Where do they apply?
Since 1 July 1999 in England and Wales, all plumbing systems, water fittings and equipment supplied, or to be supplied, with water from the public water supply come under these regulations. This applies to systems in all types of premises including properties that use a private water supply and have a mains backup provided by water companies. The regulations apply from the point where water enters the property's underground service pipe to the point the water is used.
These regulations do not apply where a property uses a private water supply and does not have a supply of water from a water company. However, it is good plumbing practice to follow the requirements of the Regulations.
Who has to comply?
A legal duty is placed on all users, owners or occupiers and anyone who installs plumbing systems or water fittings to ensure they are installed and used in accordance with these regulations. Advanced notice must be given of proposed installations in most cases, so architects, building developers and plumbers have to follow the regulations on behalf of future owners or occupiers.
The application of the regulations cannot be back-dated. Any plumbing system or water fitting which was installed lawfully under the Water Supply Byelaws before the regulations came into force can still be used, even if its installation would not now be permitted by these regulations.
What is covered?
Plumbing System Design and Installation
Plumbing systems must be properly designed, installed and maintained to meet the requirements of the Regulations. This is to protect water quality, to ensure safety, ease of access for maintenance, detection of leakage, protection against damage from freezing and other causes and the prevention of contamination by pipes, fittings and by backflow.
Prevention of Backflow
Backflow is where the water flows back towards the supply source, either by symphonic action backsiphonage) or be forced back by pressure (backpressure). This can cause water that is not suitable for drinking, sanitation or food preparation to become available from the plumbing system.
It is therefore essential where water is supplied for these purposes, particularly drinking water, it must be protected from this potential contamination from whatever source.
To protect public health the Regulations require adequate protection to stop this backflow from any part of your system (such as taps, hoses, equipment or processes where water can come into contact with materials, chemicals or fluids which could potentially contaminate it) and specify the appropriate prevention devices that must be fitted to guard against backflow.
In most cases, before work starts on any proposed installation, the installer, owner or occupier must obtain the water supplier's consent by prior Notification. This applies to water system installations or alterations in connection with any of the following type of work:
Regulation 5: Table
- The erection of a building or other structure, not being a pond or swimming pool.
- The extension or alteration of a water system on any premises other than a house.*
- A material change of use of any premises.
- The installation of: -
- bath having a capacity, as measured to the centre line of overflow, of more than 230 litres;
- bidet with an ascending spray or flexible hose;
- single shower unit (which may consist of one or more shower heads within a single unit), not being a drench shower installed for reasons of safety or health, connected directly or indirectly to a supply pipe which is of a type specified by the regulator;
- pump or booster drawing more than 12 litres per minute, connected directly or indirectly to a supply pipe;
- unit which incorporates reverse osmosis;
- water treatment unit which produces a used water discharge or which requires the use of water for regeneration or cleaning;
- reduced pressure zone valve assembly or other mechanical device for protection against a fluid which is in fluid category 4 or 5;
- a garden watering system unless designed to be operated by hand; or
- any water system laid outside a building and either less than 750mm or more than 1350mm below ground level.
- The construction of a pond or swimming pool with a capacity greater than 10,000 litres which is designed to be replenished by automatic means and is to be filled with water supplied by a water undertaker.
An Approved Contractor (Approved Plumber) will not have to notify in advance of the work, but certify upon completion. See our Approved Plumber section or take a look at the WaterSafe website.
Relates to where a plan is not required as part of Notification.
Included in the notification sent to us must be the following:
- The name and address of the person giving notice and, if different, the name of the person to whom our comments should be sent.
- A description of the proposed work or material change of use.
- The location of the premises and their use or intended use.
- A plan of that part of the premises which relates to the proposed work and a diagram showing the pipework and fittings to be installed, except for items marked "note 2" in the table above.
- The plumbing contractor's name and address, if an approved plumber is to do the work.
- Consent will not be withheld unreasonably, and may be granted subject to conditions, which must be followed. If consent is not given within ten working days, it is deemed to have been granted. This does not alter the obligation upon the installer, owner or occupier to see that the Regulations are fully met.
- There is no charge by Anglian Water for notification or granting consent.
- To assist in notification we have a form and guidance note available.
What are approved plumbers?
The regulations introduced the concept of Approved Contractors, more commonly known as Approved Plumbers. This is to identify qualified plumbers who are competent in the regulations. Approved Plumber status carries certain statutory responsibilities which benefit plumbers and their customers.
Approved Plumbers will certify the installation or maintenance work they have carried out complies with the regulations by issuing a certificate of compliance. If breaches of regulations are then found in the certified work, the legal responsibility falls upon the Approved Plumber and not on the owner or occupier.
Anglian Water has its own Approved Plumber Scheme known as Aplus, Approved plumbers from this scheme are part of WaterSafe - the free online directory and national accreditation body for competent and qualified plumbers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.