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Part 3 - Building product conformance and the NCC

Manufacturers and suppliers have an obligation to understand when the products they supply to the residential building industry need to meet the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC).

Part 3 – Providing evidence of suitability

Part 3 of ‘Building Product Conformance and the NCC’ provides guidance to manufacturers and suppliers by building on the information gathering and pathway options set out in Parts 1 and 2 of this series. It outlines:

  • methods that can be used for a material/system/component to demonstrate the evidence of suitability for conformance to the NCC
  • the need to develop appropriate information to verify that a building product meets the requirements of the NCC.

Parts 1 and 2 of this series outline how to determine when a product needs to meet the requirements of the NCC, how to identify what those requirements are and what options are available to assess a product against those requirements.

This series is accompanied by a decision tree (Attachment A) to assist manufacturers and suppliers systematically work through the process of determining when and how a product can demonstrate conformance with the NCC.

Step 5 – Develop information about how the product meets the necessary performance requirements of the NCC

The final steps in the process relate to the type of evidence that can be developed to demonstrate suitability of a material, system or components. This information will be developed based on the testing, assessment and verification process undertaken in Step 4.

This evidence can then be provided to designers, builders, building owners and building certifiers. For existing products your current technical information is likely to support your claims and supplement the evidence gained from your evaluation process.

The BCA provides specific direction on what ‘evidence of suitability’ can include. Part A5 of NCC outlines the  methods used to demonstrate suitability for Volumes One and Two. Part A5.0 requires that the product must be fit for its intended purpose - which requires that it has evidence of suitability under Parts A5.1, and A5.2 for Volumes One and Two; and that it is constructed or installed in an appropriate manner . 

Part A5.2 outlines the following forms of evidence of suitability allowed for building products for use under Volume One and Volume Two of the NCC:

a) A CodeMark Certificate of Conformity
b)A current Certificate of Accreditation (State or Territory based accreditation, where it exists) 
c)Acertificate issued by a Certification Body accredited by JAS-ANZ
d)A report issued by an Accredited Testing Laboratory
e)A certificate or report from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person – note specific requirements apply for calculation methods under A5.2(2)
f)Another form of documentary evidence such as a Product Technical Statement

a) A current CodeMark 'Certificate of Conformity'

For building products under the NCC the CodeMark Australia scheme has been established by the Australian Building Codes Board as a means for demonstrating product compliance with the NCC (for plumbing products under Volume 3 the WaterMark scheme is in use). 

There are currently five accredited bodies registered for CodeMark in Australia under JAS-ANZ are:

SAI Global Certification Services Pty Ltd
Global-Mark Pty Ltd
CertMark International Pty Ltd 
Bureau Veritas Australia Pty Ltd
BRANZ Limited

b) A current ‘Certificate of Accreditation’

This method is certification is provided by a scheme by a State or Territory accreditation authority and operates alongside CodeMark and generally applicable for Performance Solutions only.

 c) An certificate issued by a Certification Body accredited by JAS-ANZ

This scheme certifies that a product is compliant with one or more specific clauses of the NCC.

A certification body must be accredited by the Joint Assessment System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) other than for the CodeMark or WaterMark schemes, to issue certification within their field of expertise. A list of accredited bodies can also be searched through the JAS-ANZ website

d) A report issued by the Accredited Testing Laboratory,

A test report showing that the material or form of construction has been submitted to the tests listed in the report, and setting out the results of those tests and any other relevant information that demonstrates its suitability for use in the building.

The Manufacturers and suppliers can refer to the National Association of Testing Authorities website to find a testing facility for your product. 

e) A certificate from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person 

This options includes a certificate or report from relevant expert, generally an engineer which certifies that a material, design or form of construction complies with the requirements of the  BCA it sets out the basis on which it is given and the extent to which relevant specifications, rules, codes of practice or other publications have been relied upon.

Manufacturers or suppliers can engage a suitability qualified professional expert in the product area to prepare documentary evidence, an expert opinion or testing analysis as appropriate.

f) Another form of documentary evidence 

This option recognises that the NCC list of evidence option are not exhaustive and this type of evidence could refer to product technical information and sometimes test results supplied directly by the manufacturer or supplier that describes the properties and performance of the material or form of construction and adequately demonstrates its suitability for use in the building .

. It can outline the quality assurance systems, product specifications, scope of use, and installation requirements for a product. It should enable designers and builders to correctly specify and install the product. 

Step 6 – Provide evidence of conformance

Through the verification process (Steps 4 and 5), a range of documentation will be developed – whether from testing or from industry experts providing opinion and commentary on who the product meets the NCC performance requirements.

Manufacturers and suppliers need to establish what level of information needs to then be publicly available about their product to allow builders and building certifiers to have confidence in the product’s use. Not every piece of the verification puzzle needs to be provided publicly but it is important that sufficient information is available to support your product claims.

The information you make available should include:

  • evidence to support that a calculation method complies with an Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) protocol and can be presented as:

I. a certificate from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person which:

a. certifies that the calculation method complies with a relevant ABCB protocol
b. sets out the basis on which it is given and the extent to which relevant specifications, rules, codes of practice and other publications have been relied upon

II. any other form of document evidence that correctly describes how the calculation method complies with a relevant ABCB protocol.

  • copies of documentary evidence must be complete copies of the original report or document.

Whether your product is a DTS or a Performance Solution you will need to have this information readily available to designers, builders, building owners and building certifiers.

For a Performance Solution you will also need to include details of the Assessment Method used and how your material/system/component met the relevant Performance Requirement(s).

Remember, evidence of conformance generally relates to:

  • Product performance – Does the performance of my product comply with the performance requirements for that product type e.g., a cladding that is water tight?
  • Limitations – Where, when and how can the product be used so it is fit for purpose, and are these limitations clearly stated for designers, installers and builders?

Summary

This information is intended to guide you through the process outlined in the NCC for:

  • determining when and how a product needs to conform to the NCC
  • providing guidance on how to verify that a product needs to conform to the NCC
  • establishing the type of evidence that is considered suitable to demonstrate conformance to the NCC.

To find out more, contact HIA’s Building Services team.

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