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You may be an old hand when it comes to installing basins, vanities and laundry troughs but incorrectly applying water-resistant and waterproofing requirements could mean you’re failing to meet the building code.
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Whether you’re working on an elegant new bathroom or renovating a pokey laundry, these wet areas of a home always need careful consideration when it comes to design, layout and appliance placement. It’s probable you’ve worked on hundreds of these jobs and could provide a good interpretation of the National Construction Code (NCC) requirements to anyone who asked, but there is one requirement that is causing some builders to unknowingly trip up. 

This involves water-resistant requirements surrounding laundry tubs and basins. 

Simon Croft

HIA Executive Director – Building Policy

HIA has heard from members about a number of situations where they have been pulled up by an inspector on NCC waterproofing requirements for laundry troughs. This is because the installer has only provided water-resistant lining to one wall where the laundry trough or basin has abutted two or more walls. The walls were also within 75mm of the trough as seen in the image.

The NCC Table 3.8.1.1 and clause 3.8.1.2 require that the wall adjoining a vessel such as a sink, basin or laundry tub must be water-resistant to a height of not less than 150mm above the vessel, for the extent of the vessel, where the vessel is within 75mm of a wall.

A vessel by definition in the NCC means an open, pre-formed, pre-finished concave receptacle capable of holding water, usually for the purpose of washing, including a basin, sink, bath, laundry tub and the like.
Photo courtesy Thynk & Masterton Homes

So, where the actual vessel is placed against a wall, the wall must be water-resistant if the vessel is within 75mm of the wall. It is also important to note that the measurement needs to be taken from the outside edge of the part of the vessel that actually holds the water.

For plasterboard-lined walls, being water-resistant under AS 3740 means a combination of

  • a substrate that is lined with water-resistant plaster-board sheeting (Clause 2.4.2); and
  • the finished surface material being tiles, sheet vinyl or linoleum (Clause 2.4.3).

So, the next time you’re looking at plans for a wet area make sure you check if the vessel will be situated against two walls. If that’s the case, you’ll need to ensure both walls are water-resistant to a height of 150mm, not just the one with the taps installed in it.

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