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WIS 4-52-01 Issue 1 Specifications for Polymeric Anti-Corrosion (Barrier) Coatings

The WIS specifies the requirements for factory applied polymeric anti-corrosion (barrier) coatings. The term “polymeric coating” is intended to encompass thermoplastic and thermosetting coating materials. Lower molecular weight hydrocarbon-based materials (e.g. bituminous paints & enamels) are excluded (see IGN 4-52-02).

Four service application areas are covered.

  • Factory applied coatings and associated coatings used for repair and the making good of intentionally uncoated areas of substrate.
  • Ductile iron, cast iron, steel and aluminium based substrates.
  • Pipes, fittings, their components and associated equipment. (Structural steel for buildings, etc. is not covered.)
  • Contact with all grades of “clean” water including potable water as an option, and domestic effluent. Most soil conditions (except for contaminated land) are included, as well as above ground applications.


One or more ‘Common Editorial Caveats’ apply – see ‘WIS & IGN Library / Navigation & Caveats’ for details.

Based on the Standards Board’s enquiries of stakeholders (British Coatings Federation & BSI Committee PSE/10 – Autumn 2021) the consensus view is that the existing document would benefit from updating to reflect new classes of coatings and take out old ones no longer used.

Epoxy coating of ductile iron pipes products & accessories products is now covered by BS EN 14901: 2014; and protection of steel tubes and fittings for onshore and offshore pipelines is covered by BS EN 10310: 2003 so the WIS is not relevant for these materials. However PSE/10 members noted the WIS is still referred to in a large number of current tenders for these products.

The WIS may still have relevance for other materials (e.g. aluminium products).

WIS 4-52-01 & WIS 4-52-01A were included in the two-year review of 27 WIS & IGN documents that completed in Spring 2023.  Amongst the review’s conclusions were that:

‘The purpose and timing of WIS 4-52-01: Issue 1 December 1992 – was aimed at generating an acceptable industry wide specification that could be applied across the whole supply chain. The WIS was drafted during a time of considerable change in the performance and development of competing systems for the manufacture and application of polymeric coatings. The specification gave the industry a recognised “level playing field” and reference testing to a known standard for accreditation along the, often complex, supply chain.

In 2022 virtually every water company and all the major suppliers of ductile iron pipe and pipe fittings were quoting “to WIS 4-52-01….”.

The Civil Engineering Specification for the Water Industry (CESWI) – 7th edition refers to this WIS.

Since the relatively minor amendment in 1994 much has changed: in the way standards themselves are written, the competitive landscape of coatings providers and in the sharing of both failure data and information relating to corrosion protection. However the need for a UK wide water industry specification has not changed. Where possible, collaboration with other buried infrastructure owners and coatings users should be sought to produce a comprehensive and robust document.

At least one test house continues to test and accredit products & services that “are [Test House] Approved” using WIS 4-52-01 in conjunction with other standards and specifications.’

The Standards Board would welcome & encourage the establishment of a coalition of the willing to form a Task and Finish Group to update WIS 4-52-01, incorporating its later amendment WIS 4-52-01A within body of a single document.


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