A survey of 2,000 British households sheds light on homeowners’ perceptions of water regulations and plumbing risks revealing a concerning lack of awareness, highlighting potential vulnerabilities in property maintenance and public health.

The study, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Water Regulations Approval Scheme (WRAS) aims to gauge the familiarity of homeowners with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations, uncovering a stark reality: only 15% of respondents are acquainted with the regulations, representing a decline from 21% in 2021. The regulations impose a legal duty on everyone to use suitable water fittings when connected to public water supplies. Anything from pipes, fittings, taps, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, to coffee machines, boilers and toilets, need to comply.

Despite this low regulatory awareness, the survey indicates a prevalent recognition of the risks associated with faulty plumbing products among homeowners. An overwhelming 94% of respondents acknowledge the potential property damage resulting from faulty plumbing, suggesting there is a significant gap in understanding the regulatory frameworks that govern these essential home systems.

The findings also spotlight a notable awareness (73%) among homeowners regarding the potential health risks posed by untested plumbing products. Non-metallic materials used in water fittings can contaminate drinking water. While 73% had awareness of this, it emphasises that a large portion of UK households need better information about whether plumbing products have been tested to make informed decisions.  

Another positive revelation emerges as 62% of homeowners demonstrate awareness that plumbing products connected to the public water supply must undergo testing to ensure they meet suitable quality and standards. This signifies a willingness among homeowners to engage with regulatory compliance once they are made aware of its significance.

However, confusion persists regarding the responsibility for checking compliance of plumbing products. Only 25% of respondents correctly identified that homeowners or landlords bear this responsibility. This lack of clarity suggests an urgent need for education on the roles and responsibilities within the plumbing supply chain.

Understandably, many people might expect all products sold to have been successfully tested, but unfortunately that is not the case. This means its really important for anyone buying plumbing products to check compliance.  WRAS also believes that manufacturers should always be clear about whether their products have successfully passed mandatory conformity tests.

WRAS approval manager Ian Hughes said “the WRAS approved product logo gives customers assurance that the products have been independently certified to demonstrate compliance with the regulations“.