WA Regulator Updates Plumbers on Burst Pipes in New Homes

Western Australia’s building and plumbing regular has said that it’s investigating polybutylene pipe failures in some new homes. These have mostly occurred in homes built between 2019 and 2020.



Following testing, the regulator finds that the faulty pipes were mostly Pro-fit pipes manufactured by Iplex Australia between mid-2017 and mid-2022. Iplex Australia reported that, as of April 2023, about 1,200 of the 15,000 houses constructed in Western Australia were affected.

Building and Energy engaged with Fletcher Building, the parent company of Iplex Australia, to discuss the matter. Fletcher Building has since announced that Iplex Australia has proposed interim arrangements with two large WA group home builders to help them respond to the pipe failures and assist homeowners. The two building groups involved are understood to have constructed about 90% of the homes currently affected by the pipe leakages.

Under the proposed interim arrangements, in the event of a burst, the builders will replace the pipes in the ceiling and repair related damage. The builder is responsible for addressing building defects within six years of a home’s practical completion.

“These incidents have caused stress and inconvenience for many home owners,” WA Building and Energy executive director Saj Abdoolakhan says.

“We are working hard to complete a thorough investigation into whether this is a product manufacturing issue, substandard workmanship during installation or a combination of both.”

Following the incident, Fletcher Homes said in a statement: “In the 2023 Interim Financial Results, Fletcher Building noted that Iplex Australia had made a provision for [emergencies like this pipe defect] but that there was a risk that the provision was inadequate.

“As a result of the proposal made to the two group home builders and establishing the fund to support other affected builders, Iplex Australia will increase that provision from AU$2 million to AU$15 million. That amount will be revisited if facts emerge to warrant it and as part of the full-year financial reporting process.”

WA Building and Energy has set up an online register for consumers to lodge their details if they are affected by burst pipes.

Image courtesy of Michael Coghlan, Flickr. This image has been used with the Creative Commons license.

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