With effect from the 1 July 1999 the
Government issued the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999,
and revoked the Water Supplier's Byelaws for England and Wales.
Technically similar requirements were introduced for Scotland from 4
April 2000, known as the Water Byelaws 2000 (Scotland).
For many years Water Supply Byelaws had
been used to protect the public water supply on both domestic and
commercial plumbing installations from waste, misuse, undue consumption
and contamination of water. As Statutory Instruments, the Regulations
replaced local byelaws with national legislation, increasing the profile
of the subject and making the Secretary of State for the Environment
accountable to Parliament for them.
Under the legislation, owners and
occupiers of premises which have public water supply connections and
anyone who installs or alters such plumbing systems have a legal duty to
comply with the regulations and they can face prosecution for a criminal
offence if they fail to do so.
Regulation 5 refers to notification of
intended work, and requires that anyone who proposes to install new
water systems (or, in non-domestic premises, to alter or extend systems)
in connection with ay of the operations listed in the Regulations must
give notice of the planned work to the Water Supplier, and shall not
begin that work without the Water Supplier’s consent, which shall not be
withheld unreasonably. One contractor has already been fined for failing
to give notice and for starting work without consent.
What is an ‘Approved Plumber’
The Government is campaigning against
‘cowboy building’ in a number of ways. One way is to include in the new
Regulations some useful concessions for an ‘Approved Contractor
(Plumber)’, who will be competent in complying with the Regulations.
The Approved Plumber has been given a
very useful concession in that he/she may start work without
notification or prior consent on certain types of work, provided he/she
issues the customer (and for some types of work, the Water Supplier)
with a certificate of compliance of the work when it is completed. This
can save up to ten days of waiting for the Water Supplier’s consent and
reduces the paperwork of notification.
‘Appoved plumbers’ can be authorized by
either the local Water Supplier, the Water Industry Scheme (WIAPS) or by
an organization recognized by the Government (IOP/APHC/SNIPEF).
The Water Industry Approved plumber
WIAPS is funded by most of the Water Suppliers to
administer an approved plumbers scheme for them. In order to become a
WIAPS member, applicants have to demonstrate that they have been
suitably trained as a plumber, that they have adequate knowledge of the
Regulations by passing an assessment and they must be able to confirm
that they have sufficient insurance cover.
There is no membership fee for a plumber
who wants to join WIAPS but there is a charge for taing the assessment
of regulations knowledge through WIAPS.
Water Suppliers often get asked by their
customers to recommend a plumber. On request, they will provide their
customers with details of Approved Plumbers. The details are also freely
available to the public on this website.