Industry News

Out of Scope Building Plan Approval Update 2020

  • Out of Scope Building Plan Approval submissions are currently taking between 8-10 weeks for Sydney Water to review. Subsequent submissions on a project are taking up to 3 weeks for each re-review. Make sure you factor this into your planning schedule when dealing with critical Sydney Water assets.
  • When Sydney Water maintenance structures are on the site, Sydney Water will require a plan showing 24/7 access to these structures.
  • If there is excavation more than 3 metres (1 basement level), any assets in the footpath will be in the dig zone and the Specialist Engineering Assessment should include reference to the deflection and the impact on Sydney Water’s assets. The engineers role is to determine the load and impact on our assets and how that will be mitigated. They also need to support the assessment report with the relevant calculations (modelling, WALLAP calculations or FEM showing deflections), structural plans and Geotechnical report.


Sydney Water - Tap in

Sydney Water offers an online service called Tap in for its trade, domestic and professional customers.

Sydney Water Tap in enables you to request Sydney Water services (for example connections, building plan approval, diagrams etc) via the internet, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

This service used to be called Quickcheck. Quickcheck is no longer available at Reece Plumbing and all services are now online at Sydney Water Tap in. If you need help with these online services a WSC (Sydney Water Water Servicing Coordinator, like MGP) can help you.

If you're proposing to undertake new building work on your property Sydney Water Building Plan Approval will be a requirement before you can proceed with any work on the site. This requirement will be outlined in your DA, or you can check with your Certifier. The proposed work needs to be reviewed to ensure that you won't impact a Sydney Water asset like a sewer, maintenance shaft, vent shaft etc.

What is the process for Building Plan Approval?

  • To complete the application you will be required to draw your proposed plans into the Sydney Water Tap in system.
  • You will need to include all the components of the new build, the project will have one application but for each component (retaining wall, driveway, extension, deck, swimming pool, cabana, water tank, granny flat, pergola, vergola, garden shed, second level etc) you will be required to do a seperate entry.
  • Sydney Water Tap in will either confirm your new build is approved and has no affect on a Sydney Water asset, or you will be referred to a WSC Sydney Water Water Servicing Coordinator (like MGP).


Sydney Water - Stormwater Assets

If a stormwater asset is located within 10 metres of your property/site you will need approval via a Sydney Water Water Servicing Coordinator (like MGP) before you can start earthworks, excavation or construction.

Sydney Water will only consider building over a stormwater asset if;

  • Proposed structure will be outside any easement or land owned by Sydney Water
  • An existing building is located over the asset
  • Building over the asset is the only feasible solution for reasonable development of the property

If these conditions are met, Sydney Water will assess whether deviation or reconstruction of the asset is required. To enable Sydney Water to assess you will need to complete a number of requirements before submitting to Sydney Water for Out of Scope approval. 

Stage 1 - assessment / pre-construction:

  1. Pre construction CCTV or Dilapidation Survey Report by an accredited provider 
  2. Floor Impact Assessment Report by your Civil Engineer
  3. Site plan to identify location of the proposed building work
  4. Service protection report completed by the Water Service Coordinator (this report may require potholing, surveyor and Water Service Coordinator onsite to identify, locate and find depth of the asset and the culvert)
  5. Architectural - Floor plans and section to show affect of proposed building work on the asset
  6. Structural - floor plan and sections to show protection measures

Once approved by Sydney Water and assuming that deviation nor reconstruction is required the project will require a final stage;

Stage 2 - construction

  1. Water Service Coordinator to supervise construction at agreed hold points
  2. Water Service Coordinator to submit completion package including Work As Constructed Drawings, post CCTV or Dilapidation Report

If you're proposing to build adjacent to a stormwater asset Sydney Water will only consider the proposal if the structure is outside any easement or land owned by Sydney Water.

To enable Sydney Water to assess you will need to complete a number of requirements (as listed above in Stage 1) which is then submitted to Sydney Water for Out of Scope approval. Once approval has been provided at the construction additional requirements will be mandatory (as outlined above in Stage 2).


Sydney Water Stormwater Clearances

Stormwater clearances.jpg

Sydney Water Out of Scope Building Plan Approval

Building Plan Approval is necessary on all building projects in Sydney. 

As part of Building Plan Approval is an additional process called Out of Scope applications.

Out of Scope is required when the proposed build is near or over;

  • Non-pipe sewer infrastructure (eg tunnel, oviform) over 300mm
  • Any water or recycled water pipe
  • Any ventshaft
  • Proposed works on land with a Sydney Water easement
  • Proposed works on land with Sydney Water owned storm water infrastructure within 10m of the property boundary
  • Construction of a retaining wall over 1 metre
  • Any basement excavation deeper than 3m (and construction works) over or adjacent to a Sydney Water asset including any works resulting in anchors within or through the zone of influence of the Sydney Water asset
  • Any dewatering

A Water Service Coordinator (like MGP) will need to submit the Out of Scope applications on your behalf, and will require the following to complete the application;

  1. Service protection report
  2. Sydney Water Tap In reference number
  3. Architectural plan will need to indicate location of sewer and associated easement (if there is an easement on the property)
  4. Structural / engineering drawings;
  • Any reference to max / min / draft will need to be removed from all documentation
  • Piers / concrete encasement are to be indicated on structural plans or a written engineering assessment or design brief
  • Location of potentially impacted assets must be shown in relation to foundations
  • Zone of Influence of potentially impacted assets must be shown
  • Plot Sydney Water easement locations relative to proposed works on site and cross section plans (if there is an easement on the property)
    • Method of construction must be provided
    • Cross sections showing assets, their zone of influence and foundations/structures must be provided
    • Specific depth and clearances from pipe assets to nearest face of proposed structures/foundations must be provided. Clearances must be shown from outside edge of the asset 

As part of your or your clients’ timeline it is of importance to factor in that Out of Scope processing can take up to 6 weeks. 


Sydney Water Second Storey Additions

If you, or your client, are planning to build a second storey extension/addition on an existing residence or commercial property you will require Building Plan Approval.

First step is to complete the Tap In assessment online with Sydney Water (or engage MGP to undertake the assessment for you).

You will either be given approval or if Sydney Water believes the proposed work may impact a Sydney Water asset you will be referred to see a Sydney Water Coordinator (like MGP).

To approve the plans you will need to;

1. Customer/client to provide a BOA/BAA letter to establish if the existing property has been constructed in compliance with Sydney Water’s approval. To obtain a BOA/BAA you will need to submit an application through a property link agent, copy and paste the below and you’ll find the relevant page and providers on the Sydney Water website;

This process can be done online and the response time is approximately 4 working days.

2. Once we have this letter and if the existing property is compliant then MGP can approve and stamp your plans immediately.

If the existing residence has not been approved by Sydney Water or requirements have not been satisfactory, the second storey can be approved if an indemnity letter is provided (by MGP) and signed by the owners. We can release this indemnity letter for signing within 24 hours of notification. Once we have the signed indemnity we can approve and stamp your plans.

Updated multi-level individual metering guide

Association of Hydraulic Services Consultants Australia (NSW) Inc

Updated multi-level individual metering guide - version 6

Sydney Water has recently updated the Multi-level individual metering guide. Visit the Meters in multi-level buildings page of their website for the latest version. 

It is compulsory for most new multi-level buildings to be designed for individual metering of units.

What's changed in this version?

Sydney Water have updated this guide in response to feedback. The major changes are:

The rules for commercial buildings have changed  
You still need one master meter. You no longer need a minimum of one meter per floor. 
See Building design requirements and Layout diagrams. 
Individual unit metering of commercial buildings may change the way your charges are calculated. Contact them first for advice. 
The rules for stratum buildings have changed  
You need one master meter per stratum lot. You no longer need a minimum of one meter per floor.
See Building design requirements and Layout diagrams. Contact them first for advice. 
Meter size 
Only 20mm meter size can be used for residential units. Contact them before sizing a 25mm water service for commercial premises. 
What if I’ve already designed my building or signed an Undertaking? 
If these changes impact your development, email to discuss. 
Need more information or advice? 
Email or call Robert Crissani on (02) 8849 4780 or 

Anthony McMillan on (02) 8849 6385

Gasfitting Industry Advisory Note

From: Energy Utilities Unit, Home Building Service, Parramatta

The location and installation of gas continuous flow hot water systems in NSW.

Strict compliance within NSW to Australian Standard AS5601:2004 for installation of gas continuous flow hot water systems on balconies and related areas.

The Australian Standard AS 5601-2004, does not allow for the installation of these types of heaters to be installed near building openings and also on building balconies that have less than 2 open sides.

All gas installations in NSW must comply with the Gas Supply (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2012 which currently calls up Australian Standard AS5601:2004. Any installation not conforming to AS5601:2004 is considered non-compliant.

Gas Supply [Consumer Safety] Regulation 2012

AS 5601-2004 Gas Installations Balanced flue terminal, room-sealed appliance terminal or terminal of an outdoor appliance under a covered area, where the flue terminal of a balanced flue appliance, a room-sealed appliance or the flue terminal of an appliance designed for outdoor installation is to be installed under a covered area -

(a) the covered area is to be open on at least two sides; and
(b) the terminal is to be located to ensure a free flow of air across it is achieved.


When installing gas continuous flow hot water systems, strict compliance to AS5061:2004 is required for all installations, and care should be taken to ensure that the heater is located correctly to comply with the above clause. The heater shall not be installed on a balcony that has a covered roof and is enclosed on more than 2 sides. It is important that there is sufficient ventilation for the heater to operate and for gasses to escape.

It is recommended that gasfitting licensees discuss with building designers and builders to plan for the correct location of the heaters. The gasfitting licensee is the responsible person for the installation of any gas installation including appliance locations.

All gasfitting licensees are reminded that at the completion of all gas installations, a signed Certificate of Compliance is to be completed and submitted to NSW Fair Trading. Certificates of Compliance in the approved format can be downloaded from the NSW Fair Trading website

NOTE: When signing the Certificate of Compliance, the gasfitter licensee is certifying that the gas installation complies strictly with AS5601:2004, and any non-compliance is the responsibility of the gasfitter licensee.

© State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading, 15/05/2015 P

New metering requirements

What is a low rise development? 

A low rise development has: 

  • four or more residential homes, townhouses or villas on one lot or within a strata lot 
  • more than one commercial building or industrial unit on one lot or within a strata lot, and do not have multiple levels. 

Multiple level developments are known as MLIM and they have very different metering requirements. For information on MLIM requirements visit the Sydney Water website.  

What are the new meter requirements? 

  • mandatory to fit a master meter on every low rise development 
  • mandatory to fit individual meters (check/sub meters) on all residential low rise development 
  • mandatory to fit individual meters (check/sub meters) on Strata (or proposed strata) non-residential low rise development 
  • It is optional to fit individual meters (check/sub meters) to non-residential non-strata low rise developments. It is mandatory to provide plumbing (spaces) for individual meters (check/submeters). 

When will this take affect? 

Monday 23 March 2015.   

Mixed development  

These types of developments are rare. Meter requirements will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Where do the meters go on these types of development? 

For a guide on where the meter should be fitted refer to the meter installation guide on the Sydney Water website.  

Who provides the meters? 

Sydney Water will provide both master/main and individual check/sub meters for these types of developments. Once approval is granted the plumber can pick theses meters up from our meters contractor SkillTech or call 132092. 

Can the development have common meters? 

No, there is no need to fit common meters on a property that has a master meter or main meter.  

If you have any questions about these requirements, please email Sydney Water and

NSW Fair Trading - new home building laws

There have been important changes to contracts, licensing, insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund, disputes, defects, statutory warranties and owner-builders. Most changes started on 15 January 2015, although important changes to contracts only just kicked off on 1 March 2015.

Contracts – changes started 1 March 2015 

As of 1 March 2015:

  • The more detailed contract is now only needed for work over $20,000. Contracts between $5,000 and $20,000 still require a ‘small jobs’ contract.

  • Progress payment schedules must be included in all contracts over $20,000. This will help builders to ensure the contract makes clear when they are due to be paid as the job progresses. It will also ensure that home owners only pay for work as it is completed throughout the project. This will help builders and home owners manage their finances throughout the project. There are restrictions on the kinds of progress payments that may be included. Visit for further details.

  • The maximum deposit for work over $20,000 will increase to 10%. This means the maximum deposit for all contracts, irrespective of value, is capped at a flat rate of 10%.

  • A termination clause must be included in contracts for work over $20,000.

NSW Fair Trading has updated the Consumer building guide, as well as their home building contracts, in line with the new laws.

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