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

Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws

The Water Fittings Regulations and Scottish Water Byelaws are national requirements which govern the design, installation, operation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and appliances which use water. 

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.

What are the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws?

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.

Where do they apply?

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.

Where can I get a copy of the regulations and further advice?

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.

Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 (England and Wales)

Copies of the Byelaws 2014 (Scotland) are available via the link below:

Water Supply (Water Fittings) (Scotland) Byelaws 2014

Copies of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 are available via the link below:

Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009

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:

Guidance document

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.

Are the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws retrospective?

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.

Is the wastewater pipework side of a plumbing system part of the regulations?

No. Wastewater pipes from sinks, baths, showers, washbasins, WCs and bidets fall under the jurisdiction of Building Regulations.

Who has to comply with the regulations? 

For premises connected to the public supply:

  • owners or occupiers of property
  • anyone who uses or operates plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances
  • anyone who installs, maintains or modifies plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances.

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.

How do the regulations and byelaws affect you?

  • Your plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances must be installed, maintained and used to comply with the regulations or byelaws
  • You must prevent contamination of drinking water
  • You must use water efficiently.
  • You must give advanced notification of installation work, in specific circumstances.

Who is responsible for enforcing the regulations and byelaws?

Water suppliers enforce the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.

What action could be taken in response to a contravention of the 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.

ADVANCED NOTIFICATION

What work needs to be notified in advance to a water supplier?

It is a legal requirement to give a water supplier advanced notification of the following:

  • The erection of any new building or structure.
  • The extension or alteration of the water system in any premises except a domestic dwelling.1 and 2
  • The material change in use of any premises.
  • The installation of:
    • A bidet with an ascending spray or flexible hose; 1 and 2
    • A bath larger than 230 litres (measured to the centre of the overflow);
    • A shower unit of a type specified by the regulator (but none is currently specified);
    • A pump or booster drawing more than 12 litres per minute;
    • A reverse osmosis unit;
    • A water treatment unit producing a waste water discharge or requiring water for regeneration or cleaning;
    • A reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valve or other mechanical device for protection against backflow in fluid category 4 or 5;
    • A garden watering system unless designed to be a hand-operated one;
    • Any water system laid outside a building and either less than 750 mm or more than 1350 mm below ground level;
  • Construction of an automatically-replenished pond or swimming pool of more than 10,000 litres.

For Northern Ireland and Scotland only, in addition to the above, notification is required for:

  • a flexible shower hose or other flexible outlet for use in conjunction with a WC; 2
  • a ‘shower-toilet’ or ‘bidet- toilet’ where, either as part of the WC itself or as an addition or adaptation of it, a stream of water is provided from below the spillover level of the WC pan for personal cleansing; 2
  • a pump delivery pipe drawing water from a supply pipe;
  • greywater, recycled water, reclaimed water and rainwater harvesting systems;
  • water systems for fire fighting, including domestic sprinklers.

In Scotland, there is an additional requirement for notification of:

  • any system incorporating a private water supply.

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.

In an existing domestic property do I need to notify the water supplier if I intend to install a) a bath holding less than 230 litres, b) a shower mixer, c) an outside tap, d) kitchen taps, e) wash basin taps, f) a cold water storage cistern?

No, however, the work and the water fittings must comply with the Water Regulations and Byelaws.

What information should be included in an advanced notification to a water supplier?

For notification, the following information must be sent to the local water supplier:

  • The name and address of the person giving notice and, if different, of the person to whom the consent should be sent.
  • A description of the proposed work and any related change of use of premises.
  • The location of the premises and their use or intended use.
  • Except for items below, 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.
    • A bath larger than 230 litres (measured to the centre of the overflow);
    • A shower unit of a type specified by the Regulator (but none is currently specified);
    • A garden watering system unless designed to be a hand-operated one;
    • Construction of an automatically-replenished pond or swimming pool of more than 10,000 litres.

The plumbing contractor’s name and address, if an approved contractor, such as a WaterSafe approved plumber is used to do the work.

What happens once an advanced notification has been submitted?

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.

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