Today we hear from Tom Reynolds, chief executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, to understand why compliance is so important.

Adhering to regulations is essential to supplying water fittings in the UK and for connection to the water supply. Credible manufacturers do not see this as a burden and wholly welcome compliance and the emphasis it gives to high standards and safety.

The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, with a particular focus on the requirement of Regulation 4, is essential for anyone supplying taps, showers or other water fittings. The regulations require products to be of an appropriate standard and be suitable for the circumstances they are used for – often referred to as ‘Reg 4 compliant’.

This is important because it protects consumers’ water supply from contamination, either from materials or by water being pulled into the system (backflow or back-siphonage). 

The BMA and its members are keen for everyone in the supply chain, from manufacturers, specifiers and developers to water undertakers, installers, and consumers, to understand Regulation 4 certification. Having that in place and correctly installing bathroom products will ensure the public is kept safe.

Installers have a legal responsibility to ensure installations comply with the water regulations, so for them, using approved certified products is a first step. For retailers, we urge them to seek out test declarations or Reg 4 certifications and ask questions of suppliers if that information is missing.

BMA members ensure their products comply with relevant safety rules by sending them for independent third-party testing or certification to verify claims. While this is not a strictly legal requirement, credible manufacturers embark on this immense effort at a significant cost so that customers have a guarantee that it meets the required standards.

However, confusion in the marketplace continues around the certification of products and demands for approvals from one specific test house are unnecessary.

While the Water Regulations Approval Scheme (WRAS) is the most well-known third-party certification for Reg 4 compliance, two other acceptable approval and certification schemes exist run by NSF (NSFreg4) and Kiwa UK (KUKreg4).

All these schemes provide the testing and certification demanded by Reg 4 and offer an equal level of assurance. Therefore, requesting certification from one specific organisation or another is unnecessary and can reinforce bottlenecks in the approvals system.

By highlighting this issue, we hope manufacturers’ supply chain partners will understand the variety of routes on offer to demonstrate compliance. This will result in high-efficiency products being launched far quicker, enabling customers to benefit from the critical energy and water savings sooner. A clear win-win for everyone, including the environment.