What is PVC Best Practice Guidelines?

BSI now certifies to the PVC Best Practice Guidelines (an addendum to ISO 14001)  

PVC is widely used in flooring, wall coverings, windows, pipes and fittings, conduits and cable insulation in the construction industry, but in the past it has been associated with health and environmental concerns in production and end of life management.   

In April 2010, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) released Best Practice Guidelines, allowing developers to gain points towards their Green Star rating when specifying PVC materials that meet those guidelines. Following the release of GBCA’s Auditor Verification Guidance documentation, BSI is now able to certify PVC products and manufacturers to these Best Practice Guidelines.

Building developers need to achieve a certain amount of points to attain their Green Star ratings, and points are awarded when the materials used in the building meet the GBCA’s guidelines.


Prior to 2010:

The GBCA included a ‘PVC Minimization’ credit in Green Star tools, but found that substituting other materials for PVC did not necessarily provide improved environmental outcomes. The GBCA conducted a rigorous review, involving an Expert Reference Panel recruited from the wider industry.“We found that previous concerns did not take into account the significant achievements within the PVC industry in recent years, particularly in Australia and Europe, to reduce the environmental and human health risks previously associated with PVC building materials,” says Romilly Madew, Chief Executive of the GBCA.“Also, these concerns did not reflect the findings of independent scientific assessments, as well as comparative risk and impact studies, between PVC and non-PVC alternative materials.” 

The Expert Reference Panel developed the Best Practice Guidelines for PVC in the Built Environment to identify opportunities to reduce environmental impact and health risk in the PVC lifecycle. “It includes criteria for PVC manufacture, use and end of life,” says Romilly. “Some examples include the use of mercury, lead, vinyl chloride monomer, and emissions from PVC products, as well as solutions to avoid landfill disposal.”She says the guidelines also recognise some innovative ways PVC manufacturers have reduced the impact of their products, particularly in resin, pipes, conduits and flooring. “Some examples include sourcing chlorine from membrane cell, non asbestos diaphragm or modified diaphragm production processes, and providing contractual agreements with customers for extended product stewardship.”

Three clear pathways to achieving certification for PVC products

Sam described below the three clear pathways to achieving certification for PVC products:

  1. In the first pathway, you need to comply with the requirements of ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) as well as all the requirements outlined in the Guidelines. 
  2. In the second, an independently audited manufacturer’s or supplier’s declaration confirms all the requirements outlined in the Guidelines have been met for a specific product or a product range. 
  3. You can achieve product certification with an independent accreditation program that integrates all the requirements outlined in the guidelines into the Standard(s) or certification criteria."

Romilly says third party certification is an important part of the process. “It provides independent, credible verification of a manufacturer’s claims, using a common language and transparent benchmarks. Without independent verification, the industry has no way to guarantee that claims are accurate.

Why choose us?

BSI (British Standards Institution) is the business standards company that equips businesses with the necessary solutions to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence. Formed in 1901, BSI was the world’s first National Standards Body and a founding member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Over a century later it continues to facilitate business improvement across the globe by helping its clients drive performance, manage risk and grow sustainably through the adoption of international management systems standards, many of which BSI originated. Renowned for its marks of excellence including the consumer recognized BSI Kitemark, BSI’s influence spans multiple sectors including aerospace, automotive, built environment, food, healthcare and ICT. With over 80,000 clients in 172 countries, BSI is an organization whose standards inspire excellence across the globe.

Our clients choose us:

  • For our unique client management structure
  • For our expertise
  • For our integrity
  • Because we are performance minded
  • For our expert assessors