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Enhanced Repairing Standard Part 2

Tuesday, 10th November, 2015

Organisations, or self-employed individuals, who provide residential accommodation or who are responsible for the water systems(s) in their premises, are responsible for ensuring that the risk of exposure to legionella in those premises is properly assessed and controlled. All water systems require an assessment of the risk which landlords can carry out themselves if they are competent, or employ somebody who is.

In most residential settings, a simple assessment may show that the risks are low and no further action may be necessary but it is important to review the assessment regularly in case anything changes in the system.

Simple control measures can help reduce the risk of exposure to legionella such as:
  • flushing out the system prior to letting the property
  • avoiding debris getting into the system (e.g. ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid)
  • setting control parameters (e.g. setting the temperature of the calorifier to ensure water is stored at 60C)
  • make sure any redundant pipework identified is removed.

Tenants should be advised of any control measures put in place that should be maintained e.g. not to adjust the temperature setting of the calorifier, to regularly clean shower-heads and to inform the landlord if the hot water is not heating properly or there are other any problems with the system so that appropriate action an be taken. If there are difficulties gaining access to occupied housing units, appropriate checks can be made by carrying out inspections of the water system, for example, when undertaking mandatory visits such as gas safety checks or routine maintenance visits.

Where showers are installed, these have the means of creating and dispersing water droplets which may be inhaled causing a foreseeable risk of exposure to legionella. If used regularly, however, (as in the majority of most domestic settings) the risks are reduced but in any case, tenants should be advised to regularly clean and disinfect shower-heads. Instantaneous electric showers pose less of a risk as they are generally cold water-fed and only heat small volumes of water during operation.

It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system and so there should be careful management of dwellings that are vacant for extended periods (e.g. student accommodation left empty over Summer). As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and minimise the chances of stagnation. To manage the risks during non-occupancy, consideration should be given to implementing a suitable flushing regime or other measures such as draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods.





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