Coronavirus: Plumbers and glaziers available for emergencies during lockdown

Leaking coming from ceiling
What to do if you have a leak or broken window during lockdown. Photo credit: Getty.

Plumbers, glaziers and other tradespeople will still be available for urgent work during the level 4 lockdown, where there's an immediate threat to health and safety.

As Kiwis make final preparations to stay at home, short trips to the supermarket or pharmacy at a two-metre distance from others is about to become the norm as only essential services are allowed to remain open.

Spending more time at home could put increased pressure on the things people take for granted, as hot water cylinders, broken windows and leaking pipes still need to be repaired or replaced.

Under the COVID-19 level 4 alert guidelines, if there's an immediate need to maintain health and safety, building and construction services will still be available. 

Martin Sawyers, chief executive for the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB), said that throughout the lockdown period tradespeople will be available on an essential services basis.

"Throughout the lockdown period, all of the PGDB staff will be available and operating remotely."

Examples of the type of domestic work that can be performed are repair or replacement of a hot water cylinder, water pipes and gas pipes, fittings and appliances.

This also includes blocked wastewater pipes where immediate repair or replacement is necessary for health and safety.

"If people are unsure whether a repair during the lockdown period falls under the wastewater pipe category, they can contact their plumbing provider or the Board's helpdesk on 0800 743 262," a PGDB spokesperson added.

Examples of non-emergency work are repairing minor leaks, replacing tap washers and routine servicing of equipment.

"The emphasis is on essential repairs, not those that can wait for another day and pose no immediate threat to health and safety", Sawyers added.

People using repairers are advised to stay within the 2m physical distance during repairs, use alternative forms of greeting and pay by bank transfer instead of cash or EFTPOS.

"Ensure that you stay safe and don't fall into the trap of using unlicensed people: ask to [see] a NZ practising licence or search the public register of registered and licensed tradespeople," Sawyers said.

Confirming that glass repair maintains health and safety at home or work, Brett Frances, CEO of Window and Glass Association New Zealand, said that *a list of tradespeople who will be available during lockdown is available.

"If someone breaks the glass in a window they should contact a glazier," Frances said.

Kerry, a spokesperson from Smith & Smith Glass said that essential workers could continue to use its services. If someone has a broken window, the company will take their details and someone will be in touch.

"Once we've confirmed who is working, [that person] will contact the customer and make arrangements."

A list of essential services available under COVID-19 level 4 is available here.

*Updated 26/03/20.