A WaterMark technical file is required when submitting a new or amended product specification for review.

In the last edition of ABCB Connect, Demystifying the WaterMark technical file informed you about what a technical file is and how it is used. Let’s now take a look at how to prepare one.

What information is needed in a technical file?

The requirements for a technical file are outlined in the Protocol for Developing Product Specifications (Appendix 4 of the Manual for the WaterMark Product Certification Scheme (Manual)). Each section of the technical file requires a comprehensive response, and it’s a good idea to discuss this early with the ABCB. If you are not the manufacturer of the product, some information may be needed from the manufacturer.

1. The Executive summary needs to include the product type and its application, how the product functions, and if installation is covered by the PCA or AS/NZS 3500. Include the issues that need to be addressed by the specification and explain the justification for the new or amended specification.

2. The Product details section needs to contain enough information to assess the operation and function of the product, like:

a) a brief description and proposed use b) a product list, differentiating size and attribute c) product brochures, marketing/labelling information d) assembly drawings showing key components e) bills of materials with material specifications f) a product sample (or website links for information on large products) g) installation/maintenance instructions h) note if product installation is currently covered by the PCA, AS/NZS 3500 or not i) include details about connectivity with other products.

3. The Product risk assessment, undertaken in accordance with the Protocol for the Assessment of Risks of Plumbing Products (Appendix 3 of the Manual), and required for the project proposal, is resubmitted with the technical file, sometimes with more detail. It should include the proposed means for mitigating each identified risk. Changes to products, such as materials, product design, product function, etc, may introduce risks. These need to be evaluated to identify critical features to be addressed in the product specification and installation instructions.

4. A Report of the research undertaken of relevant specifications or standards (Australian and international) needs to be included in the technical file. The reasons for the suitability, or not, of existing documents for use in evaluating the product, or in developing new/amended specifications, should be provided. The details of any secondary referenced documents impacted by the proposed new/amended document are also required.

5. Provide the proposed Draft new or amended product specification, prepared in accordance with the Protocol for Developing Product Specifications (Appendix 4 of the Manual). It needs to include the content in, and be drafted in a similar format to, the WaterMark Product Specification template and needs to address each of the risks identified in the product risk assessment.

Alternatively, if there is a suitable internationally recognised product specification, this may be recommended for consideration with a link provided to where the document may be obtained.

6. Products may have existed in other markets before falling within the scope of the WaterMark Product Certification Scheme (Scheme). Including the Product history provides an account of how the product has been used and its performance before its inclusion in the Scheme. The product history needs to include relevant information or data on:

a) the performance history of the product b) the current use of the product c) approvals to be installed in other markets d) any field trials or product/operational appraisals.

7. It‘s helpful to include any relevant Product test reports or certificates that cover the product or its attributes. Test reports should, at a minimum, include the test subject, any assumptions made, the apparatus used, test criteria, results and a conclusion.

8. If the product holds current applicable third party quality system or product certification relating to the product type, in Australia or internationally, this information should be included in the Current product certification section of the technical file.

Summary of the technical file

The technical file compiles all the relevant design and technical information to evaluate the product and its attributes against the proposed product specification. This information is normally developed during the design process of a product and the technical file provides a framework for the information to be presented for review.

Remember, contact the ABCB early to discuss what specific details are needed in the technical file for your product.

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