DIY Plumbing – What Can I Do Myself?

New Zealand has a strong tradition of DIY, and for good reason. If you can safely do a job yourself, why not give it a go? When it comes to the plumbing however, there are actually legal restrictions on what non-qualified kiwis can do. In the interest of health and safety, New Zealand’s plumbing trade is protected by Ministry of Health guidelines. That means most of the time, DIY plumbing is illegal, and a professional should be called.

Why There Are Restrictions

The main issue with DIY plumbing is a matter of public health. Because your property is connected to the neighbourhood water supply, plumbing work that you carry out can actually affect the wider community. The primary concern here is cross-contamination, which the restrictions are intended to minimise. For example, plumbing that is incorrectly installed could result in waste water running directly into public waterways! The general rule of thumb is that if the work involves waste pipes or water supply pipes, steer clear of it. You can even be fined up to $50,000 for attempting your own sanitary plumbing work because of the community implications.

Closer to home, it is also in your best interest to avoid DIY plumbing because it may cause expensive problems later on. When something goes wrong, the damage to your property probably won’t be cheap to fix! Another issue that can come up is that of insurance, as insurers do not approve of DIY plumbing work. That means if you fail to get an authorised plumber in, it may affect or even void your insurance policy.

So, considering the public safety hazards, insurance implications and fines involved, most DIY plumbing is simply not worth the risk.

DIY Plumbing Jobs That Are Legal In NZ

So, what can you do yourself? There are a few jobs that you are allowed to carry out without a professional. However, there is still a risk of things going wrong, so make sure you know what you’re doing first.

Appliances
The first one may seem relatively obvious. You are able to install household appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines.

Taps
If you are wanting to replace a tap, in some cases you are able to do this yourself. You can also replace the washers if your tap is leaking.

Shower Heads
Just like with the taps, it is not against the law to fix a leaking shower head yourself.

Ball Valves
You can also repair or replace ball valves and float valves.

Need Some Advice?

If you are wanting to carry out a DIY plumbing job, but aren’t sure if it is legal, please contact JT Plumbing. We can advise whether the job is safe and legal to complete yourself, or if you need to hire a professional. Between all of our staff, we have well over 100 years of plumbing experience, and all the industry knowledge that comes with it.