WaterMark - What has changed?

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The improved WaterMark Certification Scheme (Scheme) for plumbing and drainage products commenced progressive implementation on 1 August 2017.

The improved Scheme was developed following a review of the old Scheme by the ABCB in 2013-15 and a decision by the Building Ministers’ Forum in 2015 to amend the Scheme to improve its effectiveness.

Key features of the improved Scheme include:

  • a simplified single-level scheme where all products are evaluated to prescriptive requirements, certified for a 5 year term, subject to annual product surveillance in the market or factory and to 5 yearly product testing and factory inspection for initial and renewal of certification;
  • consolidation of the Scheme Rules, PCA Section G and other Scheme documents into a single Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme that is independent of the PCA;
  • greater alignment of the scope and objectives of the Scheme with the mission and objectives of the ABCB and the PCA, with scope of products included in the Scheme determined via a revised two stage risk assessment process;
  • a revised and tightened risk assessment process that considers both risk consequence and likelihood, and identifies the risks to be mitigated through a product specification, validated by the WaterMark risk assessment panel; and
  • a revised and uniform specification development process for all product specifications, regardless of type or publisher, that considers the risks identified in the risk assessment process and requires public consultation and peer review prior to acceptance for use in the Scheme; all accepted documents have permanent, rather than temporary, status in the Scheme.

For Approved Certifiers and Approved Users

As the majority of the changes with the improved Scheme affect approved certifiers, approved users and certified products, the changes will be implemented over a period of time to allow for industry adjustment, including transitional arrangements for those affected by changes to the Scheme.

The changes include:

  • adoption of a sustainable funding model with a simplified annual flat fee per licence replacing previous royalty arrangements;
  • establishment of the WaterMark Technical Advisory Committee (WMTAC) to provide technical advice to the ABCB, especially in the peer review of proposed new/amended product specifications;
  • greater alignment of WaterMark product specification development procedures, through the Protocol for Developing Product Specifications, with the Protocol for Developing NCC Referenced Documents;
  • confirmed commitment for the adoption of the most recent edition of referenced standards, provided they comply with the Protocol, by greater alignment with Standards Australia’s procedures to ensure product specifications keep pace with product evolution and innovation; and
  • all existing Australian Technical Specifications (ATS) have been rebranded as WaterMark Technical Specifications (WMTS) – i.e. product specifications published by the ABCB; future new or amended WMTS will require a Deed of Assignment and Licence of Intellectual Property signed by contributors prior to publication.

For Plumbers, Builders, Architects and Regulators

The key change that will benefit all plumbers, builders, architects and regulators and onsite trades is the improved WaterMark Product Database with enhanced user interface and search functionality.

WaterMark certificates and/or products can be searched for by WaterMark licence number, licensee name, product specification, product type, brand name, model name or model identification, with additional filters to enable refined searching. From the search results a specific certificate/product may be selected to view more detailed information. This provides a simple means of verifying that plumbing and drainage products have WaterMark certification.

Further information about the improved Scheme, including transition arrangements, refer to WaterMark

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