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Like many mains-fed installations, there are regulations to ensure swimming pools and spas/hot tubs meet legal requirements.
All water fittings and appliances connected to mains water supply must comply with the requirements of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Byelaws in Scotland. It is the installer’s legal duty to ensure the plumbing installation complies with the regulations and users must maintain plumbing installations and fittings correctly.
Swimming pools and spa baths have particular backflow risks and potential to waste water. The water in them is in the highest backflow risk category – fluid category 5. Supplies to appliances in this category require a physical break in the supply, usually by means of a cistern with an air gap.
Alternatively, where space is limited a type DC pipe interrupter can be used as an alternative to storage cisterns with an air gap. The local water company will be able to risk assess a specific installation to ensure it meets legal, including backflow protection, requirements and they must be notified when you plan to install a spa or pool.
The regulations require that water companies are notified and give their consent before work starts for construction of a new swimming pool of more than 10,000 litres capacity, some water treatment units or a pump/booster capable of drawing more than 12 l/min. However, WaterSafe members will not need to provide advanced notice for extensions or alterations as they will issue a Work Completed Certificate for their work to the water company and the customer. Please note the construction of a swimming pool must always be notified.
Under certain conditions designed to minimise backflow risk, a hose pipe attached to a hose union tap which is fed directly from the mains system may be permitted to fill or top-up a pool or spa. Check with your water company before making installations.
Further information on installation and maintenance of pools and spas and notifying the water company is available free in the ‘Interpretations & Advice’ section of the WRAS website or by phone on 0333 207 9030.