WRAS Approval: What it is and why it’s important
What does WRAS mean?
WRAS is an acronym for Water Regulations Advisory Scheme. Despite WRAS being incorporated as recently as 2008, Water Companies have for over 100 years been working with individuals and organisations to help them comply with byelaws and water fittings regulations.
WRAS approval allows the installation of products that carry or receive water from the public mains water supply in the UK to fully comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Scottish Byelaws. These regulations require that a water fitting should not cause waste, misuse, undue consumption or contamination of the water supply and must be ‘of an appropriate quality and standard’.
As WRAS approval is granted directly by representatives of the water suppliers, it is the easiest way to demonstrate compliance with these regulations.
Why is it important?
A product made from unsuitable materials can contaminate water by dissolving metals or encouraging growth of bacteria, which can cause an unpleasant taste or odour or ill health. A product which contaminates the water would not comply with water supply regulations, and therefore would not be legal to install.
What is a WRAS approved product?
A WRAS approved product has undertaken a series of exhaustive independent tests to qualify that it is suitable to carry or receive water from the public mains water supply in the UK and complies with the Water Supply Regulations*.
Products such as a clean water combined tank and booster set could be made of a number of WRAS approved components which when assembled may not comply with the relevant regulations, examples being an incorrectly sized air gap or using a non-WRAS approved jointing compound/adhesive.
It is easy to check if a product has been approved by simply verifying the listing on the WRAS website:
WRAS approval applies to both cold and hot water meters.
*The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 and The Water Supply (Water Fittings) (Scotland) Byelaws 2014.
The Measuring Instrument Directive (MID) Explained
The Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) is a European Union directive that harmonises the requirement of measuring instruments including gas and electric meters. The regulations came into force on 30th of October 2006, requiring that all billing meters put in use for electricity or gas billing are deemed approved under the directive. Prior to 2006 billing meters were approved under national legislation.
The directive will most notably affect properties using sub-metering systems for the purposes of cost allocation. Properties using these systems must ensure that the meters being used comply with these regulations. Sub-meters which are in service before October 2016 must either be MID approved or approved under the UK national legislation prior to October 2006. Any sub-meters installed after October 2016 must be MID approved.
Billing tenants using non-compliant meters is illegal and could result in fines of up to £5,000. Furthermore, billing using non-compliant meters could lead to problems with recovering utility costs for the Landlord from tenants who know they do not have to pay.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of commercial property owners out there that don’t know if they have MID approval or not, but checking is simple. MID approved gas and electricity meters are identifiable by specific markings. Somewhere on the meter, you will be able to find the CE marking, MID marking (which is made up of the letter ‘M’) and the year of manufacture. There will also be a four-digit code identifying the body that approved the meter. If you can’t find these markings, then DB Group can help you to confirm if they are MID or not.
What does the Accuracy class of a water meter mean?
Water meter accuracy is denoted by “R” followed by a number. The higher the number the more accurate the water meter. For example, an R800 meter is much more accurate than a R160 meter. It is important to note that the way a meter is installed can affect its accuracy class. For example, multi jet water meters are more accurate when they are installed in a horizontal pipe with the dial facing upwards than they are if they are installed in a vertical pipe. The product data sheet will show you the R accuracy class on all of ABLE’s products.