This video provides guidance on how to use Volume Three of the NCC to find and interpret information about Performance Requirements and compliance solutions.


[voice over] Using NCC Volume Three 

NCC Tutor Series 

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 of all classes of buildings. 

This module is best viewed with a copy of the NCC on hand – to access the NCC, visit and register or log in to access it freely. 

Slide 1 

In this presentation you will learn: 

  • 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; and 

  • Where to get guidance on using Volume Three. 


Slide 2 

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 health 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 will be discussed later in this presentation. 

NCC Volume Three is used in conjunction with NCC Volumes One and Two. The PCA contains references to the requirements in NCC Volumes One and Two (which is also known as the Building Code of Australia). These references are things that the 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.  

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 a 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. 


Slide 3

Compliance solutions in Volume Three 

AS/NZS 3500 series is the key referenced documents 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.  


Slide 4 

How is Volume Three of the NCC organised?

Section A contains the Governing Requirements, which are the same in all three volumes of the NCC. You will find all the same information in Section A of Volume Three as you will find in Section 1 of Volume Two and Section A of Volume One. Just remember the numbering is different between the volumes. This includes information on building classifications and referenced documents. 

As the Governing Requirements section is the same across all three volumes of the NCC, it will not be discussed further in this presentation.  

Sections B to E contain all of the Performance Requirements, Verification Methods and DTS Provisions for Volume Three. This includes provisions for a variety of water services and for sanitary and plumbing drainage systems. It also includes provisions designed to prevent excessive noise from plumbing and drainage systems and those designed to ensure 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, Verifications Methods and DTS Provisions grouped across the different sections. This is different from Volume Two, where the Performance requirements and Verification Methods are all gathered together in one section with the DTS Provisions in a separate section.  

Volume Three contains the same schedules as the other volumes. Most of the text in the schedules is identical across all three volumes, but the contents of Schedule 1 State and Territory Appendices varies. As the schedules are more or less the same across all Volumes of the NCC, we won’t discuss these any further in this presentation.  

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


Slide 5

What do Sections B to E contain? 

While the different sections provide Performance Requirements, Verification Methods, and DTS Provisions for specific aspects of plumbing and drainage, they must be applied holistically. That is, you need to consider the impact of a decision in one area on the requirements in other areas. For example, installation of plumbing should not compromise the structural integrity of the building or fire safety of that building. This could potentially occur when pipework lies near building footings or framing, or goes through a vapor barrier or fire-resistant elements within a building. Fixtures and fittings in wet areas must be installed in compliance with requirements for damp and weatherproofing of a building. 

This means that to determine how best to install plumbing in a building, you also need to consider the other Performance Requirements that the building must meet, and ensure that the Compliance Solution meets all of them holistically.  

The Explanatory Information in Part B4 of NCC Volume Three includes a useful table of cross-volume considerations. 

All sections provide all the relevant Performance Requirements first, then any Verification Methods, and then finally all the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions, including Specifications where relevant. 

Section B: Water Services contains requirements to provide safe and adequate water supply, conserve water and avoid the likelihood of contamination of drinking water. It also covers cold and heated, drinking and non-drinking, and fire-fighting water services, cross-connection control and rainwater harvesting. 

Section C covers the requirements for sanitary plumbing and drainage systems. The key objectives are to safeguard the health of people and the environment, protect infrastructure, conserve water and energy and of course, suitable and maintainable sanitary plumbing and drainage systems. 

These objectives are achieved through provisions for the design, construction, installation, repair, replacement, alteration and maintenance of any part of a suitable sanitary plumbing and drainage system. This includes sanitary fixtures and appliances in an approved disposal system. 

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. This basically requires that taps and other controls must be accessible and suitable for use by all users, including those with disabilities. 


Slide 6 

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.  

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


Slide 7 

Some of the Performance Requirements for different water services are very similar. This is because of the need to safeguard help and well-being, resulting in similar requirements for water services, even when their intended use is slightly different. 

When we look at B1, Cold Water Services, we can see this particular wording in NCC Volume Three. But when we actually dig into some of the wording, it helps to actually explore what some of these terms mean. 

Firstly, when we look at drinking water. Drinking water means water intended primarily for human consumption, but which also has other domestic uses. Water could be used for drinking, preparing food, washing dishes and clothes and personal hygiene. 

The application also is important to consider. 

We can see here that B1 has limited applications as shown. It does not apply to water used for other purposes, such as watering gardens, flushing toilets, or supplying services such as air conditioning units. 

Another key definition to consider is uncontrolled discharge. Uncontrolled discharge means any unintentional release of fluid from a plumbing or drainage system, and this includes leakage and seepage. 

When we look at B2: Heated Water Services, there's a number of elements we can consider here. Firstly is the definition of heated water. Heated water means water that has been intentionally heated. It is not normally referred to as hot water or warm water. Water that is heated in any form, or hot water service, boiler, et cetera. 

It's generally supplied to kitchens and bathrooms for washing dishes and personal hygiene. 

There are two Performance Requirements for part B2 Heated Water Supply that are not shown on this slide for the reasons of space. 

When we examine the application, we can see that the application is also limited. For example, it applies to fixtures for showers and baths and taps for hand-washing either in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry. 

We can also consider some of the state and territory variations. There's a variation for both Queensland and Victoria. There is an additional clause for both states. These can be found in Schedule One: State and Territory Variations and Additions. 

B3: Non-Drinking Water Services. When we consider the particular definitions here, firstly we need to understand what non-drinking water is. Non-drinking water means water which is not drinking water. In other words, water that is not primarily intended for drinking. 

This may be supplied for gardening or operation of services such as air conditioners. 

It's also important to consider the concept of cross-connection. Cross-connection means 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 the water. There are similar requirements for most water services. This includes required flow rates and pressure, access for maintenance, isolation for testing and maintenance and avoidance of failure or uncontrolled discharge. 

B4: Firefighting Water Services. Let's firstly consider what a firefighting water service is. It applies to water used specifically to fight a fire in the building. 

It may be required to meet other Performance Requirements. For example, fire safety Performance Requirements in NCC Volume One. 

There are similar requirements for most water services. Required flow rates and pressure, access for maintenance, isolation for testing and maintenance, and avoidance of failure or uncontrolled discharge. 

B5: Cross-Connection Control. Firstly, let's examine this concept of contamination. 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 the water. 

We can see here that there's a specific application, and as it's shown, it applies to most kinds of water systems. 

Some similar requirements apply to rainwater harvesting systems. 

B6: Rainwater Harvesting and Use. Rainwater harvesting systems are systems that comprise of plumbing installations that include any plumbing that connects a rainwater tank to any drinking water or non-drinking water outlets and any top-up line that conveys drinking water from a network utility operator's water supply to a rainwater tank. 

We can see here there are similar requirements that apply to most water services, including required flow rates and pressure, access for maintenance, isolation for testing and maintenance, avoidance of failure or uncontrolled discharge. 

There are, however, additional requirements to avoid contamination within the system and between the system and other systems, and also to allow efficient use of drinking water. 

There's also a limitation. BP6.4 identification is a requirement to clearly identify all plumbing elements that form part of a rainwater harvesting system. 

This does not apply if there are no other water systems or water services in the building. 


Slide 8 

Section C Sanitary plumbing and drainage systems 

There are two Parts to the Performance Requirements: 

  • C1 Sanitary plumbing systems, and 

  • C2 Sanitary drainage systems. 

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

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

Let's explore some of the detail in Section C. 

Plumbing means any water plumbing, roof plumbing, sanitary plumbing system, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning plumbing. Plumbing is a broad term, but this part relates to sanitary plumbing systems in particular. 

The next is sullage. Sullage refers to wastewater from bathrooms and kitchens, excluding waste water from toilets. Sullage does not contain human waste, i.e. faeces or urine. Sullage can arise from various activities, such as food preparation, washing dishes, hand-washing and showering. 

The next term is drainage. Drainage means any sanitary drainage liquid trade waste drainage or 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 systems means a system for the disposal of sewage, sullage or stormwater approved by an authority having jurisdiction. 

Blockage means any obstruction within the drainage system. 

Surface water means all naturally occurring water other than sub-surface water, which results from rainfall on or around the site or water flowing onto the site. 

We can see here there are also some state and territory variations. These particularly apply to Victoria, Northern Territory and Tasmania. 


Slide 9 

Let’s have a go at interpreting Sections B to E of Volume Three. You will need to have access to your copy of the NCC. To answer these questions, you will need to look up what you think is the relevant part of Volume Three.  

You may like to pause this presentation after the question to give you time to find the answer 

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. 

  • BP1.1 Water supply, Application 1. 

  • When the cold water supply is likely to be used for human consumption (i.e 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 3 Definitions. 

  • Drinking water means 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 BP5.1 Contamination control for a drinking water service? 

  • Section B Water services. 

  • Part B5 Cross-connection control. 

  • B5.2 Drinking water service. 

  • Each hazard must be: 

  • Assigned an individual or zone Hazard Rating in line with BS5.1.4 or BS5.1.5 of Specification B5.1, and 

  • Isolated from the drinking water service by an appropriate backflow prevention device which is selected and isolated in accordance with Section 4 of AS/NZS 3500.1 

Question 4: According to Section B, what limitation applies to the Performance Requirement to identify pipes, pipe outlets, storage and holding tanks that form part of a rainwater harvesting system? 

  • Part B6 Rainwater harvesting and use. 

  • BP6.4 Identification. 

  • Limitation is BP6.4 does not apply if the rainwater harvesting system is the only water supply connected to the site. 

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 C.2 Sanitary drainage systems. 

  • CV2.2 Pressure testing. 

  • C2.3 Swimming pool drainage. 

  • C2.4 General requirements. 

  • AS/NZS 3500.2 Plumbing and drainage – Sanitary plumbing and drainage. 

Question 6: In Section E, identify the Australian Standards referenced in the DTS Provisions for accessible taps and controls. 

  • Part E1 Facilities. 

  • E1.2 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 (2009). 


Slide 10 

Let’s test your knowledge. 

Where can we find provisions for managing cross contamination of water supplies?  

Part B3, Part C2, Part B5, or Part C1.

Take a moment to consider your answers. 

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


Slide 11 

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.  

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

The WaterMark 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 ABCB website. 

It also maintains two schedules, both of which can be found on the ABCB website:  

  • The first is WaterMark Schedule of Products (WMSP):  lists products that require WaterMark certification, and 

  • The second is, 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 ABCB website. 


Slide 12 

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, and 

  • 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.  

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.  


Slide 13 

How do we use Volume Three? 

Identify the applicable Performance Requirements, Verification Methods and Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions in Sections B-E. 

Check definitions and note exceptions, limitations and state and territory variations to any Performance Requirements, Verification Methods or DTS Provisions. 

We decide on use of a DTS Solution, Performance Solution or a combination of the two. 

We 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 inthe Schedule of Products then use a WaterMark certified product. 

If the product is listed in the Schedule of Excluded Products then use another product and provide appropriate evidence of suitability. 

If the product is listed in… if neither Schedule then Undertake a risk assessment (in accordance with the WaterMark Scheme Rules) to determine if certification is required. 


Slide 14 

Match the Section with its subject We have sections B, C, D, and E. 

The subjects are facilities, excessive noise, water services, and sanitary plumbing and draining systems. 

Take a moment to consider your response. 

Section B – Water Services
Section C – Sanitary Plumbing and Drainage Systems
Section D – Excessive Noise
Section E - Facilities

Slide 15 

Match the Part in Section B with its subject.… 

We have Parts B1 to B6. 

The subjects are firefighting water services, non-drinking water services, cold water services, cross-connection control, heated water services and rainwater harvesting and use. 

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 harvesting and use

Slide 16 

Cross-connection control is a key 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 service or drainage system. 

The 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. It aims to provide knowledge to apply cross-connection control in plumbing and drainage solutions and also to enable practitioners to manage a range of situations where different design and assessment tools are needed. 

The 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. It provides knowledge to better understand warm water systems and does not set out a complete reference for the design, installation and maintenance of warm water systems. 

Both handbooks shown 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 NCC 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. 


Slide 17 

Key points from this presentation are: 

Nationally consistent minimum regulations for plumbing and drainage for all classes of buildings are contained in NCC Volume Three. 

The 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 to E each contain Performance Requirements, Verification Methods and DTS Provisions. 

Some sections have Parts. 

Handbooks on the ABCB website provide non-mandatory guidance for: 


Slide 18 

This brings us to the end of the presentation.  

Thank you for viewing this NCC Tutor module. Check out the other NCC Tutor modules available to build your understanding of the NCC. 

[End of transcript]