Approved Plumber Search

Find a local plumber you can trust using our free online directory search.

WaterSafe approved plumbers are certified by our national accreditation body, with specific training in the UK’s Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.

Hiring a WaterSafe approved plumber ensures that all plumbing work meets high standards and protects the quality of drinking water in your home and business, in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Water Support Services search

When planning a plumbing project, you may wish to hire specialised contractors, rather than a fully qualified WaterSafe Plumber.

These Water Support Services contractors include:

  • Groundworkers
  • Catering installers
  • Point of Use

These contractors are not approved WaterSafe plumbers, but they are recognised by the water company schemes APLUS, TAPS, WaterMark and WIAPS to carry out specific types of work in compliance with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws. 

Groundworkers

Groundworkers can work on the supply pipe (the underground pipe) supplying your property, up to the internal stop valve.

Catering installers

Catering Installers can install commercial kitchen equipment.

Point of Use installers

Point of Use Installers can install cold water chillers connected directly to the mains.

For further information or help, you should contact the relevant water company scheme.

Emergency Plumber Search

Find a local WaterSafe approved plumber to help with your emergency.

For leaks, burst pipes, or other plumbing emergencies, WaterSafe’s emergency search will give you the contact details of a plumber who can help right away.

If you have no water, very low pressure or concerns about the quality of your water, you should contact your local water company straight away.

Click here for more information about Emergency Plumbers

WaterSafe Frequently Asked Questions

Learn how WaterSafe works and the benefits of hiring an approved plumbing business, including information on your customer protections.

Finding a Plumber

How do I find a plumber in my area?

The WaterSafe website has a list of local plumbing businesses that it has vetted. If you need to find a local approved plumbing business, use our find a plumber postcode search. We recommend getting three quotes from qualified plumbers to ensure you get a reasonable price.

Are there approved contractors throughout the UK?

Yes. There are approved contractors in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Approved contractors make up about 5 per cent of the plumbers in the UK.

What if I can't find an approved plumbing business close to me?

If you can’t find an approved plumbing business nearby, don’t worry. Some plumbers will travel to get to you. Use the WaterSafe search facility to expand your search to a wider area. By entering the first part of another postcode in your county, district or borough, you will have better chance of getting results.

Why can't WaterSafe arrange for a plumber to visit my house or business premises instead of giving me numbers to ring?

WaterSafe aims to give customers the best possible choice of approved plumbing businesses. We list those businesses in each postcode area and leave the final decision up to you, safe in the knowledge that each one of our member businesses employs recognised plumbers who are suitably qualified and competent to do the work.

Definitions

What is an approved plumbing business?

An approved plumbing business is a member of WaterSafe. To be a member of WaterSafe, plumbing businesses must be an eligible member of one of the seven existing Approved Contractor Schemes.

WaterSafe requires each approved member business to employ suitably qualified and competent individuals. Each WaterSafe approved business must also have £2m of public liability insurance and employers’ liability cover – where appropriate – of £5m in place.

WaterSafe requires each WaterSafe approved member business to be audited within the first 12 months of membership as a minimum and existing members are audited on a regular basis.

To be suitably qualified, recognised plumbers employed by a WaterSafe member business are required to successfully complete an NVQ Level 2 in Mechanical Engineer Services (plumbing) (6089) as a minimum and have a Water Fittings Regulations qualification.

What is a WaterSafe recognised plumber?

A WaterSafe recognised plumber is a qualified professional plumber who is employed by a business, which is a member of one or more Approved Contractors’ Schemes. Each of the schemes is either operated by a water company or appointed by the Secretary of State. The current Approved Contractors’ Schemes are:

  • The Water Industry Approved Plumbers’ Scheme (WIAPS)
  • Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)
  • Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) Approved Contractor Persons
  • Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) Water Regulations Approved Contractors’ Scheme
  • Anglian Water’s A Plus
  • Severn Trent’s WaterMark
  • Thames Water’s TAPS

What is the difference between a WaterSafe recognised plumber and a groundworker?

Recognised plumbers are assessed for their knowledge of the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws applying to all types of water installation in domestic and business premises. They can do a wide range of plumbing work.

Groundworkers are often employed to do external leakage repairs on a customer’s own pipework and can install new supply pipes. Unlike recognised plumbers, groundworkers have a more limited approval by the Approved Contractor Schemes (not WaterSafe) to work on pipes below ground and do not require a formal qualification in plumbing to gain external services sector approval. However, groundworkers are required to hold a basic qualification demonstrating competency which can be gained through one of the Approved Contractors’ Schemes which operate in this sector.

Benefits

Why should I use an approved plumbing business?

WaterSafe approved businesses must adhere to the WaterSafe code of conduct and customer commitments. Where businesses fail to meet these standards a disciplinary process applies. A member business, which fails to uphold the standards will be subject to a range of penalties, in serious cases, this would result in membership of WaterSafe being revoked.

A WaterSafe approved business will be required to put their work right if it does not meet the requirements of the Water Fittings Regulations or Byelaws, enforced by the water supplier.

WaterSafe recognised plumbers are fully qualified to carry out plumbing work in homes and business premises providing they are employed by a WaterSafe member business. They have specific training in Water Fittings Regulations, which enables them to ensure there should be no risk from poor installation or sub-standard materials that could cause contamination of your drinking water supply.

For most types of plumbing work, plumbers have a legal duty to notify the water supplier before they start work and this can lead to delays. Recognised plumbers can carry out some work without the need to provide advanced notification to the water supplier.

A ‘work completed’ certificate issued by a WaterSafe recognised plumber provides a defence for property owners who are challenged by a water supplier enforcing the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.

What protection is there for a customer if something goes wrong with the work carried out by an approved plumbing business?

Every WaterSafe approved business is required to hold public liability cover of at least £2m and employers’ liability insurance where appropriate. By using an unrecognised plumber, customers may well be unprotected if the worst should happen.

WaterSafe approved businesses must adhere to the WaterSafe code of conduct and customer commitments. Where businesses fail to meet these standards a disciplinary process applies. A member business, which fails to uphold the standards will be subject to a range of penalties, in serious cases, this would result in membership of WaterSafe being revoked.

A WaterSafe approved business will be required to put their work right if it does not meet the requirements of the Water Fittings Regulations or Byelaws, enforced by the water supplier.

A ‘work completed’ certificate issued by a WaterSafe recognised plumber provides a defence for property owners who are challenged by a water supplier enforcing the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.

Scheme Requirements

How are WaterSafe member businesses vetted?

An approved plumbing business is a member of WaterSafe. To be a member of WaterSafe, plumbing businesses must be an eligible member of one of the seven existing Approved Contractor Schemes.

WaterSafe requires each approved member business to employ suitably qualified and competent individuals. Each WaterSafe approved business must also have £2m of public liability insurance and employers’ liability cover – where appropriate – of £5m in place.

WaterSafe requires each WaterSafe approved member business to be audited within the first 12 months of membership as a minimum and existing members are audited on a regular basis.

To be suitably qualified, recognised plumbers employed by a WaterSafe member business are required to successfully complete an NVQ Level 2 in Mechanical Engineer Services (plumbing) (6089) as a minimum and have a Water Fittings Regulations qualification.

What qualifications do recognised plumbers need?

Recognised plumbers employed by a business on the WaterSafe register need to have successfully completed at least an NVQ Level 2 in Mechanical Engineer Services (plumbing) (6089) as a minimum and hold a water industry recognised Water Fittings Regulations qualification to ensure they are competent and have the relevant knowledge. In addition, if a plumbing individual does gas work then they are legally obliged to be on the GasSafe Register.

Checking

How do I know if a company is WaterSafe approved?

You can search on the WaterSafe website for a business either by company name or postcode. All WaterSafe recognised plumbers have an ID badge with the WaterSafe logo, so you can ask to see their ID card.

How do I know that an individual is recognised by WaterSafe?

You can search on the WaterSafe website for an individual either by name or through their company.

All recognised plumbers in England and Wales have an ID card with the WaterSafe logo, so you should ask to see an ID card. 

If Something Goes Wrong

How do I make a complaint?

WaterSafe is operated by a number of Scheme Operators. In the event that a customer encounters any difficulties with work carried out by a WaterSafe Approved contractor (such as a customer complaint which is not resolved by the contractor) then they should contact the appropriate Scheme Operator or WaterSafe directly on 0333 207 9030. WaterSafe will then arrange for the Scheme Operator to contact the customer to understand and investigate their complaint.

Other

Who owns WaterSafe?

WaterSafe does not have owners, it is a private company limited by guarantee. This means that the company does not have share capital and its members are guarantors rather than shareholders. The members' liability is limited to the amount they agree to contribute to the company's assets if it is wound up.

The members of WaterSafe are the seven existing Approved Contractors’ Schemes whose eligible members can also opt to become members of WaterSafe. The seven Approved Contractors’ schemes are run by:

Water UK and the Worshipful Company of Plumbers are also members of WaterSafe. There is a director on the board from most of the organisations that are members of WaterSafe. In addition,  the Trading Standards Institute provides an observer to the Board, helping to ensure that it keeps consumer protection in mind.

The Scheme also has the backing of all UK water suppliers and water quality regulators.

WaterSafe is administered by the Water Fittings Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) on behalf of the WaterSafe Board.

Do customers have to use a WaterSafe approved plumbing business?

Customers are not legally obliged to use an approved plumbing business but their work is recognised for compliance with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws. Customers can rest assured that all plumbers listed on WaterSafe are competent and qualified.

For the full benefits of using an approved plumbing business see “Why should I use an approved plumbing business?”

Why isn't membership of WaterSafe compulsory just like Gas Safe?

Unlike gas engineers, there is currently no legislation requiring plumbers to be on a recognised industry register.

Find Your Nearest Approved Plumber

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