Covid-19 Response – Vacant property water management

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent closure of business premises across the UK, we wanted to alert our readers to the potential requirements surrounding Legionella, as well as providing some tips to help you manage your water consumption and bills.


Legionella Awareness – If your sites are temporarily vacant as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown it is important to be aware of the requirements surrounding Legionella and stagnant water. The Legionnaires’ disease Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) recommends that all little used, or disused, hot and cold outlets (taps, showers, WCs etc.) should all be opened and left to run through for a five-minute period to ensure a complete flushing of the whole water system. This will allow hot water temperatures to reach their desired 60 degrees celsius and cold-water outlets to drop below 20 degrees celsius, avoiding water stagnation and protecting against Legionnaires’.

Legionella testing is not part of our offering – for more information on Legionella and the subsequent HSE guidance, please click here.


• If your sites are vacant, then in addition to the above, there have been market code changes implemented by Ofwat which will permit Water Companies to convert temporarily closed properties into a ‘vacant’ category which will, for the course of the COVID-19, stop invoicing. Additionally, for those sites still open there are provisions in place to suspend disconnections, as well as extended payment terms.

• We recommend that readings are taken from the main Water Company supply meter for your properties, ideally once a week at the same time of the day. If you are able to document these it will permit the recording and monitoring of usage during a period of reduced activity at your premises. Moreover, this will also allow for the removal of inaccurate estimations for water billing if these can be subsequently provided to your Water Retailer.


• Water Audits – Our no fee, no risk service can help reduce costs and potentially provide a cash injection from the recovery of overcharges. Our specialist team of analysts will forensically review your last six years of charges. This is a much deeper examination than standard validation, with a focus on benchmarking use and identifying any excess consumption or overcharges to make your water budget as cost effective as possible.

• Procurement – Utilising our bespoke Water Procurement service we can ensure that you can secure not only the most optimal rates but also the best provider for your business. We can make this a relatively simple activity for you by handling the whole process, from running the initial tender to managing the switch on your behalf.

• Data Loggers and Leak Detection – We may recommend that automated meter reading (AMR) devices are installed to provide a much more granular level of data around site use. This will help avoid unnecessary costs caused by leakage and excess consumption. We then have an in-house leak detection and repair service so that we can provide immediate solutions to any highlighted problems.

To speak to our water optimisation team, call 01772 689 250 or email