This page contains information on the old (pre-2017) WaterMark Certification Scheme. To view information about the current Scheme, which commenced implementation on 1 August 2017, please refer to WaterMark.
The WaterMark Certification Scheme (Scheme) originated as the National Certification Plumbing and Drainage Products Scheme in 1988 through a voluntary arrangement between Standards Australia and participating plumbing and drainage regulators in Australia. As there was no national regulator for plumbing, the National Plumbing Regulators Forum (NPRF) was formed in 2002 and it subsequently published the first version of the PCA in 2004 which referenced the Scheme. The NPRF managed the Scheme and Standards Australia were the administrators.
In February 2013 management and administration of the Scheme transferred to the ABCB. Following a review of the existing Scheme and stakeholder consultation an improved version of the Scheme was launched on 1 July 2016. The Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme, outlining the rules for the improved Scheme, was published in June 2017 in preparation for the progressive implementation of the improved Scheme on 1 August 2017. For further details about implementation timeframes please refer to the Improved WaterMark Certification Scheme Transition Timeline.
About the WaterMark Certification Scheme (pre-2017)
The WaterMark Certification Scheme (The Scheme) is a mandatory certification scheme for plumbing and drainage products to ensure they are fit for purpose and appropriately authorised for use in plumbing and drainage installations.
The ABCB manages and administers The Scheme as a national scheme. The NCC, Volume Three - PCA, requires certain plumbing and drainage products to be certified (listed on the Product Database) and authorised for use in a plumbing or drainage installation. These materials and products are certified and authorised for use through The Scheme.
How it works
The ABCB is responsible for the management of The Scheme and will continue to administer the old Scheme until the improved Scheme has been fully implemented. 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.
WMCABs are responsible for evaluating new products to an approved specification for inclusion on the Product Database. If a new product cannot be evaluated to an approved specification, a new or amended specification can be submitted for the ABCB Office to review and approve. Once approval is obtained, the WMCAB can undertake an evaluation of the new product.
The WaterMark Administrative Framework details the relationship of key stakeholders and their role in The Scheme.
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 Specifications (WMSS). Likewise, the WaterMark List of Exempt Products (WLEP) details products that have been predetermined as not requiring WaterMark certification. The ABCB will keep the WMSS and WLEP updated as new products undergo risk assessment and as specifications are approved for use or suspended.
Products not included on the WMSS or WLEP, which are proposed to be used in a plumbing or drainage installation, require an assessment to be undertaken in accordance with the ABCB Manual for the Assessment of Risks of Plumbing Products. This risk assessment is used to determine a consequence score and the level of certification required under the Scheme. Products with consequence scores less than 3 do not require certification, those with consequence scores of 3-4 require Level 2 certification, while those with consequence scores greater than 4 require Level 1 certification.
WMCABs can review a material or product to determine if WaterMark certification is necessary.
How to have a product certified
In order to achieve certification, the material or product must:
- be tested by a recognised testing laboratory;
- comply with an approved specification (either an existing standard or WaterMark Technical Specification;
- be manufactured in accordance with an approved Quality Assurance Program; and
- carry a warranty.
Products complying with these requirements may be certified and authorised for use upon the granting of a WaterMark licence. Licensed materials and products are to be listed on the WaterMark Product Database identified by the WaterMark trade mark, which must be displayed on the product.
Organisations seeking WaterMark certification for their product should apply directly to a WMCAB.
A series of documents that outline requirements for product evaluation and certification, risk assessment and the drafting of a technical specification, which include procedures and guidance, govern the WaterMark Scheme.
Any organisation that can satisfy an approved WMCAB that its product meets these requirements can have its product WaterMark certified. Individual WMCABs may have specific application and engagement processes.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission govern the use of the WaterMark trade mark by approved Trade Mark Rules, which include the WaterMark Approved Certifier Agreement and at Schedule 3 of the Approved Certifier Agreement, the Approved User Agreement.