We moved in to a renovated property 2 years ago. Unfortunately, the water supply our side of the boundary (South West Water's main pipe) has frozen both years. The water supply pipe (enclosed in a yellow flexi plastic pipe) was left exposed in a 4m overhang over a rock face at the back of the house, and part of the trench not back-filled. My question is whether the work undertaken is covered by 'The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, or regulations/Code of Practice that preceded this, and whether the person responsible for the work has any liability for rectifying the work?
The water supply to and within the property is covered by regulation as you suggest.
IF the main in question is within your boundary it is your responsibility to repair or maintain now who would do that work is a different matter. New buildings would normally come with a guarantee of say 10 years. Any guarantee for your renovation may have expired some time ago. You would have to check the paperwork supplied with the deeds.
It may be worth contacting the original contractor as he may offer to complete or fix the work FOC.
On a last point. Newer underground supplies are always colour coded. Water is blue. Yellow indicates a gas supply! Either you have mistaken the supply or the incorrect ducting has been used. I take it there is a blue pipe inside the yellow duct?
Many thanks for your reply it really is appreciated.
The situation is complicated.
The mains supply terminates in a road 300 metres away. From the water meter the water pipe then loops around in a neighbouring field and drops down in to our neighbour's house (the same developers worked on this, and the new owners have just moved in). It is within our neighbour's boundary that the pipes are exposed, before they then enter our boundary and house.
As it isn't a new build there is no guarantee for the work. The builder who undertook most of the work went bust whilst working on our house, and the developers won't take responsibility for this work. It may be possible that the plumber who did this work is still trading. If the work is covered by regulation is there no legal requirement for things to be rectified?
The blue water supply pipe has been placed in a 10cm yellow flexi pipe.
Firstly, there is no obligation I am aware of that will force any "authority" to make good the installation. This doesn't even happen with gas. Not even if it is deemed dangerous and the installer incompetent. All that happens is Network Gas will disconnect the supply leaving it to you to sort out. Water supplies cannot even be disconnected simply for health reasons so expect even less interest from them.
If the original installer was WRAS approved, in theory he could be taken to task if it is decided his work did not comply with regulation but realistically as a sub-contractor, deciding who was responsible for what could be challenging to say the least and that won't get the job fixed anyway.
Now if the plumber was not WRAS approved then it gets tricky because you as the householder are responsible for any non compliance and action by the water company could be taken against you personally.
Now even worse. The above paragraph is possibly not entirely correct because strictly speaking as the supply goes through your neighbours land, it is actually their responsibility to ensure compliance not yours.
Of course if you take this up vigorously with him, you may wake up the following morning to find the bit of your blue supply pipe which went over his land is now in his wheelie bin! Believe me. It has been done which is why water companies will not approve supplies over other private property.
To be honest, I guess the buck is going to end up with you. Maybe your neighbour will be sympathetic and help, but I am not sure who else might.
Many thanks for the speedy and comprehensive reply.
We are certainly not wishing to be confrontational with anyone. At this point it is simply gaining information. We wish to deal with this amicably and most importantly fairly.
Our neighbour's (whose land the pipe work is exposed on) only moved in two weeks ago and are away at the moment. So they aren't aware of the issue yet. They have a pipe leading to their property too, which will also be frozen. They will be returning to no water supply! We will need to sort this problem out jointly.