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This will have a significant effect on all plumbing products that are in contact with drinking water which contain coper alloys. This includes taps, mixers, water fittings and fixtures, stainless-steel braided hoses, water heaters, valves, residential water filtration equipment, water dispensers and many more commonly used plumbing products in hot and cold water installations.
Due to the number of products that will be affected by these changes and the significant number of current products already in the market, the ABCB have announced a 3-year transition period to allow products to be brought into compliance.
From 1 September 2025, clause A5G4(2) of the NCC Volume Three (Plumbing Code of Australia) will take effect.
Only products WaterMark certified as conforming to the lead free provisions, where required, will be authorised for use in plumbing installations.
This means that from 1 September 2025 any plumbing product captured by these new requirements and containing a lead content of greater than 0.25% by weight will no longer be able to be used in a water supply installation.
The changes primarily affect manufacturers and suppliers of plumbing products, and they will need to manufacturer products to meet the new lead free/low lead requirements.
A number of manufacturers have already started to produce lead free/low lead based products as countries such the United States recently changed their plumbing standards to lead free/low lead requirements.
Though these products are currently only in small volumes and the new low lead/lead free requirements will result in changes to manufacturing processes and testing and certification of products to the new standard.
For suppliers, this will have a substantive impact on products already in the market for sale and though these products are safe and compliant to use and will remain so up till 1 September 2025, there will likely be a need for some selling down of existing products over the course of the next 3 years, to ensure that when the new requirements take effect, that they will be selling compliant products.
For builders and plumbers, they will need to be aware of any regulatory requirements regarding installation/plumbing certificate and date of installation. i.e., if the regulator requires compliance on the date of the certificate, then compliance will likely need to be achieved before 1 September 2025 so any certificate released after this date will comply.
It is therefore recommended that builders and plumbers that buy or store excess stock for future projects, should be looking over the next 3 years to transition away from stock that contains greater than 0.25% of lead to ensure that they will not be left with an excess of products come 1 September 2025.
The ABCB recently released an advisory note providing further information on these changes.
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