Membership FAQs

These frequently asked questions for plumbers include how to join WaterSafe, the benefits of becoming an approved business, and conditions of membership.

Joining WaterSafe

What are the benefits of being WaterSafe approved?

WaterSafe approval means credibility under the WaterSafe banner - a national brand that customers can trust, supported by all UK water companies and the drinking water regulators.

Your business will benefit from free publicity and online promotion, with a listing on the largest online directory for approved plumbers working with drinking water in the UK. The directory is promoted to thousands of people every day, and by your local water company.

You'll also be able to use WaterSafe branding to reassure your customers that you're qualified and trusted to work safely with their drinking water.

A direct link to your local company mean you'll be able to self-notify plumbing work and access free advice on the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws to keep up to date with changes in the industry.

How does my business become WaterSafe approved?

To become a member of WaterSafe, your business needs to operate in the UK and be a member of an existing Approved Contractor Scheme.

You need to have £2 million of public liability insurance and, where appropriate, £5 million of employers’ liability cover.

WaterSafe also requires each approved member business to employ suitably qualified and competent individuals. These individuals then become WaterSafe recognised. 

To be suitably qualified, plumbers employed by a 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. Find out more with our  full list of accepted qualifications.

Each business must have at least one qualified individual who is recognised by WaterSafe for every five employees undertaking water supply installation work. 

WaterSafe approved businesses commit to send only qualified and WaterSafe recognised individuals to respond to WaterSafe-generated work. You must let us know if a WaterSafe approved employee leaves your business.

WaterSafe approved businesses must also adhere to the terms and conditions of their Approved Contractor Scheme and the WaterSafe code of conduct and customer commitments.

Can I register as a sole trader?

Yes, you can register as a sole trader if you are self-employed, under the same terms as for a business. See the answer to the question above.

What are the conditions for WaterSafe membership?

Each WaterSafe approved business or sole trader must sign up to the WaterSafe Customer Commitments.

The following documents also contain important information about your membership:

You must follow the terms and conditions of your approved contractors' scheme and let us know if one of your employees leaves your company.

What does it cost to become WaterSafe approved?

Firstly, a plumbing business or sole trader needs to join one of the seven Approved Contractor Schemes in the UK. 

Membership of the Water Industry Approved Plumbers' Scheme (WIAPS), which operates in England and Wales, and the TAPS scheme, which operates in the area supplied by Thames Water, is free. There are charges for membership of the other schemes, but the trade and professional bodies offer added benefits and support for you and your business.

Once you have joined an Approved Contractor Scheme you can opt to sign up for free WaterSafe accreditation.

How do I join an Approved Contractor Scheme?

To become a member of WaterSafe as a plumbing business or sole trader you need to join one of the seven Approved Contractor Schemes, who together make up WaterSafe.

Take a look at the geographical areas in which each scheme operates to find the best one for you.

Contact the schemes directly to find out more about joining and any charges which may apply. Membership of the Water Industry Approved Plumbers' Scheme (WIAPS), which operates in England and Wales, and the TAPS scheme, which operates in the area supplied by Thames Water, is free.

Do you provide training?

We don’t provide training. Here are some trainers who offer water regulations training and other qualifications.

If you train with an independent trainer it's important to ask if the qualifications you obtain at the end of the programme would allow you to become a WaterSafe approved plumber, as these set a high standard for the industry.

As a minimum you would require NVQ Level 2 in England and Wales, and SVQ Level 3 in Scotland (not just the technical certificate). Find out more about these with our full list of accepted qualifications.

Follow this link for more information on the water regulations and byelaws.

How can I find the latest information on the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws?

Please follow the link for information on the national requirements which govern the design, installation, operation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and appliances which use water.

If you are a WaterSafe plumber your local water company can also advise you on the water regulations and byelaws – click on your water company’s name to contact a water regulations manager directly.

You can also contact the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) for advice.

I’ve got a question about my membership, how can I get in touch?

You can contact us by:

PHONE: 0333 207 9030

EMAIL: info@watersafe.org.uk or through our contact form here.

POST: 13 Willow Road, Pen y Fan Industrial Estate, Crumlin, Gwent, Wales, NP11 4EG

Customer Complaints

What happens if a customer complains about my work? 

If a customer complains about your work, the complaint will be passed on to your Approved Contractor Scheme to investigate. If the scheme finds that your work does not comply with the Water Fittings Regulations or Byelaws, your company will be asked to rectify the work.

Where a company or individual breaches the requirements of WaterSafe or its scheme, this may lead to a suspension or removal from the WaterSafe register.

Changing Companies

What if an employee who is approved by WaterSafe leaves my company?

You should notify your Approved Contractor Scheme operator, so they can remove them from links to your company.

As a recognised plumber, what happens if I move company?

If you are a WaterSafe recognised plumber and your employer has changed, you need to notify your Approved Contractor Scheme to avoid your details being removed from the WaterSafe website. 

You need to be part of a business with appropriate insurance, so your new company would have to apply to an Approved Contractor Scheme or add you to their existing WaterSafe membership.

Gas Safe

If I become WaterSafe approved, do I still need to be registered with Gas Safe?

Yes. Gas Safe registration is essential if you work on gas installations or appliances and any plumber working with gas is legally obliged to be listed on the Gas Safe Register.

Does the Gas Safe register cover Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws?

No. The Gas Safe Register only relates to the installation of gas heating systems, appliances and other gas work.

Why do I need to be a member of WaterSafe if I'm already Gas Safe registered?

Membership of WaterSafe demonstrates competency in water supply plumbing while Gas Safe is only for gas work. WaterSafe is one of the best ways to show competency in plumbing and knowledge of the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.

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