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New Zealand Plumbers, Drainlayers & Gasfitters Association Inc

New Zealand Plumbers, Drainlayers & Gasfitters
Association Inc

Latest News / TOP TECH TIP - Non- Compliant Products & Installations

TOP TECH TIP - Non- Compliant Products & Installations

How many products are there on the market that can be readily accessed by the consumer that may not comply or not meet the required warranty?

How many of us have customers who are adamant that they will source the products for their jobs? (normally finishing items)

How many of us have been asked to install products that we know require backflow or pose high risk such as bidets or personal wash hoses after the code of compliance has been issued?

What are the risks involved to your business and to the consumer if I install non -compliant products?

What can we do to help stop the importing or selling of non- compliant products in this country?

In this technical bulletin I hope to answer these questions and provide valuable information on what we should be doing and what we could be doing. It is so easy to buy products in this country that don’t have any testing done on them and the consumer is not aware of possible issues down the track. We have a large amount of construction going on at the moment and as a result of this everyone wants a piece of the pie. Products in this country can be imported and sold without much talk about testing or meeting any standards.

 

We have had issues with imported taps and other products containing lead and have not been suitable for use in our country but still sold to the consumer for installation. Products also may not be serviceable so in affect the customer is buying a throw away product. This is not only an issue in our industry and has wider implications. In the electrical industry and building industry there have been many product failures resulting in leaking buildings or worse possible electrical fires. So, who is ultimately responsible for products that are installed that may not comply? This is a burning question on the back of many people’s minds and I’m sure insurance companies who will ultimately have to pay for the damage done by faulty products.

When it comes to installations products installed must be durable and B2 of the building code states how long the product must last 50-15-5 years. Roofing and flashings are a good example 50 years unless they don’t require the removal of cladding etc to replace then 15 years. Plumbing installed in a masonry cavity/underfloor without ducting or access must be durable enough to provide 50 years of service. Choosing products that have been sourced from a reputable supplier is essential to eliminate issues down the track. Pipes and fittings installed behind wall linings or are ducted have a 15year durability. Fittings that are easily accessible or tapware must last at least 5 years. It is important to note that some items being sold at the moment do not meet these durability standards and I suggest before you install products you do a bit of research.

 

A good example was the old black pipe where fittings broke down and caused major issues to consumers property.

Ok so let’s look at a possible situation that you may be faced with all of your installation complies with the code and you have sourced your products for pre line etc from a reputable source. The owner now wants to supply his own finishing items and get you to install these.

Who is responsible for the products if something goes wrong?

Ultimately you as the installer could be just as liable as the owner or developer because you are the professional who is signing the documents that state the installation is compliant and meets the durability clause.

What about the situation where you may be asked to install a product such as a bidet or personal washing product after the code of compliance?

Remember these products are readily sold over the counter to consumers for installation and have no backflow in them. If the hose does siphon any waste materials back into the potable water system and someone gets sick or worse dies you will ultimately be responsible.

 

Example of a hand-held bidet hose that is non- compliant

We need to understand that when we buy goods or install goods supplied by the consumer that it is our responsibility to ensure they will comply or be suitable for use. The water mark that has been introduced to New Zealand is a good starting point for products that will comply but this again is not compulsory or a requirement.

 

We need to make consumers aware that as the professional they should follow our advice and the reasons for this. Architects and other designers play a very important role in insuring that products installed are of high quality and meet the standards. One way that we can be assured the inspector will make sure good quality products are installed is to have a specification. If products and materials are specified on the consent documents then they must be installed unless otherwise put in writing by the owner. If there are no specified plumbing products then there is little say on what can be installed.

We must put our resources together and try and stamp out these products that are non-compliant. Education is best so we must also inform consumers and other professional bodies about potential risks to the public from these products. MBI move slowly to make change because of the amount of legislation required to make that change. Non-compliant products have no place in this industry or our country but unfortunately, they are here. Remember that if you install these products that you or your business will ultimately be responsible. We as an organisation and an industry deserve a say in the importation of products and standards associated with them. For this reason, we ask you to be aware of these products and not get caught in the trap of installing them. We would also like to see a system that both the installer and consumer can look up for compliant products. This could be similar to the Supplier declaration data base for gas.

 

 

 

 

  

 





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