The Victorian Caravan Industry is gearing up to comply with plumbing legislation that comes into force at the end of January 2017.
Words by Anthony Kilner
There has been talk in the caravan and motorhome industry about the implementation of a plumbing requirement in Victoria, which has raised questions about issues with hot water systems needing repair or replacement. In very simple terms, the requirement states that WaterMark certified products must be used in all new caravans and motorhomes from January 31, 2017, if it is not being done currently. All new caravan installations must be certified by a registered plumber, which is currently standard national practice. These laws are set out in the Victorian Legislation for Plumbing, as set by the Victorian Government, only apply to Victorian manufacturers and repairers, and are a part of the existing national standards for plumbing and drainage in vans.
How will the new code impact alterations and repairs? RV Daily contacted the Victorian Building Association (VBA) to clarify the position. A VBA spokesperson responded with the following:
“If the plumber carrying out repairs is required to replace any component of a caravan heated water system, then they must use WaterMark certified components. If, aside from the part being replaced, the plumber notes that other aspects of the heated water system also contain non-WaterMarked components, the plumber will have to use their judgement as to whether those components have the potential to impact health and safety of the caravan users. Where this is the case they should bring it to the attention of the consumer, and discuss the merits of replacing the non-WaterMarked components.“
We visited Nova Caravans as one of the Melbourne-based manufacturers affected by the changes. As a company, Nova prides itself on building quality vans to the standards to ensure customer safety and satisfaction.
We spoke to Nova’s warranty and R&D officer, Steve Mountney, who said: “When Nova Caravans received notification from the Caravan Industry Association of Victoria of the change of practice for watermarking of all components on the heated side, we contacted our contracted and licenced plumbers to ensure they were up to speed and we would be compliant as of the 31st of January 2017. The WaterMark certification is a mark, representing the part is approval for use. This ensures the quality of fit out in the van that will comply.”
In terms of a new van, the end user for any new unit from January 2017 onward is safe in the knowledge that their caravan will be compliant to the National Plumbing Code.
For anyone that has an older van, if something goes wrong with the hot water system, then the repair bill could vary from a basic system replacement with compliant products to a larger bill if more work is deemed necessary by the plumber. If a van from another state is repaired in Victoria, then it will be repaired to comply with the Victorian code.
In an effort to comply with the new plumbing code, Caravan Industry Association of Victoria has been very proactive and the central point for the industry on this matter. In working with industry manufacturers, suppliers , dealers, repairers and the VBA, (the body responsible for ensuring the requirement is met). Caravan Industry Association of Victoria has a strong compliance, education and training mantra to ensure the industry is well equipped to meet all the relevant rules and regulations. Even setting up its own National Caravan Industry Training College. ”As the peak body for the Caravan Trade Industry of Victoria we took the lead in negotiating on behalf of our members and industry on the development of the timelines for implementing the new compliance inspection requirements. On behalf of the industry we have communicated the requirements of the requirements and have conducted workshops for our members”, said Robert Lucas, CEO, Caravan Industry Association of Victoria.
As with any industry legislation, information takes time to be disseminated correctly and with six months before the new compliance takes effect, you can be sure that the Victorian industry will be up to speed. In the meantime, if you have any questions about what the plumbing requirement means for you, talk to your manufacturer, repairer or contact the Caravan Industry Association of Victoria.