Welcome to the latest entry of the Drench blog, where this week we focus on the wild world of WRAS approved bathroom products!
We know it may not be the most thrilling topic ever, but we will do our best to make it a fun run because WRAS approval plays a big part in selecting new bathroom units, especially if you are constructing the building in which your new WRAS approved units will feature.
You may have already guessed the answer to our article question – yes, WRAS matters!
What does WRAS stand for?
WRAS is the abbreviation of Water Regulations Advisory Scheme, a standard laid out by UK water regulations and bylaws.
Every WRAS approved product comes with a “WRAS approved” logo, and products as well as businesses use the WRAS certificate to prove the standard of their equipment.
WRAS certification requires significant testing by independent labs and water suppliers and is of course accepted by every UK water supplier.
WRAS UK regulations are not going anywhere so it’s best we get to know them. Contractors and traders among us will be inclined to delve deeper into WRAS regulatory specifics (we’ll delve deeper ourselves into this a little later), yet all homeowners would benefit from learning exactly what WRAS means.
WRAS rules apply to any water fitting that, once installed, will carry water from the public mains water supply. WRAS is the standard against waste, misuse, undue consumption or contamination of the water supply and must be ‘of an appropriate quality and standard’.
The two main variants include:
WRAS Product Approval: Whole products such as valves, boilers and showers undergo mechanical and water quality testing. This type of approval demonstrates full compliance, provided the fitting is installed according to any conditions given with the approval.
WRAS Material Approval: Non-metallic materials and components such as rubber sheet material, ‘O’ rings and spacers undergo testing only for their effects on water quality. This type of approval demonstrates that the component does not contaminate the water similarly.
No doubt you’ve come across the WRAS approved logo when browsing our online store – so let’s get further into the legality surrounding the well-known badge of quality that is WRAS.
Is WRAS Approval a Legal Requirement?
As much as we’d like to swiftly say it so, there is no straightforward “yes” or “no” answer when it comes to really breaking down WRAS importance.
For example, the road to WRAS approval itself is a voluntary scheme. So while you would expect manufacturers to have products WRAS approved – they are are under no legal obligation to do so.
And even when it comes to replacing your old bathroom units, WRAS approval is not strictly a legal requirement!
Sure, your selected contractor may recommend you adhere to this standard, but it’s not key. However, when it comes to building projects, WRAS regulations become far more significant…
Building Regulations and WRAS
So, you want to build an extension and are planning to put in a brand new bathroom, however there is an existing mains cold water supply to the property. In this situation, any new taps, showers, cisterns and more need not be WRAS approved.
WRAS really becomes key when building any extension or entirely new house that will need to be connected to the mains cold supply from scratch.
The water company supplying your area will categorically not hook up your mains cold supply without proof that every product used in your build is WRAS approved. And that’s only private buildings!
If upgrading a building intended for public use – such as a hotel, leisure or shopping centre – then you must use exclusively WRAS approved products regardless of whether there is an existing water supply.
WRAS rules are getting stricter in tie with growing environmental concerns so ensure you shop exclusively for WRAS approved products to avoid any undue delay.
Where do WRAS Regulations Apply?
WRAS regulations apply to all premises receiving public water supply and focus on the passing of water between the boundary of a property and the mains cold supply.
So while it is conceivable for contractors to legally purchase and install non-WRAS approved products, it is illegal to run water through them!
Also bear in mind that installation needs to be done to WRAS standards. It is totally possible for your lovely new WRAS approved products to be installed in a substandard manner, so pick wisely and find a fully qualified plumbers to preserve your WRAS compliance.
What Products are Eligible for WRAS Approval?
WRAS approval extends to any product that can be connected to a water supply. For that reason, WRAS certificates are found on many of the products here at Drench. Keep an eye out for this distinction in product descriptions, especially if construction is on the cards.
Every Drench-stocked product through which public water may flow – including taps, showers, valves and cisterns – are eligible for WRAS. But on top of this, all related fittings such as plastic spacers, rubber washers and more can be tested to WRAS standard.
Should I Buy WRAS Approved Only?
At the end of the day, it’s totally up to you depending on your requirements. If you’re speccing a public building then, of course, WRAS is a requirement.
However, WRAS approval is a long, expensive process and every product has to be re-approved every five years. So, while an excellent indicator, the absence of WRAS approval doesn’t necessarily equate to the poor quality of a product.
Certain brands may not have the budget to test the replacement parts of whole products that are WRAS approved, which leads to certain brands’ spare spacers, washers and other parts offering WRAS certification while others do not.
This means that sourcing WRAS approved spares for certain WRAS approved products can be tricky, though more brands are addressing this with full approval of products and spares.
How Can I Tell Which Drench Products are WRAS Approved?
You can confirm any of our stocked products’ WRAS certification in their descriptions on the Drench online store. It’ll look something like this!
You can then check out their spares to see if their individual components are WRAS approved.
If you need any WRAS advice, don’t hesitate to give our Sales team a call on 01202 612800 and they can answer all of your questions.
For the Last Word on WRAS, Check Their Site!
At Drench, we are well-versed in the world of WRAS, and consider it a decent standard that’s all about making sure the water supply is kept clean for the present and future good of our country.
We’ve seen it implemented more and more throughout the years, and charted the certification as it’s risen from unknown to industry standard. However, everything above is purely our opinion.
For the last word on anything WRAS, head over to their informative website where you can find out every little detail about WRAS legislature.