Plumber Building Regulations & Laws

September 3rd, 2012

Why It Is Important To Always Hire A Professional Plumber?

There are certain types of plumbing tasks which must be certified and inspected after the job has been completed. When planning any type of plumbing project, it is important to make sure that all plumbing regulations are followed. This is why many people prefer to hire a professional Salt Lake City Plumber for plumbing tasks. There are also water bylaws which need to be followed, which also control the type of work that is done on plumbing installations.

When searching for a plumber to carry out repair or installation work in your home or business, it is important that you hire a professional. The official body for the plumbing industry is The Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (IPHE) and their recommendations in respect of finding a plumber or heating engineer are as follows:

  • Consult with your friends, family and neighbors in case they have recommendations.
  • If there is more than one plumber required to carry out your work, ask if the hourly price includes all the people working on the job or if more is charged per plumber.
  • Try to get at least three quotes and clarify whether or not there is a call out fee on top of the cost of the work.
  • Always ask for a quote in writing and confirm that any unforeseen costs are discussed with you upfront before the additional work is carried out so that the final bill is not higher than you are expecting.
  • Describe clearly all of the work that is needed to be done and ideally put it in writing so that your plumber or heating engineer has a record of it.
  • Request for an estimate of how long the work will take to complete.
  • On completion of the work make sure that your Salt Lake City Plumber or heating engineer supplies you with a detailed invoice with a breakdown of all the costs.

Water Bylaws

Water law is, in essence, a form of property law and thus is best understood in that context. It seeks to allocate a finite and unique resource. Here in Utah, there are water bylaws which are in place to ensure that work on plumbing installations are controlled. If you are not sure whether you need permission to commence with installation work at your home or business it is a good idea to contact your local Water Board who will be able to advise you.

Two Standard Measures of Water

There are two basic units of water measurement from a water management perspective. For water that is in motion, cubic feet per second (cfs) is the unit of measure. For water that is stored or impounded, the acre-foot (af) is how water is measured.

  1. Cubic feet per second (CFS) – This is a measure of flow. A CFS or “second foot” is the number of cubic feet of water that passes a certain point each second. One CFS for an entire year yields 235,905,363 gallons or 723.97 acre feet.
  2. Acre feet – This is a measure of volume which has its origins in irrigation. An acre foot is the amount of water necessary to cover one acre of land with one foot of water. This equals 325,851 gallons.

Regulations and Plumbing

The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 set out the installation requirements for plumbing systems. It works the same way as building regulations set out the requirements for buildings. There’s been a long history in regulating plumbing systems in homes and businesses in the UK which is done to protect public health by safeguarding drinking water through the use of water company’s Water Supply Byelaws.

Following a recent review the Government introduced the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, to prevent inefficient use of water, the waste, misuse, undue consumption, incorrect measurement of it and, most importantly, to prevent contamination of drinking water supplies. These regulations are national requirements for the design, installation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances and supersede the previous Water Supply Byelaws that were written by each water company.

The Water Regulations Advisory Service (WRAS) provide national guidance on the regulations for water companies and their customers. Water Undertakers are responsible for the enforcement of the Regulations within their water supply areas.

Compulsory inspection and certification of certain works

Plumbing work can quite often involve working around electrical installations like plugs and sockets. It is vital that all metal plumbing is bonded to earth. This can easily be overlooked, however its importance can be crucial in avoiding serious accidents often resulting in injury and even fatality. So in this respect it is therefore also necessary to comply with the I.E.E (Institute of Electrical Engineers) Wiring Regulations and any relevant Building Regulations currently in place. In particular, the I.E.E Wiring Regulations govern the earth bonding of plumbing installations and it is very important to follow these.

A example of this is as follows: a section of copper pipe is replaced with plastic, or say for instance you were to use a plastic fitting in order to branch off a water supply to a domestic appliance like a dishwasher or washing machine, it could mean that the continuous earth bond has been broken and that part of the pipe work will no longer be bonded. To resolve this issue the continuity of the earth bonding can be reinstated simply by linking an earth wire to a metal earth clamp on either side of the break. The arrangements of your plumbing installations are well regulated and this is for a very good reason having been designed to protect your safety. Hiring a skilled, competent properly qualified plumbing engineer will ensure that all these regulations and safety aspects are adhered to and will ultimately give you peace of mind.

Adhering to Building Regulations and Codes

Building regulations exist so that the public health is protected, by reducing the risk of contamination. Although it is possible to do small do-it-yourself plumbing projects, major plumbing jobs such as adding new sections of plumbing, or especially plumbing that is designed to service appliances that also use electricity are most wisely left to qualified Salt Lake City Plumber tradesmen. There are a number of regulations, including those put in place by the local water authority regulations, which must always be followed if a project requires new plumbing to be installed, or if existing plumbing needs to be modified. There are also important electrical regulations which must always be followed, so that the chance of injury is avoided.

Housing Regulations

In most of the states around the United States of America, engineers and architects who design buildings, dwellings and other structures always follow the Plumbing Code. New structures will be governed by the said rules, regulations and requirements that are stated in it. The governing code shall also be followed when older buildings and structures that preceded it shall be renovated, altered, rebuilt or changed. Any existing system that preceded it shall be allowed to continue its existence as long as there is no possibility of it bringing hazard or harm to the public and degrading the said structure it is in. At the first sign of possible public hazard and danger, the government shall inspect it for validity and then propose its change or alteration to follow the current Plumbing rules and regulations. This means that old buildings that were erected long before the code was in place or in effect shall be reconstructed following it. Any changes, alterations and rebuilding of the older structures should be designed and framed according to the regulations and rules in it.

The commissioner of the governing body that sees to it that the rules and regulations are followed can and will require a regular inspection of every dwelling whenever he or she sees fit. Maintenance of the water systems of residences falls on the owners of the dwellings. Owners are required to maintain all the systems to a degree that it is regularly monitored for the safety and welfare of the people in the dwelling. For most dwellings, there is a minimum requirement for everything pertaining to the water system with regards to the size and function of each dwelling. For commercial structures, these minimum requirements need to be followed or else the plans will not be approved by the governing agency.

The commissioner who oversees the government agency in charge of the City Plumbing regulations will deal with any deviation from the requirements accordingly. These rules and regulations need to be followed by the engineers and architects who design the new buildings or renovate the older ones. A suitable penalty will be exacted from the homeowner who will alter or change anything not in accordance to the ones stated in the book. Both the engineer and the architect shall also be questioned regarding the discrepancies in their designs or the changes that the homeowner may have made in the plans.

I.E.E. Regulations

There are also I.E.E. Wiring Regulations, which cover installations of metal plumbing, requiring this type of plumbing to be bonded to earth. These regulations are very important to be followed. Although in many cases a continuous expanse of metal plumbing will already be adequately bonded to earth, it is easy to break this bond doing certain types of repairs. For example, if plastic fittings are used in any way to branch piping off to a new appliance, of if you repair a section of metal plumbing pipe with a section of plastic pipe, the continuous earth bond will be broken. Under these types of circumstances, you need to reinstate the earth bond by using a metal earth clamp and earth wire on each side of the broken expanse of metal piping, so that all sections are properly grounded.

Additionally, there are I.E.E. Wiring Regulations which factor into other plumbing installations, such as plumbing service to appliances that require electricity to work, such as a disposal or an electric shower. These regulations are quite complex, and because of this, most people prefer to leave these types of plumbing installations to professional plumbers. If you have any questions or doubts about work that might fall into this category, it is best to consult a professional.

Precautions to Guard against Contamination

It is normally advisable to contact qualified plumbers such as Salt Lake City Plumber to carry out plumbers jobs which may put the homeowner in danger of either health and safety issues or building regulations issues. Another hazard to guard against when doing plumbing work is the chance that there will be any type of debris left inside the pipes after the plumbing work has been completed. To avoid these types of problems, before any new pipe work is connected to the system, they should be thoroughly flushed. Failure to follow this step could result in costly damage to boilers and appliances, as well as causing a health risk to the homeowner.