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.

The new and improved scheme

In February 2013, management and administration of the Scheme transferred to the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). Following a review of the existing Scheme and stakeholder consultation, an improved version of the Scheme was launched on 1 July 2016.

In early 2017, new cost recovery arrangements for the Scheme were implemented and the revised WaterMark Schedule of Products and the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products were published. These schedules were prepared as a result of a review of products for inclusion in, or exclusion from, the improved Scheme. The schedules were published in advance of implementation of the improved Scheme on 1 August 2017 to enable affected stakeholders to transition to the new arrangements.

The Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme, outlining the rules for the improved Scheme, was published in June 2017. The Manual includes the Rules for the Scheme, and the Approved Certifier and Approved User agreements, as approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Timeline for transition to the improved scheme

On 1 August 2017 progressive transition to the improved Scheme commenced, and:

  • Within 1 year of implementation all renewals of Approved Certifier Agreements were to be completed in accordance with the requirements of the single level scheme.
  • Within 3 years all retained existing Level 2 products were to be re-certified in accordance with the requirements of the single level scheme.
  • Within 5 years all retained existing Level 1 products were to be re-certified in accordance with the requirements of the single level scheme.

For a more detailed timeline, please refer to the Improved WaterMark Certification Scheme Transition Timeline.

Other changes to Scheme requirements that will impact on stakeholder practice, compliance and/or enforcement will be introduced incrementally, with appropriate lead and transition times as determined in consultation with affected parties (i.e. manufacturers and suppliers, WaterMark Conformity Assessment Bodies, Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JASANZ), Standards Australia, National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA), testing laboratories and the State and Territory Plumbing Administrations).