Legislation for Legionnaire's?

The HSE has recently released revised guidelines for landlords on their obligations regarding the control of legionella bacteria in their water systems.

While these changes are currently only best-practice recommendations, they could easily be the precursor to bringing in legislation as part of the safety compliance of a property. The biggest change here was the removal of the arbitrary 300 litre limit, which means that now all premises with a water system are within the guidelines’ scope.

Currently the ACOP states a duty of care of the landlord to provide the tenant with safe water, saying that they should carry out periodic risk assessments and introduce a course of action to prevent or control any risks identified.

Factors that could put your property at risk are:

  • Water between 20°C and 45°C.
  • Places of stagnant water e.g. pipes to a washing machine that is no longer used.
  • Infrequently used outlets e.g. showers or taps.
  • Debris in the system such as rust, sludge or scale that could provide food for growing legionella.
  • Thermostatic mixing valves that set a favourable outlet temperature for legionella growth.

Though potentially dangerous the recommended methods for dealing with it are very simple:

  • Ensuring water cannot stagnate anywhere in the system (remove redundant pipework, run taps/showers in unoccupied rooms).
  • Keep water cisterns covered, insulated, clean and free of debris.
  • Insulating pipework.
  • Having the correct temperature at the hot water cylinder.

If you are concerned about your property please feel free to contact us and we can arrange for a qualified contractor to assess your risk.