New research has highlighted a lack of knowledge around who is legally responsible for ensuring installed plumbing products and appliances are compliant with the Water Fitting Regulations or Scottish Byelaws. The Water Regulations Approval Scheme (WRAS ) has surveyed 500 UK adults responsible for water systems in non-household premises, to assess industry knowledge of compliance and the role played by WRAS.
Three quarters (75%) of respondents knew that plumbing products that are connected to the public water supply must be tested to demonstrate they are of a suitable quality and standard, but far fewer knew who was responsible for ensuring those standards are met. Little more than a third (35%) thought that facilities managers were legally responsible for checking the compliance of plumbing products and appliances which use water, prior to installation. Just over one in four (26%) thought installers had responsibility. A quarter (25%) thought tenants or occupiers were responsible, the same number as those who thought building owners were responsible.
WRAS approvals manager Ian Hughes, pictured, says that the real answer is that all of those groups have a responsibility to ensure compliant products are used. While it is not illegal to sell non-compliant products under the regulations, it is illegal for non-compliant products to be installed on a system where the water is provided by a water company.
“Why take a gamble on a product that hasn’t been tested to show compliance? Plumbing products or fittings that do not comply with the water regulations or byelaws may pose a risk to health, as they can contaminate drinking water, or may leak, causing damage to property,” he said. “If they are not compliant, these products cannot be used. If they are used, the subsequent remedial work can delay projects and mean unforeseen costs. In some instances it could even lead to legal action and fines.”
The research findings were revealed as a part of a wider survey into industry awareness of WRAS and its role in helping people and organisations to comply. Nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents said they were aware of the Water Regulations Approval Scheme, while over two thirds (67%) of respondents said they would trust a product if it bore the WRAS logo.
A comprehensive list of WRAS approved products is available here.