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New Standard for temporary water supplies on construction sitesFebruary 2012

Almost any kind of construction project needs water, if not to mix the mortar then to brew the tea. It is self-evident that what might be considered acceptable for one might not be for the other. Providing a source of wholesome water and keeping it that way can be a significant challenge in the early phases of a large construction project. Large bottle water coolers have become common in site cabins but probably not an economic solution for showers or large scale catering, not to mention toilets. At some point in most construction projects there either has to be connection to the local water main or provision of water by tanker.

In principle the issues of providing a temporary supply from the mains are similar to providing a permanent supply. Both need to be properly installed and disinfected and all connections are subject to the Water Regulations but temporary supplies have inherently greater risk of accidental contamination and interference. Tanker fed supplies pose particular risks.

In order to assist contractors to provide and manage safe water supplies, and comply with their duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act a new code of practice is being launched: BS 8551:2011 Provision and management of temporary water supplies (not including provisions for statutory emergencies). This provides clear practical guidance on how to install temporary supplies, whether by connection to the mains or tanker-fed, and how the distribution system should be disinfected and tested to ensure that the water is wholesome. And for those sites that provide neither mains connection nor tanker fed supplies it also considers the safe storage of bottled water, though not the maintenance of the dispensers.

The standard is not just for construction sites but for all temporary water supplies including public events. So, if you are planning a building site or an outdoor rock concert it is well worth reading.

BSI is holding a free event to launch BS 8551.

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