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Imported PVC pipes and fittings face non-compliance with Australian Standards and safety requirements

• Warranties voided if non-compliant fittings are used

• Imported products may not meet Australian Standards strength requirements

The Australian plumbing industry is potentially facing a raft of warranty issues by the flood of imported pipes and fittings being used locally which are non-compliant under Australian standards.australian fittings_standards

“The concerns with the non-compliant pipes and fittings being used in the Australian market are not limited to warranty issues, but also these products may not meet the minimum Australian Standard strength requirements, particularly with regards to tensile and impact strength, which can result in failures,” said Nigel Jones, Business Development Manager, Think Pipes Think PVC.

“The imported pipes and fittings in question are most likely to be used in residential or commercial buildings and are most likely to be either DWV or stormwater products. Thus consequential damage through failure of these products could be significant.”

‘If any non-compliant fittings fail after use, a messy situation could arise between the home or property owner/plumber/builder/supplier with warranty claims and repayments.”

PVC fittings have been imported into Australia for many years, particularly pressure fittings in larger size. In more recent years, some companies have commenced importing smaller size mostly non-pressure fittings to compete against the locally produced product.

These products typically will be stamped as complying with Australian standards and quote WaterMark licence numbers; however independent testing by PIPA has found a number of products that are not compliant with the relevant standard as claimed.

The most common reason for non-compliance will be failure to comply with the composition requirements of AS/NZS1254 (Stormwater) and AS/NZS1260 (DWV). The composition requirements state that compounds based on Lead, Cadmium and Mercury shall not be used. Lead based stabilisers are often used overseas in the production of pipe and fittings.

It is important to note that there are no negative health effects for the end user of Lead stabilised pipe and fittings. The concern with using Lead is with the manufacture of the stabiliser and the pipe or fitting. Imported DWV and Stormwater pipes and fittings are also unlikely to comply with the Green Building Council’s Best Environmental Practice (BEP) PVC guidelines.

The most affected by the supply of non-compliant goods are the local pipe and fitting manufacturers who are doing the right thing, but having to compete against poor quality, non-compliant products that could damage the reputation of PVC plumbing products as a whole. Others who might be affected include retailers, certifying organisations, home owners, builders, plumbers, importers.

“It's virtually impossible to tell if a fitting is compliant without doing some sort of analytical or physical testing. The best way to ensure your pipes or fittings are Australian standard compliant is to contact PIPA or Think Pipes. Think PVC,” concluded Jones.

Check that your PVC plumbing fittings are WaterMark certified to Australian Standards and are Best Environmental Practice PVC http://www.abcb.gov.au/product-certification/watermark

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