Case Study: Aalberts Integrated Piping Systems Turns to NSF
The NSF REG4 certification scheme for the UK market allows plumbing products and materials that are in contact with drinking water to demonstrate compliance with the UK Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999. We developed this certification as a streamlined way for plumbing product manufacturers and materials suppliers to conform to UK regulations and gain timely access to the UK market.
The certification scope includes mechanical products in contact with drinking water, such as appliances, valves, backflow-prevention devices, taps, mixers, shower heads, pipes and fittings, tanks, cisterns, water meters, and many others. It also covers nonmetallic products, such as plastics, rubbers, coatings, cement, resins and sealants.
Aalberts Integrated Piping Systems Turns to NSF for REG4 Certification in the UK
With operations spanning the globe — the Americas, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific — Aalberts Integrated Piping Systems manufactures advanced, fully integrated piping systems for the distribution and control of liquids and gases. Serving customers in a range of key verticals, including industrial, utilities, commercial and residential, Aalberts offers industry-leading valve, connection, fastening and piping technology.
Due to the roadblocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aalberts was facing a major challenge in getting its plumbing and valve products tested and certified as soon as they needed under the Water Regulations Approval Scheme (WRAS). Compliance with the UK’s Water Supply (Water Fittings) regulations is a requirement to sell to suppliers and builders in the country.
As Gavin Peters, Approvals Engineer at Aalberts, explains, “Given the last two years with COVID, there were a number of issues in getting timely WRAS approval.”
This left Aalberts in a difficult situation, with numerous products ready for the market but lacking the benefits of certification in order to be sold and put to use. “Which is why we decided to try the NSF REG4 route.”
Although newer to the UK, NSF REG4 tests and certifies a wide spectrum of plumbing products and materials to the UK Water Supply (Water Fittings) regulations. And it turned out to be just the solution Aalberts was looking for.
Aalberts approached NSF in the spring of 2021.
“I contacted the territory account executive with the NSF Wales office,” Peters says, “and we worked closely with him and the designated NSF account manager. The certification process was clearly defined and easy to follow, and it enabled us to get on top of things and back on track. So I’m really grateful for that.”
Aalberts and NSF quickly established a positive working relationship characterized by transparency and ease of communication. Peters notes, “Certainly in the early days, the account executive in particular was very good at saying, ‘Right, this is what needs to be done. And then when this is complete, this is the next stage.’”
Guided by this clarity and mutual trust, the testing and certification process moved forward at a steady pace despite the obstacles of the pandemic. Aalberts was able to receive REG4 certification for a number of its plumbing products, breaking the logjam and allowing the company to finally move those products into the market.
Looking ahead, Aalberts is interested in NSF’s REG4 1+ solution, which includes an annual facility audit that enables a reduced level of retesting after five years.
“A WRAS approval only lasts five years,” Peters says. “That’s a lot of work to do every five years. And there’s no extension. Many of our products need REG4 approval, and with NSF, it’s a lot more fluid. You can keep the process going.”
Aalberts Integrated Piping Systems has benefited from its recent work with NSF in several key ways, including:
- Receiving the REG4 certifications it needed for its plumbing and valve products after a lengthy COVID-related delay with WRAS. “As a business, we cannot afford to be in the position where we cannot sell a product for three or four months,” Peters explains. “That just isn’t acceptable. And that’s the reason we went with NSF.”
- Establishing a sound, successful working relationship with NSF that can carry forward for future testing and certifications.
- Having the ability to take advantage of NSF’s REG4 1+ option and stay up to date with regular annual audits, rather than start the process over again every five years.
When it comes to NSF’s REG4 certification scheme, the only learning curve seems to be on the part of customers in the UK market — but this is swiftly being remedied by a growing awareness of NSF REG4 as a viable, timesaving, cost-effective alternative to WRAS.