National water agency PUB has announced that it will revise the licensing scheme for plumbers from 1 April 2018 to require all sanitary plumbers to also be licensed.
Named the Licensed Plumber (LP) scheme, PUB noted that the revision is an expansion of PUB’s existing Licensed Water Service Plumber (LWSP) scheme, under which licensing is currently mandatory only for water service plumber.
The agency stated that the new LP scheme aims to upgrade the industry’s standards by streamlining the operations of water service and sanitary plumbing – through training, licensing of qualified plumbers, and enforcement against non-compliance with PUB’s rules and regulations.
Tan Yok Gin, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) PUB, said, "Plumbing is a fundamental part of maintaining the consumer end of water supply and used water collection. Water and sanitary pipes in buildings and homes must be built properly with competent knowledge in both water service and sanitary plumbing to maintain public health standards."
"This is why we are expanding the licensing framework to include sanitary plumbers – to better ensure the quality of works carried out by them and to better protect consumer interests," he added.
PUB stressed that the new LP scheme will see both water service and sanitary plumbers operating under one common licence and be competent in executing both types of plumbing work which will also place the plumbing industry under the authority of PUB.
Benefits for consumers
For development projects, PUB noted that Qualified Persons (QPs) are responsible for ensuring that sanitary piping work adheres to regulatory standards. With the revision, only LPs are allowed to carry out any form of plumbing work, before the QP certifies the completed work. This offers an additional level of quality assurance for consumers.
Sanitary plumbers carrying out installations and repair works on sanitary appliances, pipes and sanitary drain lines which convey used water from buildings/premises to public sewers, are currently not required to be licensed for such work.
Water service plumbers who carry out installations and repair works on water pipes, tanks, taps and fittings which convey water supplied by PUB in buildings/premises, must be licensed by PUB before they can carry out such work under the current scheme.
For homeowners who require plumbing services for renovation or general maintenance, the agency said that the licensing of sanitary plumbers will provide more quality assurance of the plumbing work.
Developers and homeowners who require both water service and sanitary plumbing services will also enjoy the convenience of engaging just one LP to do both works.
From 1 April 2018, PUB stated that consumers and developers can refer to the PUB website (www.pub.gov.sg
) for a full list of LPs available for hire, as well as a list of water service and sanitary works which must be carried out by an LP.
Training requirements for the LP Licence
Similar to the current LWSP scheme, obtaining the new LP licence requires plumbers to complete the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Builder Certificate course in Plumbing and Pipe-Fitting (or equivalent qualifications).
In addition, plumbers will also have to attend PUB’s sanitary and/or water service plumbing course and pass an assessment. To enhance capability development for the industry, the Singapore Water Academy (SgWA) in PUB is developing a specialised training programme for plumbers which will build on their current competencies in water service and sanitary plumbing.
The PUB courses will update plumbers on both the Singapore Standard CP48:2005 - Code of Practice for Water Services and the Code of Practice on Sewerage and Sanitary Works. They will also cover safety, water quality, public health and water conservation guidelines which must be complied with when carrying out plumbing works.
Online registration is open now at www.bcaa.edu.sg
for BCA’s Builder Certificate course that commences from May 2017. Registration for PUB’s courses held from July 2017 opens on 30 April 2017 at www.pub.gov.sg
According to PUB, an estimated 260 plumbers, who are licensed by PUB under the LWSP scheme and also hold the Singapore Plumbing Society (SPS) registration certificate for sanitary plumbers, will automatically qualify for the new LP licence. This is because they have obtained the requisite training and are already practising and familiar with the industry codes of practice for both water services and sanitary work.
Meanwhile, it noted that another estimated 600 LWSPs and 22 SPS-registered sanitary plumbers who do not have the full set of required qualifications will be given up to 30 Sep 2018 to obtain the necessary qualifications to obtain the new LP licence. They can also continue to offer water service or sanitary plumbing services up to 30 Sep 2018 while they undergo the training to qualify for the LP licence.
PUB stated that it will waive the new LP licence application fee as well as the PUB course and assessment fees for existing LWSPs and SPSplumbers.
PUB noted that it has been working closely with the Singapore Plumbing Society (SPS), a key trade association, in jointly evaluating plumbers on competency in sanitary works to qualify for the SPS registry. PUB has also engaged SPS prior to the implementation of the LP Scheme.
Tan Wee Teck, President, Singapore Plumbing Society, said, "For over two decades, SPS has been PUB’s important industry partner on plumbing and sanitary matters and we are supportive of the expanded licensing to raise and recognise the professionalism of the sanitary plumbers. Moving forward, we will be sharing our technical expertise to jointly conduct sanitary plumbing courses with PUB for plumbers to transit to the enhanced LP Scheme."
"We also encourage plumbers to continue to sign up with SPS as members to keep themselves abreast of developments in the plumbing and sanitary sector. Collectively, SPS can act as an enabler in the industry to raise the industry standards for the good of public health and well-being," he added.
The agency said that from 1 October 2018, it is an offence for anyone to carry out water service or sanitary plumbing works, advertise or otherwise pretend to be an LP without a valid PUB LP licence. The public can direct their queries or report practices by unlicensed plumbers to the building management or PUB's 24-hour Call Centre at 1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255-782).