They are designed to protect public health and promote the efficient use of water.
The regulations and byelaws apply to all plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances which are supplied, or are due to be supplied, from the public water supply.
They cover water systems in all types of premises and apply from the point where water enters the property’s underground pipe. These regulations and byelaws do not apply to premises without a public water supply connection.
The Water Fittings Regulations and Scottish Water Byelaws are designed to prevent misuse, waste, undue consumption or erroneous measurement of water and, most importantly, to prevent contamination of drinking water.
They are national requirements for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances.
They replaced the former local Water Supply Byelaws, which each water supplier administered for similar purposes for many years.
They apply to all plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances supplied, or to be supplied, from the public water supply. They apply to systems in all types of premises and from the point where water enters the property’s underground pipe. They do not apply to premises without a public water supply connection.
Copies of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and their Schedules Statutory Instruments (1999 No. 1148 and No. 1506) are available from HMSO and via the links below. These apply in England and Wales.
Copies of the Byelaws 2014 (Scotland) are available via the link below:
Copies of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 are available via the link below:
The Government has also published a guidance document relating to the Schedules, which is relevant to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is available on the link below:
WRAS publishes the Water Regulations Guide, which includes the text of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and Scottish Byelaws, with detailed water industry guidance and interpretations. WRAS also provides other publications, which are free. For further information contact WRAS.
Water suppliers do not provide a design service for installations, but they will try to answer individual queries from customers, designers, builders and installers about the interpretation of the regulations.
No, provided the plumbing system, water fitting or water-using appliance was lawfully installed under the previous Water Supply Byelaws. Where fittings were lawfully installed, the current Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws cannot be applied to require changes.
However, if a water supplier considers there is a significant risk of water being contaminated or wasted by these fittings, even if they complied with Water Supply Byelaws in force at the time of installation, then the water supplier can insist on improvements, using the legal provisions within the Water Industry Act, Water (Scotland) Act or the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order.
No. Wastewater pipes from sinks, baths, showers, washbasins, WCs and bidets fall under the jurisdiction of Building Regulations.
For premises connected to the public supply:
All of the above have a legal duty to ensure the systems satisfy the regulations. Advanced notice must be given of proposed installations in specific cases, so architects, building developers and plumbers have to follow the regulations on behalf of future owners or occupiers.
If you are planning to do your own plumbing work, ensure you know what requirements you must meet. If you are employing someone else, consider using a WaterSafe approved plumbing business, as they will ensure the new installation is compliant.
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.
Water suppliers enforce the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.
Where contraventions of the regulations and byelaws are found, the water supplier will require them to be remedied as soon as practicable.
Where breaches pose a risk to health or there is a significant waste of water, the water supply to the premises may be disconnected immediately to protect public health and prevent waste or damage to premises.
It is a criminal offence to contravene the regulations or byelaws and offenders may face prosecution. Those found guilty will have a criminal record, be fined and may have to pay costs.
It is a legal requirement to give a water supplier advanced notification of the following:
For Northern Ireland and Scotland only, in addition to the above, notification is required for:
In Scotland, there is an additional requirement for notification of:
1If an Approved Contractor, such as a WaterSafe business, is used in these circumstances the water supplier does not need advanced notification in England, Scotland and Wales.
2If an Approved Contractor, such as a WaterSafe approved business, is used in these circumstances the water supplier does not need advanced notification in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
No, however, the work and the water fittings must comply with the Water Regulations and Byelaws.
For notification, the following information must be sent to the local water supplier:
The plumbing contractor’s name and address, if an approved contractor, such as a WaterSafe approved plumber is used to do the work.
A water supplier may not withhold consent unreasonably. They may however, grant consent subject to conditions, which must be followed.
If consent is not given within 10 working days, then permission is deemed to have been granted. However, any work must still comply with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.