The Complexity of Working on Drainage Excavations

The Complexity of Working on Drainage Excavations

When an earthmoving company is contracted to perform drainage excavations in Queensland, state and local government regulations must be first consulted and understood before any work begins. A good place to start is with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) and their definition of notifiable work for plumbing and drainage.

What is Notifiable Work?

Notifiable work is plumbing and drainage work performed by a plumber or drainer without getting local government permits and having mandatory inspections. However, this work must be registered with the QBCC. There are twelve different categories of this type of work, so it is essential to get the right information before starting a drainage excavation.

What is Permit Work, Minor Work and Unregulated Work?

Still with the QBCC, there is another category called permit work, minor work and unregulated work. This must be undertaken by persons with the relevant occupational licences. Permit work is complex, has a higher risk of failure and requires a local government permit before work begins. Some examples include new building construction, drainage work for a structure served by a combined drain, and trade waste involving the possible discharge of prohibited substances into a regulated sewer.

Minor work does not require a permit but must be performed by a QBCC licensee. This includes unblocking sanitary plumbing and sanitary drainage, repairs to broken or damaged piping as well as other work typically performed by a plumber. Unregulated work, as the name implies, can be done by anyone provided the work meets minimum standards. Typical tasks are replacing tap washers or shower heads, and other less skilled jobs.

While this may seem complex, compliance with all standards and regulations is part of a normal day for our skilled operators at Dee Gees Bobcats. We have been operating for over 25 years and have built our reputation on reliability, professionalism and adherence to statutory requirements.

Locating Potential Blockages in Pipe Systems

Blockages can occur at any point along the drainage or sewer pipes and often the challenge is to locate that blockage. Dry weather overflows or blockages can be identified by slow-draining sinks, showers or toilets. Wet weather overflows occur during high rainfall events that overwhelm the stormwater system and spill over into the sewer system.

Who is Responsible?

If the blockage is in any of the infrastructure on private property up to the water meter and sewer connection point, the property owner is responsible for the cost of repairs. The utility that supplies the water and sewer to the water meter and sewer connection point is responsible for the repairs to their infrastructure. The local government authority is responsible for the stormwater network extending beyond the boundary line.

These are all complex issues that should be checked with the relevant authorities before any rectification steps are taken.

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