Plumbing regulations

The golden rule is : "if you don’t know – ask".

Plumbing regulations

Water bylaws exist to control work on plumbing installations. If you are unsure about them or indeed what they are, contact your local water board. There are, for example, requirements relating to anti syphon valves being fitted to certain shower installations where the shower head may reach below the top of a bath. Some work must be certified and/or inspected.

Other regulations

reading the regulationsearth bondIt is also necessary to comply with current Building Regulations and the I.E.E (Institute of Electrical Engineers) Wiring Regulations.

The I.E.E Wiring Regulations cover earth bonding of plumbing installations and it is extremely important to follow these. All metal plumbing must be bonded to earth. It is very easy for this to be overlooked but its importance can be vital. Imagine, for example, that you have a plumbing emergency and have to replace a section of copper pipe with plastic, or you use a plastic fitting to branch off a supply to a new washing machine. The result would be that a previously continuous earth along the pipe has been broken and part of the pipework no longer bonded. Reinstate the earth continuity by linking an earth wire to a metal earth clamp on each side of the break. The small amount of expense and time could avoid disastrous consequences. If there is any doubt as to the adequacy of the earthing arrangements, always seek professional advice.
If, for example, you fit a new sink or change a section of pipework, it is vital to ensure that all the plumbing is bonded to earth.

The relevance of the I.E.E. Wiring Regulations does not stop there. There are many instances when an electrical supply is required for the operation of an appliance – Electric shower, waste disposal unit. Follow the Regulations precisely. Since this is a complex document, you may wish to get hold of the ‘Guide’ to the I.E.E. Regulations as well. This document suggests methods for work which will satisfy the Regulations.

If you do not understand or are unsure, always ask for professional help.

To guard against contamination and/or damage to appliances and boilers, new pipe work should be flushed through before connecting to the system. This will overcome the possibility of small amounts of debris remaining in the plumbing installation.

DIY safety

With any DIY work, safety should be given top priority.

Before using any tools, products, or equipment, read the instructions carefully and make sure you are completely familiar with their safe use. If you have any doubts whatsoever about how to safely use any material, equipment, or product, ask the manufacturer or supplier.

When working in the vicinity of electrical items or cables, make sure the electricity supply is off and the fuse removed. Be sure that others cannot inadvertently re connect the supply.

Keep the work area tidy. An untidy work environment easily leads to accidents. Off cuts of wallpaper, for example, may be very slippery underfoot. Trip hazards such as trailing electric cables must be avoided.

Always read the labels on materials to ensure that you know what safety precautions are required and action to be taken in the event of an accident. Many products give off harmful vapours. The recommendations regarding ventilation and/or respiratory protection should always be followed.

Ensure the work area is properly lit. When working in an attic, for example, use a suitable work light.

Keep flammable products away from possible sources of ignition – heat and sparks for example.

Wear safety goggles whenever there may be a danger of flying debris - for example when using power tools.

Wear suitable respiratory protection – typical dangers can include dust and solvents. Dust extraction equipment may be required – check the information manual.

Wear suitable ear defenders when working with noisy tools and machinery

Wear a hard hat in areas where work is being carried out overheard, or there is a possibility of falling materials, tools or debris.

Wear protective footwear.

Wear suitable clothing - avoid loose garments which may get caught in machinery.

Vibration from power tools and machinery can be a health hazard. Do not use for longer than the specified safe working time for the particular machine.

Keep children and pets away from the work area. Store all tools and materials out of their reach. Many products are toxic.

Keep other non essential people away from the work area. If others are also working in the same area ensure they are suitably protected as well

Be sure you know the correct way to use all tools and only ever use the correct tool for the job. Using a tool for anything other than its intended purpose can be very dangerous. Many have very sharp blades which, if used incorrectly, may lead to an accident.

Only use tools which have been properly maintained and are in good condition. Damaged tools should be professionally repaired. Never remove safety guards or modify tools in any way. Make sure blades- drills, saw blades, cutting discs and the like, are the appropriate ones for your machine and the material being worked on. Ensure that they are correctly fitted and adjusted.

Use all recommended safety equipment and protection for the tool, equipment, or product you are using.

Do not use electrical equipment in wet areas, or outdoors when it’s wet or raining. Ensure that electrical equipment is protected with an RCD device.

When using power tools, disconnect them from the power supply when not being used and, before making adjustments, or changing a blade. Secure items before working on them. Allow power tools to come to a complete stop before putting them down.

Check carefully for hidden services such as cables and pipes before drilling or cutting walls, ceilings, floors etc, or digging into the ground. If in doubt, get professional advice.

Take care with ladders and access equipment. Ensure that they are properly erected and stable. Be sure to double check the safety and condition of any working platform. Make sure that it cannot move or give way. Never use ladders on top of working platforms.

To guard against contamination and/or damage to appliances and boilers, new plumbing work should be thoroughly flushed through before connecting to the system. This will overcome the possibility of small amounts of debris remaining in the plumbing installation.

Only wash with proprietary skin cleaners. Do not use solvents or other chemicals.

Do not eat, smoke or drink while handling materials and wash before meals and snacks.

Never carry out DIY when tired or under the influence of drink or drugs.

Never dispose of chemicals into the drains.

Dispose of rubbish carefully. Lay oily rags out flat outside to dry to avoid the possibility of them spontaneously combusting

Electrics safety 1

This material is " for information purposes " only. Strict rules govern what electrical work can be done without notification and inspection.

If you are not absolutely certain about any aspect of electrical work, seek professional advice.


In older houses, you may find a variety of old fuse boxes where the mains supply comes in. You may also have wiring and fittings of an older style. These may not be up to the standard required today. If this is the case, have it all checked and tested by a professional electrician BEFORE carrying out any work on it. Some old installations may now be dangerous.

Electricity has a lethal potential and should always be treated with care. Safety must always be given top priority. Follow these few simple rules.

Always follow all the Electrical Regulations

remove the fuse switch off

Switch off the power and remove the fuse for the relevant circuit before carrying out any work, or inspecting, either it, or the appliances connected to it. Never inspect, or carry out work on, any part of the system with the power on. Make sure that power cannot be inadvertantly restored by someone else.

Use a voltage tester to check the power to the wires or connections are off before touching them.
Check your work thoroughly before restoring power to the circuit. If you are not certain, seek professional advice.

Remember the golden rule ... " If you don’t know – ask".

Always unplug an appliance before working on it.

Always use the correct fuse for the circuit or appliance. Fitting a fuse of incorrect rating is dangerous.

unplug appliance rubber soled shoe

As an additional precaution, wear rubber soled shoes. This will provide a measure of insulation between you and the ground!

And if there is an accident ...

Following the advice in these pages will help you avoid serious accidents but even the most careful worker can suffer injury. In case you need First Aid, here is a reminder of some basic First Aid help.


You will be of little help if you are panicking.

Assess the situation - eliminate further danger to you or the casualty: turn off electricity, put out any small fire. Only if absolutely necessary move the patient, and then very carefully.

Assess the casualty: are they conscious? breathing? can you feel a pulse? are they bleeding?



dialling 999


Is at any time unconscious

Has difficulty breathing

Is drowsy or being sick

Is bleeding from the ear or is bleeding profusely and you cannot stop the flow

Is seriously burned

Has severe pain anywhere

DON'T give an injured person anything to eat or drink after an accident, unless it is to dilute some poison, chemical or medicine. This is in case later there is a need for anaesthetic.

running cold water over a burn


Straight away - run cold water over a burn for at least ten minutes.

Take off belts or jewellery - burned skin can swell. If burned clothes are stuck to skin, leave them alone.

To keep out infection, cover the burn with a clean, smooth cloth like a pillowcase or with clingfilm. Never rub butter, oil or treatment on a burn.

Seek medical advice or go to hospital unless the scald or burn is very small.

first aid box


Clean small cuts and grazes with clean running water, not antiseptic.

Stop heavy bleeding by pressing a pad like a folded hankie on the cut - press near the wound if there is something stuck inside. Keep pressing, using extra pads on top, until the bleeding stops. Raise a bleeding arm or leg (if not broken).

Get help from a doctor if the wound is:·



There is something stuck in it

It won't close up properly


Get medical help - call your doctor, call an ambulance, go to a hospital emergency department. Find the container holding the poison and remember to take it with you. It is important to tell the doctor about it.

Help dilute poison with a drink of milk or water unless the poison has badly burned the mouth or lips.

Never try to make the casualty sick - a salt and water mixture can be especially dangerous


A First Aid course will prepare you for a wide range of situations, ranging from simple cuts and scalds to serious burns, brokenlimbs and resuscitation. To find out about your nearest course, find numbers in the phone book for British Red Cross, St John Ambulance or St Andrew's Ambulance.