Important Updates to Watermark Technical Specifications

The Australian Building Codes Board (“ABCB”) has recently released a very important update WMTS-040:2018 to the Watermark Technical Specifications (“WMTS”) for waste pipe connection outlets and gratings for sanitary plumbing applications.

The objective of this update to the Watermark scheme is to define what types of materials are permitted for waste pipe connection outlets, channels and gratings. Before this update, the use of materials is not defined within the Watermark scheme and the use of some materials may have adverse consequences in certain applications.

The new Clause 5 of WMTS-040:2018 sets out the materials that can be used in the manufacture of waste pipe connection outlets, channels and gratings – both separate and integral for sanitary plumbing applications. The permitted materials are:

  • Sheet stainless steel – not less than 304 grade and 1.2mm thick (per ASTM A240/240M)
  • Copper and copper alloy (per AS 1589)
  • PVC plastic (per AS/NZS 1260)
  • ABS (per ISO/TR 10358)
  • Polypropylene (per ISO/TR 10358)

With this Watermark Technical Specification update, there is no longer any ambiguity – all materials not detailed above are not permitted in sanitary plumbing applications.

The adoption date of this update by the ABCB to the Watermark Technical Specifications is 31 October 2018. Australian industry standard AS/NZS 3500 also details the types of materials and products that can be used in all plumbing and drainage installations nationally. This Watermark scheme update now brings into alignment these two important legislative requirements in relation to the types of materials permitted for the manufacture of products for sanitary plumbing applications.

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The bottom line for plumbers, builders and specifiers are that if a product does not conform to the Australian Standards and the WaterMark Technical Specifications for sanitary plumbing applications, it cannot be installed.

This update to the Watermark Technical Specifications should now bring to an end in Australia the use of non-compliant products, both from overseas and locally, being used to “reduce the costs on projects” by the exploitation of a loophole. These include products made of non-compliant materials including non-approved metals and alloys and lower quality plastics.

If products made of these non-compliant materials are installed then they will need to be removed and replaced with compliant products which will end up being a much greater cost to the people involved.

Insurance companies may not cover claims where non-compliant products have been installed in contravention of AS/NZS 3500 or the Australian Watermark Technical Specifications. This could lead to a financial nightmare for individuals and businesses alike.

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The products offered by Civil and General Distributors for sanitary plumbing applications satisfy AS/NZS 3500, the updated Watermark Technical Specifications WMTS-040:2018 and thereby the Plumbing Code of Australia.