Plumbing Law by Sutton and East Surrey Water

PLANNING SOME PLUMBING? KNOW THE `WATER LAW’

Sutton and East Surrey Water is urging anyone planning plumbing work to make sure they know the ‘water law’ before they start.

In many cases, work on new and existing plumbing systems, and some types of water installations, needs to be notified to, and approved by Sutton and East Surrey Water before it can begin.

This is to make sure it meets the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations that are designed to keep drinking water supplies safe and healthy.

The warning doesn’t just apply to plumbers either – businesses, homeowners, landlords and tenants all need to follow the regulations too.

Rob Baldry, Water Quality Science Manager, said: “Our customers enjoy high-quality, safe drinking water and we want to make sure it stays that way.

“Unfortunately very few people are aware of their legal responsibilities to ensure certain types of plumbing work complies with these important regulations.

“Getting permission is quick and free, but failure to notify us could result in extra cost to put poor plumbing right or, worse, contamination of water supplies and a court prosecution.

“Our message is simple – if you are planning some plumbing installation work, take a few minutes to seek our professional advice or speak to an accredited WaterSafe plumber who is familiar with the regulations.”

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 Sutton and East Surrey Water includes:

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.


Approved plumbers – who are already trained to meet the strict regulations for installing pipes and fittings which supply drinking water – are able to carry out some types of work without prior notification.

WaterSafe is the central body for approved professional plumbers in the UK and accredited businesses can be found using the postcode search at watersafe.org.uk.

To find out more about the regulations visit www.waterplc.com or the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme at wras.co.uk/notification.