Water fittings that don’t conform to the water fittings regulations may contaminate the water posing a risk to health or cause an expensive leak. British Insurers data shows that during a spell of freezing weather, a claim to repair a burst pipe costs an average of £8,800 – and can often be more. Remember, if a product in your home or any property is found to be non-compliant with these regulations, you may be asked to replace it with a compliant product, costing you both time and money. In some cases, you might even be prosecuted and fined.
WRAS checks the testing of thousands of water fittings products to ensure they comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Byelaws. The water fittings regulations protect drinking water supplies within plumbing systems in homes, businesses and other properties. The regulations impose a legal duty on everyone to use suitable water fittings when connected to public water supplies. Anything from pipes, fittings, taps, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, to coffee machines, boilers and toilets, all need to comply.
Plumbing products are considered suitable, if they pass appropriate material and mechanical regulatory performance tests. These tests include checks that products won’t affect the taste or smell of drinking water and do not promote the growth of microorganisms. So, whilst a WRAS approval isn’t mandatory the testing of the products is. Surprisingly, not all product sold have been appropriately tested although most consumers understandably assume that anything sold to them will meet legal requirements.
Once a product approval is granted, it means the product is of suitable quality and standards to avoid water contamination and minimise waste, when installed properly. The approval may restrict how a product may be installed and used. For example, some products are only suitable for cold water plumbing systems.
To help installers, every water fitting approved is listed with one or more ‘requirement and installation notes.’ These explain any installation conditions, which must be followed, which were applied as a condition of each WRAS Approval.
Choosing a water fitting like a tap or showerhead can be a big decision when renovating a bathroom or kitchen. Whilst is important to choose a product that complements the look and feel of the room, you shouldn’t compromise on safety or efficiency.
WRAS, the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme, supports water companies in their role to supply safe, resilient water supplies in the UK. By promoting the Water Fittings Regulations, WRAS protect public health by helping to keep water safe in premises, so it is always safe to drink and never wasted.
WRAS work closely with 26 water utility companies across the UK. Their work supports their targets to safeguard drinking water quality, reduce leakage, encourage water efficiency and support developers.
WRAS are funded by water companies to:
- Support the water industry. WRAS facilitate water company collaboration to share industry learning, experience and risks and develop good practice between companies. They provide a focal point for communications with external stakeholders on the water fittings regulations.
- Promote the water regulations. WRAS act as the central hub to disseminate information about the regulations. Education and learning are key, so they deliver training, run an advice line and promote their work via publications, their website and the media. WRAS engage with manufacturers, plumbers, consumers and employers, to encourage the right action to be taken.
- Approve plumbers and contractors. WRAS administer WIAPS – the Water Industry Approved Plumber Scheme, on behalf of 14 water utility supply companies in England and Wales. Members of WIAPS are also on the UK-wide plumber register WaterSafe, which is supported by all UK water companies and is administered by WRAS. This is a trusted online register to help people find a plumber local to them who is suitably qualified and insured.
Resources & Publications