Should You Risk Hitting Pipes?

Express Plumbing on 10 September 2016

Did you know that the seemingly innocent task of picking up a spade and starting to dig in your own garden might not only make a lot of mess, it might get you in a lot of trouble as well?

You could be risking your property, your life and breaking the law.

In fact, in many instances of significant DIY work around the home, you are probably required by law to get a licensed tradesperson in. So the first rule is: if in doubt, call a tradie.

They will know whether you need a compliance certificate for the work being carried out, and where to get the information they need for safe and legal digging.

Too many people believe that because it's your land, it's your right to dig. But whether putting up a fence or planting a tree, there are strict laws that relate to digging - and for very good reason.

Even before worrying about whether you are breaking the law, you should be concerned about your safety and that of the people around you - like your family and kids.

But something else you should be worried about is your insurance, and your most valuable of all, your tangible assets - your home. If something goes wrong and you need to make a claim, there is a very strong chance that the sign of illegal DIY work will mean your insurers won't cough up - legitimately.

Right beneath our feet is a complex system of underground lines and pipes that you really don't want to hit. Even if you think you know where they are, or how far underground they should be, you can't be sure until you've checked. So make sure you not only have the information you need, but that it is up to date.

Hitting a mains pipe can cause considerable damage, like uncontrolled flooding, not only to your property but also the neighbours' - and it can happen with any sort of digging at all, big or small. And hitting a sewer line could mean contamination, fines, a huge penalty or repair bill and potentially even legal action.

If you're an experienced DIYer, you may have carefully surveyed your domestic service connections like water and gas, but that may not be enough to be sure. Underground pipes can be inside and outside your property, under the footpath or driveway and adjacent to fences. If you think you're near a pipe, do it by hand - called 'pot-holing' - to be sure.

At Express Plumbing and Gas, we know that accidents can happen, and often they are emergencies.

With cut or burst pipes, you could be dealing with a flood or a waterfall that could be waste water or even raw sewerage. In that instance, you'll need to call someone local who has a commitment to being there fast to prevent further damage to you and your property. We service inner Melbourne, the inner east, north east, south east, eastern suburbs and Bayside, so for general plumbing or that unfortunate emergency, call 1300 968 328 without delay.