Faulty products and inadequate designs - there should be less of them under the new CodeMark building product certification scheme which was launched at the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) National Conference in September.

Under CodeMark, third-party certification bodies evaluate and certify products to ensure they meet specified requirements of the Building Code of Australia and/or the New Zealand Building Code. The ABCB and New Zealand’s Department of Building and Housing manage the scheme in their respective countries. JAS-ANZ, the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand, accredits certification bodies, who in turn evaluate and certify building products. Certificate holders are entitled to display the CodeMark ‘Mark of Conformity’, and in so doing can bolster their market credibility.

Chief executive of JAS-ANZ, Tony Craven is confident that the entire building supply chain will benefit from the new scheme. “It is transparent and impartial,” he says, noting CodeMark helps protect consumers and aid them in getting “what they think they are buying.”

Materials, methods of construction and designs can come under the new scheme. The key benefits include: providing mandatory product acceptance by building control authorities1; managing legal liability; increasing market potential and efficiency; giving designers, architects, builders, building control authorities and consumers greater confidence and certainty; and facilitating the use of new and innovative products.

Now that the Scheme has been launched, organisations that want to become CodeMark certification bodies are being strongly encouraged to apply to JAS-ANZ for accreditation under the scheme. The ABCB will list an online database of certified products and certification bodies as they become available. The ABCB is promoting the new mark and will monitor JAS-ANZ’s performance and review the scheme periodically.

David Wood, of Certification Solutions says that third-party certification through JAS-ANZ will promote widespread acceptance of the scheme and ensure quicker certification turnaround times and lower costs. “By opening up the process to the competitive market spirit, you can have several certification bodies.” Wood says CodeMark gives the industry and consumers what they want – one clearly identifiable certification logo. He adds that certification bodies will “quite willingly” withdraw a product’s stamp of approval if necessary to safeguard consumers. Certification bodies will crack down on fraudulent use of the mark. At the same time, the role of the ABCB and JAS-ANZ as overseers helps ensure that certification bodies themselves act appropriately. “It’s a very transparent system,” says Wood. “That’s the great thing about it.”

Meanwhile Sam Guindi, manager of building and engineering products at the international assurance organisation, SAI Global, says CodeMark improves the quality of building products and services, and acts as a risk management tool for the sector. “It helps manage legal risks for the building profession, as well as giving consumers and end users the confidence that the product they are purchasing is compliant.“The CodeMark scheme provides this assurance. Building industry bodies are confident that CodeMark will help the long-term strength of the sector.”

1 At the time this article was written, some jurisdictions were still in the process of includingy provisions in their legislation to require building control authorities to accept CodeMark certified products (provided they comply with the relevant CodeMark certificate, including any conditions and limitations).

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