Your role in the supply chain can mean that you have specific obligations or duties to check and assure that the right products are used and used correctly. Depending on your role, this could also mean that you face specific risks and liabilities if products and materials are non-complying or non-conforming.
Manufacturers need to ensure that they know the requirements of compliance and conformance of their products and materials and the evidence required to demonstrate compliance. This involves being aware of a range of related requirements such as testing, assurance, and certification. It also requires manufacturers to understand how customers should and should not use their products.
Importers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers
Importers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers need to ensure that the products being supplied do not breach trade or consumer laws or industry-specific requirements for safety or performance. Some products or materials have specific requirements to demonstrate safety and suitability before they can be lawfully sold and may require independent testing and certification before being supplied.
Architects, Designers, Engineers and other specialists
Architects, Designers, Engineers and other specialists involved in the planning and design of building and construction must ensure that they understand and specify the performance requirements of building elements and materials. Design consultants must design buildings to comply with the National Construction Code (NCC) and the relevant state requirements. This includes the specification of building products which meet the performance requirements of the NCC.
Procurement plays a key role in ensuring the right products and materials are used on a job. If you are involved in sourcing and buying materials and products used in construction you need to understand the requirements of compliance and conformance and obtain the evidence required to demonstrate suitability. It also requires procurers to understand how customers should and should not use products and materials.
Approval authorities (such as building certifiers/surveyors) of developments and construction have responsibilities for ensuring that plans, specifications and critical aspects of construction comply with Codes, standards and laws. They can also have a role in inspecting building and construction and need to be aware of the signs of a product that potentially may not conform to the requirements it purports to meet, and of products and materials being applied incorrectly.
Developers, Builders and other specialist tradespersons
Developers, Builders and other specialist tradespersons do the work of installing and building with products and materials. They are not the only people responsible for ensuring that conforming and complying products and materials are used, but much of the risk and responsibility falls to them because they are the ones that ultimately do the building work.
Developers and builders are responsible for ensuring that cost management does not compromise the performance of the selected building materials. They should also ensure that certificates demonstrating the compliance of purchased and installed materials comply with the certification documents/building approval. This documentation should be kept with the contract documentation and provided to the building owner on completion of the building work.
Home owners and occupants
As the people that ultimately pay for building and construction as well as live, work and play in the finished building, home owners and occupants have important roles to play. They need to ensure they understand the problems and risks of non-complying and non-conforming products and engage professionals that have the expertise to perform their role skilfully. They also have have a responsibility for ensuring that achieving a cost-effective result does not lead to using sub-standard products or unsuitable products.
Consumers should ensure that they engage qualified and experienced building professionals who are obligated to deliver building work using building products that are comply with the NCC, other laws and standards. Consumers should check with the building regulator in your state or territory about the requirements for building professionals to be licensed, accredited or registered, ensuring that only legitimate traders are used. Your state/territory building regulator can also provide tips or advice about other requirements such as contracts, insurance and statutory warranties.
Consumers and customers should ask questions of the builders and trades they engage and seek evidence to support the suitability of the products used. Where they are directly involved in the purchasing of products and materials, consumers need to have a clear understanding of the requirements that apply to those products and materials and the evidence required to demonstrate compliance and conformance of those components.