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Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme

A joint government and industry program

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Trades & other professionals

If you are a plumber, builder, architect or other professional and supply or specify WELS products you may have legal obligations under the scheme.

What are WELS products?

WELS products are:

  • lavatory equipment (Toilet pans, cisterns, flushing mechanisms & suites)
  • urinal equipment
  • taps intended for use over a basin, sink or tub (excluding over a bath)
  • showers for personal bathing
  • flow controllers
  • clothes washers, including combination washer/dryers
  • the dryer function of combination washer/dryers and
  • dishwashers

Other products are being examined for possible future inclusion in the scheme. For more information see:

Your legal responsibilities

You are considered responsible for selling a product if you:

  • include product sales as part of tendering or offering work in building and construction projects or in building refurbishment and renovation
  • sell products as part of installation or repair work, or for any other purpose.

You are not considered to be selling products if you are only involved in installing a WELS product that:

  • someone else has sold to a customer or
  • has been bought by the customer through retail supply.

If you are supplying or selling products you will need to meet legal obligations to ensure that the products:

  • are registered with the WELS Regulator and the product has a WELS label and
  • have their labels clearly visible to the customer while offered for sale.

Labelling

All labels have required minimum dimensions.

Whitegoods

The label needs to be fixed (e.g. glued) to the upper front portion of dishwashers or clothes washers. If fixing the label directly on the machine will damage the finish (e.g. permanently mark or stain finishes such stainless steel) the label can be attached to the machine by a double-sided swing tag or single-sided non-rotating swing tag.

Plumbing and sanitary ware

For products displayed for sale in packaging

The label needs to be fixed (e.g. glued) to packaging so that it is clearly visible on the front portion of the package when it is hung from a rack or placed on a shelf.

For products displayed for sale outside of their packaging

There are four options:

  1. the correctly-sized label fixed to the product itself or
  2. a swing tag showing the correctly-sized label on both sides securely attached to the product or
  3. a correctly-sized label fixed next to the product so it is obvious that the product and the label are linked or
  4. a tag (e.g price tag) fixed next to the product showing WELS star rating and the water consumption figure (e.g. WELS 3 Star, 9L/min) so long as there is a clear and obvious connection between the tag and the product.

When a product is sold after being selected from the above forms of unpackaged display items, the product must be provided labelled.

For more information see:

Registering

All products with a WELS label should be registered. If you have any doubts, or find you have been sold unlabelled products you should contact your own supplier and WELS at wels@agriculture.gov.au or call 1800 372 746 (toll free within Australia) or +61 2 6272 5232 (international calls).

For more information see:

You can search for registered products on the WELS product search database.

Enforcement

Under the WELS Act, penalties apply for:

  • failing to meet registration and labelling requirements
  • failing to meet minimum efficiency and minimum general performance requirements and
  • misusing WELS standards and information.

If you are not sure that you are complying with the Act, contact WELS at welscompliance@agriculture.gov.au or call 1800 372 746 (toll free within Australia) or +61 2 6272 5232 (international calls).

WELS inspectors with significant monitoring and investigation powers are in the field checking that manufacturers, suppliers and retailers are complying with the WELS Act.

Strong enforcement powers under the WELS Act include the ability to:

  • impose significant fines
  • compel the withdrawal of a product or products from supply
  • deregister product/s and
  • advertise convictions.

For more information see: