The focus of this video is the purpose, and operation of the WaterMark Certification Scheme for plumbing and drainage products.
Welcome to Understanding WaterMark
The focus of this presentation is the purpose, and operation of the WaterMark Certification Scheme for plumbing and drainage products.
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? Useful resources.
Risks from plumbing and drainage products. Plumbing and drainage products can pose a number of different types of risks, including risks to user/occupant health, for example poisoning and infections 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. Sewerage is not safely evacuated from buildings. Noxious sewer gasses are permitted to enter buildings.
Safety, for example burns 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. Leaks can also cause the build up of mould, which is harmful to human health.
Infrastructure, 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, e.g. when a blockage causes damage.
The environment, such as when land, flora and/or fauna are affected by flooding or pollution from water/sewerage escaping, seeping, leaking from the plumbing or drainage system at a site/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, non-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. 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 PCA, and state and territory approval and inspection regimes, where appropriate.
WaterMark product category risk assessment. 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 further in later slides.
The ABCB maintains 2 WaterMark product schedules, both of which can be found on the WaterMark website (watermark.abcb.gov.au):
WaterMark Schedule of Products (WMSP): lists products that require WaterMark certification.
WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products (WMEP): 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 WaterMark website.
The Schedules don’t tell you whether a specific brand/model of a product type actually has been certified. You need to look elsewhere for this information, which is the subject of a later slide.
How do you know if a plumbing/drainage product requires WaterMark certification? The 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 Schedules. Hot water heaters are included in the Schedule of Products, so that means that 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 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 doesn’t have to meet any standards at all. Other regulations may apply to it and an approving authority might want to see evidence of suitability before they approve the installation.
How do you know if a particular brand/model of a product is WaterMark certified?
The previous slides discussed how you could tell if a particular type of plumbing or drainage product needed to be WaterMark certified.
This slide is talking about how you can tell whether a specific brand/model of a product type actually has WaterMark certification. So, whether a particular tap, hose, pipe or other fitting that requires WaterMark certification is actually and 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 it is 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. This would happen, for example, if the product was too small to include all this information.
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.
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/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 client wants to use an old fitting that has been sitting around in their garage for a few years. The 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.
Note that certified products also need to display the Specification to which they were evaluated.
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 3 possible processes that they might need to follow.
- The product type is listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Products, meaning it’s already been assessed as requiring WaterMark certification
- The product type is listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products, meaning it’s already been assessed as NOT requiring WaterMark certification
- The product type does NOT appear on either the Schedule of Products or the Schedule of Excluded Products, meaning it needs to undergo a risk assessment to determine whether it requires WaterMark certification
Products that require WaterMark certification
First, a Product manufacturer/ supplier applies to WMCAB for WaterMark certification for one or more products.
Then WMCAB assesses the product against relevant Specification
If a product is assessed as compliant, it is issued a WaterMark licence number, given a WaterMark Certificate of Conformity, listed in the WaterMark Product Database.
The product must carry WaterMark trademark and licence number on product and/or packaging, provide a Scope of Use statement, Continue to meet standards over time.
WMCAB undertakes annual product surveillance, product re-evaluation 5 yearly or when specification, design or manufacturing changes.
If a product is assessed as NOT conforming, it does NOT get WaterMark certification
Then the Product may still be sold in Australia, cannot be used in installations where WaterMark certification is required, may be used in other installations.
Note, it is legal to sell a plumbing or drainage product that does not have a watermark licence. Can be used where no watermark certification is required, e.g. tap installed at a dam for watering stock.
Products that don’t require WaterMark certification. 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 authority may not approve the installation of a product without appropriate evidence of suitability. Part A5 Documentation of design and construction in 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. Some other form of evidence acceptable to the approving authority.
Remembersome types of plumbing and drainage products don’t need to have WaterMark certification, doesn’t mean that any product can be used or that these products don’t have to otherwise comply with PCA requirements or applicable Australian Standards.
All plumbing and drainage products must be fit for purpose, and some form of documentation will usually be necessary to demonstrate fitness for purpose.
The approving authority decides what kind of documentation is acceptable in each instance.
Products that require a risk assessment WMCAB assesses risks associated with the product.
WMCAB Follows the risk assessment procedure in the Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme. Appendix 3 Protocol for the Assessment of Risks of Plumbing Products
If product is assessed as low risk , product type is listed in the Schedule of Excluded Products. Products of this type do NOT require WaterMark certification, require another form of evidence of compliance.
Other suitable forms of evidence are described in Part A5 of the NCC Governing Requirements e.g. another type of certificate or report from an accredited testing body
If product is assessed as medium or high risk, product type is included on the Schedule of Products. Products of this type need WaterMark certification
Risks could be associated with health, safety, economic and wastage of water/energy consequences.
A medium risk to health and safety is enough to require WaterMark approval for the product type. Products of this type are evaluated using the approved Specification. If there is no applicable Specification to evaluate this type of product, the WMCAB nominates an existing, or develops a new / amended, Specification for the ABCB to approve.
A suitable Specification might exist already, e.g. an existing Standard and just requires approval for use in the Watermark Scheme.
For new or innovative products, a new Specification might need to be developed.
ABCB gives approval for development of new/amended Specification
A draft Specification may be provided with the application to approve/develop a new Specification.
WMCAB oversees development of new / amended Specification.
WMCAB may contract a suitable organisation to develop the Specification
ABCB approves new / amended Specification
The ABCB: Lists the new Specification on the WaterMark Schedule of Products and WaterMark Product Database. May publish the Specification as a WaterMark Technical Specification
Remember that this is the process that is followed for types of plumbing and drainage products that do not appear on either 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 individual model/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.
What types of products are listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products?
Plumbing and drainage products that have been assessed as having a low risk of health, safety, economic and wastage of water/energy consequences. Do NOT need to have WaterMark certification.
Remember if 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.
What types of products are listed in the WaterMark Schedule of Products?
Plumbing and drainage products that have been assessed as having a medium to high risk of health, safety, economic and wastage of water/energy consequences, must have WaterMark certification
Remember, 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.
How can you find out if a product has a current WaterMark certification?
Would you (a) Look for the trademarked WaterMark symbol on the product or packaging. (b) Look for a WaterMark licence number on the product or packaging. (c) Check whether the product is listed in the WaterMark Product Database. (d) All of the above.
If you selected (d) - Yes, that’s right. You can use all of these methods to determine whether a product has a current WaterMark certification.
Complete the sentences below.
Plumbing and drainage products that pose a _________ risk of health, safety, economic and wastage of water/energy consequences must be certified under the WaterMark Scheme.
If you answered significant you are correct
You can look up the details of specific products certified under the WaterMark Scheme
in the _________________________.
If you answered WaterMark Product Database you are correct
A new or innovative plumbing/drainage product must undergo a ______________ to identify whether it requires WaterMark certification.
If you answered risk assessment you are correct
Product types that require WaterMark certification are listed in the WaterMark _________________________. Product types that don’t require certification are listed in the WaterMark ___________________________.
If you answered Schedule of Products and Schedule of Excluded Products you are correct
What is the purpose of a WaterMark risk assessment? a) To identify whether a particular product complies with the relevant Specification. b) To identify whether a type of plumbing or drainage product requires WaterMark certification. c) To develop a Specification for assessing a new or innovative plumbing or drainage product. d) All of the above.
If you chose (b) - 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
True or false?
A plumbing product that doesn’t have WaterMark certification cannot be sold or installed in Australia.
If you answered 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.
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?
If you answered Yes - Yes, that’s right. The tap can be sold legally in Australia.
As taps are listed on the Schedule of Products, only a WaterMark certified tap can be installed by a licensed plumber.
If the tap is not WaterMark certified it is not authorised for installation.
The Rules and Administrative procedures for the Scheme can be found in the Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme
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 website. The Manual is current and comprehensively covers the WaterMark certification requirements.
The handouts and videos provide supporting information only.
Summary. WaterMark Scheme is designed to ensure safety and efficiency of plumbing and drainage products in Australian buildings
WaterMark certification is one form of evidence of suitability under
Part A5 of the NCC Governing Requirements
WaterMark certification is required for any plumbing and drainage product that poses a medium to high risk to health and safety, economic impacts, wastage of water or energy. Schedule of Products lists product types that require WaterMark certification.
Schedule of Excluded Products lists product types that do NOT require WaterMark certification.
Key points. 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, 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 in the Schedule of Excluded Products, OR is used in an installation not covered by the PCA provisions.
Thank you for your time. That brings our presentation on understanding the WaterMark to a close. If you’d like more information please visit abcb.gov.au