The Master Plumbers and Gasfitters Association of WA is running an industry reform campaign called 'Building on Solid Foundations' that's getting noticed by all the right people.
We have been engaging with key stakeholders at the state and federal level to drive higher standards in the building and construction sector.
This is a brief report on our progress to date. For a fuller report, see our 'Building on Solid Foundations' blog post, which we will continually update during the course of the campaign.
The reforms we are seeking include
- Stronger enforcement of the National Construction Code (NCC) with serious penalties for non-compliance
- Mandatory Continuing Professional Development training for each trade
- Improving the standard of theoretical and practical apprentice training
- Refining the focus of the Plumbers Licensing Board to target unlicensed operators, and
- Introducing mandatory the WaterMark Certification Scheme at point of sale
In recent months we have met with WA and national decision-makers, leaders and regulators who have the power to determine the laws and regulations that control the building and construction industry.
In summary, the key points that have emerged from our discussions are
- Agreement on the need to lift the standard of building and construction in WA
- Strong support for our recommendations
- Strong agreement about the need to introduce the reforms recommended in the Shergold and Weir Building Confidence report
- Strong agreement about the need to improve the standard of apprentice training in WA
- Resourcing and national reform process identified as key barriers
- The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is responsible for driving many aspects of construction sector reform but has other priorities including the move to register building engineers (as recommended in the Building Confidence report), which we support
- WA decision-makers are somewhat reluctant to move ahead of the national reform process that is underway and includes the adoption of NCC 2022
- Lack of plumbing bridging courses available for skilled migrants in WA
- Many stakeholders have been surprised to learn about the lack of training opportunities in WA
- Training providers may be prepared to deliver bridging training when there is enough demand for viable class sizes
- Members wishing to employ an overseas trained plumber are encouraged to access the Skilled Migrant Employment Register
The 'Building on Solid Foundations' campaign is ony just beginning. We will continue to engage with state and federal stakeholders and groups including the Construction Training Council and the Department of Training and Workforce Development, and to be represented on WA’s Building Consultative Committee.
As mentioned above, for more details see our 'Building on Solid Foundations' blog post.