AFTER more than 12 months of the Master Plumbers & Gasfitters Association maintaining the lead contamination issue at the new Perth Children’s Hospital was due to faulty or non-compliant products, the State Government is paying attention.
MPGA Executive Director Murray Thomas was called before the Parliamentary Inquiry into issues at the hospital this week to present the Association’s views on the causes of the issues and how they could be overcome now and prevented in the future.
“As the Association has maintained since the issues first came to light, this is symptomatic of a long-term and widespread failure to effectively regulate the supply of fittings,” Mr Thomas said.
“There are compliance controls in place, through the Australian Watermark Scheme, dictating products that can be used by plumbers and defining manufacturing standards.
“But there is no legislation preventing point-of-sale supply of non-compliant products or enough controls to ensure imported materials continue to meet the required standards.
“At the same time, there are not enough plumbing inspectors in Western Australia to monitor what’s being used. For public projects, and particularly health facilities, the MPGA has always recommended mandatory testing and inspection.”
WA currently has nine full-time plumbing inspectors, employed by the Building Commission, to service the entire State. By contrast, Queensland employs nearly 300 inspectors at local and state government levels.
Mr Thomas advised the inquiry that a combination of effective point-of-sale legislation combined with mandatory inspection of large plumbing projects would remedy such issues from occurring again.
The full transcript of the Parliamentary Inquiry will be publicly available in coming weeks.
At the same time, the Association recently established the Merchant and Manufacturer Sub-Committee (MMSC).
The function of the MMSC is to provide input for issues associated with manufacturing, products and the supply chain in the plumbing and gasfitting industry in Western Australia.
Consisting of three merchant representatives, nine manufacturers, a representative of PPI Group and MPGA executive and staff representatives, the sub-committee’s roles include:
- ensure that a topic’s scope aligns with the requirements of all stakeholder groups
- address any issue that has major implications for the industry
- keep the defined scope under control as emergent issues force changes to be considered
- reconcile differences in opinion and approach, and resolve disputes arising from them
The MMSC will meet quarterly. Key decisions and issues will be made available to all industry stakeholders where appropriate.
For more information:
Murray Thomas, CEO
Master Plumbers & Gasfitters Association