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What’s the difference between WRC and WRAS?

The below information will help explain those approvals and their differences.

1. What do WRAS and WRC stand for?

WRAS – Water Regulations Advisory Scheme

WRC – Water Research Council

2. What are the differences between those two approvals?

There are no differences. The approval was called WRC, but then renamed to WRAS.

3. Where do the regulations apply?

The Regulations generally apply between the point of discharge and the boundary of a property.


WRAS approval indicates compliance for water fitting or material.

Every UK installed water fitting that carries or receives water from the public mains water supply must meet the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations or Scottish Byelaws. This demands that a water fitting must not entail contamination, undue consumption, misuse or a waste of the water supply and should be ‘of an appropriate quality and standard’.

WRAS material approval

Non-metallic materials and parts (O Rings and rubber sheet materials) undergo examining only for their impacts on the quality of water. It indicates that the non-metallic material and/or part does not itself contaminate the water.

WRAS product approval

Products such as boilers, showers, and valves undergo water quality and mechanical testing. It indicates compliance with demands of the regulations and bye-laws, provided the fitting is installed according to all requirements given with the approval.

History of WRAS (Courtesy of the official WRAS website)

Water companies have been working together for over 100 years to help organisations and individuals meet the water fitting regulations and bye-laws. WRAS was incorporated in 2008. Below you can find a timeline of the main events in the history of WRAS.

1903 – Worshipful Company of Plumbers and Institute of Water Engineers formed the Joint Committee on Water Regulations (JCSWR)

1904 – JCSWR created a licensing scheme for basic water fittings and its registered trademarks came into existence.

1919 – British Waterworks Association (BWA) was formed and responsible for drafting Model Bye-laws and all water supply undertakings. The JCSWR became part of BWA.

1950 – British Waterworks Association (BWA) starts testing water fittings. BSI took responsibility for valves and taps. The JCSWR, water industry, and BSI scheme

1973 – The UK Water Fittings Byelaws Scheme took over by the National Water Council

1975 – UK WFBS published the first list of component non-metallic materials suitable for use in contact with drinking water.

1983 – 3 October: Water Bye-laws Advisory Scheme and the testing of fittings taken over and administered by WRc

1986 – 1 August: WRC Publications published 1st Edition (1/8/86) of Water Supply Bye-laws Guide

1989 – WRC Publications published 2nd Revised Edition (Feb 1989) of Water Supply Bye-laws Guide

1991 – Name of the consultancy changed to Water Bye-laws Scheme (WBS)

1998 – 31 May: BS6920 standard for the suitability of non-metallic products for use in contact with water intended for human consumption with regards to their effect on the quality of the water published

1999 – The scheme is renamed to Water Regulations Advisory Scheme and continues to be administered by WRc

2000 – January: Conversion of existing water industry contractor schemes into new nation register for approved contractors. March: WIAPS invited new recruits to join the new national scheme

2000 – December: WRAS published a First Edition of Water Regulations Guide

2001 – 19 October: WRAS logo registered. WRAS published a Second Edition of Water Regulations Guide

2006 – WRAS published Water Fittings and Materials Directory online for the first time

2008 – WRAS became a subscription company limited by guarantee (it had 23 founding subscribers – UK water companies)

2009 – WRAS began trading. WRAS employees started working on transferring activities from WRC to WRAS

2010 – WRAS approved materials and WRAS approved product logo registered

Visit the WRC/WRAS O Rings web page for more information on our range or download our catalogue or contact a member of the team.

E & OE. M Barnwell Services endeavour to make sure that all content is correct. The information has been gathered from manufacturing partners and the official WRAS website: