When I am working at my desk in the Arrow Valves office, one of the most common phone calls I receive is from customers asking if our products are WRAS approved. This is obviously a closed question with a yes or no answer (and the vast majority of our units are WRAS approved), but a more important question would be – do products need to be WRAS approved?
The Water Regulations came into force on the 1st July 1999 and are a set of legal requirements to prevent the contamination of drinking water. There are fourteen Regulations in England and Wales (Scotland has nine). Regulation four states that “every water fitting shall be of an appropriate quality and standard, and be suitable for the circumstances in which it is used.”
The easiest way to prove that a water fitting is of an appropriate quality and standard is to use a Water Regulations approved product. The most common type of approval is WRAS, although there are two other equal alternatives – Kiwa UK and NSF REG4.
Up until recently, Water Companies in the UK have been looking specifically for WRAS approval to demonstrate that a water fitting meets the requirements of Regulation Four. However, they have now changed their approach and are looking for Regulation Four compliance in general, which would be covered by either WRAS, Kiwa UK or NSF REG4.
Therefore, a product doesn’t necessarily need to be WRAS approved, but it does need to hold an approval which shows that it meets the requirements of Regulation Four (unless you presented a list of certified components and your own air gap calculations to the water company) – essentially, an approval certificate is the easiest and most efficient way to prove compliance.
All of Arrow Valves key products are Water Regulations approved and clearly marked with approved product labels.
When we submit a product for approval (whether that be WRAS, Kiwa UK, or NSF), the first thing we need to do is ensure that each non-metallic component on the unit has its own individual approval. We will list these components and approvals on the relevant paperwork and send it to one of the testing laboratories for them to check over and verify.
Once the laboratory is happy with the paperwork, they will conduct the necessary testing on the samples that we have sent them of the products. If the testing is a success and the samples meet all of the relevant requirements, the approval will be granted. A certificate will be issued, along with an approval number, and the product will be listed on the Product Approval Database. For WRAS and Kiwa UK, the approval will be valid for 5 years before it expires, at which point it will need to go through the same process again. The NSF REG4 approval is slightly different, as it doesn’t expire as long as the manufacturer is annually audited.
A lot of products on the market claim that they use approved components – this is something to look out for because it is not the same as being a fully approved product. For example, a Fluid Category 5 Break Tank & Booster Set that has an approved tank, just means that the materials used to manufacture the tank are suitable to be used for drinking water – there hasn’t been any testing on the air gap and if the unit actually works as a backflow prevention device.
Using an approved product ensures that all the materials are suitable to be used for drinking water and the unit has been tested as a backflow prevention device, so most importantly it will prevent contamination to the mains water supply. The easiest way to check if the product is fully approved is to look up the product’s listing on the relevant product approval database.
All of Arrow Valves key products are Water Regulations approved.
A product doesn’t necessarily need to be WRAS approved, but does need to hold either a WRAS, Kiwa UK, or NSF REG4 approval to prove the unit complies with Regulation Four of the Water Regulations.
Make sure you use approved products, rather than units that only have approved components, as they won’t have been fully tested and may not prevent against contamination.
If you need any further information on this topic, or any other technical help, please feel free to give the Arrow Valves office a call or send us a message with any questions you may have.