What are Water Regulations?
NI Water provides reliable and cost effective water services to most businesses and households across Northern Ireland. Working with you, we aim to continue to improve and develop the range of services we provide. As part of our services, we have an obligation to explain your responsibilities under the Water Regulations legislation.
NI Water has a responsibility to enforce Water Regulations in all properties that have a public water supply. The Water Regulations were created under Section 114 of the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 to ensure the safety of the water supply. The main aim is to prevent contamination of the public water supply, and to help you prevent waste, misuse and undue consumption of water.
How do Regulations affect you?
The Water Regulations apply to all plumbing systems, water fittings and appliances connected to the public water supply. They help to ensure that any plumbing system in your home or business is installed and maintained correctly. Complying with these Regulations can help to prevent any potential contamination of the public water supply or to other parts of your home or business.
It is important that you understand that Water Regulations can protect:
- You, your family and neighbours and employees; by protecting drinking water and therefore the health and safety of everyone.
- You, from criminal prosecution and potentially substantial fines.
Helping you comply
If you're an owner or occupier of a property or you install or maintain plumbing systems and water fittings you have a legal obligation to the requirements of the Water Regulations. In addition, architects, developers, plumbers and builders need to ensure the requirements are met for future owners or occupiers.
In most cases before you start work on plumbing installations or undertake any changes to your water system, you as the owner, occupier or installer must obtain approval from NI Water by giving advance notice of the work. This is done by submitting a written application on the attached ‘Water Regulation Notification' form of your intentions. However in many cases the use of a licensed plumber means that you are not required to give advance notification direct to NI Water. For a full list of work that must not commence without prior approval please refer to the Water Regulations and specifically Regulation 5. Please note NI Water cannot unreasonably withhold consent for your work but it may be granted subject to conditions, which must be followed. If you do not hear from us within 10 working days of writing to us, consent is deemed to have been given and you can proceed with the work. This does not alter the obligation upon the installer and owner or occupier to ensure the Regulations are fully complied with.
NI Water recommends you consider using a licensed plumbing contractor whenever plumbing installations or alterations are carried out. A licensed plumbing contractor must satisfy a number of requirements.
- Must employ properly qualified operatives;
- Maintain public liability insurance of at least £2million;
- Produce a Financial Integrity Statement from their auditor annually;
- Regular inspections are carried out to ensure work is carried out properly.
The Plumbing Industry Licensing Board operates a registration scheme for businesses and individuals and its membership includes representation from NI Water.
Additionally, an independent complaints procedure is provided to resolve complaints against Licensed Businesses, membership of the complaints panel includes representation from NI Water.
All work undertaken by a Licensed Plumber is also covered by a warranty scheme, providing customers with practical and financial assistance if a Licensed Plumber or SNIPEF member refuses to implement any decision made by the Complaint Resolution Panel or in situations which may arise in the event of a Licensed Plumber becoming insolvent.
Pipe Insulation Calculator
Click here to access the tool for customers to determine how effective insulation will be in delaying the effects of cold weather on water pipes, such as freezing. The tool will calculate how many hours protection you can expect from different insulating materials.
For more information please see the following pages on the main SNIPEF website;
- Why Use a Licensed Business;
- Warranty Scheme Information.
If you want to talk to one of our team of experts then call our Customer Helpline on 03457440088 or email our Regulations Team at waterregulations[AT]niwater[DOT]com