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Water Byelaws - your questions answered

You may have some questions about Water Byelaws, so we’ve detailed some of the most common questions we are asked below:


What is a Water Byelaws inspection?

An inspection is a check of the plumbing system within your premises and all water using appliances connected to it. During an inspection we could check the following:

  •     all pipes are properly supported, insulated, marked and are accessible for maintenance
  •     all stopcocks, servicing valves, drain valves are easily accessible and operable
  •     all fittings used are of suitable materials and are ‘fit for purpose
  •     any water storage tanks are properly fitted
  •     water storage tanks are protected against freezing/heating and from insects gaining access
  •     any underground pipes are at a suitable depth
  •     appropriate levels of protection against backflow are in place and maintained.


Why do I need a Water Byelaws inspection?

If your plumbing systems are connected to the public water supply then you will need to ensure that the systems comply with Water Byelaws.

We can help ensure you with this by visiting your property and conducting an inspection to identify the risk and any possible sources of contamination to the public water supply. If we identify any risks or sources of contamintation we can help you take steps to remove these.

How much does it cost?

There is currently no charge for a Water Byelaws inspection.

What if I ignore Water Byelaws, would Scottish Water send someone to my door?

Scottish Water carry out inspections in line with Water Industry Best Practice and have a rolling programme of inspections for industrial and commercial properties and an audit programme for domestic properties. If we became aware of any particular case where, by ignoring the Water Byelaws, you were creating a heightened risk of contamination, we would arrange an inspection of your premises.

Remember, that the Water Byelaws are there for your protection as well as to ensure the public supply remains safe. It’s therefore in everyone’s interest to ensure that the Water Byelaws are complied with.

If I am found to have a plumbing system which has been installed incorrectly can I be made to put it right?

Yes. Scottish Water has legal powers which enable us to enforce the requirements of the Water Byelaws.  However, the approach we have adopted is to work with our customers to ensure Water Byelaw compliance. If for instance we found contraventions on your property, we would highlight these to you and agree a programme and timescale for remedial works to be carried out.

In certain extreme circumstances, for example, if your plumbing system presented an unacceptably high risk to health and safety through contamination, we could insist on immediate rectification works or even immediate disconnection of the pipe or appliance causing the risk.


If I contact a plumber to carry out work in my home, what happens if the job is not done correctly?

Scottish Water recommends the use of licensed plumbers to carry out plumbing work in your premises.

The main benefits of using a licensed plumber are that :

  • Work is certified as complying with the Water Byelaws
  • Properly trained and qualified personnel are available
  • Members are audited/inspected on a regular basis
  • Members hold public liability insurance
  • Members must submit annual Financial Integrity Statements
  • A complaints resolution procedures is available to you.

If you do not use a licensed plumber, there can be no guarantee the work will comply with the Water Byelaws.  If it is then found that there are contraventions, the responsibility to have them rectified will fall upon you, the property owner, and not the plumber.

For information on Licensed Plumbers in your area contact the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF):

By phone on 0131 556 0600, on their web site at, in writing at SNIPEF, Bellevue House, 22 Hopetoun Street, Edinburgh EH7 4GH or

Alternatively, you can also contact the national Water Industry Approved Plumbers’ Scheme (WIAPS) to obtain a list of registered plumbers in your area:

Visit their website at

Where can I get further advice and information on the Water Byelaws?

If you require more information on the Water Byelaws please contact us and ask to speak to a member of our Water Byelaws Team:

By phone on our Customer Helpline 0845 601 8855, by e-mailing your enquiry to, in writing at Scottish Water, PO Box 8855, Edinburgh, EH10 6YQ.