16 February 2022
Here’s a quick look at water system regulations in the UK and how the KIWA Certification ensures compliance.
The UK Water Regulations and Certifications
UK water regulations require compliance from all component products installed on water systems in all premises in the UK. These regulations include the Water Bylaws 2000, the Water Supply (Water Fittings) (Scotland) Bylaws 2014, the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 for England and Wales, and the Water Supply (Water Fittings Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009. The water regulations ensure that water is not wasted, misused, consumed unduly, or contaminated.
The UK Water Regulation 4 stipulates the specific requirements for the products/components that make up a water system. You can be prosecuted for committing an offence when you install components/products on the water system that are not documented or shown as being compliant with regulation 4.
Manufacturing non-compliant components is not considered an offence. The installer however is held responsible to meet the relevant water regulations when it comes to installing or connecting product components to the water supply.
It is therefore in the interest of all relevant industries and professional manufacturers of water system components to ensure that all products are certified to meet the relevant requirements as stipulated in the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (particularly Regulation 4).
Passing Product Tests to Be Certified as Meeting Regulations
A product must be tested mechanically to an appropriate British standard, an appropriate harmonised European standard, or the UK Regulators Specifications in order to confirm that a product can be certified as being compliant.
Accordingly, for the purposes of certification, all materials used in the manufacture of component products must be tested and must meet the requirements of BS 6920 that evaluate such non-metallic products and materials on their suitability for use in contact with water intended for domestic use, food production, or general human consumption, in reference to their effect on the quality of the water.
This regulatory requirement involves a series of tests to assess the suitability of non-metallic materials to ensure they do not promote microbial growth, cause a change in appearance (colour or turbidity), impart odour or flavour, and most significantly, leach harmful or toxic substances to the human body.
Getting Certifications After Passing the Relevant Tests
Component products can now be independently certified in the UK for the manufacturer once they have been fully tested. Previously, there had only been one method for approval, this being the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) approval.
Now, manufacturers have the option to choose from three certification providers, these being: KIWA, NSF, or WRAS.
All three schemes are considered equal to each other in that they all use the same testing processes and standards to demonstrate Regulation 4 compliance. All three approval schemes provide evidence that the component product fully complies with the individual requirements as stipulated by Regulation 4 of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations.
Installation of any product component will be allowed by all Water Boards in the UK as long as they have been certified by any one of the above-mentioned approval schemes. The quality standards and marks of each organisation and their approval lists demonstrate that the product component or material has been thoroughly tested and certified suitable for installation onto water systems.
The KIWA Certification
KIWA is an international certification, inspection, training, and testing company. The UK division, KIWA Watertec, specialises in testing water products and components so as to evaluate and certify them as being suitable to install within water supplied for food production, domestic, and other relevant purposes.
KUKreg4 or the Regulation 4 product approval certification scheme is a stringent process required to demonstrate compliance of your water product or set of products with the UK Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999. Passing assessments by KIWA certifies the product or set of products as approved and meeting the said regulations.
Products that have been KIWA certified will display this mark and will be added to the list of KIWA UK Regulation 4-approved products that can be accessed here: https://www.kiwa.com/gb/en/about-kiwa/water-products/
The KIWA UK Regulation 4 Product Approval Scheme (KUKreg4)
The KIWA reg4 approval scheme is for all manufacturers and distributors of plumbing products used in the supply of water within the UK. The KIWA UK Regulation 4 scheme covers all products and product components across a wide range of plumbing uses, such as those sanitary tapware fittings and pipes, appliances, valves, catering equipment, and WCs. All testing and verification processes are rigorously carried out and performed in KIWA laboratories that are all ISO/IEC 17025 accredited by Accredia, RVA, and UKAS.
After gaining accreditation through testing and verification by KIWA experts, the product can then be regularly reviewed to maintain and ensure compliance in the event that changes in the regulations occur.
KIWA Watertech’s David Jay comments that the current CE mark won’t satisfy regulations for most products but that you must make sure that your products comply. He added that while product certification or approval is not actually a legal requisite stipulated in the regulations, it is your responsibility as an installer to demonstrate how your product complies during the regulation enforcement process.
Respectively, water undertakers/suppliers have the legal right to enforce regulations and installers may face difficulties and challenges with delayed water connections or may even be demanded to remove any installed products from existing connections in the event that they are not able to present evidence or relevant certifications that a component product is fully compliant.
Being able to find and verify any product bearing the mark or claiming to be accredited on the KUKreg4 database and ultimately carrying the recognised accreditation mark such as the KUKreg4 fast tracks the water company approval of such installations.
KIWA-approved products are searchable by manufacturer name, approval number, or keyword here: https://www.kiwa.com/gb/en/about-kiwa/water-products/
Is WRAS also a mandatory requirement?
Historically, WRAS was the most widely known approval scheme. Hence, to this day, many customers would still ask for the WRAS approval for water products and components.
Again, the three approval schemes—KIWA, NSF, or WRAS—have the same testing systems and standards in order to provide evidence that the component product fully complies with UK Water Regulations.
Like WRAS, the KIWA KUKreg4 approval mark and certification demonstrate full compliance with the UK Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and can therefore be universally accepted as being equal to WRAS approval.
As such, many manufacturers are now looking into changing the text within project specifications from “WRAS approval required” to “Evidence of Regulation 4 Compliance required.” This change acknowledges and recognises that all three approval schemes carry equal merit in proving and demonstrating component product compliance.
Dolphin Solutions and KIWA
The KIWA mark on our product selection at Dolphin Solutions demonstrates that our products have undergone robust and independent testing, evaluation, and validation by an independent international testing, inspection, and compliance (TIC) company.