Copper water pipe and fittings Standards DBH update

Issue 28 – June 2011

This article provides guidance to plumbers, plumbing designers, plumbing distributors, building owners, and building consent authorities about copper pipe and fittings manufacturing Standards.

New Zealand has traditionally used copper pipe and fittings manufactured to NZS 3501. This Standard is referenced in the Acceptable Solutions to clause G12 Water Supplies of the New Zealand Building Code. Only New Zealand and Ireland use copper pipe manufactured to the dimensions in this Standard, and Ireland is phasing out this size of copper pipe. The dimensions in NZS 3501 are based on internal bore sizes and the recognised Standards in other parts of the world, including AS 1432 and AS 3688, are metric sizes based on outside diameter.

Copper pipe used in New Zealand and manufactured to NZS 3501 is made on indent order in special production runs by Australian copper pipe manufacturers. Australian copper manufactures export copper pipe to AS 1432 and copper fittings to AS 3688 to the Pacific and Asia. Copper pipe and fittings manufactured to these Standards are cited in G12/VM1 because they are referenced from AS/NZS 3500.1:2003 Plumbing and drainage – Water services.

NZS 3501 copper complies with G12/AS1 and Australian copper pipe and fittings made to AS 1432 and AS 3668 comply with the Building Code by reference in AS/NZ 3500.1 cited in G12/VM1. It is then up to plumbing merchants, in conjunction with the plumbing industry, to decide which copper pipe and fittings will be stocked, sold, and installed in New Zealand.

Summarised from Codewords, Issue 46, May 2011, Department of Building and Housing.

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Published in building.