AUSTRALIAN SINK AND TAPWARE IMPORTER EARNS WATERMARK CERTIFICATION THROUGH IAPMO
Nicolas Hermence knew what he wanted for his kitchen remodel; so much so, he went all the way to England to get it. When he got back to his home in Australia, Hermence decided to save his like-minded neighbors the travel.
Now, 10 years later, with help from IAPMO R&T Oceana, Hermence’s Canterbury Sink & Tap Company (CST) is distributing products all over Australia and New Zealand.
The company started innocently enough as the brainchild of a then long-haul flight attendant with Qantas. Hermence was renovating his Edwardian home in Victoria and could not find anywhere in Australia the Fireclay sink and traditional tap ware he desired.
“When I was in England, I sourced these products and brought them home,” Hermence says. “My background in sales and marketing led me to promote the products to local retailers on a part time basis and the response was overwhelming. Canterbury Sink and Tap was underway in my back garage at home.”
What began as a small operation has since grown into a regional distribution leader, with 10 full-time employees. CST is the sole Australasian distributor of fireclay sinks and traditional tap ware, handling product lines from Shaws, Lansdowne and Nicolazzi.
“Shaws fireclay sinks are the only sinks that are heavy duty fireclay, with a wall thickness of 1.25 inches thick,” Hermence says of his top selling import. Shaws is the only company in the world to manufacture handmade sinks and give a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty, according to Hermence. “When I started with Shaws, I brought approximately 100 sinks in 2003. In 2006, I gained the exclusive distribution rights for Australia and the Fireclay sink market continues to grow significantly.
When Hermence wanted to add Nicolazzi’s line of tap ware and bathroom accessories to CST’s growing menu of products, however, the services of IAPMO R&T Oceana were required. Though certified to European standards, the Italian manufacturer’s products require certification to the WaterMark Certification Scheme (WMS) as mandated by the Plumbing Code of Australia if they are to be legally installed within the country.
“CST had not gone through the WaterMark certification before and they needed an organization who would assist and guide them through the process,” says Glenn Tate, IAPMO R&T Oceana manager of product certification services.
At the same time CST was seeking a certification body, IAPMO R&T Oceana had just launched and was actively courting its first clients. Hermence was immediately impressed with IAPMO R&T Oceana’s professionalism and expertise, but mostly by Tate’s attention to detail.
“His approach, technical expertise and IAPMO’s approach to theWaterMark testing schedule was much more company friendly than any other approval body,” Hermence says. “IAPMO has come up with a criteria that helps companies; their attitude is what struck me like lighting — ‘we listen and can help you,’ and they actually do listen.”
CST is now in the final stages of gaining WaterMark certification through IAPMO R&T Oceana. The process has not been without its hurdles, as the Australian standard for tapware is considerably different from European standards. As a result, Nicolazzi required a significant amount of technical guidance relating to the tap standard, which was provided by IAPMO R&T Oceana via a visit to Nicolazzi’s manufacturing site in Italy, face-to face meetings with the company’s technical representatives and numerous video conferences and phone calls.
IAPMO R&T Oceana has also assisted CST in acquiring certification to New Zealand’s Water Efficient Labeling System (WELS) so the company can sell its taps in that country, as well.
“I will recommend IAPMO where I can and I praise the help given by Glenn Tate,” Hermence says. “He is like the thesaurus of Australian plumbing standards.”
Tate similarly appreciates the opportunity given by CST to IAPMO R&T Oceana to demonstrate the combination of knowledge, skill and attentiveness the company can offer each and every client.
“Canterbury Sink & Tap is the importer of high quality tap ware and having them as a valued client further emphasizes to other manufacturers and importers of plumbing products that we can provide a superior level of dedicated customer service and a high level of technical expertise that I believe none of our competitors can match.”
For more information about Canterbury Sink & Tap, direct your Web browser to www.sinkandtap.com.au. IAPMO R&T Oceana is based in Melbourne Australia and is accredited by the Joint Accredited System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) to grant GasMark™,
OceanaMark™ certificates and WaterMark™ licenses. For more information, direct your Web browser to www.iapmooceana.org.