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Study Plumbing at Unitec

New Zealand Certificate in Drainlaying

If you want to become a registered Drainlayer, this certificate is for you. In this programme you’ll study part time while working as an apprentice towards your industry registration, with Unitec and your employer.

142 (1.175 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
March, April, May, July, September or October
Part-time for up to 2 years

Programme overview

As part of the government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) to help upskill workers in roles critical to the economy, this programme has no fees*. Click here for a list of the programmes that are covered by this scheme.

Please note: Due to high demand, we are unable to take in any new applications for 2021 semester 1. We recommend applying early for 2021 semester 2 intake.

Undertake this certificate and through classroom learning and practical sessions you’ll gain the knowledge, skills and experience required to gain registration as a Drainlayer. 

Your initial compulsory papers are shared with plumbing, and gasfitting students. From there, you’ll move onto drainlaying specific training, where you’ll learn to lay, alter, reconstruct, extend, repair and open up drains and associated traps and connect drains up to and away from waste water treatment stations.


  • Take this programme in conjunction with other apprenticeship programmes including the New Zealand Certificate in Plumbing and the New Zealand Certificate in Gasfitting
  • Successful completion of this programme will help you gain your full registration to be a Tradesman Drainlayer
  • On-campus training is set up in block courses to minimise work disruption
  • We have flexible study options to accommodate your work including night classes, block courses and day release.
  • This programme is a managed apprenticeship, this means we'll assist in your success and visit you on-site
  • Much of our teaching material utilises familiar industry product from leading manufacturers and merchants
  • Workshop learning takes place in our purpose built trades training building 
  • Learn from our experienced qualified academic trades staff 

Qualification pathway

To become registered and gain your qualification you will need to:

  1. Successfully complete this New Zealand Certificate in Drainlaying programme of study, then;
  2. Pass the Plumbing Gasfitting and Drainlaying Board (PGDB) exam, then;
  3. Apply for your tradesman licenses and registration. See the PGDB site for more details about the exam, licensing, and registration. 
  4. Once you have your registration, you may then graduate and receive your New Zealand Certificate in Drainlaying qualification.

Completion of the New Zealand Certificate in Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying (Level 3) is an advantage as it will help you prepare for study in this field but it is not a requirement. Additionally, some credits gained from the Level 3 programme will contribute to this Level 4 programme.

Combined Apprenticeship Training

Combine your training in plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying at Unitec for the best possible career in this industry. Gain your three Level 4 certificate training and qualifications to gain registration in all 3 areas: plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying. Not only does this training lower your fees (in comparison to taking all 3 Level 4 programmes separately) but it can also shorten your study duration.
How to enrol: enrol in any L4 programme and ask our team about combined training.
Campus: Mt Albert
Level: 4
Credits: 475
Start dates: February, April, July, or October
Duration: Part-time for 4 - 4.5 years
Fees: The total fees for this multi-programme is $14,650 + student services fees. This will be charged to you per course enrolment on an annual or semester basis.
(Approximate fee only. View options for funding your study and fees-free eligibility.)
At Unitec, there are several plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying options for you:


Find out about plumbing, drainlaying and/or gasfitting apprenticeships at Unitec.

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need to:

1.    Be employed in the workplace as an apprentice/trainee drainlayer and complete the Trainee Acknowledgement Form; AND

2.    Be able to hold a current drainlaying limited trainee certificate or licence as issued under the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act (2006); AND

3.    Have one or more of the following, if English is not your first language:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University Entrance
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years

Don't meet the requirements? We also accept:

  • Sufficient evidence to be eligible for discretionary admission

For more information, download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Work Safety (CIBC3104) 12.0 credits (0.1 EFTS) To enable students to understand health and safety requirements across all activities when working in plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying industry.
Courses Credits Aim
Preliminary Work in Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying (CIBC4146) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to get a general understanding of plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying industry.
PGD Industry I (CIBC4147) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to understand and implement safe working practices when working in a confined space; knowledge of tools and job documentation used in PGD projects, and working with consideration of other construction and related trades as a plumber, gasfitter or a drainlayer.
PGD Industry 2 (CIBC4148) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to interpret plans and drawings, prepare site including excavate trenches and manage variations and amendments as needed.
Foul-water Drains (CIBC4181) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to install foul water drains and associated fittings and carry out maintenance work.
Storm-water Systems (CIBC4182) 20.0 credits (0.167 EFTS) To enable students to install a storm water handling system, and wet and dry inspection chambers.
On-site Waste-water Treatment (CIBC4183) 20.0 credits (0.167 EFTS) To enable students to install, commission and maintain on-site wastewater treatment systems.
Trade Waste Systems (CIBC4184) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to select, install, commission and maintain trade waste systems.
Pumps for Drainlaying (CIBC4185) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to select, install, commission and maintain trade waste systems.