If you’re planning major plumbing work in Essex, you’re required to notify the local water supplier and obtain approval before you can begin. This is to ensure you comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations. These regulations were put in place to keep the drinking water supply safe and healthy.
The ‘water law,’ as it’s often referred to, applies not just to plumbers but homeowners, landlords, tenants and business owners. Julie Spinks, director of WaterSafe, said: “UK homes and businesses enjoy high-quality, safe drinking water and it is important it stays that way.”
But he also notes that very few people are aware of their legal responsibility to ensure their plumbing work complies with these regulations. This mostly applies to DIY plumbers, and it’s risky business because there’s always the chance they will contaminate the public water supply by trying to fix things themselves.
As Mr. Brown notes, it’s easy to get permission, but failure to do so could result in “extra cost to put poor plumbing right or, worse, contamination of water supplies and a court prosecution.”
Types of plumbing work requiring notification of local water supplier 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.
DIY plumbing vs. hiring an expert plumber
One of the benefits of hiring an expert plumber is that they are allowed to carry out some of these tasks without having to notify the authorities. This is because they are well trained and can be trusted to adhere to the strict regulations for installing pipes and fittings that supply drinking water.
Although a lot of people like to get their hands dirty trying to fix their water supply, plumbing shouldn’t be treated as a DIY task. There’s a lot at stake when you decide to do it yourself; keeping in mind that one person could potentially contaminate water used by up to several thousand people at a time, it makes sense to just get an expert and avoid the dire consequences of plumbing gone wrong.
Sure, there are a few things lower-risk things you can fix on your own, such as replacing toilet hardware or installing a new faucet. For tasks requiring advance tools and skills, such as renovations, or fixing internal plumbing issues, you can save yourself the time, trouble, plus cost of bad workmanship—and possible risk of persecution—by just calling in an expert plumber.Share