This video explores the purpose and operation of the WaterMark Certification Scheme for plumbing and drainage products.


[Voice Over] Understanding WaterMark 


NCC Tutor Series 

The focus of this presentation is the purpose, and operation of the WaterMark Certification Scheme for plumbing and drainage products. 

This module is best viewed with a copy of the NCC on hand – to access the NCC, visit and register or log in to freely access it. 


Slide 1 

In this presentation you will learn: 

  • What is WaterMark and why it is important 

  • What types of products need WaterMark certification 

  • How to determine if a product has WaterMark certification 

  • How a new product is certified. 

We will also look at some Useful resources. 


Slide 2 

NCC provisions aim to ensure that plumbing and drainage installations are safe for building occupants, don’t result in damage to the building, infrastructure, or the environment, and encourage efficient water use. 

To achieve this a building needs a safe and reliable supply of drinking water delivered through appliances, fixtures, and fittings that are fit for purpose and installed correctly. 

Plumbing and drainage products can pose a number of different types of risks. This includes risks to: 

  • User or occupant health, for example poisoning and infections. This occurs when:   

  • Drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria, viruses, microbes or pollutants. The backflow of contaminated water into the drinking water supply lines in one building can also flow to outlets in the same and neighbouring buildings. 

  • It occurs when sewerage is not safely evacuated from buildings. 

  • And also when noxious sewer gasses are permitted to enter buildings. 

There are also safety risks, for example: 

  • Burns that can be caused by contact with boiling/very hot water or plumbing parts that are excessively hot.  

  • Excess pressure can cause water to splash on people. 

  • Leaks can cause water to pool and increase slips and falls, causing injuries.  

  • And leaks can also cause the build up of mould, which is harmful to human health. 

There are also Infrastructure risks, including the: 

  • Building, for example damage to floors, ceilings, walls, pipes, fittings etc from leaks and seepage. 

  • Water infrastructure, such as damage to the water supply system or drainage system from failures in plumbing or drainage elements within a property.. 

Environmental risks include when land, flora and/or fauna are affected by flooding or pollution from water or sewerage escaping, seeping, leaking from the plumbing or drainage system at a site or building.  

Sustainability is also an issue.  

  • Poor quality products can result in more water being used than necessary. Poor installation can result in leaks and seepage and other problems that waste water.  

  • Power use can also be affected. If heated water is being wasted then more water needs to be heated overall, and heating water accounts for a substantial portion of the average electricity usage of a typical Australian home (less so in commercial than residential buildings). Less efficient water appliances also use more power. 

Ensuring that plumbing and drainage installations are safe involves ensuring that the: 

  • Water supply is safe for use. 

  • Sewerage is safely evacuated for treatment. 

  • Plumbing and drainage products are appropriate and safe for use, and 

  • Plumbing and drainage products are installed correctly. 

Water suppliers are responsible for the quality and reliability of water supply. 

The suitability of plumbing and drainage products is managed through WaterMark certification. 

Installation is managed through the provisions of the Plumbing Code of Australia or PCA, and State/Territory approval and inspection regimes. 


Slide 3 

As with other aspects of the NCC, Watermark certification is about effective management of the risks involved with construction. In this case, it relates to the risks that can arise from different types of plumbing and drainage products. 

So, the WaterMark process actually starts with different types of plumbing and drainage products being assessed to determine the kinds of risks they pose and the severity of those risks. 

Plumbing and drainage products that pose a significant risk are assessed as requiring WaterMark certification.  

Those that don’t pose a significant risk don’t require WaterMark certification. This is explained in more detail later in this presentation. 


The ABCB maintains two WaterMark product schedules, both of which can be found on the ABCB website. 


The first is the WaterMark Schedule of Products or WMSP. It lists the products that require WaterMark certification.  


The second is the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products or WMEP. This lists products which don’t need to have WaterMark certification. 

If a product is not listed on either Schedule, then a risk assessment must be completed to determine whether certification is required. The Risk Assessment Protocol is Appendix 3 of the Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme which can be found on the ABCB website. 

The Schedules don’t tell you whether a specific brand or model of a product type actually has been certified. You need to look elsewhere for this information, which we will discuss later in this presentation. 


Slide 4 

How do you know if a plumbing or drainage product requires WaterMark certification? 

The two WaterMark Schedules can be used to identify whether you need to look for a WaterMark certified product for particular installations.  

For example: If you are specifying or installing a hot water heater and you don’t know if it needs to be WaterMark certified, you can check these two Schedules. Hot water heaters are included in the Schedule of Products, so that means they need to be WaterMark certified. So, you need to make sure that the water heater you specify or install is certified. 

Similarly, if you are specifying or installing a new bain marie in a café, you can check these two Schedules to find out if bain maries need to be WaterMark certified. 

They are listed in the Schedule of Excluded Products, so you wouldn’t have to get a WaterMark certified product in this case. 

Note that this doesn’t mean that the bain marie don’t have to meet any other standards. Other regulations may apply to it and an approval authority might want to see evidence of suitability before they approve the installation. 


Slide 5 

The previous slide discussed how you could tell if a particular type of plumbing or drainage product needed to be WaterMark certified.  

We will now look at how you can tell whether a specific brand or model of a product type actually has WaterMark certification. So, whether a particular tap, hose, pipe or other fitting that requires WaterMark certification is currently WaterMark certified. 

Only products with WaterMark certification are legally authorised to use the WaterMark trademark. 

Products that have certification are required to include the logo, their licence number and the Specification to which they were evaluated on the product and/or the packaging.   

The information should be on the product, if possible to include it on the product. 

If it isn’t possible to put the information on the actual product, then the information needs to be included on the packaging.  

So when a product is not installed, or is still in its packaging, then you should be able to easily see whether it is certified or not. 

However, sometimes a product is installed already, or has become separated from its packaging, so you can’t check for the logo or licence number on the product or packaging. In these cases, you can use the WaterMark Product Database to check for current licencing information. 

Similarly, if you are not sure whether an older product is currently licenced, you can check the database to see. For example, if a client wants to use an old fitting that has been sitting around in their garage for a few yearsThe item might have a WaterMark logo, but it could also be that the requirements for that kind of product have changed and it is no longer certified for use. You can check the currency of its WaterMark certification using the WaterMark Product database. 


Slide 6 

How does the WaterMark certification process work for new or innovative products? 

When a manufacturer or supplier wants to sell a new or innovative plumbing or drainage product in Australia, there are three possible processes that they might need to follow. 

  • The product type is listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Products, meaning that it has already been assessed as requiring WaterMark certification 

  • The product type is listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products, meaning that it has already been assessed as NOT requiring WaterMark certification, or 

  • The product type does NOT appear on either the Schedule of Products or the Schedule of Excluded Products, meaning that it needs to undergo a risk assessment to determine whether it requires WaterMark certification. 


Slide 7 

Products that require WaterMark certification 

Let’s look at the process for obtaining WaterMark certification. 

The product manufacturer or supplier applies to a WaterMark Conformity Assessment Body or WaterMark CAB for WaterMark certification for one or more products. 

WaterMark CAB assesses product against relevant Specifications. 

If product is assessed as compliant, it is: 

  • Issued a WaterMark licence number 

  • Given a WaterMark Certificate of Conformity, and 

  • Listed in WaterMark Product Database. 


The product must: 

  • Carry the WaterMark trademark and licence number on product and/or packaging 

  • Provide a Scope of Use statement, and 

  • Continue to meet standards over time. 


WaterMark CAB undertakes: 

  • Annual product surveillance, and 

  • Product re-evaluation every 5 years or when specification, design or manufacturing changes. 

If the product is assessed as NOT conforming, it does NOT get WaterMark certification 

The Product: 

  • May still be sold in Australia 

  • Cannot be used in installations where WaterMark certification is required, and 

  • May be used in other installations. 

It is legal to sell a plumbing or drainage product that does not have a WaterMark licence. It can be used where no WaterMark certification is required, for example, a tap installed at a dam for watering stock 


Slide 8 


Products that don’t require WaterMark certification 

The product type is listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products. 

The product can be sold without WaterMark certification and can be installed by a licenced plumber. 

Its use may still pose risks to people and infrastructure. 

Its use requires another form of evidence of suitability, i.e. evidence that it otherwise meets the requirements of the PCA and conforms to relevant standards. 

Approving authorities may not approve the installation of a product without appropriate evidence of suitability. 

Part A5 Documentation of design and construction in any Volume of the NCC contains requirements for evidence of suitability. 

This could include: 

  • A certificate issued by a relevant certification body stating that the product meets the requirements of the PCA, or 

  • A report from an Accredited Testing Laboratory that demonstrates that the product meets the requirements of the PCA and describes the testing completed to reach this conclusion, or 

  • Some other form of evidence acceptable to the Approving Authority. 


Slide 9 

Let’s look at the process for products that require a risk assessment.  

This flow chart illustrates the process that is followed for types of plumbing and drainage products that do not appear on the WaterMark Schedule of Products or the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products. These are types of products that have not yet been risk assessed.  

This process identifies the likely risks of the particular type of products, and their possible consequences and assigns a risk rating to that type of product. 

If the product type is determined to pose sufficient risk, then that product type is added to the Schedule of Products, and the product type/brand is evaluated against a suitable Specification. 

If there is no suitable Specification, then one must be developed or amended before the product can be evaluated. 

If the product type is found not to pose a significant risk, then the product type is added to the Schedule of Excluded Products and no further evaluation is necessary. 


Slide 10 

So let’s review our knowledge so far of WaterMark.  

What types of products are listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products? 

Just because a product doesn’t need WaterMark certification doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to meet any standards at all. 

Such products still have to be fit for purpose under the PCA and show appropriate evidence of suitability, in line with Part A5 of the NCC Governing Requirements. 

The WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products lists Plumbing and drainage products that have been assessed as having a low risk of health and safety, economic and wastage of water or energy consequences. 

These products Do NOT need to have WaterMark certification 


Slide 11 

What types of products are listed in the WaterMark schedule of products? 

If a category of product requires WaterMark certification, then you cannot specify or install a particular product of that category that is not certified. 

WaterMark certification constitutes acceptable documentation that a plumbing or drainage product is fit for purpose according to the requirements of the PCA. 

The WaterMark Schedule of Products contains plumbing and drainage products that: 

  • Have been assessed as having a medium to high risk of health, safety, economic and wastage of water or energy consequences  AND 

  • Those that MUST have WaterMark certification. 


Slide 12 

Let’s test your knowledge! 

How can you find out if a product has a current WaterMark certification? Should you 

  • Look for the trademarked WaterMark symbol on the product or packaging. 

  • Look for a WaterMark licence number on the product or packaging. 

  • Check whether the product is listed in the WaterMark Product Database, or 

  • All of the above 

Yes that’s right, you can use all of these methods to determine whether a product has a current WaterMark certification. 


Slide 12 

Complete the sentences below… 

Plumbing and drainage products that pose a  what  risk of health, safety, economic and wastage of water/energy consequences must be certified under the WaterMark Scheme.  

Answer: Significant

You can look up the details of specific products certified under the WaterMark Scheme in the what.

Answer: Watermark Product Database 

A new or innovative plumbing/drainage product must undergo a  what  to identify whether it requires WaterMark certification. 

Answer: Risk Assessment

Product types that require WaterMark certification are listed in the WaterMark what. Product types that don’t require certification are listed in the WaterMark what. 

Answer One: Schedule of Products

Answer Two: Schedule of Excluded Products.

Slide 13 

What is the purpose of a WaterMark risk assessment?  Take a moment to consider which one of these is correct. 

  • To identify whether a particular product complies with the relevant Specification. 

  • To identify whether a type of plumbing or drainage product requires WaterMark certification. 

  • To develop a Specification for assessing a new or innovative plumbing or drainage product 

  • All of the above. 

Yes, that’s right. A risk assessment is used to determine whether a new or innovative plumbing or drainage product presents risks that need to be managed through WaterMark certification. 


Slide 14 

True or False 

A product that does not have WaterMark certification cannot be sold or installed in Australia. Take a moment to consider your answer.  

False - Yes, that's right.  

  • A product that doesn’t have WaterMark certification can be legally sold in Australia.  

  • However if the product is listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Products, but not WaterMark certified, a licenced plumber cannot install the product.  

  • If the product is a DIY installation, the plumbing regulator may not accept its installation. 

Most plumbing and drainage products require WaterMark certification, but not all of them do. 

A product type that is listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products doesn’t need to have WaterMark certification. 

However, an approving authority might require some other form of evidence that the product is fit for purpose. 


Slide 15 

Yes or No? 

Tapware is listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Products. A particular tap doesn’t have a WaterMark licence. 

Can this tap be used in a plumbing and drainage installation in Australia? 

No. That’s right.  

The tap cannot be  legally installed in Australia. 

As taps are listed on the Schedule of Products, only a WaterMark certified tap can be installed by a licenced plumber. If the tap is not WaterMark certified, it is not authorised for installation. 


Slide 16 

The WaterMark website has key information about the Scheme and many other useful resources. 

The Database and Schedules are maintained, and updated regularly, on the ABCB site. The Manual is current and comprehensively covers the WaterMark certification requirements. 

The handouts and videos provide supporting information only.  


Slide 17 

The Key points from this presentation are: 

A Watermark Conformity Assessment Body evaluates a product type against the applicable specification listed on the WaterMark Schedule of Products. This can be an Australian/International Standard or a WaterMark Technical Specification 

A product that conforms is: 

  • Licensed to use the WaterMark trademark 

  • Issued a WaterMark licence number and Certificate of Conformity, and 

  • Listed in WaterMark Product Database. 

Licensed products must: 

  • Display the WaterMark trademark, licence number and specification 

  • Be provided with a Scope of Use 

  • Undergo annual surveillance, and  

  • be re-evaluated 5 yearly or when the applicable specification changes. 


Unlicensed products can be sold in Australia, but only if the product type: 

  • Is listed on the Schedule of Excluded Products, OR 

  • Is used in an installation not covered by the PCA provisions. 


Slide 18 

This brings us to the end of this presentation.  

Thank you for viewing this NCC Tutor module. Check out the other NCC Tutor modules available to build your understanding of the NCC. 

[End of transcript]