Plumbing

The 2019 Plumbing Code of Australia - what's changed?

29/05/2019
Construction worker with mobile device

The PCA contains the technical requirements for plumbing in Australia.

It’s the link between the State and Territory Plumbing Acts and Regulations and the installation standards such as the AS/NZS 3500 suite of standards.

NCC 2019 Volume Three, also known as the Plumbing Code of Australia 2019 (PCA) was adopted by all States and the Northern Territory on 1 May 2019, with the Australian Capital Territory delaying adoption to 1 June 2019 (with exclusions).

So, if you’re working in the plumbing or building industries, you'll need the PCA, available online through the NCC Suite. The Resource library also provides the tools and resources you need to apply the new or updated provisions in the PCA.

So what's changed in the PCA?

The following Sections have been amended or added to the PCA. You can also find out about the changes by watching the ABCB’s PCA information webcast.

Section A Governing Requirements

This section provides the rules and instructions for using and complying with the PCA. It now aligns with other volumes of the NCC, ensuring they all have the same structure. These changes are significant across all volumes aiming to make the provisions easy to understand.

Section B Water Services

B2 Heated hot water

This part sets out the requirements of a heated water service of a property connected to the drinking water supply from the point of connection to the points of discharge. It's been expanded to include Verification Methods for heated water storage temperature and Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Provisions for the maximum delivery temperatures and temperature control devices. It also includes a new informative note for warm water systems.

B4 Fire-fighting water services

This part sets out the requirements for any part of a fire-fighting water service, from the point of connection or other acceptable sources of supply, to fire-fighting equipment, including hydrant, hose reel, sprinkler services and wall drencher systems.

The main amendment is including two new Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) technical specifications for fire sprinkler systems which can be used instead of a system that complies with AS 2118. The new technical specifications are:

  • FPAA101D Automatic Fire Sprinkler System Design and Installation - Drinking Water Supply; and
  • FPAA101H Automatic Fire Sprinkler System Design and Installation - Hydrant Water Supply
B5 Cross-connection control

One of the major amendments to the water services section is the new inclusion, Part B5 Cross-connection control. This new part sets out the Performance Requirements for cross-connection control applying to cold water, heated water, non-drinking water and fire-fighting water services. It also sets out cross-connection hazards and corresponding hazard ratings. The ABCB has released a Cross-connection control Handbook providing further guidance on these requirements in the PCA.

B6 Rainwater harvesting and use

This new part sets out the requirements for all parts of a rainwater harvesting system. A rainwater harvesting system is a plumbing installation comprising of plumbing that connects a rainwater tank to any drinking water or non-drinking water outlets. Top-up lines that convey drinking water from a Network Utility Operator’s water supply to a rainwater tank are also included.

It contains Performance Requirements covering: stored rainwater; rainwater harvesting system installation; rainwater service and identification.

Section C Sanitary Drainage Systems

This Part sets out the requirements for a sanitary drainage systems of a property from sanitary fixtures and appliances to an approved disposal system. The new parts include Undue Noise caused by sanitary drainage services, Swimming Pool Drainage, Invert Levels, and Sound Insulation. There is also a new Explanatory Information box.

Section D Excessive Noise

Section D sets out the requirements to prevent excessive noise being generated from a plumbing and drainage system that could cause illness or loss of amenity to occupants in a building.

Whilst it's a new section in the PCA; a number of the provisions may look familiar to users across all volumes of the NCC. The new section harmonises excessive noise provisions between the BCA and the PCA, as well as consolidating requirements previously repeated throughout different parts of the PCA.

Section E Facilities

This new Section of the PCA sets out the requirements to allow people with disability to use facilities provided by a plumbing and drainage system. All plumbing and drainage fixtures with operational controls must be accessible and suitable for use. These Performance Requirements have been relocated to a stand-alone section of the PCA, reducing the previous duplication of this requirement throughout other sections seen in earlier versions of the PCA.

It's also important to note that NCC Volume One sets out the requirements for the design and construction of sanitary facilities in Class 1b, 10a and 2 to 9 buildings.

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