DIY Flushed with Serious Health Risks

Property Management,  Property Managers

The Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC) is currently warning suppliers and the general public about the sale and use of potentially non-conforming building products, namely Do It Yourself (DIY) bidets and similar hygiene devices, collectively known as ‘alternative toileting devices.’

If alternative toileting devices aren’t manufactured to comply with Australian Standards or aren’t properly installed, it can lead to the risk of contaminating the property’s water supply with E.coli bacteria. An E.coli infection can lead to serious health and safety issues.

In Queensland, alternative toileting devices must be installed by a licensed plumber who has the skills and qualifications to ensure that a backflow prevention device is in place. Alternative toileting devices generally require connection to a water supply which, in a residential setting, is usually the potable domestic water supply. The failure to properly install these products (including installation of a suitable backflow prevention device) may lead to water supply contamination, posing serious risks to health and safety.

Alternative toileting devices require WaterMark certification for compliance with relevant Australian Standards. This is either marked on the product or you can check products on the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) website. The QBCC advises that alternative toileting devices offered for sale through online retailers must also be checked to confirm that they have WaterMark certification. Under Queensland’s non-conforming building products law, every member of the construction industry supply chain, including manufacturers, distributors and installers, must ensure the product they manufacture, supply or install is compliant or risk significant penalties.

The QBCC is urging suppliers of alternative toileting devices to ensure the devices have appropriate and genuine Watermark certification and to ensure customers are informed of the need to engage licensed plumbers for installation. Members of the public thinking about installing alternative toileting devices should engage a licensed plumber to install the device. Those that have recently installed an alternative toileting device should also check with a licensed plumber if the device is compliant.

Property managers should advise both tenants and landlords about the risk of non-compliant alternative toileting devices, as well as the risk of these devices not being installed by a licensed plumber. Current Queensland Government health directives advise that the construction industry is an essential service. Where the appropriate social distancing and hygiene requirements are in place, there’s no reason to exclude builders and tradies from attending a property. Property managers can confirm if an installer is properly licensed by conducting a free online licence search on the QBCC website.