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What Are The Different Types Of Plumbers?

You probably read the title and wondered what we were talking about… and rightly so. Yes, there are different types of plumbers who can complete different works relating to varying parts of your home. Whether it be the maintenance of your gutters, working on your gas installation or fixing a blocked drain, there will be a properly qualified professional to be able to complete the job. But, what are the differences between them all? We fill you in on the different types of plumbers, their licences and the works they complete below. If you are still unsure, give you local plumber a call and they will be able to answer any more questions you may have.

Plumbing Works

Types of work plumbers do

There are a few different types of work that a plumber can complete, including:

  • Plumbing
  • Roof Plumbing
  • Drainage
  • Gasfitting

Each has their own distinct definition, allowing for specific areas of focus for various professionals.

What is plumbing?

Plumbing is water plumbing, sanitary plumbing and sewerage, but does not include drainage or roof plumbing.

  • Water plumbing is any work carried out in connection with the supply or conveyance of water
  • Sanitary plumbing is any works carried out in connection with the collection, conveyance or disposal of sewage, liquid trade wastes and other permitted discharges
  • Sewerage is any works completed on sewerage service fittings, pipes and fixtures

What is drainage?

Drainage work, or otherwise known as draining, is the work on sanitary drainage connecting to, or intending to connect, directly or indirectly, with a sewer.

What is gasfitting?

Gasfitting work is any work carried out on a gas installation, other than an autogas installation, which is connected (or intended to be connected) to a compressed natural gas container. This can include the installation, repair and disconnection of services.

What is roof plumbing?

Roof plumbing work means any work completed on the downpipes, guttering, roof flashing and roof coverings of a building or structure. There are some limitations to this however, especially in relation to the construction of the roof coverings such as thatching, concrete and timber products, which don't constitute roof plumbing.

Types of plumbing licences

Before you can complete any of the above types of works, you must obtain a plumbing licence to work in NSW. This is irrelevant as to whether the work is commercial, residential or industrial in nature, and whether it is plumbing, drainage of gasfitting (including LP gasfitting). There are four different types of licences, all which offer the recipient different allowances to complete work.

Plumbing Licence

Contractor licence

If you hold a contractor licence, you can both advertise as well as contract to do work. In saying this, you are not automatically entitled to complete any works you wish, and are only permitted to complete the type(s) of work that are listed on your licence card. Contractor licences can be issued to companies, partnerships or individuals for a period of 1 or 3 years.


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Qualified supervisor certificate

A qualified supervisor certificate can only be issued to individuals for a period of 3 years, and allows you to complete and supervise the work types listed on your certificate but not contract for work.

Endorsed contractor licence

If someone applies for a contractor licence and also has the qualifications to be a qualified supervisor, they will receive an endorsed contractor licence. An endorsed contractor licence has ‘contractor licence (Q)’ listed on it to show they have qualified supervisor qualifications as well as being a contractor.

Tradesperson certificate

A tradesperson certificate means you can complete drainage, plumbing and gasfitting works but they must be done under (minimum) supervision and signed off on by a contractor or qualified supervisor. They are only issued to individuals, not companies or partnerships, and are for a period of 3 years. Tradesperson certificates can only be issued in specific areas of plumbing, drainage and gasfitting, namely :

  • Plumbing
  • Drainage
  • Gasfitting
  • Water plumbing (fire protection systems)
  • Water plumbing (urban irrigation)

For a little bit of extra information… tradesperson certificates used to be known as a ‘journeyman’!

What is the difference between a tradesperson and a contractor?

There are a few points of difference between a tradesperson and a contractor, including :

  • A contractor can complete work without supervision, whereas a tradesperson requires supervision (usually minimal though)
  • A contractor can sign off once works are complete, however a tradesperson can not sign off on work
  • A tradesperson certificate can only be issued to an individual and are valid for 3 years, whereas contractor licences can be issued to individuals, companies and partnerships for either 1 or 3 years
  • Tradesperson certificates can only be issued in some categories of plumbing, draining and gasfitting work, namely plumbing, water plumber (fire protection systems), water plumbing (urban irrigation), draining and gasfitting, whereas contractor licences can be in any area

Plumbing Services

Always complete a check on any tradesperson or contractor that you are going to complete works for you, to ensure they are appropriately licenced to complete the works they have been hired to do.

Should I contact a tradesperson and a contractor?

A contractor is required to sign off on a tradespersons work, therefore it is best to contact a contractor first to complete any works.

How do I know if my plumber is licenced?

If you are needing some plumbing works to be completed, it is vital to ensure the professional carrying out the services is appropriately licenced and qualified. A licenced plumber will have a licence number, and a lot of plumbers will actively show their licence number on their website or other marketing materials. For example, the Licence Number for Everyday Plumbing is 266224C and this is located in the footer of their website.

If you need to search for a tradesperson or contractor, head to the Service NSW website : https://www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/publicregister/#/publicregister/search/Trades

Telephone a Plumber

Still not sure who you need to complete the works in your home, or have some questions about the different types of plumbers? Give the team at Everyday Plumbing a call on 0488 801 008 or complete an online job booking today and they can answer all your enquiries!


  • NSW Fair Trading - https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/trades-and-businesses/licensing-and-qualifications/plumbing,-draining-and-gasfitting
  • NSW Fair Trading - https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/help-centre/online-tools/home-building-licence-check
  • Licensed Trades - https://www.licensedtrades.com.au/licensed/plumbers
  • Home Building Regulation 2014 - https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/regulation/2014/811/full
  • Gas Supply Act 1996 - https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1996/38/dict1

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