Plumbers members who are considering disciplinary action against an employee should contact Master Plumbers for assistance in the process. Should there be any questions about the contents of this article, please contact Phil Eberhard, Senior Workplace Relations Adviser, Master Plumbers, on 03 9321 0720, 0425 790 722 or

3 ways Cbus builds super futures for plumbers in Victoria 1.

Investing in property and development projects through our wholly owned subsidiary Cbus Property1, creating jobs and delivering returns


Easy administration for employers, with online options to join Cbus and pay employees’ super


Industry–specific super products for members, including insurance cover, financial advice and free access to the Cbus smartphone app

Contact Scott for your business super needs Scott LaFerlita

Business Development Manager, VIC

0409 934 674

Cbus Property commercial project, 171 Collins St Melbourne Cbus Property Pty Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cbus and has responsibility for the strategic performance and management of all Cbus direct property developments and investments. This information is about Cbus. It doesn’t take into account your specific needs, so you should look at your own business needs and objectives before making any financial decisions. Read the Cbus Employer Handbook and other relevant documents to decide whether Cbus is right for you. Call 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. . 1 | 53

Cyber threat. Is my business at risk?

Cybercrime is one of the leading risks facing Australian businesses these days, and the plumbing sector is far from immune to potential attacks. Any business that holds client information could be exposed to significant expenses resulting from a cyber attack. Government figures estimate that close to 700,000 businesses across Australia have fallen victim to cyber criminals, with the average cost of an attack costing businesses more than $275,000 . Cyber insurance policies can protect businesses from the financial consequences of cyber crime. But before you invest in a cyber policy there are a number of things you need to know about cyber insurance.

1 Cyber insurance can cover you for business interruption costs If your business has an online presence and relies on internet based software to trade, cyber insurance can cover you for a range of events. These include if your systems no longer operate as a result of a cyber attack, or if you can’t access them for a period of time. A cyber policy may respond to reimburse the business for this interruption in income.

2 Cyber crime is on the rise and every business needs protection According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s 2016 Threat Report, between July 2015 and June 2016 the federal government’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) responded to 14,804 cyber security incidents affecting Australian businesses. In the previous year it responded to 11,073 cyber security incidents, which shows how these threats are on the rise . Attacks can come from criminals, ‘hacktivists’ — political activists seeking illegal access to an organisation’s computer system — terrorists or state-sponsored hackers, or even disgruntled employees or customers.

3 Standard business insurance may not protect the business

While traditional insurance policies may respond to certain aspects of cyber breaches, most are not specifically designed to protect companies from this threat.

4 Never assume your business is safe It’s true certain industries are more prone to suffering a cyber attack than others, especially businesses that retain personal information. However, no business or industry is immune. Cyber crime is now viewed by criminals as being just as lucrative as other types of crime and every company must be protected.

5 Cost effective cyber cover is available The cyber insurance market in Australia is very competitive, with a number of options available. Businesses with strong cyber controls in place and those that hold limited personal customer information are often able to obtain the most affordable cyber cover.

Managers can erroneously assume other business insurance policies such as director and officer or crime insurance will protect the business should it suffer a cyber attack.

If you have any queries in relation to this or any other insurance product please don’t hesitate to call the friendly team at Master Plumbers Insurance Brokers on 1300 300 511. This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable, but we make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy. Marsh shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Marsh Pty Ltd (ABN 86 004 651 512, AFSL 238983) arrange insurance and are not an insurer. LCPA No: 17/004

54 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

AFFORDABLE PLUMBERS LIABILITY INSURANCE IS NO PIPE DREAM Contact Marsh Advantage Insurance for a competitive quote and join the 4,000 plumbers across Victoria already with us. We can arrange public liability insurance starting from $599*, and we will email your certificate of currency directly to the Victorian Building Authority. To get a quote, call 1300 300 511 or visit * Premium includes statutory charges and broker fee and is based on one licensed plumber insured, domestic plumbing work only, with an estimated annual turnover less than $50,000 and no previous claims or uninsured losses in the last five years. Acceptance of cover is subject to underwriter guidelines, which includes restrictions on types of plumbing works. 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. Premium is based on public liability insurance underwritten by CGU Insurance Limited (ABN 27 0004 478 371, AFSL 238 291), is indicative only and, while accurate at the time of publication, is subject to change. This advertisement 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. LCPA 17/0008 S17-3311.


Renovations get copper glow. A booming renovation market is lifting the copper industry too says International Copper Association CEO John Fennell. New builder research says copper plumbing is not only doing well in the renovation market, but could be set for increased growth. The first time Housing Industry Association plumbing and renovation research showed copper being used in a third of cold water and 34 per cent of hot water restoration work around the country. Nearly two thirds of the most prevalent jobs were extensions of existing pipes, while around a third were for replacements of the existing plumbing systems. But it’s builders, not their customers, who choose the materials and for them price, existing systems and ease of installation drive the decision.

Market innovation The good news in renovations seems to be mirrored in new construction too. As Rupert Blatch from MM Kembla recently pointed out “the Australian copper tube market has seen around five per cent growth since 2012 due to some important changes that have occurred in this time.”

It looks like 2017 is going to be an even better year for plumbers – here’s to that!

56 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Most of those changes have been due to copper industry innovations that not only identified the challenges facing copper in the construction industry, but worked to overcome them with smarter products. Chief amongst those has been the so-called press-fit suite of products that have taken the complexity out of plumbing systems and joining. In fact the HIA study found that well over a third of builders said the introduction and adoption of press-fit type systems has made copper a more attractive plumbing material. The other big change is the rapid growth of high rise towers and residential apartments where copper plumbing systems not only handle the height and pressure challenges more effectively than plastics, but have proven to be more robust and far less prone to break downs.

Counting the costs The copper industry innovations are clearly having an impact, helping to overcome the long-term hurdle of cost that has often crimped the choice of copper in the past. While this remains something of a bias in small renovations, the improving fortunes of copper in the wider construction market suggest this is no longer a foregone conclusion.

There is also room for optimism given the sheer dynamism and activity in the renovation sector. A recent U.S. renovation study by leading online design platform, Houzz, found that not only is spending on bathrooms and kitchens on the rise, but that budgets for those rooms is also up substantially. “The average spend on kitchen and master bath remodelling projects in 2015 increased by 12 per cent year over year. Consistent with the last five years, kitchens remain the most popular interior remodelling project (31 per cent), followed by master/non-master bathrooms (22 and 26 per cent, respectively) and living/family rooms (23 per cent),” the company said in a media release. The study suggested that the new enthusiasm for renovations is being driven by more homeowners opting to stay in place rather than face the daunting task of buying and moving, as well as having the time and money to do it. It looks like 2017 is going to be an even better year for plumbers – here’s to that!


Is being a follower killing your probability of success?

In the second of our Expert Tendering workshop series, Chris Dennis gives expert advice on how to make your bid stand out from the crowd.

A key to responding to tenders is demonstrating what makes your company different to every other company. Are you positioning your company as a ‘me too’ or as the leader in your field? I know essentially you and your competitors are similar. Each of you are: • following the same building codes • have staff /contractors • have learnt your trade • use the same tools So how do you demonstrate that you are different to everyone else? This is the million dollar question!

Essentially they all ask for the same information, just worded differently. How you answer these questions will determine how your business is perceived by the reviewers of the tender response.

• Think about internal projects that have streamlined processes. It could be finance, operational, technology, people management etc.

Is your business a leader or a follower – a ”me too” business?

These answers can be included in your innovation or value add responses.

Write down in dot points, what you think your answer would cover.

What you can do today

Most tenders have the following types of questions that require your answer.

So how do you answer them?

How would you answer these real tender questions?

• We have the best people

The questions below are examples from different tenders. 1 State your involvement with the use of leading technologies, innovative solutions and best practice that have resulted in “value for money” improvements. 2 ABC Company is keen to support innovation and explore any “value add” option tenderers may feel could be available within the scope of the project. Tenderers are required to identify such options. 3 Give an example of where you have implemented an idea that resulted in benefit for your client. 4 Do you have any ideas that could reduce costs for ABC Company?

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” Steve Jobs

You could use statements like: • We use the best project management software • We have been in business for 20 years • We are the most reliable company • We use the best equipment These type of statements are all “me too” follower statements, because everyone uses them.

Areas for thought So what is the best way to answer the questions? • Think about your entire business – not just what the client sees when you’re onsite. • Consider completed projects, where you saved your client stress, headaches, time and money. Describe projects where you have gone above and beyond. Articulate:

• What are your future internal and external projects?

Make sure your clients know what sets you apart from the pack What can you add or remove from your answers in the above exercise? Look at previous tender responses; what can you modify in the innovation and value added questions? Could you have responded better to portray your business as a leader?

Got a question for our tendering expert? Send an email to: Happy successful tendering and quoting! Chris Dennis Win Win Tendering T 0400 097 161 E W

– what the problems were

Download Chris’s exclusive member tips: Tendering and Quoting Guide: 10 Strategies to Reduce Time and Stress

– what you did to solve them

– what that meant, to your business and your clients’ business.

Members who sign up receive 10 emails across 10 days featuring plenty of helpful tips. | 57


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58 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017 KingspanWater-API-HalfPgAd-1116_art.indd 1 Residential | Rural | Commercial

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Building ‘super’ futures for plumbers like you As Australia’s largest industry super fund for the construction, building and allied industries, Cbus exists to maximise retirement outcomes for its members. With more than 32 years of experience we make super hassle-free for over 108,000 businesses across the country.

The Cbus Employer App – Making super simpler for small businesses Cbus has launched a free smartphone app to help businesses manage and pay super for their employees on their phone. With the new Cbus Employer App businesses can; • Login with a four digit pin • Add or remove employees • Submit and pay super contributions • Get PDF receipts To find out more, visit or search “Cbus Super” in your app store.

Any questions? Cbus can help with your business super needs. Contact your local Cbus representative; Scott LaFerlita on 0409 934 674 or visit This information is about Cbus. It doesn’t take into account your specific needs, so you should look at your own business needs and objectives before making any financial decisions. Read the Cbus Employer Handbook and other relevant documents to decide whether Cbus is right for you. Call 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.

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product news The unique polymer pipe system set to take the country by storm aquatechnik arrives in Australia Take a polymer so strong that it’s used in aircraft components, combine it with the highest quality composite pipe available on the market and add a healthy dose of Italian know-how. The result is an innovative piping and fittings system called “safety® system” that’s about to take the Australian plumbing world by storm. Leading European polymer piping system manufacturer aquatechnik is excited to announce the arrival of its internationally proven safety® piping and fittings system into Australia. aquatechnik is an Italian manufacturer that prides itself on producing high quality, innovative products for the plumbing and heating industry, and its safety® system is the first and only of its kind in the world that completely avoids brass and metal ions coming into direct contact with water.

The system features multi-calor pipe and safety® fittings. The pipe is made from cross-linked polyethylene internal and external layers, with an aluminium layer in between. Unlike most multi-layer pipes, this multi-calor’s aluminium layer is TIG butt welded (using a control camera) rather than lap jointed. The layers are then bonded using an adhesive compound designed to withstand the pipe enlargement process during joint assembly. The jointing process is incredibly simple and involves a one-step enlargement of the pipe head, which ensures that the internal diameter of the pipe matches the internal diameter of the fittings. This maintains optimum flow by decreasing pressure drops and friction losses. The safety® fittings are also completely reusable.

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NSW hospital construction benefits from Viega’s quality products Viega helps bring state of the art hospital to regional community The new hospital, expected to service the needs of more than 200,000 people in south east New South Wales is a complex, expensive and time consuming construction project. Factor in the need for 15km of pipework, labour management and conflicting schedules with other trades, and the cost of any resultant delays could potentially blow the multimillion dollar budget. That’s why AMS Hydraulics looked immediately towards Viega Australia when it came to changing from silver soldered copper tube and fittings for hot and cold potable water. The state-of-the-art hospital, which opened on 4 April 2016, replaced the old Bega Hospital that had served the south

60 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

coast community for almost 70 years. The new facility was designed to cater for the region’s needs well into the future, providing a comprehensive range of health services for the surrounding communities.

Timely completion Such a major building and its delivery program required sophisticated design and installation solutions. The plumbing and mechanical pipework services were no exception. The sheer size of the project and the number of coordinated service installations had the potential risk to adversely affect program and completion. When AMS Hydraulics were awarded the tender for the hydraulic services on the $187 million plus project, it recommended Viega Australia’s Propress system in lieu of conventionally welded copper tube and fittings. Axis Plumbing ACT also opted to use the Propress system for all mechanical works in the project.

Proven results AMS Hydraulics National Construction Manager Dan Bennett says: “Viega’s Propress was the only one the company considered for the hospital’s hot and cold reticulation system. Viega Propress is widely used in our industry and AMS has installed it on all our projects over the last eight years. This is because it not only enables faster installation, but has better warranty compared to conventional copper.

The hospital project: fast facts • 489,920 man hours • 15,000 linear metres of pipework • 13,230 cubic metres of concrete • 1043 tonnes of reinforcing • 512 kilometres of electrical cabling • 1229 doors • 3,687 hinges • 29,281 square metres of formwork • 40,000 metres of internal windows • 28,650 square metres floor area


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australia ✆ 1800 278 283 6/2/17 12:30 pm | 61

product news Ridge Tool Australia announces RIDGID® Pressing Jaws for PEX As part of their commitment to continual development of technological precision products, Ridge is proud to present its new Jaws for pressing PEX. Designed with the RIDGID RP210-B pressing tool in mind, available sizes are 16/18, 20, 22, 25, 32 and 40mm. Jaws for copper pressing are also available in 15, 20, 25 and 32mm. The Ridge Tool Company is a world leading manufacturer of professional quality pipe and tube working tools serving the plumbing and construction industries. The RIDGID® trademark is recognised for uncompromising product quality, performance, durability and service. Contact Ridge Tool Australia on 1800 743 443 or visit for further information.

New high head submersible A new heavy duty, single phase, high head submersible pump has been released by Aussie Pumps. Manufactured by Tsurumi and based on the extremely successful KTV range of dewatering pumps, the new three inches (80mm) pump is a breakthrough in single phase pump design.

Like all Tsurumi pumps offered by Aussie, the new NK3-22 single phase pump comes with a three year warranty. Further information including a free comprehensive Tsurumi Pump catalogue on dewatering pumps is readily available from Aussie Pumps or authorised distributors throughout Australia.

The new Tsurumi pump, model NK3-22, offers heads of up to 24 metres combined with flows of up to 525 litres per minute. “This new pump really pushes the boundaries for performance of a single phase submersible,” said Neil Bennett, Aussie Pumps Product Manager. “We’ve christened it the king of the Tsurumi single phase range. It makes an ideal emergency dewatering pump as it’s quick to set up, easy to run on normal 240 volt circuit and crucially pushes out a huge amount of water,” he said. Aimed at the plumbing, hire and construction markets, this new portable pump has been designed to handle abrasive liquids. It has a ductile cast iron impeller and vulcanised wear plate. Tsurumi is the world’s biggest manufacturer of electro submersible pumps for dewatering and drainage applications. Their state of the art robotised factory in Kyoto has a manufacturing capacity of over one million units per year. The unique impeller design accelerates the water passing through the pump casing, creating a vortex that assists the smooth transit of solids in suspension. The pump also features a double mechanical seal of silicon carbide located in an oil chamber, with a patented oil lifter to provide forced lubrication and extended seal life. Water incursion through the cable entry is the main source of failure in submersible pumps. All Tsurumi pumps are fitted with an anti-wicking cable entry block. It protects the motor from moisture wicking inside the cable in the event of the cable being damaged or the end submerged.

62 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

The new slimline single phase dewatering pump from Tsurumi offers high heads and big flows normally only found in a 3 phase pump.

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 | 63

product news Want hot water fast? You need Rheem Pronto! Rheem Australia has entered the instantaneous mechanical gas water heater segment with new Rheem Pronto. Quick and easy to install, Rheem Pronto is specifically designed for Aussie conditions. Rheem Pronto uses the same mounting point locations as the most common mechanical water heaters, which makes installation and replacements a breeze. Once in place, all the connections are conveniently located in an identical position, so there’s no need to adjust the pipework. Rheem Pronto 12: 840H x 388W x 285D Rheem Pronto 16: 875H x 443W x 285D

Available in 12L or 16L minute capacities and natural gas or propane models, its compact size means the Pronto is easier to install into tight spaces than other comparable mechanical hot water heaters. The smart design also includes one simple, single lever for summer or winter to ensure maximum hot water supply year-round, with no need to remove the front cover. “Unlike some instantaneous or mechanical water heaters, Rheem Pronto features electronic temperature control for a safer temperature delivery,” says John Wilkins, Rheem Australia Product Marketing Manager. “The heater’s LED monitor also provides error codes for easy analysis and servicing. And unlike some instantaneous water heaters, there are no batteries to be replaced.”

Rheem Pronto is designed and developed by Rheem Australia specifically for Australian conditions.

Key features: • Easier, safer adjustment: Just one water flow adjustment lever on the base of the heater • Superior temperature control • Optional heat shield accessory for fitting onto flammable material walls such as weatherboard • Self-diagnosis function and error codes via flashing LED light • Reliable in windy conditions • Inbuilt gas pressure regulator • Over-pressure relief valve to protect the heat exchanger • Inlet water strainer • Superior warranty

Get up to standard with Aussie pumps regulation compliant jetters Australia’s leading manufacturer and designer of high pressure water jetters, Aussie Pumps, is alerting the plumbing industry about new safety standards that impact the industry. The new standard, AS/NZS 4322.1, is designed to protect users of high pressure cleaning and jetting equipment. Plumbers in Australia, South East Asia and other parts of the world are successfully using 4,000 and 5,000 psi pressure cleaners for everyday drain cleaning jobs. Jetters use pressure instead of flow to unblock sewage and stormwater drains. They can chop through tree roots, dislodge rags and plastic bottles.

Reputable manufacturers like Aussie Pumps provide detailed manuals on the safe operation of jetters. They affix safety stickers to the machines, and even provide movies to show operators how to safely use the equipment.

B class machines have more stringent safety requirements. Aussie Pumps’ range of Cobra and King Cobra drain cleaners are manufactured in line with the new standards and include emergency stops, hose guards and safety plates.

New standards are different

The standards also mandate the use of “Safe Operator” PPE clothing. Aussie Pumps offer a range of overalls, aprons, jackets and trousers manufactured from Dyneema. Dyneema is a unique cotton fabric that has a higher tensile strength by 15 times than steel.

The new safety standards break machines into two classes. Pressure cleaners and drain cleaning jetters with capacities of up to 5600 bar litres per minute come under the class A category whilst bigger machines (everything over 5600 bar litres/minute) come under the B category. Operators of ‘A’ class machines, under the Standards, should be trained in their safe use. This category includes jetters operating at 4,000 psi with 15, 16 or even 18 litres per minute flow.

Upgrade packs will soon be available to enable operators with existing equipment to comply with the Standards. Further information is readily available at or from Aussie Pump Distributors.

However, under new the standards, 90 per cent of all drain cleaning high pressure machines come under the B class codification.

The new safety standards for using high pressure jetters mean that operators of class B machines must be trained and certified in their safe use.

64 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

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product news Rheem launches new Rheem Plumbers’ Handbook Rheem has launched a handy new pocket-sized guide to all Rheem domestic and selected heavy duty water heater models. Designed for plumbers to use on site, the new 118-page Rheem Plumbers’ Handbook is an easy reference guide which provides solid technical assistance and support for plumbers when installing a Rheem hot water unit. “The handbook has been created as a comprehensive ready-reckoner to make it easy for plumbers to quickly find the right information they need, and its water-resistant pages have been designed to survive the rigors of on-site use,” says John Wilkins, Rheem Australia Product Marketing Manager.

“It provides all the key information from product features, dimensions and specifications to the type of installation. Every category is covered, including electric storage, gas storage, continuous flow/instantaneous, solar and heat pump plus popular accessories/options.” The handbook includes detailed installation checklists and safety guidelines for the various different types of hot water systems, in addition to information on anodes. For ease of reference, there is one model per page with specific information including:

Every model has a scannable QR code which will take the user directly to the corresponding page on Rheem’s website, where they can access installation instructions and brochures. “Whether plumbers are after information on a system for a new build, retrofit or a fast and easy like-for-like replacement, this guide is an invaluable reference tool,” adds John. To get your free Rheem Plumbers’ Handbook, sms “Rheem” to 0447 444 004.

• The model number • Product drawing and dimensions • Photograph of the system • Specifications • Star rating (for gas models) • Warranty information • Product features and benefits

The new Bosch OptiFlow: connectivity, patented technology, and stunning industrial design The Bosch OptiFlow is redefining the modern hot water system. It is a six star continuous flow water heater designed specifically for Australian conditions, but highly differentiated from its competitors by the application of patented technologies and a connectivity feature. The OptiFlow is set apart from conventional continuous flow hot water systems by its connectivity. The Installer and Service App allows plumbers to measure performance and get diagnostic codes via near-field Bluetooth communication. The separate App for consumers lets the user adjust the temperature, track energy and water usage, and keep an eye on costs.

66 | Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine | March 2017

Both the Trade and Consumer Apps are available on Android and iOS. Bosch’s OptiFlow combustion management system utilizes a patented algorithm to modulate the appliance gas valve and fan speed to ensure optimum combustion. The gas to air ratio is measured four times per second, and if necessary adjusted. This process is ongoing over the lifetime of the appliance, allowing it to intelligently and continuously adapt to changing environmental conditions, ensuring optimum efficiency in all conditions over the lifetime of the appliance. A new patented Bosch technology known as “Easy Minimum” allows the OptiFlow hot water system to operate

at very low minimum power output, while maintaining a stable output temperature for more comfortable showers. This technology is beneficial in situations where the incoming water temperature is high and only a small temperate rise is needed. For more information contact Bosch on 1300 30 70 37 or

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What is involved? 13 weeks, full time training Practical, hands on plumbing tasks Plumbing theory (including maths and reading) Workplace exposure

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Australian Plumbing March 2017  

For over 25 years, Australian Plumbing has been the industry’s leading publication, delivering independent coverage of news and events.

Australian Plumbing March 2017  

For over 25 years, Australian Plumbing has been the industry’s leading publication, delivering independent coverage of news and events.