You can read a potted history of WaterSafe below and read more from our Chair, Ceri Jones, in his anniversary blog.
1365 - The Worshipful Company of Plumbers (WCP), a founding member of WaterSafe, received its Ordinances from the City of London, setting the standard for quality plumbers for centuries to come.
1611 - WCP receives a statutory right to register plumbers in the City of London after 7-year apprenticeship.
1854 – John Snow conducted a pioneering investigation on a cholera outbreak in London’s West End, proving that contaminated water from the Broad Street pump was the source of the outbreak
1886 – WCP established the first National Registration of Plumbers.
1895 – The National Association of Master Plumbers was established by WCP to promote education rather than registration.
1904 - Water Regs UK as it is known today was first run by several organisations using different names for the scheme on behalf of water authorities.
1906 – The National Association of Master Plumbers became the Institute of Plumbers and established a Register of Certified Plumbers in competition to the WCP register.
1923 – The Scottish Federation of Plumbers and Domestic Engineers (Employers) Associations was formed (later to become SNIPEF)
1925 – The National Federation of Plumbers and Domestic Engineers was formed (later to become APHC), focused on industrial and commercial aspects of plumbing. The Institute of Plumbers (today the CIPHE) remained focused on education, training and technical matters.
1956 – The Institute of Plumbers changed its name to the Institute of Plumbing (IoP).
1965 – The National Federation of Plumbers and Domestic Engineers became The National Federation of Plumbers and Domestic Heating Engineers (later to become APHC).
1970 – The Registered Plumbers’ Association merged with IoP (now the CIPHE) in January, merging its Register of Certified Plumbers with WCP’s national plumber register.
1972 - The National Federation of Plumbers and Domestic Heating Engineers became The National Association of Plumbing, Heating and Mechanical Services Contractors (now the APHC)
1975 – Northern Ireland plumbers joined SNIPEF under its new name, the Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation.
1996 – The National Association of Plumbing, Heating and Mechanical Services Contractors became APHC
1998 – Water UK was established to form a single voice for the UK water industry
1999 – The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations become law in England and Wales that July, permitting the approval of Approved Contractors and governing all aspects of plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances.
2000 – Water Byelaws 2000, Scotland was enshrined in Scottish law that April, allowing Approved Contractors in Scotland
2000 – WIAPS (the Water Industry Approved Plumbing Scheme) was set up on behalf of 22 water companies to approve and list Approved Contractors. Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent, Anglian Water and Thames Water each set up their own scheme for their supply area.
2000 – Institute of Plumbing (later to become CIPHE) is approved by the Secretary of State to Approve Contractors
2001 – Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors is approved by the Secretary of State to Approve Contractors
2004 – Scottish Water Byelaws 2004 come into force replacing the Water Byelaws 2000, Scotland
2004 – Institute of Plumbing became the Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering
2008 – Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) formed under its current name having achieved Charter incorporation, previously the Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering
2009 – Water Regulations Advisory Scheme is incorporated (later to become Water Regs UK).
2009 – In January, representatives of the eight Approved Contractors Schemes, Government departments, some water fittings manufacturers and the Environment Agency agreed to establish a voluntary national registration scheme for approved contractors.
2009 - The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 came into force in August 2009, replacing The Water Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991, allowing Approved Contractors in Northern Ireland for the first time.
2010 – In June, Anglian Water discovered rainwater harvesting systems for 86 homes in the Upton Eco-Housing Development had been cross-connected to drinking water supplies, following reports of illness. This reinforced the need for one national approved contractors’ scheme.
2010 – Yorkshire Water closed its Approved Contractors Scheme and members were transferred to WIAPS
2013 - WaterSafe began, comprising of seven approved contractor schemes:
Anglian Water’s APLUS
Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)
Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE)
Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF)
Severn Trent’s WaterMark
Water Industry Approved Plumbing Scheme
Thames Water’s TAPS
The Worshipful Company of Plumbers and Water UK were also founding members of WaterSafe.
Representatives from Water UK, the water industry, the Trading Standards Institute, the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme and approved contractor member companies kick-started the public launch of the scheme in London on 8 October.
2014 - The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations were updated in Scotland
2020 - Our current Chair of the Board, Ceri Jones, took over from Chris Sneath (in October)
2022 - Water Supply Pipe Installers, also known as groundworkers, were able to join WaterSafe
2021 – Water Regulations Advisory Scheme is renamed Water Regs UK
2023 - Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) valve testers are welcomed into the WaterSafe family
2022 - In October, Thames Water closes its Approved Contractors Scheme and later joined WIAPS
2023 - WaterSafe celebrates its 10th anniversary with almost 8,000 members.