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As a business, it is Yorkshire Water’s legal duty to ensure the systems you use or install satisfy the requirements of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999.
These water regulations set out the national requirements for the design, installation, materials and maintenance of water fixtures and fittings. The purpose of the regulations is to prevent waste, misuse, undue consumption, erroneous measurement and, above all, contamination of water supplies.
Your local water company is responsible to the Government for the enforcement of the regulations and they have the right to visit your premises and carry out checks to ensure your water fittings comply.
Download our Water Fittings Regulation Enforcement Policy
1. Your plumbing system must be installed and maintained to comply with the regulations.
2. You must prevent contamination of drinking water.
3. You must give advanced notification of plumbing work.
4. You will benefit from using an Approved Plumbing Contractor.
If your business has plumbing that contravenes the Water Regulations it faces risks that could impact on its financial and reputational performance.
It is the legal duty of your business to comply with the Regulations. Due to the potential risk posed to public health via backflow, the Government have legislated that plumbing systems must be properly designed, installed, operated, and maintained to meet the requirements of the Regulations. It is a criminal offence to breach the Regulations and offenders may face prosecution. Where breaches of the Regulations are found, we have a legal duty to ensure they are remedied. In emergencies, we may have to disconnect the water supply to the premises immediately.
The Regulations are designed to protect the public health of both employees and the general public by preventing contamination via backflow.
The Government requires water suppliers to enforce the regulations. A copy of our enforcement policy can be found here. We will undertake inspections of new and existing installations to check that the regulations are being met. Where breaches of the Regulations are found, we have a legal duty to ensure they are remedied.
For most business owners and occupiers the answer will be yes. Under the Regulations owners and occupiers of premises and anyone who installs plumbing systems or water fittings have a legal duty to ensure that the systems satisfy the regulations.
In most cases advanced notice must be given of proposed installations. If your business is thinking of making any changes to the plumbing systems you should ensure the architects, building developers and plumbers follow the Regulations with regard to notification.
The kind of plumbing works that must be notified are detailed in our notification form. The notification form must be submitted and approved by Yorkshire Water prior to work starting. In many cases, we have been able to work with stakeholders to provide free advice on their plumbing designs. It is much more cost effective to make changes at the design stage rather than have to correct plumbing systems after they have been installed.
In most cases, before work starts on any proposed installation, the installer, owner or occupier must obtain the water wholesale supplier's consent by prior Notification under Regulation 5.
There is no charge by Yorkshire Water for Notification or granting consent.
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.
The Notification form (sometimes known as a Reg5 form) must be submitted prior to installation.
The duty to Notify applies to water system installations or alterations in connection with any of the following type of work:
1. The erection of a building or other structure, not being a pond or swimming pool.
2. The extension or alteration of a water system on any premises other than a house*
3. A material change of use of any premises.
(a) a bath having a capacity, as measured to the centre line of overflow, of more than 230 litres;**
(b) a bidet with an ascending spray or flexible hose;
(c) a 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;**
(d) a pump or booster drawing more than 12 litres per minute, connected directly or indirectly to a supply pipe;
(e) a unit which incorporates reverse osmosis; **
(f) a water treatment unit which produces a used water discharge or which requires the use of water for regeneration or cleaning;**
(g) a reduced pressure zone valve assembly or other mechanical device for protection against a fluid which is in fluid category 4 or 5;
(h) a garden watering system unless designed to be operated by hand; or **
(i) any water system laid outside a building and either less than 750mm or more than 1350mm below ground level.
5. 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 (link to approved Plumber section).
** 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.
A WaterSafe Approved Contractor will accept legal liability for any work they undertake. They will provide your business with a compliance certificate upon completion of works. This certificate gives your business the peace of mind that, should the work not meet the requirements of the Water Regulations, you will be legally protected from further action. The Approved Contractor would have to put the work right at their own cost.
For further guidance on Water Regulations please contact the Water Regs team or see the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme website.
Information on rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse:
Water reuse is the new term used for what we used to know as water recycling or reclaimed water. The purpose of these systems is to provide an alternative source of water that can be used in place of drinking water for appliances that do not need such high quality water to help reduce the reliance on public mains water. The most common systems used in the UK are rainwater harvesting and greywater treatment.
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