There is a requirement in the National Construction Code Volume Three – Plumbing Code of Australia for certain plumbing and drainage products to be certified and authorised for use in a plumbing or drainage installation. These products are certified and authorised through the application of the WaterMark Certification Scheme. Certified products are listed on the WaterMark Product Database and are identified by the WaterMark certification trademark, which must be marked on the product upon the granting of a WaterMark Licence.
Key features of the improved Scheme include:
- a single level of certification;
- a consolidated Manual containing the rules and process and procedural requirements for the certification of plumbing and drainage products; and
- a tightened risk assessment process.
Features of the improved Scheme will be implemented over a period of time to allow for industry adjustment, including transitional arrangements for existing Approved Certifiers, Approved Users and certified products affected by changes to the Scheme.
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) manages and administers the WaterMark Certification Scheme for plumbing and drainage products. The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) accredits WaterMark Conformity Assessment Bodies (WMCABs), who in turn evaluate and certify plumbing and drainage products. The Scheme is governed by the Rules for the WaterMark Certification Scheme, including the Approved Certifier and Approved User Agreements, and the Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme. The Manual details the operating structure of the Scheme, and the process and procedural requirements for the certification of plumbing and drainage products, risk assessment and drafting product specifications.
WMCABs evaluate and certify products against Product Specifications or Standards, listed on the WaterMark Schedule of Products. Where a product cannot be evaluated against an existing Product Specification or Standard, an application can be prepared for the ABCB Office to review and approve a new Product Specification or Standard. Once approved and included on the Schedule, WMCABs can evaluate and certify the product to the new Product Specification or Standard. Organisations seeking WaterMark certification for their product should apply directly to a WMCAB. A list of WMCABs can be found at http://www.abcb.gov.au Any organisation that can satisfy a WMCAB that its product meets the requirements outlined in the Rules and the Manual can have its product WaterMark certified and obtain a WaterMark licence. Individual WMCABs may have specific application and engagement processes.
Which products require certification?
It is important to note that not all plumbing and drainage products require WaterMark certification and authorisation. All products proposed to be used in a plumbing and drainage installation require a risk assessment to be undertaken.
A risk assessment has already been undertaken for several products. A comprehensive listing of products predetermined as requiring WaterMark certification – including product types and application, specifications and exemptions – is contained on the WaterMark Schedule of Products (WMSP). Likewise, the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products (WMEP) details products that have been predetermined as not requiring WaterMark certification. The ABCB will keep the WMSP and WMEP updated as new products undergo risk assessment and as specifications are approved for use or suspended.
Products not included on the WMSP or WMEP, which are proposed to be used in a plumbing or drainage installation, require an assessment to be undertaken in accordance with the requirements outlined in Appendix 3 of the Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme. These requirements include a risk assessment of the product, conducted by a WMCAB, to determine if WaterMark certification is necessary.
The WaterMark Product Database lists products that have been certified and marked in accordance with the requirements of the WaterMark Certification Scheme. These products are recognised by authorities having jurisdiction as being authorised for use in a plumbing or drainage installation. The database can be accessed here: https://www.abcb.gov.au/Product-Certification/WaterMark-Certification-Scheme/WMPD-Search