The focus of this video is on how to use Volume Three of the NCC to find and interpret information about Performance Requirements and compliance solutions for plumbing and drainage for all classes of buildings.


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Welcome to Using NCC Volume Three

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The focus of this presentation is on how to use Volume Three of the NCC to find and interpret information about Performance Requirements and compliance solutions for plumbing and drainage for all classes of buildings.

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This is what you will learn about in this presentation. What NCC Volume Three contains. How NCC Volume Three is organised and where to find information within it. How to interpret the different Sections of Volume Three. Where to get guidance on using Volume Three.

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What does Volume Three of the NCC contain? The provisions within NCC Volume Three cover all classes of buildings. It prescribes the minimum required levels for the design and construction of plumbing and drainage systems in Australia.

It covers minimum requirements related to safety and health, amenity and accessibility, and sustainability. NCC Volume Three is also known as the ‘Plumbing Code of Australia’ or PCA. 

NCC Volume Three references or calls up specific documents considered suitable for regulation. This volume extensively references the AS/NZS 3500 Plumbing and drainage series of Australian Standards, among others.

It includes information on and requirements for certain materials and products used in plumbing and drainage installations to be certified under the WaterMark Certification Scheme, which is discussed later in this module.

NCC Volume Three is used in conjunction with NCC Volumes One and Two. The PCA contains references to requirements in NCC Volumes One and Two (the Building Code of Australia) that plumbing practitioners should be aware of. These requirements may impact on a plumbing or drainage installation and are identified in the PCA as “cross-volume considerations” in explanatory information boxes. 

For example , in NCC Volume One, Performance Requirements F7P1 to F7P4 cover sound transmission and insulation in walls and floors of Class 2, 3 and 9c buildings, and would need to be met when designing and building plumbing and drainage systems in these buildings.

In Volume One, requirements for installing a sprinkler system in a building will generally involve the installation of plumbing which will be required to comply with the appropriate provisions in Volume Three. 

In NCC Volume Two, Performance Requirement H4P6 covers sound insulation of walls in Class 1 buildings and would need to be met when designing and building plumbing and drainage systems in this class of building.

In the past, each state and territory government has had its own plumbing and drainage requirements. Whilst this involved adopting various standards, not all states and territories picked up the same standards or the same edition at the same time. This approach proved to be a real challenge for companies working in multiple states or even contractors who thought they were referring to the right set of standards.

NCC Volume Three has removed these differences and ensures that the technical requirements for plumbing across the whole country are in one place, therefore enhancing the objective of having nationally consistent minimum necessary regulations.

 While there are still some State and Territory Variations and additions to Volume Three, they have dramatically reduced from what was in place before Volume Three was introduced in 2011.

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Compliance Solutions in Volume Three

AS/NZS 3500 series is the key referenced document in the DTS Provisions for plumbing requirements in the NCC, as illustrated in the green boxes.

Performance Solutions can still be developed to meet the relevant plumbing and drainage related Performance Requirements. 

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How is Volume Three of the NCC organised?

Section A contains the Governing Requirements, which are the same in all volumes of the NCC. They will find all the same information in Section A of Volume Three as they will in Section A of Volume Two and Section A of Volume One. This includes information on building classifications and referenced documents.

As the Governing Requirements section is the same across all volumes of the NCC, it will not be discussed further in this module. (It is discussed in the Understanding the NCC module.)

Sections B-E contain all the Performance Requirements, Verification Methods and DTS Provisions for Volume Three. This includes provisions for a variety of water services and for sanitary plumbing and drainage systems. It also includes provisions designed to prevent excessive noise from plumbing and drainage systems and those designed to ensure that plumbing systems are accessible for those with disabilities.

The structure of Volume Three is similar to the structure of Volume One, with the Performance Requirements, Verification Methods and DTS Provisions grouped across the different sections. This is different from Volume Two, where Performance Requirements and Verification Methods are all gathered together, with the DTS Provisions contained separately in the Housing Provisions. 

Volume Three contains the same Schedules as the other volumes. Most of the text in the Schedules is identical across the volumes, but the contents of Schedules 4 to 11 (State and Territory Variations and Additions) varies (i.e. is specific to each volume). 

As the Schedules are more or less the same across all volumes of the NCC, they will not be discussed further in this module. (They are discussed in the Understanding the NCC module.)

So, this module focuses on understanding and using sections B-E of Volume Three of the NCC.

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What do Sections B – E contain? 

Section B: Water Services. Requirements to provide safe and adequate water supply, conserve water and avoid the likelihood of contamination of drinking water. 

Covers cold and heated, drinking and non-drinking, and fire-fighting water services, cross-connection control and rainwater services and storage.

Section C: Sanitary Plumbing and Drainage Systems. Requirements for adequate disposal systems covering plumbing and drainage.

Section D: Excessive Noise. Many people live in urban environments and therefore in close proximity to others, so excessive noise can be an important issue for occupants of buildings.

For example, when people live in apartments, the noise from one apartment’s bathroom plumbing or drainage system may penetrate another apartment, disturbing the other residents’ ability to go about their usual activities. 

This is termed a “loss of amenity” in the NCC, and plumbing and drainage systems should be designed to prevent this loss of amenity.

Section E: Facilities. Basically, requires that taps and other controls must be accessible and suitable for use by all users, including those with disabilities.

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Section B – Water Services. Most buildings have more than one kind of water service, for the purposes of the NCC. There are different Performance Requirements for each type of water service.

The purpose that a water service is used for is critical to determining which requirements apply. For example, is the water primarily intended for drinking, preparing food, showering, flushing a toilet, watering a garden, or running another service such as running an air-conditioner?

All of these water services can be supplied to any class of building. 

However, some of them may not be required in some classes of buildings. For example, Class 1 buildings don’t have to have fire-fighting water services, while a Class 3 residential building will very often need to have this kind of water service. (A Class 1 building can have a fire-fighting water service, if the owner/builder decides to install one.)

Cross-connection control is about safeguarding water services from contamination from other water services.

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Interpreting Section B Water services. Some of the Performance Requirements for different water services are very similar. This is because of the need to safeguard health, resulting in similar requirements for water services, even when their intended use is slightly different.

B1 Cold water services. Drinking water: Water intended primarily for human consumption but which has other domestic uses. Water used for drinking, preparing food, washing dishes and clothes, personal hygiene. Limited application, as shown. Does not apply to water used for other purposes, such as watering gardens, flushing toilets or supplying services such as air conditioning.

B2 Heated water services. Heated water: water that has been intentionally heated; normally referred to as hot water or warm water. Water that is heated in any form or hot water service, boiler etc. Generally supplied to kitchens and bathrooms for washing dishes and personal hygiene. Limited application as shown. For example, fixtures for showers and baths, taps for handwashing, either in a bathroom, kitchen or laundry.

B3 Non-drinking water services. Non-drinking water: water that is not intended primarily for human consumption, may be supplied for gardening or the operation of services, such as air-conditioners.

Cross-connection: any actual or potential connection between a water supply and any contaminant. A contaminant is a substance, energy, or heat, that (alone or in combination with other substances, energy or heat) changes or is likely to change the physical, chemical or biological condition of water.

B4 Fire-fighting water services. Flow rate and pressure. Similar requirements for most water services, required flow rates and pressure, access for maintenance, isolation for testing and maintenance, Avoidance of failure or uncontrolled discharge.

Fire-fighting water service applies to water used specifically to fight a fire in the building

May be required to meet other Performance requirements, for example, fire safety Performance in NCC Volume One

B5 Cross-connection control. Contamination means exposed to a contaminant. A contaminant is a substance, energy, or heat, that (alone or in combination with other substances, energy or heat) changes or is likely to change the physical, chemical or biological condition of water. Application, as shown, to most kinds of water services. Similar requirements apply to rainwater storage systems.

B6 Rainwater services. Rainwater service: a water service which distributes water from the isolation valve of the rainwater storage to the rainwater points of discharge for purposes such as clothes washing, urinal and water closet flushing and external hose cracks. 

B6P3 is about efficient use of rainwater. Similar requirements apply for most water services.

Additional Performance Requirements in B6 Rainwater services for required velocity and pressure, access and isolation or testing and maintenance, identification, avoidance of uncontrolled discharge.

Exemption B6P3(a)(ii) does not apply to a vacuum drainage system

B7 Rainwater storage. Rainwater storage is any storage of rainwater collected from a roof catchment area which is used to supply water for the primary purposes of drinking, personal hygiene or other uses. 

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Section C Sanitary plumbing and drainage systems

The Performance Requirements for the 2 Parts have a lot of similarities. And many of these are similar to the Performance Requirements for the various Parts of Section B.

For example, the need to provide access for maintenance, the need for efficient use of water and protection from contamination.

C1 Sanitary plumbing systems. Plumbing is any water service plumbing or sanitary plumbing system. Plumbing is a broad term but this Part relates to sanitary plumbing systems in particular. Sullage refers to waste water from bathrooms and kitchens, excluding waste water from toilets. Sullage does not contain human waste (ie faeces or urine). Sullage can arise from various activities, such as food preparation, washing dishes, hand washing and showering. Drainage is any part of a sanitary drainage system, including any liquid trade waste drainage or a stormwater drainage system. Drainage covers systems to dispose of a range of liquids, but this Part relates to sanitary drainage systems in particular. Approved disposal system is a system for the disposal of sewage, sullage or stormwater approved by an authority having jurisdiction.

C2 Sanitary drainage systems. Surface water is all naturally occurring water, other than sub-surface water, which results from rainfall on or around the site or water flowing onto the site.

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Interpreting Sections B-E of Volume Three

Question 1: According to Section B, under what circumstances must a cold water service be connected to a drinking water supply? Part B1 Cold water services, B1P1 Cold water supply, Application 1, When the cold water supply is likely to be used for human consumption (drinking), food preparation, washing food utensils or personal hygiene (showering, bathing, washing hands etc.)

Question 2: How does the NCC define the term drinking water? Schedule 1 Definitions. “Water intended primarily for human consumption but which has other domestic uses.”

Question 3: According to Section B, what DTS Solution can be used to satisfy Performance Requirement B5P1 Contamination control for a drinking water service? Section B Water services. Part B5 Cross-connection control. B5D2 Drinking water service.

Question 4: According to Section B, what exemption applies to the Performance Requirement to identify pipes, pipe outlets, storage and holding tanks that form part of a rainwater storage system? Part B7 Rainwater storage. B7P4 Identification. Exemption: B7P4 does not apply if the rainwater storage system is intended for drinking and personal hygiene

Question 5: In Section C, identify the Australian Standard referenced in the Verification Methods and DTS Provisions for the design, construction and installation of sanitary drainage systems? Part C2 Sanitary drainage systems. C2V2 Pressure testing. C2D3 Swimming pool drainage. C2D4 General requirements. AS/NZS 3500.2 Plumbing and drainage – Sanitary plumbing and drainage. C2D5 Bushfire prone areas. AS 3959 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas.

Question 6: In Section E, identify the Australian Standards referenced in the DTS Provisions for accessible taps and controls? Part E1 Facilities. E1D2 General requirements. 

For passenger use areas of Class 9b and Class 10 public transport buildings, AS 1428.1 (2001) Design for access and mobility – General requirements for access – New building work, AS 1428.2 Design for access and mobility – Enhanced and additional requirements – Buildings and facilities. For all other buildings : AS 1428.1 (2021).

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Where can we find provisions for managing cross contamination of water supplies? Part B3, Part C2, Part B5, Part C1

If you chose, Part B5. Yes, that’s right. Part B5 Cross-connection control contains provisions for managing cross contamination.

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What is the WaterMark Certification Scheme?

The WaterMark Certification Scheme (Scheme) is a mandatory certification scheme for plumbing and drainage products to ensure they are fit for purpose and appropriately authorised for use in plumbing and drainage installations. 

The ABCB manages and administers the Scheme as a national scheme. 

Volume Three requires certain plumbing and drainage products to be certified and authorised for use in a plumbing or drainage installation. 

The Scheme is referenced in Part A5 Documentation of design and construction.

The ABCB hosts a database of WaterMark certified products, which can be searched on the WaterMark website (

It also maintains two schedules, both of which can be found on the WaterMark website: WaterMark Schedule of Products (WMSP):  lists products that require WaterMark certification. WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products (WMEP):  lists products which don’t need to have WaterMark certification.

Not all products and materials must have WaterMark certification. 

If a product is not listed on either schedule, then a risk assessment must be completed to determine whether certification is required. The Risk Assessment Protocol is Appendix 3 of the Rules for the WaterMark Certification Scheme which can be found on the WaterMark/ABCB website.

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WaterMark Certification Scheme. To be certified and authorised, a product listed on the WaterMark Schedule of Products needs to be tested by an accredited Testing Laboratory, comply with an approved product specification (either a relevant existing product standard or a WaterMark Technical Specification), be manufactured in accordance with an approved quality assurance program, Carry a scope of use.

If compliant with the WaterMark Certification Scheme requirements, then the product is eligible to be certified (by a WaterMark Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) and listed on the WaterMark Product Database.

If a product is in contact with drinking water, then it must also comply with AS 4020: Testing for products in contact with drinking water. When the product is also required to be WaterMark certified, compliance with AS 4020 is included in the WaterMark Certification. 

Any product containing copper alloy, and intended for use in contact with drinking water, must have a weighted average lead content of not more than 0.25%. Lead is a toxic element that if ingested by humans above recommended health standards, can lead to adverse health outcomes. 

A transition period to comply with this requirement commences on 1 September 2022 and compliance becomes mandatory from 1 September 2025. During the transition period existing copper alloy products in the marketplace that are not compliant can still be installed.

Products that are excluded from the Scheme, will not be WaterMark certified, will not be listed on the WaterMark Product Database and will require another form of evidence of suitability. 

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How do we use Volume Three?

Identify the applicable Performance Requirements, Verification Methods and Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions in Sections B-E. Check definitions, notes, exceptions, limitations, etc. and State/Territory variations to any Performance Requirements, Verification Methods or DTS Provisions. Decide on use of a DTS Solution, Performance Solution or a combination of the two. Locate all relevant referenced documents. For each plumbing product, check whether the product is listed in either the WaterMark Schedule of Products or the WaterMark Schedule of Excluded Products. If the product is listed in The Schedule of Products then Use a Watermark-certified product. If the product is listed in The Schedule of Executed Products then Use another product and provide appropriate evidence of suitability. If the product is listed in Netiehr Schedule then Undertake a risk assessment (in accordance with the WaterMark Scheme Rules) to determine if certification is required.

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Match the Section with its subject. Section B equals Water Services. Section C equals Sanitary Plumbing and Drainage Systems. Section D equals Excessive Noise. Section E equals Facilities.

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Match the Part in Section B with its subject. Part B1 = Cold water services. Part B2 = Heated water services. Part B3 = Non-drinking water services. Part B4 = Fire-fighting water services. Part B5 = Cross-connection control. Part B6 = Rainwater services.

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Additional guidance on Volume Three. Cross-connection control handbook. Aims to provide practical information on the policy objectives and technical basis for NCC Performance Requirements relating to cross-connection control. Provide knowledge to apply cross-connection control in plumbing and drainage solutions. Enable practitioners to manage a range of situations where different design and assessment tools are needed. Warm water systems handbook

Aims to provide general, practical information on the policy objectives and technical basis for NCC Performance Requirements relating to warm water systems.

Provide knowledge to better understand warm water systems.

Does not set out a complete reference for the design, installation and maintenance of warm water systems.

Cross-connection control is a key a significant requirement that can be complex. The handbook aims to make it easier to ensure that a water supply is not contaminated via its connections into other plumbing and drainage systems.

Both of the handbooks shown on the slide are non-mandatory. In other words, they do not contain any provisions that must be complied with. They contain only explanatory and guidance information. All the mandatory provisions are in Volume Three.

The various handbooks are developed, updated and issued separately from Volume Three and the rest of the NCC.  Like the NCC itself, the handbooks are available at the ABCB website.

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Section A Governing Requirements. Exactly the same as other volumes.

Sections B-E, Performance Requirements, Verification Methods, Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions

Schedules, the same as other volumes with volume specific State 
and Territory variations

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Key points

Nationally consistent minimum regulations for plumbing and drainage for all classes of buildings. Goal is to prevent injury, illness or loss (of life, property or amenity) as a result of failure of plumbing or drainage services. Sections B-E each contain Performance Requirements, Verification Methods and DTS Provisions. Each Sections has Parts.

Handbooks on the ABCB website provide non-mandatory guidance: Cross-connection control handbookWarm water systems handbook

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Thank you for your time. That brings our presentation on Using NCC Volume Three to a close. If you’d like more information please visit