Recently, 12 students and two instructors from the Plumbing, City & Guilds Diploma Level 3 at Weston College visited the NSF-WRc labs in Oakdale, UK to gain some industry knowledge. This diploma is an advanced course to qualify plumbers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The visit consisted of an educational tour in which our NSF-WRc colleagues Gareth Mapp (Programs Director), Lee Nichols (Senior Account Manager and Team Leader), Michael Bustin (Materials Laboratory Manager) and Ian Broad (Mechanical Laboratory Supervisor) provided various interactive presentations.

The presentations demonstrated how NSF-WRc contributes to the protection of public health by testing products to ensure they meet the UK regulatory requirements as well as other international performance standards.

Gareth Mapp started the session by offering an overview of the organization, its objectives and our mission to protect and improve public health.

Lee Nichols continued with a presentation about the UK water regulations, particularly Regulation 4 that dictates that any water fitting which, when installed, will carry or receive water from the public mains water supply in the UK and must comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations or Scottish Byelaws. Nichols explained how the testing NSF-WRc conducts ensures fittings do not waste, misuse, unduly consume or contaminate water and are of an appropriate quality or standard, thus complying with the UK water regulations.

Michael Bustin offered an overview of British Standard (BS) 6920 testing. BS 6920 specifies requirements for the suitability of non-metallic products, including water fittings and components, pipes and materials used in coating, protection, lining, jointing, sealing and lubrication, for use in contact with either hot or cold water intended for human consumption. NSF-WRc testing services involve five separate tests for odor and flavor of water, appearance of water, growth of aquatic microorganisms, extraction of substances that may be of concern to public health and extraction of metals.

Ian Broad rounded off the presentations by discussing NSF-WRc’s product evaluation department which offers custom testing services to manufacturers and provides expert consultancy throughout the development of any product to help companies foresee the lifespan and performance of their products and designs prior to any regulatory testing. The department also provides European standards, hydrostatic and pressure testing, cylinder (vented/unvented) testing, building regulation/G3 testing, vacuum testing and performance testing. The department also conducts European water label (EWL) and water technology testing (WTL), offering water saving initiatives to companies on their bathroom products such as shower handsets, shower hoses, taps, thermostatic mixing valves and toilets.

After the informative presentations, the students were taken on an interactive tour of both the mechanical and materials testing laboratories. The visit was very well received by the learners. “Every member of the NSF-WRc team was extremely helpful, welcoming and friendly. The visit supported the learners’ course content very well and offered a professional insight to their chosen career industry,” said Ben Brittain, Lecturer in Plumbing at Weston College.

Learn more about NSF-WRc services