JG Speedfit’s Toby Howard-Willis looks at how you could be contravening the WRAS 2.7 regulation.
Looking at water regulations is quite possibly as dull as dishwater but, nonetheless, it is an important part of the plumbing installer’s job. In fact, if you ignore the regulations, you could find yourself in trouble with the authorities.
As WaterSafe explains: “Contraventions against the regulations and byelaws is a criminal offence, and offenders may face prosecution. Those found guilty will have a criminal record, be fined and may have to pay costs.”
While we’re all conscientious installers, even the most thorough of us may not be aware of all the regulations inside and out. This is especially true if they are highly technical, as the guidance for Water Regulations Schedule 2.7 is. Thankfully though, it can be broken down in layman’s terms easily.
WRAS 2.7 in a nutshell
Quite simply, WRAS 2.7 covers where and how you should run pipes in any building with a mains water supply.
It does not apply to any closed-circuit system that is designed to be embedded in a solid floor, such as underfloor heating or a manifold system for radiators. The regulation ultimately helps protect homeowners from poor installation methods, but it also acts as an aid for installers.
How, you ask? Well, most installers at some point are faced with the problem of a pipe leaking within a floor. Diagnosing leaks within floors is difficult, and quite often homeowners must pay for the floor to be dug up to investigate, and then replace the floor afterwards. With WRAS 2.7, you can prevent this from happening.
To start, if installers followed the regulation then there would not be inaccessible fittings within the concealed floor – the regulation simply does not allow it. Also, the pipes carrying water would be easily removable as they would be contained within a conduit, which is a protective sleeve for the pipe. Thus, preventing the need for floors to be dug up to get to the pipework.
By following the regulation, installers must give a higher consideration to how they are laying pipes in floors.
It’s not just about laying the pipe in the pipe sleeve, installers must think about the length of pipe to use, where the pipe needs to extend to, how easy it will be to remove from the conduit, and whether joints, if any, need to be made.
However, ensuring compliance is made much easier by highly flexible pipe solutions made from PEX or polybutylene, such as the JG Speedfit Layflat range of pipes.
These pipes are flexible enough for you to easily pull and push through conduits, even if they bend round corners. The pipes are available in coil lengths of up to 50m in the two commonly used pipe sizes, 15mm and 22mm. For maintenance and identification of pipes, conduits can be obtained in black, red or blue. They can also be bought pre-sleeved and ready to lay, saving time on pushing the pipe through which can creep up over many installations.
Fittings laid in the floor must be easily accessible. The obvious choice is to not use a fitting at all; again, this is where flexible plastic pipes available in long lengths come in handy.
If a fitting does have to be used, it should avoid coming into direct contact with the screed, as this can cause unwanted problems due to its chemical make-up. Copper soldered joints and pipes are the most susceptible to this type of problem, and ‘pin-holing’, small holes developed by corrosion, is a common problem.
To protect the fittings in screed, they should be contained in boxing units. If the fitting needs to be serviced later, a removable lid is used to access it thereafter.