Where do the Regulations apply?
Since 1 July 1999 in England and Wales, all plumbing systems, water fittings and equipment supplied, or to be supplied, with water from the public water supply come under these regulations. This applies to systems in all types of premises including properties that use a private water supply and have a mains backup provided by water companies. The regulations apply from the point where water enters the property's underground service pipe to the point the water is used.
These regulations do not apply where a property does not have a supply of water from a water company. However, it is still good plumbing practice to follow the requirements of the Regulations.
A legal duty is placed on all users, owners or occupiers and anyone who installs plumbing systems or water fittings to ensure they are installed and used in accordance with these Regulations. In most cases, advanced notice must be given of proposed installations, so architects, building developers and plumbers can ensure they follow the requirements of the regulations on behalf of future owners or occupiers.
The application of the regulations cannot be back-dated. Any plumbing system or water fitting which was installed lawfully under the Water Supply Byelaws before the regulations came into force can still be used, even if its installation would not now be permitted by the current regulations.
Plumbing systems: design, installation, operation and maintenance
The Regulations also cover the design, installation, operation and maintenance of a plumbing system including the fittings and appliances used. When a plumbing system is properly installed and maintained, it protects public health by maintaining water quality, ensure safety, ease of access and to prevent contamination from pipes and fittings, or by backflow.