Do I need to notify my water supplier of planned plumbing work?

Anyone who is planning most types of plumbing work must inform their local water supplier, and gain approval, before they start. The need to notify water suppliers of plumbing work extends to homeowners, landlords, tenants, developers, building managers and plumbers.

Not everyone is aware of the regulations, however, they are in place to ensure the plumbing meets the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws which are designed to keep drinking water supplies safe and healthy.

The regulations apply to many types of domestic and commercial plumbing – from building new houses or extending business premises to everyday work such as installing certain types of bidets or large baths.

Types of plumbing work that must be notified to water suppliers include:

  • Building a house or other property/structure
  • Extending or altering the water system on a non-household building
  • Changing the use of a building or installing water systems, such as rainwater harvesting
  • Installing a swimming pool or pond over 10,000 litres
  • A garden watering system (unless operated by hand)
  • A bath which holds more than 230 litres of water
  • A bidet with an upward spray or flexible hose
  • A pump or booster that delivers more than 12 litres of water per minute
  • A reverse osmosis unit (for cleaning water)
  • A water treatment unit which produces waste water
  • A reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valve assembly or similar
  • Any water system outside a building that is either less than 750mm (0.75 metres) or more than 1350mm (1.35 metres) below ground.

In Northern Ireland and Scotland, notification is also required for:

  • Grey water, recycled water, reclaimed water and rainwater harvesting
  • Water systems for firefighting, including domestic sprinklers
  • A flexible shower hose or other flexible outlet for use with a WC
  • A ‘shower toilet’ or ‘bidet-toilet’ either as part of the WC itself or where 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.

In Scotland, there is an additional requirement for notification of any system incorporating a private water supply.

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