Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme
Issue 2, 2017
The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme newsletter is published quarterly to update you on developments and highlight some of our achievements.
If you have particular topics you’d like to see covered in future, please let us know.
Developing an international WELS standard
Standards Australia is leading work with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to develop an international standard for water efficiency testing and rating of water-using products. The proposed standard would be based on the Australian/New Zealand standard that underpins the WELS scheme (AS/NZS 6400:2016 Water efficient products–Rating and labelling).
Work towards the ISO standard kicked off in July with a workshop in Singapore. The ISO Asia-Pacific office participated, along with WELS and Standards organisations from Singapore, China, New Zealand and Australia, with Malaysia as an apology. Each of these countries has a program similar to Australia's WELS scheme, and all agreed to support the proposal and have contributed to an ISO New Work Item Proposal as the first formal step in the ISO development process.
An ISO International Standard based on AS/NZS 6400 would decrease costs for Australian businesses and improve access to overseas markets for Australian manufacturers. It would also increase compliance with the WELS scheme in Australia and provide a tool that can be used by other countries to reduce water use by implementing similar consumer labelling schemes or setting minimum water efficiency standards.
Compliance requirements for builders and property developers
Products installed as fixtures or fittings in new buildings offered for sale must be registered and labelled in accordance with the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 (WELS Act). However, preliminary inspections of new apartment display suites in several capital cities suggest that many builders and developers are unaware of their WELS obligations.
WELS staff have begun working with state and territory building and plumbing administrations and with peak industry groups to get the word out to builders, developers and real estate professionals. Inspections and educational visits to building sites and display homes have also commenced and are starting to have an effect. As expected, most businesses are happy to comply once they understand their obligations. Some are even using the scheme as a selling point, as water efficiency is important to consumers who want to save money on water and energy bills and reduce their environmental footprint.
Builders, developers and real estate agents should be aware that penalties of up to $63,000 for a body corporate or $12,600 for an individual can apply for each unregistered or unlabelled product offered for supply. And unlike WaterMark, the obligation rests with the business or individual offering the product to the consumer.
For more information or help in understanding how to be compliant with WELS, contact WELS Compliance on 1800 372 746 or by emailing WELS
New label designs — time to change
The WELS label design changed when AS/NZS 6400, the standard that sets out the design, was updated in August 2016. The new label designs provide more accurate information to consumers in a simpler format. WELS sponsors the free download of AS/NZS 6400:2016 from SAI Global.
To help industry transition to the new label designs, the WELS Regulator issued a statement and related FAQs to allow businesses to use labels compliant with the previous standard for a set time period and in specific circumstances.
Transitional arrangements don't apply to products registered on or after 15 September 2017, so make sure any new products registered after this date have the new label designs.
For products registered on or before 14 September 2017, the old label designs will be accepted until 21 July 2018. If you are still getting products in-store with older label designs, be aware that they will need a new label if they haven't been sold by 21 July 2018. Encourage your supplier to update their labels.
Renewals of product registrations opening 15 September
Product registrations must be renewed each year to remain valid. Renewals must be submitted between 15 September and 5 December each year and payments must be made by 22 January.
Products that have not been renewed will change to 'ceasing' status in our product registration database on 22 January 2018 and the registration will expire on 22 July 2018.
New registrations can be made at any time throughout the year.
You can log in to the product registration database, or contact our registrations team for assistance on 1800 218 478 or by emailing WELS.
Did you know?
WELS staff are available during business hours to answer any questions you might have.
If you need help to understand what your obligations are, how to register products, or how to check if products you sell are registered and labelled correctly, please call us on 1800 218 478 (Registrations) or 1800 372 746 (Compliance). If you are calling from overseas please call +61 2 6272 5232.