The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 (the WELS Act) requires that all WELS products are registered and correctly labelled, when offered for supply.
WELS products include clothes washing machines, dishwashers, showers, and tap, urinal and lavatory equipment.
Importance of maintaining a WELS records system
All WELS products should be tracked and their details recorded and maintained to ensure that all WELS products you supply are:
- registered in accordance with the WELS standard; and
- labelled in accordance with the WELS standard.
What information should I collect and maintain in my WELS records system?
WELS recommends the following information is collected and maintained in your records system:
- the brand name and model number used to identify the product;
- the name and model number used by the manufacturer of the product to identify the product;
- the registration number, expiry date and any additional identifying information for the product;
- digital photographs of the product;
- a digital photograph of the product displayed for supply with WELS-labelling in accordance with the WELS standard; and
- the WELS licence number, WELS star rating, and water consumption rate/s.
The first step in establishing a WELS records system is undertaking an audit.
What is a WELS Audit?
A WELS audit is a process to identify and record all WELS products that are offered for supply and to collect information on product registration and labelling. This may include supply via retail stores, shopfronts, warehouses, auctions and the internet or supply as part of a service or another thing such as a fitting or fixture in a building.
See the sample and blank audit template
Why should I do an audit?
The supply of WELS products that are unregistered, unlabelled or labelled inconsistently with the standard, may constitute breaches of the WELS Act and as a consequence may attract enforcement action such as fines, or court action. As a supplier, you are responsible to ensure that all WELS products you supply comply with the WELS Act. This responsibility applies to each supplier in the supply chain.
Some of the WELS products I supply are not registered, what do I do?
You should contact your supplier and ask for the registration details. If you cannot confirm registration or re-registration status, you will need to decide whether you want to continue to supply the product. If you do, then either enquire whether the supplier intends to register the product or alternatively it is your responsibility to register the product yourself.
It is important to keep in mind that it is a criminal offence to supply unregistered WELS products. Infringement notice penalty amounts for a company are $6,600 per offence or $1,320 for an individual.
Some of the WELS products I supply are not labelled correctly, what do I do?
You should contact your supplier and obtain copies of correct water rating labels. Alternatively, you can use a free text format.
It is important to keep in mind that it is a criminal offence to supply WELS products without proper WELS labelling or information, or information that is inconsistent with the WELS standard. Infringement notice penalty amounts for a corporation are $6,600 per offence or $1,320 for an individual.
I have done an audit, what now?
Compliance Records System
You should keep a record of all WELS products which you offer for supply. The audit template can become the basis of your record system, or you may already have a record system as part of your stock control. As new products arrive in your store, you should add their details to your records system. It is important to keep track of your products to monitor those coming up for re-registration and liaise with your supplier regarding registration renewal intentions. In this way you can avoid supplying products that are not compliant.
Maintaining a compliance records system will also assist you during a WELS compliance inspection.
WELS recommends that a compliance training program is completed by persons who are employed by your business (whether on a full-time, part-time or casual basis or by virtue of any other arrangement) and whose duties include:
- the supply of WELS products; or
- the labelling, presenting or displaying of WELS products; or
- the purchasing, ordering or importing of WELS products.
The training program should at a minimum address the following topics:
- what is a WELS product;
- the requirement for WELS products to be registered under the WELS standard;
- the requirement for WELS products to be WELS-labelled under the WELS standard;
- how to obtain a WELS labels for WELS products;
- how to position and/or attach a WELS label to each category of WELS product in accordance with the WELS standard;
- the consequences of non-compliance with the requirements of the WELS standard and the WELS Act (including the commission of criminal offences); and
- the procedure staff members should follow if they consider that the business may be non-compliant with the WELS standard.
You may wish to identify a compliance officer, i.e. a particular staff member with WELS knowledge within the business to deal with issues raised by staff members regarding possible non-compliance with the WELS standards.
For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 218 478 (toll free within Australia) or +61 2 6272 5232 (international calls).