Water Systems

Continuing from the previous article; The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations also deals with issues regarding water contaminations, preventing contaminations getting into drinking water. However, the main differences between the new regulations and the old byelaws can be broken down in the following points:

  • From January 2001: a 20% reduction of water flushed in new WC cisterns.
  • Permitting dual-flush WC cisterns.
  • To seriously reduce the maximum volume of water used in both dishwashers and washing machines, per cycle.
  • Stricter procedures when notifying water companies of installations regarding high water-using products and other products with a risk of contamination the mains water supply.
  • To avoid the contamination of drinking water by improving the systems of backflow prevention measures through the backflow of water in both domestic and industrial installations.
  • Provisions and advice for the establishment of approved contractor’s schemes.

However, individual water companies will remain responsible and it is their job to enforce these new regulations.

Law Regulations

By law, people are obliged to inform their local water company and await their approval before making alterations and/or additions to their plumbing systems. There are stiff penalties in place for people convicted of breaching the water regulations. Local water companies will send out an inspector to visit people’s homes if the intend to make any extensive alterations and/or additions. The inspector will help by assisting in pointing out any bad practice or likely breaches of the regulations.

Laws on Purchasing Plumbing Systems

When buying plumbing fittings for use in private homes, check that they are approved the Water Research Centre under its voluntary scheme. Depending on where you are based, either look for this approval, the British Standard Kitemark or the relevant approval mark for the European Directive.

Building Regulations normally refers to the construction of new houses and/or any proposed changes to existing houses. However, they can also affect the ‘home plumber’. Relevant requirements, which are law enforced, deals with this issues of drainage, ventilation of rooms and then especially those which contains boilers or WCs, fuel and power conservation and the control provision for central heating and hot water systems.

The Building Regulations themselves can sometimes be tricky to comprehend but there are different guides explaining them.  A ‘Manual the Building Regulations’ can be obtained from the DETR if need be. It is the Building Control Officers within the local authorities that are responsible for the Regulations. If you are planning to do any work which might be affected by the Regulations, they are the ones to contact with your application. It is important to remember that the Regulations themselves only cover the main criteria and that any technical details can be found in supporting documents called the ‘Approved Documents’. Bear in mind that Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own Building Regulations.

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