Published - 2nd Mar 2022
If you’re manufacturing or installing a product that will be used to carry or receive water from the public mains water supply in the UK, it must meet The Water Supply Regulations. Any materials used must also meet these standards.
Water Regulations Approval Scheme (WRAS) approval, while not mandatory, is the easiest way for manufacturers and installers to demonstrate that their products and materials meet The Water Supply Regulations and will not pose a risk to the water supply or public health.
But what is WRAS approval, why is it important, and how can you check if a product is WRAS approved?
Read our guide to WRAS approval to find out more.
WRAS stands for the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme – an independent UK certification body for plumbing products and materials.
This body compromises all of the UK’s 26 water suppliers. It aims to promote compliance with the Water Supply (Water Fittings Regulations) in England and Wales, as well as the equivalent Water Byelaws in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
WRAS guidance applies to any water fitting that will carry or receive water from the public mains supply, including taps, valves, and boilers.
The WRAS offers an approval system that allows manufacturers to demonstrate that a material or product is compliant with the relevant standards.
To be WRAS approved, products and materials must go through significant testing by both independent labs and water suppliers. During this testing, they must demonstrate that they do not cause the waste, misuse, undue consumption, or contamination of a water supply.
WRAS approval can be applied to both whole products and materials.
This is for whole products, including valves, boilers, taps, and showers. To achieve WRAS approval, the products must undergo both mechanical and water quality testing to ensure they are fully compliant with WRAS standards. It’s important to note that the approval is only valid if the product is installed in line with any conditions given.
This approval is for any non-metallic materials and components, such as rubber O-rings and spacers. The materials are tested for their impact on water quality to ensure that they do not contaminate the water they come into contact with.
WRAS approval is important as it ensures that the water supply is kept safe and of high quality. After all, if a product that comes into contact with water has been manufactured from unsuitable materials, it can actually contaminate the water. This can result in anything ranging from an unpleasant taste or odour to ill health.
By law, all water fittings and the materials they are made from must be compliant with the Water Supply Regulations, but WRAS Approval is not, itself, a legal requirement. It is, however, the easiest way for manufacturers to demonstrate that they are compliant.
There are currently over 9,000 product ranges and 3,000 materials with WRAS approval. WRAS approved products are issues with a certification mark and this is usually clearly displayed on the product’s packaging as well as the manufacturer’s website.
You can also check on the WRAS website – simply enter the 7 digital WRAS approval number or the manufacturer’s name.
To get WRAS approval, you will typically need to follow the steps below:
1. Request an F2 application form from WRAS and fill it out. The form must be signed, dated, and include every material that will come into contact with the water.
2. Contact an accredited testing facility, making sure it is WRAS recognised. You will be required to pay a fee directly to the laboratory, as well as an admin charge for WRAS approval.
3. Your testing lab will help you prepare your applications and will liaise with WRAS on your behalf.
4. Once, the administration team at WRAS have received your application, they will check it meets their requirements. If it doesn’t, they will let your lab know what needs to be done.
5. Once the application is correct and complete, the assessor will recommend it is approved by a WRAS approval decision-maker.
6. Finally, the application will be reviewed by the Products Approvals Advisory group.
Your approval will be valid for five years, when it will need to be re-approved following the same process.
Rubber is often used to manufacture parts and components that are used to transport water. As a result, they must meet WRAS approval standards.
Rubber sealing materials approved for drinking water applications in the UK, for example, must meet the requirement of the BS 6920 WRAS standards. To meet these standards, the rubber must demonstrate that it will not:
At Industrial Rubber, we offer a range of WRAS approved materials for both hot and cold potable water applications, including a range of EPDMs (50-90 Shore A) and FKM (55A). We also have access to a range of EPDM materials that are multi-approved in the UK, German, and French water industries.
To find out more or to discuss your requirements, please get in touch.