About » Advocacy » Quality of Plumbing Products

Quality of Plumbing Products

Lead in Plumbing Products

Lead content in plumbing products can cause toxic lead to leach into drinking water. There is no safe level of lead for human consumption.

After years of raising the alarm about unsafe levels of lead in plumbing products, Master Plumbers is pleased that the Government has finally decided to limit the maximum allowable content of lead permitted in plumbing products that come into contact with drinking water. 

The updated Building Code reduces to 0.25% (effectively lead-free) the maximum allowable lead content of any product that contains copper alloys, intended for use in contact with drinking water for human consumption. This includes products such as pipe fittings, valves, taps, mixers, water heaters, and water meters. The transition period will end in September 2025, giving manufacturers and suppliers time to comply.

While this is a considerable step forward in the interest of protecting public health, there is still no monitoring of plumbing products available for sale in New Zealand, and no mandatory requirement for independent third-party verification of these products. Therefore, the risk remains that substandard products with unacceptable levels of lead will continue to be sold in New Zealand. 

Master Plumbers recommends that New Zealand adopts the Australian WaterMark Certification Scheme. The scheme provides consumers with peace of mind, and WaterMark products are also preferred by reputable merchants – and suppliers – as well as the plumbers who install them as a means of ensuring the product being purchased is safe for use.

WaterMark is an Australian certification scheme for plumbing and drainage products. Products displaying the mark have been verified by independent certifying authorities. WaterMark confirms the product is fit for purpose, complies with the Plumbing Code of Australia and meets relevant standards relating to product quality, specifically indicating the product is Lead Free.

Building Product Information Requirements

We welcome the new building product information requirements proposed in the Building System Legislative Reform, however, we believe that plumbing products should be addressed separately due to potential public health risks. A thorough certification system, such as the WaterMark model, is needed.

Our Action Plan

  • Mandatory independent third-party verification of plumbing products, with compliance enforced at the point of sale 
  • Easy consumer identification of lead-free products 
  • Adoption of the Australian WaterMark model. 


Our Network

Our Partners

All Partners