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Importance of Compliance

Why is conformity important?  Product safety and liability are the most pertinent reasons for having good clear product conformity through standards legislation, development and implementation of safety standards contributes to the reduction of accident rates, and raises awareness of safety features and good practice throughout the manufacture of bathrooms.

Because standards reflect the current state of technology, they can help businesses reduce their liability risk. Standards are of great use to government in drawing up legislation, and are often referenced in legal cases.

Schedule 2 Paragraph 2 (1) of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, Scottish Water Byelaws 2004 & the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009. Controls materials used in supply of water to prevent contamination of supply of water. This states that materials used in products must not contaminate the supply and it is important that the materials used are compliant. Non metallic materials must satisfy the requirements of BS 6920:2000 Parts 1 and 2, together with Part 3 for hot water usage. “Suitability of non-metallic products for use in contact with water intended for human consumption with regard to their effect on the quality of water.

Materials in contact with water must be made to be compliant under the current regulations and sets the parameters allowable for contamination of materials used in water fittings, it is the manufacturers responsibility to ensure that materials are compliant to these requirements

Metallic materials must be made to be complaint under the Drinking Water Directive and sets the parameters allowable for contamination of materials used in water fittings, it is the manufacturers responsibility to ensure that materials are compliant to these requirements.

The key standards for the Bathroom Sector are based around tests for functional requirements. The government made legislation in March 2019 which came into effect on 1 January 2021 to make arrangements for the regulation of construction products after EU Exit. Bathroom Products such as Baths, WCs, Showers etc must be compliant with the Construction Product Regulations as amended by this SI for UK, and carry the UKCA* mark retailers should ensure that products they sell are compliant.

*Note that UKCA is to be implemented from 1st Jan 2022 a CE mark may be used for products already placed on the market.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/construction-products-regulation-in-great-britain

This is critical legislation, for retailers, housebuilders, merchants and specifiers to be aware of. Manufacturers have the responsibility to ensure their products conform to the standard, but the final reseller of the products (retailers, housebuilders, merchants) also have a legal responsibility to ensure the products they stock, or are specifying, also conform to the appropriate standards for complaince.

Importance of Legal Compliance

However, there are still many non-compliant products out there and there are huge consequences for the seller of the non-compliant product. Large fines and imprisonment can be the ultimate result for knowingly selling non-conforming products, so it is strongly urged that all retailers and merchants ask the right questions around UKCA marking to all their suppliers.

Trading standards are the enforcement body for England, Wales and Scotland. The Environmental Health Authority covers Northern Ireland. They have been tasked with appropriate Market surveillance.

They operate under guidance of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) enforcement staff are authorised with investigatory powers covering the UK and will investigate allegations of non-compliance. They work closely with local authorities to support their work and to share intelligence. Failure to comply with any aspect of the Construction Products Regulation can lead to; enforcement of appropriate corrective actions to manufacturer or supplier, recall or withdrawal of product from the market, Pan European communication of the above and fines start from £5,000 per incident or up to 3 months imprisonment. Fines apply to the final reseller or manufacturer as appropriate in each case.

It is important to check with your supplier/distributor or merchant to provide you with the correct documentation to prove compliance.

If your supplier/retailer or Merchant can’t provide you with the correct documentation then Trading standards as enforcement body for England, Wales and Scotland or the Environmental Health Authority covering Northern Ireland have powers to bring prosecution.

Enforcement of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, lies with the Local Water Authority (Water Company) who if unsatisfied with the installation or product conformity may refuse to complete the supply of water to new installations or prosecute.

Frequently Asked Questions