Why should you complete a water safety project design review?

Published: 13-Nov-2023

Jonathan Twaites, Senior Consultant and Authorising Engineer, at Water Hygiene Centre discusses what a review entails and how you can make improvements to reduce the risk of Legionella

For starters, what is a Water Safety Project Design Review? Well, all projects go through many stages; from initial design to stages of installation, then commissioning and soft landings. Project design reviews will help you gain specialist advice at all stages of the process to highlight potential issues that can be resolved before they become a problem.

It is important to get things “right first time”, which is why it is so important for Design Projects to be managed properly from the beginning and have buy-in from the Water Safety Group (WSG) / and/or Responsible Persons group.

Historically there may have been a design/project team that move from project to project carrying out works in a broadly similar way.

This type of operation does provide good consistency in design preference and appointed contractors, but it doesn’t factor highly enough or consider the reason for the new build/project and how the end-users will use the facility.

BS8680 Water Quality

Where do we get guidance on a Design Review? One of the best sources of guidance for this comes from a British Standard, BS8680 Water Quality but what does the guidance say?

BS8680 Section 4.8 states: 'During design, the responsibility for water safety rests alongside all design health and safety matters under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, resides with the principal designer. The Principal Designer is required to plan, manage, and coordinate the planning and design works; and the principal contractor is required to plan, manage, and coordinate the construction work.'

This leads to the fact that Designers will need input from various experts in the various fields included in the project.

Your Water Safety Plan

Your Water Safety Plan should include information on Design Control, setting out how your organisation plans to manage projects from small refurbishments to large new builds.

The Water Hygiene Centre’s Collective of Authorising Engineer (Water) (AEW) has noticed a sharp increase in requests for supporting clients with their new projects (big and small) in the form of a Design Review. These reviews provide valuable advice, guidance, and feedback on areas that the designer may have missed before handing over to the principal contractor.

Examples of Water Safety Improvements

Some of the feedback our AEWs and their WSGs have been able to identify include:

  • Excessive water storage;
  • Lack of isolation valves;
  • Excessive use of TMVs that may not be required along with no supporting scald risk assessment;
  • A lack of BMS temperature monitoring points at the principal and subordinate loops;
  • Basic failures with out-of-date guidance documents and British Standards referenced;
  • Possible low-use outlets being installed on the end of pipework runs;
  • Excessive pipework runs which could lead to stagnation.
  • Not allowing enough time in the project for proper commissioning and Legionella sampling.
  • Under-sampling of a system which will not help demonstrate that the commissioning has been successful.

So why should you complete a design review? Well, not getting it “right first time” can lead to expensive and ongoing costs that can save you time, money, and effort going forward if rectified before they happen.

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