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DEFRA’s Interim Agreement has stipulated that combining an independent cistern and an independent pan is deemed a ‘WC Suite’. Consequently, a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and a Declaration of Conformity (DoC) are mandatory to validate compliance and performance.
As a washroom supplier of compliant WC Suites, we have observed from our experience that certain projects have specified a WC pan from one manufacturer and a cistern from another. When we encounter this, our initial questions are, “Have the products been tested for compliance with DEFRA’s Interim Agreement?” and “Have you obtained WC Suite declarations from both manufacturers?”
Sometimes, the answers we receive are alarming because the contractors may be unaware of the risks associated with noncompliance, or they may not understand why it is problematic to specify a pan and cistern from two different manufacturers without obtaining the DoP and DoC for the WC Suite as a whole.
Our article will explain why contractors should consider specifying a WC Suite from a single washroom manufacturer, the risks associated with not obtaining WC Suite declarations, and what to do if specifying a separate pan and cistern from two different washroom companies is still preferred.
Choose a compliant WC suite from one washroom company
Before choosing any washroom company to supply a WC Suite, make sure they have the Declaration of Performance and the Declaration of Conformity to accompany it because not all manufacturers voluntarily test their products to ensure WC compliance with DEFRA’s Interim Agreement.
By selecting a WC pan and cistern from one compliant washroom manufacturer, contractors can be assured that the products have been tested together to ensure they meet the construction and testing criteria which are relayed in the WC Suite declarations. This reduces the risk of defective implications and noncompliance consequences, which could sabotage the project.
Purchasing the entire WC suite from a single washroom company makes a contractor’s life easier as they won’t have to worry about testing the products themselves. It also eliminates the need to deal with multiple manufacturers and place orders with different people, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.
Ultimately, purchasing a tested and compliant WC pan and cistern from one manufacturer is better as it ensures compatibility and the WC Suite declarations should be readily available.
Noncompliance with EU and UK regulations
If a pan from one manufacturer and a cistern from another are installed without the contractor ensuring that both have been tested together to comply with EU and UK regulations, then the building runs the risk of not being signed off, which can be a serious issue.
It is mandatory to obtain the WC Suite declarations, and it is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the WC components from each manufacturer have been tested together and comply with the regulations.
Responsibility lies with the contractor, not the manufacturer
The responsibility of obtaining the WC Suite declarations from the manufacturer lies with the contractor.
When selecting a pan and cistern from two different washroom companies, it is important to consider WC compliance and potential defects. Failure to ensure that the WC suite meets construction and testing requirements can result in project delays and setbacks for the contractor.
WC Suite testing is expensive
If the contractor decides to have the independent pan and cistern tested, they will have to bear the cost, which could have a significant impact on the budget.
Testing may need to be conducted by trained personnel in a certified testing facility that meets the standards and requirements. The costs associated with securing a testing facility, as well as the costs of acquiring the WC Suite declarations, can add to the overall expense.
Remember, sending the pan and cistern to a testing facility could turn out to be a complete waste of money if the test results show that they do not comply with the standards.
Determined to have a WC pan from one supplier and the cistern from another?
Perhaps a WC pan is more desirable from one company and the cistern from another, or there is no choice but to choose two separate WC components so that they match the architect’s design. Whatever the reason that contractors don’t choose the full WC Suite from a single supplier, it is still possible to comply with regulations while using multiple washroom suppliers.
You may request that the independent cistern and pan be tested as a WC suite by either manufacturer as they have access to the appropriate testing centres. However, manufacturers are not obligated to take on this responsibility, and you may incur a testing fee if they agree to do so.
Bear in mind, testing can take as long as a few weeks to months at great expense which will affect project deadlines.
Know more about WC compliance
It is essential for contractors to understand the importance of obtaining WC Suite declarations when specifying a WC pan and cistern from two different manufacturers. Noncompliance with EU and UK regulations, responsibility lying with the contractor, and expensive testing costs are some of the risks associated with not obtaining compliant WC Suite declarations for a tested pan and cistern.
By selecting a compliant WC suite from a single washroom manufacturer, contractors can ensure compatibility and simplify the ordering process, ultimately reducing the risk of project setbacks. For those who are determined to purchase separate WC components from two washroom companies, requesting that the pan and cistern be tested together is an option, but it can be costly and time-consuming.
Obtaining compliant WC Suite declarations is not just a legal obligation, but a smart decision that can save contractors time, money, and headaches in the long run.