Water Supply Industry Interpretations and Advice

  • Area of Interest : Installation
  • Topic : Fittings
  • Title : Continued use of fittings lawfully installed under the former Water Supply Byelaws.
  • Clause Reference : Regulation 2(4)
  • Reference Number : I10
  • Decision Date : February 2002

Regulation/Byelaw  2(4) has the effect of permitting nothing in the the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations, Byelaws in Scotland, to require owners or occupiers of premises to alter fittings that were lawfully installed in accordance with the requirements of the former Byelaws in force at the time of installation. However, if in the reasonable opinion of the water supplier an unacceptable risk of contamination or waste of water exists as a result of these ‘lawfully installed’ fittings, the owner or occupier of the premises could be committing an offence under the Water Industry Act 1991 section 73(1) or the equivalent legislation in Scotland. In such a case, the water supplier can require the necessary modification to the fittings to reduce the risk, e.g. to require a level of backflow protection which meets the requirements of the Regulations/Byelaws in force now. In enforcing the former byelaws, where they felt that local circumstances warranted it, some water suppliers allowed alternative arrangements to those generally illustrated in the Water Supply Byelaws Guide at that time. If improvement is now considered necessary, the apparent exemption for such existing alternative arrangements (i.e. ‘fittings which were lawfully installed under Byelaws’) does not apply. Even with such previously agreed terms, the water supplier can require (and in default of action by the owner or occupier, install) improvements if it considers that it is now necessary to meet the assessed risk. However, water suppliers are advised to examine any written terms for the alternative arrangements which had been agreed with owners or occupiers, as they may constrain the water supplier’s ability to require the owner or occupier to bear the expense of meeting higher standard provision now.