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CodeMark – Building Product Certification Update

September 1, 2017 0 Comments

For the past 2 years, builders have paid careful attention to the issue of ensuring the products and materials used in building projects meet the requirements of the National Construction Code in Australia and the Building Code in New Zealand. This transpired after the 2014 Lacrosse fire in Melbourne and became an even more urgent issue after the more recent Greenfell Tower incident in London.

Building Codes for Building Materials and Products

Check your building products for compliancy AND suitability for their purpose.

CodeMark is a scheme that permits accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies to issue Certificates of Conformity, which are needed to prove that a building product complies with Australia’s Construction Code and New Zealand’s Building Code. As long as the product complies with the scope and limitations of the building code, it qualifies for a certificate of conformity.

The scheme was developed by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in New Zealand – a major accomplishment considering that the two countries operate separately with differences in the building codes of each country. To differentiate between the two countries, the scheme named CodeMark Australia and CodeMark New Zealand.

Neil Savery, Board General Manager for Australian Building Codes, said the changes and separation of the scheme was done following the feedback they received throughout the review process. The changes aim to mandate the rules in order to establish a common approach, provide greater clarity for the recipient of certificates, and simplify the scheme’s administration.

John Thorpe, Chief Executive Officer of CertMark International, says there is more beyond the CodeMark. He believes action is also needed to address the issue of non-compliant products, noting that an expansion of mandatory certification similar to the Watermark Scheme (for plumbing products) can be made. He added that tougher penalties could also be imposed for builders using non-complying products.

Thorpe also remarked that those using the CodeMark to certify their products must check the contents of the certificates carefully before using them as evidence of compliance. These certificates have limitations or conditions that may not be suitable for the project at hand.

“For example, if a compliance claim on a certificate is only made for a product’s fire-resisting properties, but it is to be used in a circumstance where the BCA requires it to also have sound insulation properties (such as a separating wall between apartments), separate evidence of compliance with those sound insulation properties would need to be sought,” Savery said.

“The basic message is, ‘accept the certificates as evidence of compliance, but don’t blindly accept them’” he added.

Filed in: Industry News

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