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It’s very possible you might be breaking the law in your bathroom

If you’re planning plumbing work, make sure you put informing your water company on the to-do list
   Amanda Peters  |  written on: 15-03-2019 17:00pm

The latest survey by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) has revealed that 60% of homeowners are unaware that they must inform their water company if they plan on installing specific water fixtures, including large baths and certain types of bidets.

Browse 1,000s of inspiring ideas for your bathroom redesign here

In order to safeguard drinking water, UK water regulations require the designer, installer, owner or occupier to first obtain permission from their local water supplier.

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Photos: Alex Maguire; design: Martins Camisuli Architects.

Julie Spinks, managing director of WRAS advises, “If you’re planning any type of new plumbing installation, it’s well worth taking a few minutes to seek professional advice from your local water supplier.”

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

Consent takes a maximum of ten working days and costs nothing. In many cases, the water supplier will simply need a description of the planned work and the contact details of those undertaking it.

However, 62% that were surveyed said they didn’t know that had to inform their water company if they installed a large bath (one holding more than 230 litres), while 25% believed they didn’t need to tell their water company at all.

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Inspiration by Ripples

The survey also uncovered that 60% of homeowners were unaware that they were legally required to tell their water company if they were installing a bidet which featured an ascending spray or flexible hose.

“Homeowners may not realise that if these are installed incorrectly, they risk contaminating their drinking water, which is why it is so important to notify their water company," emphasises Julie.

Types of plumbing work that must be notified to water suppliers include:

- Building a house or other property/structure
- Extending or altering the water system on a non-household building
- A material change of use of a building, which includes installing rainwater harvesting or other water reuse systems
- 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 or more than 1350mm below ground.

This list is not exhaustive and there are extra requirements in Scotland and Northern Ireland, full details are on the WRAS website.

Also read
Expert's corner: what do I need to know about plumbing before I build?
5 things you need to know about owning a freestanding bathtub

NEXT! Want to browse dream tub ideas? Click any image below to begin browsing our moodboard of inspirations...

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Amanda Peters

KBB Ark Web Editor. I've been writing for design magazines for a few years now and like nothing more than ‘exploring’ other people's homes (with their permission, of course).

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