Industry guidance on the withdrawal of CertMark International Certificates of Conformity

Certificates of Conformity provided by CertMark International under the CodeMark Certification Scheme are one of the acceptable forms of evidence of suitability in accordance with the National Construction Code. In determining whether to accept a Certificate as evidence, relevant building surveyors must consider the appropriateness of that evidence, as one type may be suitable for products and materials, while others are better suited to design or form of construction.

In addition to our recent industry alert advising that a number of CertMark International (CMI) Certificates of Conformity having been withdrawn, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) offers the following information for assistance.

A Certificate of Conformity (Certificate) provided by CMI under the CodeMark Certification Scheme is one of the acceptable forms of evidence of suitability in accordance with the National Construction Code (NCC).

Other sources of supporting evidence that may assist in the approval of the design and construction of a building can include:

  • reports from an Accredited Testing Laboratory
  • reports with certificates pursuant to section 238 of the Building Act 1993 (the Act) from appropriately registered building practitioners
  • reports from other appropriately qualified persons
  • a certificate issued by the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC); and
  • other forms of documentary evidence, such as product technical statements.

In determining whether to accept the evidence provided, the relevant building surveyor must consider the appropriateness of that evidence, as one type may be suitable for products and materials, while others are better suited to design or form of construction. Any certificates or reports provided must be read very carefully to ensure all relevant requirements and conditions have been considered.

The VBA recommends that all building surveyors review their current appointments and contact their clients to identify whether they are affected by CMI’s withdrawal of Certificates.

Application for building permit received, building permit not issued

In the instance that you are currently considering an application for a building permit that proposes to use one of the products affected by a withdrawn Certificate, the Certificate can no longer be relied upon as evidence of suitability under the NCC. It is recommended you contact your clients and advise of the requirement to provide a different form of evidence of suitability to support the use of the proposed product or specify an alternate product that has appropriate evidence of suitability.

Building permit issued, installation of product has not yet commenced

Where a building permit has been issued that incorporates a product affected by a withdrawn Certificate and installation of the product is yet to commence, it is important that you contact your client and appraise them of this situation. If your client chooses to continue with the proposed use of the affected product, they may be required to provide further evidence of suitability. If they opt to use an alternate product they must apply for an amendment to the building permit. It may be suggested they contact the manufacturer to understand and confirm why the Certificate has been withdrawn.

The withdrawal of a certification previously relied upon to issue a building permit is considered a material change to the information for which the building permit was issued. The relevant building surveyor has a duty of care to ensure the building work being carried out complies with the building permit, the Act and the building regulations. A builder is also obligated to fulfil this requirement.

While it is acknowledged that the relevant building surveyor’s responsibilities may have been fulfilled for the function of issuing the building permit, the VBA considers that best practice requires you to protect your clients and your interest by bringing this matter to their attention promptly. The withdrawal of the Certificate may impact on the ability to issue an occupancy permit and it is considered appropriate to deal with the matter now rather than wait until the application for occupancy permit has been made.

Installation of product has commenced or has been completed, but occupancy permit not issued

Where the installation of the product has commenced or has been completed, but the occupancy permit has not been issued, appropriate evidence of suitability will need to be obtained to ensure that the building work is compliant, and the building will be suitable for occupation. Again, the withdrawal of the Certificate may impact on the ability to issue an occupancy permit. It is considered appropriate to deal with the matter now rather than wait until the application for an occupancy permit has been made.

The occupancy permit has been issued

Where the withdrawal of the Certificate is related to a significant problem with the product, further action may be required following the issue of the occupancy permit.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the VBA’s Technical and Regulation Building department by calling 1300 815 127 or emailing technicalenquiry@vba.vic.gov.au.