The Plumbing code of Australia (PCA) is updated once every 3 years and one of the new updates has removed “Alternative” solutions and replaced them with “Performance” solutions. If you were unaware of what an Alternative Solution was, it is when you make a change from the “Deemed to Satisfy” examples from AS/NZS3500.
One easy example of this comes from my previous Blog Provision for Overflow in External Eaves Gutter which talks about the deemed to satisfy provisions in appendix G and Figure G1 shown below. If you make any changes to these installation methods it will now be called a Performance Solution. Other very topical places Performance solutions have also started to appear is in Box Gutter installation as I also touched on in previous Blogs Overflows in Box Gutter.
Performance solutions must be pre-planned prior to the installation of the job and the compliance certificate must describe the performance solution. This description can be very brief (See possible example) This plumbing work has been installed as a performance solution to meet the performance requirements of the BP2.1 through to BP2.8 using verification method BV2.1 of the Plumbing Code of Australia 2016.
But this must be supported by the correct information provided by a qualified competent professional, some Plumbers may believe that they fit this criteria but I can assure you that I have often believed myself to be a qualified competent professional but I know I am not qualified to produce the documentation needed to satisfy the criteria required by the VBA and the PCA, the VBA States that the evidence of suitability are:
> A certificate from a Professional Engineer (With Experience with Hydraulics), or other suitably qualified person, certifying that the Performance Solution meets the requirements of the PCA.
The Professional Engineer (With Experience with Hydraulics) must also set out the basis on which certification is given, including the documents relied upon.
> Any other form of documentary evidence that correctly describes the properties and performance of the design and installation.
The evidence must adequately demonstrate its suitability for use in a plumbing installation.
All documentation related to plumbing jobs covered by a certificate of compliance must be retained by the plumber for a period of 10 years, the insurance on the compliance certificate is valid for a period of 6 years but the VBA or other regulatory body can hold the plumber liable for a period of 10 years.
The VBA recommends that Plumbers follow these key stages.
Provided by vba.vic.gov.au
The first stage is, Performance Solution documentation.
Documentation is a key part of any Performance Solution, and must contains the following information to comply with the PCA.
The documentation must:
> Describe the proposal, its scope, purpose, where it is to be installed and the type of plumbing work required.
> Identify which Performance Requirements are applicable to your Performance Solution.
> To prove that your Performance Solution meets the Performance Requirements you must use an assessment method.
> Your documentation must specify which of the Assessment Methods you will use to demonstrate compliance.
> All of this forms the final report.
Provided by vba.vic.gov.au
The documentation must include:
> Performance Requirements
> Assessment method
> Analysis, modelling and / or Testing
> Conclusion including limitations
The VBA has developed an Industry Guide on how to develop Performance solutions that is based of guidance from the PCA and based on the information from the ABCB for the existing regulatory requirements. This guide is written specifically for Victorian plumbing practitioners.