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Our guide to drinking water and the relevant building regulations

Are you looking to understand better how to ensure your drinking water appliance meets relevant building standards?

We know that Building regulations and any accompanying legislation can be a challenge to navigate. Here, Zip’s Customer Success Director, Alex Maynard, breaks down this specific topic into bite size chunks of information, so you can quickly digest the key points.

How do you know that your boiling water or multi function tap meets building regulations in the UK?

I know this can be challenging, with the wealth of different products on the market it can be hard to know at first glance what options have the relevant product approvals.

Ultimately the product needs to have Regulation 4 compliance. Thankfully there are some really simple certifications to look out for:

- WRAS approval (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme)

- NSF certification

- Kiwa approval

These are all independent certification testing bodies. Products approved under these schemes demonstrate, if installed correctly, that they meet the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, or the Scottish Water Byelaws.

What other regulations apply?

There are also a few other regulations that you will need to consider.

Building Regulation G, or G3 specifically, relates to hot water supply and systems. It exists to protect users during the normal operation of a system - or should any part of the product fail. For example, the guidance states that any water discharged from a heated vessel must be done so safely and visibly. It also states that stored water should not exceed 100℃.

It’s for this reason that our instant boiling water systems are factory-set to store and supply water at 98℃. This temperature not only complies with WRAS and Building Regulation G3, but ensures water is delivered safely, with no spluttering or scalding steam. It is also the optimum temperature for making hot drinks.

The UKCA & CE marks are also important as they show that the manufacturer has checked that its products meet UK and EU safety, health and environmental requirements (all Zip Water products have been fully tested and comply with UKCA & CE requirements).

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) mark is the new product marking that will be required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most products that previously required the CE mark.

UKCA will not be recognised in the EU market and products will still need a CE marking to be sold in the EU. From the start of 2025 only products with UKCA marking are accepted in Great Britain.

What is the purpose of the regulations and when does it apply?

In the UK, any property domestic or commercial connected to a public water supply (i.e. provided by a water supply company, not solely a private supply on-site) is subject to the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, or the Scottish Water Byelaws.

The regulations ‘set legal requirements for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of water fittings, systems and appliances, specifically in order to prevent the contamination of drinking water as well as preventing misuse, waste, undue consumption and erroneous measurement’.

The regulations apply in all premises where water is supplied by a water company - from the point that the water enters the property (boundary) to the water being used through a plumbing system or water appliance.

Legal responsibility to ensure regulations have been met falls to all users, owners or occupiers and anyone who is installing plumbing equipment, water fittings and appliances.

What are the key takeaways from Regulation 4?

Water fittings requirements (Regulation 4) specifically sets out rules for water fittings, as follows:

Part 1: Every water fitting shall:

a. Be of an appropriate quality and standard.

b. Be suitable for the circumstances in which it is used.

Part 2: For the purposes of regulation 4, a water fitting is of an appropriate standard or quality only if:

a. It bears an appropriate UKCA / CE Mark.

b. It conforms to an appropriate harmonised standard, shown by having WRAS or a Reg4

c. It conforms to an appropriate British Standard.

d. It conforms to a specification approved by the regulator, shown by having WRAS or a Reg4

What are the consequences of not complying with regulations?

Inspections are carried out by a variety of people, from the water supplier to building control officers and even trading standards. This is on both new and existing installations to check they are compliant with the regulations.

If the installation fails to meet the requirements, the installer will be issued with a notice, and any infringement considered a risk to public health will lead to an immediate disconnect of the property’s water supply.

It’s important that any notice is acted upon quickly. Breaching the regulations is a criminal offence. If the infringement is unaddressed, failure to comply with regulations can lead to prosecution and fines.

With work completed and certified by an approved plumber, legal responsibility falls on the plumber.

Keep in mind it’s illegal to install an appliance that isn’t compliant, but it isn’t illegal to sell one! You should be careful to ensure you are using appliances that are designed with the regulations in mind and installed in line with current standards.

If you choose to install a Zip Water system you can rest easy in the knowledge that all of our products are compliant with building regulations. We also offer the added benefit of certified Zip installation, so you have complete peace of mind.

For more information on building water regulations in the UK, visit the Water Regulations website. Explore our range of WRAS approved instant filtered drinking water taps for the home here.

Other useful resources include:


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