In the water industry, WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) has a very large influence as they act on behalf of water suppliers across the UK. Primarily, they are responsible for ‘preventing the contamination of public water supplies and encouraging the efficient use of water by promoting and facilitating compliance with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations’.
In order to achieve WRAS approval, Billi products have been submitted to the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme and subjected to specific testing. The tests are designed to ensure the durability and quality of the product and that they are ‘of an appropriate quality and standard’.
Billi products are designed to be sustainable, and innovative. This is why it’s so important to us that our products are also the best they can be when it comes to regulations and testing. With WRAS approval, our products demonstrate compliance and will be widely supported by water authorities globally.
There are two aspects of designs that require approval from the WRAS. The first is material approval, then product approval.
For product approval, the application is submitted to WRAS. This application includes in-depth information about each individual material that has been used to create the product. Including manufacture methods and composition. Every material in contact with potable water must be listed. Each non-metallic material has to be accompanied by a valid WRAS Materials Approval number or valid test report.
The products then head to a laboratory where they undertake any necessary mechanical, endurance, swivel and pressure testing. Once this testing is complete, the lab then forwards the results back to WRAS and the process continues.
After this, WRAS Administrators will check that your application meets the necessary requirements. If it does not, WRAS will contact the laboratory about the problems that have arisen during testing, and what is required in order to resolve them.
Once the application is checked and complete, it is sent onwards to the Product Assessment Group (or PAG). The PAG comprises of representatives of the UK Water Industry. These representatives are the ones that grant the final approval.
If further approval is granted, applicants will receive a letter stating their approval. A unique certificate that bears the specific listing/approval number and details of the product is given to the company on behalf of the product. Details of the approval will also be entered onto the WRAS Water Products & Materials Directory so that potential clients or consumers can view the approval.
For WRAS product approval, it’s difficult to give a timeline on exactly how long the process takes. With PAG meetings every 6-8 weeks, the approval process can take some time. For all successful applicants, WRAS will issue approval documentation within 10 working days of the Product Approval Group meeting.
WRAS Material Approvals are only granted to products which meet the WRAS’s acceptance requirements and fully satisfy the appropriate BS6920 testing criteria. In order to get material approval, the material must be tested in a lab for BS6920 testing.When the testing is complete, and the lab is satisfied with the outcome, the results can then be sent on the WRAS. The Materials Administrator will check the report and if it is deemed satisfactory, payment can be made, and the material achieves an approval number and letter. It is also displayed on the WRAS website Directory.For material testing, there is an expiry date, and every 5 years the material has to be re-tested to ensure it is still fully compliant with WRAS requirements.
A condition of WRAS Approval is that no modification shall be made to the product without first notifying the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme and submitting details of the proposed modification for consideration by WRAS. Failure to comply with this condition will invalidate an approval and result in its removal from the Water Fittings and Material Directory.To receive material approval, the process can be much quicker, with the WRAS saying they will issue a Material Approval within ’10 working days of receipt of a complete and correct application’.
As stated on the WRAS website, the difference is as follows.WRAS Product Approval: Whole products such as valves, boilers and showers undergo mechanical and water quality testing. This type of approval demonstrates full compliance with the requirements of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Byelaws, 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 and ‘O’ rings, undergo testing only for their effects on water quality. This type of approval demonstrates that the non-metallic material/component does not itself contaminate the water and therefore satisfies this particular requirement of Regulations and Byelaws
The WRAS approval standard is accepted as a quality benchmark by water suppliers who enforce the Water Regulations and Byelaws.
For facilities managers, having WRAS approval can be the deciding factor to the final product selection for use. WRAS approval means that any products with approval have undergone rigorous testing, and facilities managers can trust firmly in the fact that the product they pick will not contaminate the water in any way. The WRAS approval is one that can be relied upon, due to the fact approval is granted by representatives from the UK water industry.
WRAS approval isn’t actually a legal requirement. However, it is one of the easiest and most reliable ways of demonstrating compliance. Products that do not carry the WRAS approval may not have been subjected to testing, and as such may be faulty, dangerous or unreliable. For quality that you can trust, always choose WRAS approved products.
Billi products are the water system of choice by huge businesses such as Costa, Mothercare and Ocado. If you want to save money and choose an environmentally friendly water-system for your workplace, choose Billi. Visit WRAS for more information on the Billi WRAS approval.