Types of Plumbers in Australia

We’ve all had to call a plumber out to our homes at least once for a clogged drain or burst pipe. But, did you know there are different types of plumber you can call depending on your issue? In Australia we have three main types of plumbers-residential, commercial and service plumbers.

Types of plumbers; so many kinds, where can we start? Depending on your plumbing needs, you’ll require a certain kind of plumber as not all are created equal. Some specialise in water supply, while others specialise in emergency plumbing — ensure you call the one which responds directly to your needs. 

As always, before getting any work completed in your home, ensure the contractor you choose is licensed in your area. If you have any doubt about your plumber, take a look at their reviews on Localsearch.com.au and Google. 

Not sure who to call? In this blog, we’ve outlined the different types of plumbers so you know who to call when you’re in a pickle. For those who are looking at the different types for a career, we’ve also helped you here with how to get started.

Photo by Dan Smedley on Unsplash

3 Types of Plumbers Every Homeowner Should Know

1. Residential plumbers.

Residential plumbers are the type of plumbers you’ve likely had in your home. These plumbers are the ones you call when you have a leaky tap, burst water pipe or blocked drain. They are trained through apprenticeship programs on the job experience from fully licensed plumbers. 

A residential or domestic plumber is used in new builds, installing everything from pipes to hot water systems — even the occasional gas fitting (if they are licensed). They troubleshoot draining issues and ensure the water and toilets work correctly in your home. It’s also recommended to have a licensed plumber attend your home annually to maintain your plumbing systems. 

Can you use a residential plumber for commercial issues? No, residential plumbing systems are vastly smaller than their commercial counterparts. Residential plumbers are not experienced or equipped for plumbing systems in commercial buildings, unless they are licensed and experienced in both.

2. Service and repair plumbers.

Service and repair plumbers are trained to troubleshoot the tougher plumbing issues, in either residential and commercial systems. They receive specialised training equipping them with the skills to find and fix even the tricky problems. These types of plumbers are often called to fix leaks, pressure issues, blockages and for general maintenance. 

3. Commercial plumbers.

Commercial plumbers work predominantly on large public plumbing systems such as universities, shopping centres and hospitals. The difference between these plumbing systems and residential ones is they are often connected to extremely large industrial equipment, rather than your everyday water heater. 

These types of plumbers are responsible for much more than a leaky kitchen sink. They are often working across multiple floors with hundreds of pipes, looking after the installation, repair and maintenance of plumbing systems in large public facilities. 

So, can you call a commercial plumber to fix a residential plumbing issue? In short, no, commercial plumbing requires a very specific set of skills, which don’t often include basic household plumbing. For residential plumbing issues you’re best to call a residential plumber.

4 Types of Plumbing Specialities 

Plumbers in Australia can often be broken down into four specific categories, or classifications, on the basis of the plumbing services they commonly perform. The four types and more information about them are as follows. 

1. Water supply plumbers.

Water supply plumbers are aptly named, working predominantly on water supply systems. They spend the majority of their days installing or repairing water takes, kitchen sinks, overhead storage tanks, bathrooms, laundries and pipes. A water supply plumber is highly skilled and is especially useful when connecting rain water supplies to the home.

2. Sanitary and drainage plumbers. 

Sanitary and drainage system plumbers often deal with the not so nice parts of the plumbing industry. These types of plumbers are often called for internal flooding, slow-moving drains and odours. Whilst these jobs don’t sound too appealing, sanitary and drainage plumbers are professionally trained to clear drains without causing any hazards.  

Drainage plumbers are also called in to deal with general drainage and sewer issues including:

  • Drain cleaning and maintenance.
  • Sewer cleaning and maintenance.
  • Underground drain repairs and maintenance.
  • Installation, maintenance and removal of sewer treatment systems.
  • Kitchen and bathroom utilities plumbing.

3. Hot water system plumbers.

Hot water system plumbers are responsible for looking after all aspects (unless it’s the electrical or gas component) of your hot water system. From leaks to replacement units your hot water system plumbers take care of everything – including removing your old unit. Depending on your hot water system of preference, some brands may come with recommended or preferred system installers. 

We all know water and electricity don’t mix, so installing hot water systems can be a dangerous task. So, when selecting your hot water system plumber, ensure they’re appropriately licensed — you’ll likely void your warranty if they aren’t. 

4. Emergency plumbers.

Emergency plumbers deal with just that; plumbing emergencies in your home. When you contact your local emergency plumber, it’s for issues that require help ASAP. This can often include a burst water main, blocked sewer, no water, no hot water and hearing running water. 

Emergency plumbers are often the most expensive type of plumbers, especially when you need them in the middle of the night. On average, for an emergency plumber you’ll be charged an initial call-out fee of $100 to $150. The labour and materials costs will be added on once the job is completed.

How to Become a Plumber in Australia

Becoming a licensed plumber in Australia isn’t as simple as tagging along with your local plumber and learning the tricks of the trade. The plumbing trade requires years of study and experience. There’s more to being a plumber than the average Australian thinks.  

In Australia, there are two qualifications aspiring plumbers can work toward — registered and licensed.

How to become a registered plumber in Australia.

To become a registered plumber in Australia, you’ll be required to complete an apprenticeship, as well as coursework. The coursework is usually completed in a classroom through an institution such as TAFE or a trade academy whereas the practical component is complete as paid ‘on-the-job training.’ Apprenticeships must be completed through a licensed business to ensure the quality of education meets the Australian standard. The entire course generally takes 4 years to complete.

Once the required practical hours and coursework is completed, the student will gain a Certificate III in Plumbing or similar. With this qualification, the student will be able to work as a plumber, however, they must work under a licensed plumber and aren’t able to issue compliance certificates.

How to become a licensed plumber in Australia.

The steps to becoming a licensed plumber changes depending on the state you work in. Generally, further study will be required, as well as submission to a government body. Some states will require applicants to sit an exam to test their industry knowledge. To check the processes for your state head to your local government website.

How much do plumbers in Australia get paid?

In Australia, the average wage for a plumber is between $65k and $75k, according to Seek.com.au.

Of course, if you need any type of plumber near you, you can find them on localsearch.com.au.

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      Katrina Stapleton

      Senior Digital Content Specialist

      Katrina Stapleton is a Senior Digital Content Specialist at Localsearch with a background in social media and marketing. Although most of her experience lies in the entertainment sector, Katrina has written content for a vast array of industries including tourism, hospitality, retail and property development. Katrina is an avid dog lover, who finds a way to weave her fur-baby, Mylo, into most conversations. Aside from being a self-confessed bookworm, Katrina can often be found checking out the Gold Coast's latest coffee nook, paddle-boarding or baking up a storm in her free time — all with Mylo by her side, of course! As a Senior Digital Content Specialist, Katrina enjoys sharing her knowledge and passions on the Localsearch Blog.