8 November, 2021

These days many of us undertake a range of DIY jobs ourselves (hands up those who have ever viewed a DIY YouTube video!). But many of us are time-poor or prefer to leave those fiddly little jobs to those who can do them quicker and possibly even cheaper than we could.

Handymen (and women) can fix or help with a range of tasks around the home. But exactly what jobs can a handyman do?

Handymen can do a range of jobs, from fence repairs and gutter cleaning to assembling furniture and interior painting. And if you’re ever wondered how to fix a fly screen, then they are your go-to!

In terms of plumbing jobs, they can do minor bathroom repairs and stop that annoying leaky cistern, but you may be wondering, can a handyman replace a toilet?

Can a handyman install a toilet?

If you have ever wondered, can a handyman install a toilet, the simple answer is “no,” unless they’re also a licensed plumber. Only those who have a valid plumbing license are legally allowed to work on your plumbing, including installing a toilet. Regulations vary by state, but regardless, your handyman will probably end up being legally and financially penalised if they attempt to fix a major plumbing problem themselves.

What are the consequences of illegal plumbing?

Doing major plumbing work without a license can lead to a range of negative consequences. These include the work not meeting Australian safety and quality standards, the risk of injury to householders, problems if you decide to sell your home down the track, and penalties imposed by local governments.

What are the current plumbing laws and codes?

In Queensland, new plumbing laws and regulations came into play on 1 July 2019. They apply to drainers, plumbers, developers, builders, local governments, water service providers, community title managers and householders. These laws and regulations follow the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018, which governs plumbing and drainage, the licensing of plumbers and drainers, on-site sewerage facilities and other matters.

What are the penalties for plumbing law breaches?

The Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 (PDA) and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 outline strong penalties for breaches of plumbing laws.

A breach of the law may result in:

  • prosecution in the courts (maximum penalty units (MPU))
  • on-the-spot fines (penalty infringement notices).

To protect public health and the environment, there are strong penalties for:

  • unlicensed plumbing work
  • offences that endanger health and safety.

The maximum penalties for unlicensed work align with similar offences under Queensland’s building laws to create consistency across similar legislation. There are four sliding-scale offences relating to unlicensed work, defined as:

  • carrying out work without an appropriate licence (section 56(1), PDA)
  • supervising or directing work without an appropriate licence (sections 57(1), 57(2) and 57(3) PDA).

People who continue to perform work without a licence face increased (sliding scale) penalties for second and third convictions.

The four offences are:

  • performing, directing or supervising unlicensed work — maximum penalties are 250 MPU for the first offence and 300 MPU for the second offence
  • repeated offences (a third or later offence), or where the plumbing or drainage work is grossly defective and likely to endanger public health and safety — the maximum penalty is 350 MPU or one year’s imprisonment
  • offences that deal with safety issues (e.g. unauthorised removal of a temperature control device) — the maximum penalty is 250 MPU
  • disciplinary breaches — the maximum penalty is 100 MPU. This aligns with the penalty for non-compliant plumbing work.

So, if you have ever asked yourself, “can a handyman replace a toilet?” you now know. Call a licensed plumber instead!