What is Regulation 4?
Any water installations in the UK need to comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 England & Wales, 2009 Northern Ireland or 2014 Byelaws Scotland.
The REG4 certification scheme allows plumbing products and materials that are in contact with drinking water to demonstrate compliance with the UK’s Water Supply (Water Fittings) regulations and byelaws.
This includes the following:
Every water fitting should be of an appropriate quality or standard
Compliance is demonstrated with a CE marking (where applicable), appropriate British or European standards, and a specification approved by the regulator.
So, certification is a streamlined way for plumbing product manufacturers and materials suppliers to demonstrate their conformance to UK regulations and gain timely access to the UK market.
REG4 certification schemes complete rigorous testing of water fittings, pipes and appliances that come into contact with drinking water. This includes valves, backflow-prevention devices, taps, mixers, shower heads, pipes and fittings, tanks, cisterns, water meters, washing machines, dishwashers and steam ovens, just to name a few. REG4 approval also extends to non-metallic products, like rubbers, coatings, cement, resins and sealants.
Water boards throughout the country are likely to ask for demonstration of meeting Reg4. Previously this may have been referred to as a WRAS certificate but this is becoming more widely known as Reg4 as there are now three key certification bodies; WRAS, NSF and Kiwa.
What is WRAS?
WRAS, the Water Regulations Approval Scheme, is an independent certification body. It has a comprehensive ‘approved’ directory that contains more than 9,000 product ranges and 3,000 materials that have been rigorously tested to ensure their compliance with REG4.
For many years WRAS was the only certification scheme to support product compliance and is still the most sought after approval in the industry. Zip prides itself on having a long running working relationship with WRAS and will continue to do so.
However, WRAS is just one of the three certification schemes available in the UK and any one of them can offer the same level of compliance certification with Reg 4. This is due to changes within the WRAS scheme - the final approval decision no longer involves water companies which historically was always an added step to achieve compliance. Removing this step has helped to ensure a level playing field for all certification parties.
What is KUKreg4?
The Kiwa UK Regulation 4 Approval Scheme - also known as KUKreg4 - is a robust method for demonstrating compliance with the UK Water Supply Regulations. The scheme covers all products from different sectors such as sanitary tapware, pipes & fittings, valves, appliances, catering equipment and WCs.
KUKreg4 complies with ISO/IEC 17065 product certification scheme and has the option of conformity attestation level 3 or 1+. This means that any product holding KUK Reg4 certification has demonstrated its quality following a scrupulous, independent evaluation carried out by a global TIC company.
Kiwa, which has a vast knowledge of the industry, manages its testing processes, including all final certification decisions, fully in-house to ensure a fluid experience. Kiwa holds full listings of approvals on its KUKreg4 database, which is easily accessed on its website here.
What is NSF reg4?
NSF is a global, independent public health and safety organisation dedicated to improving human health worldwide. NSF’s standards team facilitates the development of public health standards, and separately, its service teams test, audit and certify products.
The NSF certification mark assures end users, customers and regulators that certified products have been rigorously tested to comply with all standard requirements.
This means that all products bearing an NSF certification mark meet all relevant standard requirements, including product testing and regular inspections to verify that products continue to comply with the standard.
Zip Water has used NSF to test and verify products for over 15 years and are pleased to be able to support the reg4 scheme.
Once approved to NSF reg4 approvals are held on their website and are easily searchable here.
So what does this mean for me?
The fact there are currently three relevant approval or certification schemes operating in the UK for Regulation 4 compliance in relation to water fittings and components provides you some flexibility.
All three schemes, NSFreg4, WRAS and KUKreg4, provide the legally required testing and certification demanded by Reg 4, and therefore offer the exact same levels of product approval, and with it the much-valued level playing field. Here at Zip, we advocate the use and adoption of each and any of these approval and certification schemes.
It’s always worth remembering that an excellent understanding of the regulations is essential for anyone installing water systems – if you are lacking this knowledge, a WaterSafe Approved Plumber is a great alternative.
An Approved Plumber can certify the work that they have carried out as compliant with regulations, and does not need to give advance notice; if there are any infringements, the plumber would then be held responsible.