Leaks - Waterproofing Or Plumbing?

Very often we find confusion over the cause of leaks. Is it a plumbing leak or is it waterproofing or damp problems. It is most important to establish why a leak or damp problems exists. One of the causes is plumbing failures. Either from the source (supply of water – pipes) or from waste pipes. Detecting or sourcing a plumbing leak may not be that easy and can be very frustrating. It often evolves chopping into plaster or destroying those once in a lifetime tile purchase, that cannot be replaced.

Our advice is: Get to the bottom of the problem. If it turns out to be plumbing we’ve sourced the guys to answer all your questions. IOPSA – Institute Of Plumbing South Africa    

Plumbing Solutions For Bodies Corporate And Private Estates

By way of introduction to the plumbing industry let us first of all explain to everyone who either resides in a residential or commercial complex what the plumbing industry is all about, because we are sure that there are many BODIES CORPORATE out there who are totally unaware of what makes this industry tick, let us therefore take this opportunity to give you some facts …

It is a fact that in many cases IOP(SA) has found that BODIES CORPORATE are either not properly set up to deal with plumbing problems, or they appoint plumbing contractors who are not qualified to do the plumbing installation work … how can a body corporate make sure that the plumbing work is always compliant in terms of the latest plumbing regulations ? … just read on !

1. The Plumber

  • For formal qualification plumbers are required to undergo theoretical and practical training at an accredited training facility. Ask your plumber for Trade Test Certificate or a National Certificate in Construction Plumbing before he starts any plumbing installation work.
  • SABS 0400/1990/Part A18 states quite clearly that “No person shall perform the trade of plumbing unless he is an industry trained plumber.
  • BODIES CORPORATE should make sure only plumbing contractors registered with IOP(SA) be permitted to perform plumbing installation work within the complex.

2. Compulsory Plumbing Regulations

All BODIES CORPORATE and consumers should be aware of the fact that compulsory plumbing regulations were published in amendments to the Water Services Act on the 8th June 2001, in which it is stated that the following SABS Codes of Practice have now become law.

  • SANS 10254/2004    (Geyser Installations)
  • SANS 10252/Part 1    (Water pipes and fittings)
  • SANS 10252/Part 2    (Above/below ground drainage)    

        (Detailed information available on request)
Which means of course that if any plumbing contractor installs plumbing work that is not compliant in terms of this Act he will be guilty of a civil offence. In other words -You have recourse. You are quite entitled by law to enter into a litigation process against the plumbing contractor for non compliant plumbing work, or alternatively you can most certainly insist that the plumbing contractor completes the work in terms of the Water Services Act.

It is noteworthy to add that technology has positively impact on our plumbing industry aswell.  Various Leak Detection equipment is available to assist in tracking and solving the cause of the leaks: Special drain cameras, root cutting equip and detection instrumentation.    

3. Bodies Corporate / And The Plumbing Contractor

A.    BODIES CORPORATE are advised to appoint at least three plumbing contractors annually at fixed market rates to protect the members of your complex from being overcharged or compromised by non-compliant plumbing installation work … these appointments should be made and reviewed on an annual basis.

    BODIES CORPORATE are advised to insist that all your service panel plumbers are registered with IOP(SA) which will be a compulsory requirement of the SAIA Approved insurance contractors from January 2005.

B.    BODIES CORPORATE should make sure that they always ask the plumbing contractor for a written quotation before he starts any plumbing installation work.

C.    BODIES CORPORATE should make sure that their members are aware of what the current market rates are for plumbing installation work in your area.

D.    BODIES CORPORATE should make use of the industry technology, always have on call a plumbing specialist with the necessary equipment.

    With regard to locating water leaks. Firstly establish the cause of the leak. It may be waterproofing related, in which case you local plumber may not be able to assist. If the cause is plumbing, always use a plumbing specialist as he will be equipped with the necessary technology to search, locate and source the cause of the leak, be warned, never appoint a normal plumbing contractor for this type of work if he does not have specialist equipment as he is likely to chop out unnecessary concrete plaster and brickwork … always make sure you use a contractor with approved leak detection equipment.

4. The Institute Of Plumbing SA

How can IOP(SA) be of assistance ? the answer is simple … Just make sure you use one or more IOP(SA) registered plumbing contractors, all of whom are qualified and answerable to the IOP(SA) technical committee should they contravene the IOP(SA) Code of Conduct, or be found guilty of installing non compliant plumbing installation work.

IOPSA is recognised and contributes to the following bodies:

SABS, SABS Technical Committee, Dept of Labour, Dept of Water Affairs, Dept of Forestry, JASWIC - The Municipal Engineers Council, Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA), (SAIA) the South African Insurance Association.

For details of standard management procedures for the control of plumbers and plumbing work for BODIES CORPORATE and private estates, management would need to apply to the head office of the Institute as listed below :

Acknowledgements: The Institute of Plumbing SA

Frederik Nel