Tom Melhuish 5 min read

Complying with Water Fittings Regulations for businesses

The Water Fittings Regulations are legal requirements designed to protect the quality of drinking water supplies in the UK.

These regulations legally require businesses that are connected to the mains water supply to obtain permission before making certain changes to their water fittings.

This guide summarises the legal obligations for businesses set out by the Water Fittings Regulations.

💡 This guide does not delve into the detailed quality standards and regulations that plumbers and other water specialists must adhere to. We recommend the website Water Regs UK as the best resource for professional standards.

What are the Water Fittings Regulations?

The Water Fittings Regulations are devolved into the following pieces of legislation.

  • England and Wales – Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (1999)
  • Scotland – Water Supply (Water Fittings) (Scotland) Byelaws (2014)
  • Northern Ireland – The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009

Our summary of the Water Fittings Regulations for business owners is a general overview applicable to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Getting consent for water fittings work

The Water Fittings Regulations empower local water companies to withhold consent for water fittings work at properties connected to their network.

💡 The local water companies operate the mains water network in your area (Thames Water, etc.) and are different from your business water supplier. Use’s postcode checker to find your local water company.

The Water Fittings Regulations require that your local water company is notified in advance of the following water fitting installations at a non-domestic property:

  • A material change in the use of a property
  • The extension or alteration of the water system (unless carried out by an approved contractor)
  • The erection of a new building or other structure
  • Installation of a rainwater harvesting system (Scotland and NI only)
  • Installation of a greywater system (Scotland and NI only)
  • Incorporating a borehole water supply (Scotland only)
  • The construction of a pond or swimming pool which uses the water mains and has a volume greater than 10,000 litres
  • A pump or pressuring boosting system drawing more than 12 litres per minute connected to water mains
  • A reverses osmosis purification system
  • An automatic garden watering system

Source: This list summarises the typical fittings requiring approval on a commercial property, extracted from Regulation 5 on the Water Regs UK website.

Each water company maintains a form on its website for submitting notifications regarding water fittings. Your water company must respond within ten working days.

Approved contractor schemes

The Water Fittings Regulations set out a comprehensive list of technical standards and procedures for work on water systems. These are designed to prevent leaks, maintain water pressure, and avoid contamination of potable water supplies.

The most reliable way to ensure compliance with these regulations is to choose an approved contractor for any work on your water systems.

The Water Fittings Regulations require approved contractors to provide a signed certificate confirming that the water fittings they have worked on comply with the legislative requirements.

However, it can be confusing as there are several different approved contractor accreditation schemes in the UK:

Water Industry ApprovedApproved by Regulator
A Plus (Anglian Water)Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)
Water Industry Approved Plumbers’ Scheme (WIAPS) operated on behalf of 15 water undertakersChartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE)
Watermark (Severn Trent)Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF)

Source: Water Regs UK – Approved Contractors

How to find an approved water fittings installer for your business?

We recommend using the Water Safe search function to find approved plumbers and other water specialists in your area.

The WaterSafe website is a non-profit funded by the Ofwat and other regulators. Its goal is to help customers find competent and qualified plumbers, water supply pipe installers and other water specialists.

Water measurement regulations

The Water Fittings Regulations prohibit any work that may affect the way water is measured at commercial properties.

Most commercial properties in the UK are equipped with a business water meter that records the property’s water consumption to determine business water rates.

The regulations strictly prohibit any actions that would result in an erroneous measurement of water.

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