Buying a House in WA? How to safeguard yourself against dodgy BGC IPLEX polybutylene pipe disasters
russell from wa building inspections perth

1. Plumbing Issue in WA:
– 1200 WA homes affected by plumbing issues due to BGC IPLEX pipes used from 2017-2022.

2. BGC IPLEX Risks:
– Main risk: leaks and flooding, potential liability shift to Iplex.

3. Protecting Your Purchase:
– Check for gray BGC IPLEX pipes.
– Get pro inspections and consider replacements.
– Explore legal advice and insurance coverage.

If you’re considering purchasing a house in Western Australia (WA), there’s an issue that’s causing concern among homeowners – the presence of faulty iplex piping. Recently, around 1200 homes in WA were found to have been installed with problematic iplex polybutylene plumbing, and the building watchdog attributes this to a “manufacturing defect.” I want to now explore the situation, including the identified issue and what steps you can take to protect yourself when buying a house in WA.



Understanding the problem with BGC IPLEX Polybutylene Pipes

The faulty pipes in question are primarily made of polybutylene and were manufactured by Iplex. These pipes were extensively used by builder BGC, along with another company in WA, between mid-2017 and mid-2022. At first glance, they may have seemed like a cost-effective and easy plumbing solution, but within two years of the homes being built, hundreds of homeowners began experiencing flooding issues.



Risks Associated with BGC IPLEX Pipes

The problems reported by homeowners were mainly due to water leaks, with some cases requiring the complete replacement of plumbing systems. A preliminary investigation conducted by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation, and Safety (DMIRS) revealed that these pipe leaks were indeed caused by a manufacturing defect. This finding could potentially absolve the builders from liability, shifting the responsibility to Iplex.



Identifying BGC IPLEX Pipes in a Property

If you’re buying a house in WA, it’s crucial to identify whether it contains BGC IPLEX polybutylene pipes. While these pipes are often concealed behind walls and ceilings, there are ways to spot them. Look for gray plastic pipes running through the property, especially in homes constructed between mid-2017 and mid-2022. Nevertheless, to ensure you’re making an informed decision, consider hiring a professional home inspector who can definitively determine the presence of these problematic pipes.



Common Issues with BGC IPLEX Pipes

Understanding the common problems associated with BGC IPLEX pipes is essential. As mentioned earlier, these pipes can develop leaks due to manufacturing defects. This not only leads to water damage but also poses health risks, as the quality of drinking water can be compromised. Furthermore, hidden leaks can result in mold growth and structural damage; both of which can be detected easily with a thermal building inspection.



Safeguarding Yourself Against Dodgy BGC IPLEX Pipes

If you’ve found a property that you’re interested in, but suspect it may contain BGC IPLEX pipes, here’s what you can do:


Importance of a Professional Building Inspection

Invest in a professional home inspection to detect IPLEX pipes like this smart buyer did. A qualified inspector can confirm the presence of BGC IPLEX pipes, assess their condition, and provide you with an estimate of potential repair costs. This information is invaluable for negotiations with the seller and helps you make an informed decision.


Replacing BGC IPLEX Pipes

If the property is confirmed to have BGC IPLEX pipes, you should consider the cost of replacement as part of your budget. These pipes need to be replaced to ensure the safety and integrity of the plumbing system in your new home.


Legal Aspects and Insurance

Consider seeking legal advice, especially if you’re dealing with a property that has BGC IPLEX pipes. Understanding your rights and responsibilities is crucial. Additionally, check your homeowner’s insurance to see if it covers any potential issues related to these pipes.


The Final Say

When buying a house in WA, it’s essential to be well-informed about potential issues like BGC IPLEX pipes. With the identified manufacturing defect, it’s crucial to take precautions, including professional inspections and legal considerations. Make sure your investment is a safe and secure one.




  1. What are BGC IPLEX polybutylene pipes?

    BGC IPLEX polybutylene pipes were commonly used in plumbing between mid-2017 and mid-2022. However, they are associated with manufacturing defects, leading to leaks and water damage.

  2. How can I identify BGC IPLEX pipes in a property?

    Look for gray plastic pipes, especially in homes constructed during the specified period. To be sure, hire a professional home inspector.

  3. What risks are associated with BGC IPLEX pipes?

    The primary risk is water leaks due to manufacturing defects, which can result in damage to your property and health concerns.

  4. Do I need to replace BGC IPLEX pipes in a property I’m buying?

    If the property has these pipes, it’s advisable to budget for their replacement to ensure plumbing safety.

  5. Is there any insurance coverage for issues related to BGC IPLEX pipes?

    Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers potential problems associated with these pipes.