Installing a rainwater tank on your property to store rainwater collected from your roof is a great way to supply your own water for a range of purposes including washing clothes, toilet flushing and garden use.
National Rainwater Tank Requirements
The Victorian Building Authority states the 6 Star Standard in the National Construction Code must be complied with when building new homes, performing home renovations or making alterations and additions. When it comes to rainwater tanks the 6 Star Standard says your tank must:
- be able to receive rainfall from a minimum catchment area of 50m2,
- have a minimum capacity of 2000 litres, and
- be connected to all toilets in the building for sanitary flushing.
Minor building works not requiring a building permit are not affected by the regulations. All new homes and building projects involving home extensions and major renovations however do need to comply with the 6 Standard.
State of Victoria Rainwater Tank Requirements
The Victorian State Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning say that when installing a rainwater tank,
- your tank should have every access point, except the inlet and overflow, sealed to prevent the risk of children, adults and animals drowning or contaminating the water.
- tank inlets and overflows should have screens to keep out foreign matter and to stop mosquitoes and other insects getting into the tank.
Local Councils in Victoria
Before buying your rainwater tank you should check out health, building and council regulations in your local area. In addition to appropriately screening your tank, many Victorian councils require:
- Plumbing in rainwater tanks to be conducted by a licensed plumber – check whether your plumber in licensed in Victoria (plumbers should be licensed and not simply registered)
- A plumbing compliance certificate to be issued by the licensed plumber who performs the work.
- Overflow pipe to storm water drain so rainwater that overflows is appropriate run off your property.
- Placement of tanks to:
- be screened from view on the street or surrounding properties, or if such isn’t possible your tank should not be unsightly
- be located more than 500mm within your property’s boundary
- avoid loss of trees and significant vegetation (removal of trees and earthworks may also require a planning permit).
Victorian Plumbing Compliance
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) states that any plumbing work with a total value greater than $750, including labour, materials, appliances, and/or fixtures, regardless of who they were purchased by, requires a compliance certificate issued upon completion.
Your plumber must provide you with a signed compliance certificate within five days of them installing your rainwater tanks. They must also lodge details of the compliance certificate to the VBA within the same timeframe.
You should keep a copy of the compliance certificate as it provides a record which can protect you against faulty workmanship. Only a licensed plumber can legitimately issue a compliance certificate.
You can check online whether your compliance certificate has been formally lodged with the VBA. If your compliance certificate has not been lodged, or that the lodged details differ from the compliance certificate that was issued to you, then you should contact the VBA or fill out their plumbing complaints form.