Australia: Assessing product risks in the WaterMark Certification Scheme

Risk assessment – a key feature linked to public safety.

Previously, the ABCB discussed preparing technical files for the WaterMark Certification Scheme through a series of articles in ABCB Connect. In this next instalment, let’s look at product risk assessments.

A risk assessment is required when new or innovative plumbing products are being evaluated, and must be included in the technical file, and with proposals for new or amended product specifications.

How a risk assessment works in the WaterMark Certification Scheme

A risk assessment is necessary because it identifies and evaluates the risks a product may introduce into a plumbing or drainage system. The impacts of these risks are categorised into three areas of concern: health and safety, economic, and water wastage. The outcome of the assessment determines which risks must be minimised through product certification to an applicable specification, and those that are to be minimised through specific installation instructions.

When a new product, or a new or innovative product feature, cannot be evaluated using an existing listed specification, a risk assessment is completed via the Protocol for the Assessment of Risks of Plumbing Products (the Protocol). The Protocol is found in Appendix 3 of the Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme.

The Protocol provides the framework for how a risk assessment must be completed and how the risks associated with a product are to be evaluated.

The risk assessment considers the product category, and possible issues and events. Aspects of the product to be assessed include its:

  • function
  • size
  • connections
  • materials
  • operating temperature and pressure
  • visibility and accessibility and
  • other limitations.

Submitting a risk assessment

Risk assessments are submitted to the ABCB via email, along with all other supporting information. The ABCB will review and provide a response within 4 weeks of receipt. The review is to ensure that the risk assessment meets the technical and administrative requirements of the Protocol, and that the level of analysis is commensurate with the identified risks.

Submitting a comprehensive risk assessment is the best way to ensure that the ABCB review can be completed without the need to supply further information. It is also a good idea to discuss the requirements of the technical file specific to your project, including the risk assessment, early with the ABCB to make sure that the correct information is provided.

If you are submitting a risk assessment as part of a technical file, have a look at our articles on Demystifying the WaterMark Technical File and How to Prepare a Technical File.

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