Legionella FAQs

Legionella Frequently Asked Questions | Legionella Questions | Risk Assessment Support

Legionella Frequently Asked Questions

 

You will find answers to our most frequently asked Water Hygiene and Legionella questions below. Question not answered? Give us a call on 01462 419444 or fill out our quick contact form and someone from the Water Hygiene team will get back to you.

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Legionella Risk Assessment FAQs

When and how often do I need a risk assessment?

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and in compliance with the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP L8, HSG 274), duty holders, including employers and those in control of premises, must ensure the health and safety of their employees or others who may be affected by their undertaking, this includes the risk of legionella. Legionnaires Disease is a form of pneumonia, which can be fatal and the main route of infection is through inhalation, by inhaling airborne water droplets that contain Legionella. This also applies if you are a private Landlord and have rental properties which are occupied.

This includes taking suitable precautions to prevent, manage and control the risk of exposure to legionella. You can do this by undertaking the following: a risk assessment, actioning all identified risks within the initial report with remedial works, sampling the water quality to confirm bacterial presence with water testing, and carrying out ongoing record keeping also known as monitoring.

When and how often do I need a Legionella risk assessment?

The Approved Code of Practice L8 (HSG 274) in accordance with The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 states that – “The Duty holder should arrange to review the assessment regularly and specifically when there is reason to suspect it is no longer valid. An indication of when to review the assessment and what to consider should be recorded and this may result from:

  • A change to the water system;
  • A change to the use of the building where the system is installed;
  • New information available about risks or control measures;
  • The results of checks indicating that control measures are no longer effective;
  • Changes to key personnel;
  • A case of legionnaires disease.”

Here at uRisk we recommend annual reviews to ensure correct implementation is being carried out. Legionella bacteria can double within 15 minutes, so it is important to review your risk assessment and monitoring records regularly.

Do I need testing, a risk assessment or both?

Legionella testing, water testing or sampling is not to be confused with a legionella risk assessment. You are required by law to undertake a legionella risk assessment under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, COSHH and a number of other regulations where you can show you are working to comply with the HSE’s HSG 274 legionella guidelines.Testing or sampling whilst not a legal requirement on it’s own, it plays an important role in determining how efficient a water system is managed. Your risk assessment may identify that sampling is required due to existing risks or as a control and management precaution. In this instance sampling then becomes a requirement from your assessment. Without an L8 risk assessment you will not know where and how many samples are required. And without water testing/sampling you cannot determine how affective your control and management is. These two actions therefore should be undertaken together, not necessarily at the same time but unison to effectively management your risk from legionella.

Water testing services include Legionella, e-Coli, total viable count (TVC), Pseudomonas, hard water, chlorine free, pH levels and more. Learn more about legionella testing. We only use UKAS approved laboratories giving you peace of mind that the test will be of the highest quality possible.

How much does an L8 risk assessment cost?

All assessments vary in prices depending on the number of water outlets, cold water storage tanks, hot water cylinders, combi boilers and other water assets that may be present. The number of assets within your water system will determine the time spent on site and how long it will take to produce your report.

So how much does it cost? Across the industry, prices vary enormously often depending on the size of the company you use and their processes, the speed of works and professionalism. There are two types of assessments, the first is commercial and the second domestic, also referred to as residential rental properties or landlord risk assessments.

Commercial risk assessments normally start from £250 to in excess of £750, however our prices start from £99 depending on the size of the water system and location.

Domestic risk assessments can range tremendously with a number of plumbers, gas engineers and other tradesmen offering these assessments without the specialist training, it’s important to check that your assessor or engineer is properly qualified. Our prices start from £55 for multiple landlord properties to £95 for single landlord properties. Our prices for residential rental properties are based on the property being no more than 5 bedrooms.

How long will the risk assessment take?

On average, the time our qualified assessor spends on site is 1 hour for every 10 outlets (sinks, showers, baths, etc). So an assessment can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 6 or 7 hours. It entirely depends on the size of your water system and the number of water assets you have such as cold water storage tanks, cylinders or combination boilers.

Our engineers will work closely with you to ensure minimal disruption to your business is caused. Clear and easy access to rooms and buildings will play a part in time spent on site at your premises.

When will I receive your findings?

You will receive your LRA report between 2-10 working days from the date the assessment was carried out. From time to time, not often, our team will need a little more time, so please expect to have your report no later than 30 days. Need your assessment sooner? Get your report, guaranteed next day delivery via email for just £50.

What happens after I receive the report?

Within your report document, you will have an action plan offering guidance which lists all identified risks, with photos, that need remedying in order of importance. By following our advice and undertaking remedial works you will reduce the risk of exposure to Legionnaires’ disease.  Once all the remedial works are complete, you will then need to focus on implementing your monitoring (periodical checks and maintenance) with a logbook for recording keeping all legal duties and monitoring requirements.

How to comply with Legionella requirements?

As an employer, or a person in control of the premises, you are responsible for health and safety and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. You must understand how to:

• identify and assess sources of risk

• manage any risks

• prevent or control any risks

• keep and maintain the correct records and carry out any other duties you may have

Legionella Testing

What to do if I get a Legionella positive sample?

Either:

• if the minority of samples are positive, the system should be resampled, if similar results are found again, a review of the control measures and risk assessment should be carried out to identify any remedial actions necessary or

• if the majority of samples are positive, the system may be colonised, albeit at a low level. An immediate review of the control measures and risk assessment should be carried out to identify any other remedial action required. Disinfection of the system should be considered.

>1000 cfu/l

The system should be resampled and an immediate review of the control measures and risk assessment carried out to identify any remedial actions, including possible disinfection of the system. Retesting should take place a few days after disinfection and at frequent intervals afterwards until a satisfactory level of control is achieved.

Is Legionella testing a legal requirement?
No, legionella testing is not compulsory. The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice (ACoP L8) HSG 274, states that you are currently legally required to undertake an l8 risk assessment, but not water testing. However, whilst it is not compulsory, the HSG 274 confirms that the risk assessment may require or request that samples are taken for a variety of reasons and is recommended as part of your control measures.
Is testing for Legionella the same thing as an ACOP l8 risk assessment?
No, these are not the same thing and offer different benefits as part of an overall legionella control strategy. An L8 risk assessment is a legal requirement and helps to identify areas that pose a risk of legionella growth. Whereas legionella testing is not a legal requirement but is the only way to detect presence of legionella in the water system and therefore, plays a crucial role in legionella control. They are two different services for different purposes. Without a legionella risk assessment, legionella testing is carried out without the necessary information to undertake testing accurately. 
How long do the results from the water samples take to come back?
Legionella testing takes 10-14 days, this allows the bacteria to be cultivated and meet requirements set in place by UKAS for the correct bacteria testing conditions. Once the testing is completed the reports are produced by our team thereafter. Results are sent as soon as they become available and have been reviewed.
How much does testing & water sampling cost?
Legionella testing starts from £40.00+VAT for a single bottle. There may be additional charges for site visits, delivery, postage or specialist guidance or advise. 
Do landlords have to do Legionella testing?
No, landlords must undertake a legionella risk assessment in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. However, as guidelines state for commercial properties, legionella testing is recommended to determine legionella presents or as recommended by the legionella risk assessment, which is required.
How long does a Legionella certificate last?
A legionella certificate is a phrase that is used regularly but it has little meaning. You are required to have a risk assessment in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, COSHH, Management of Health and Safety at Work Act to name a few. This risk assessment is a live document that should be required periodically as required by law & the guidelines used to state an assessment was required every two years. After a legionella risk assessment you should be issued with a risk assessment report, and after a legionella test you should be issued with a legionella test sample report. Neither of these are certificates. Legionella is a bacteria that must be managed continuously, and therefore a one off certificate is insufficient to prove compliant and control of the bacteria.
Can I test for Legionella myself?
Generally no. In order to test for legionella you will need experience in growing bacteria in laboratory conditions to specific standards for accurate results.
Do I need to test for Legionella in my domestic water system?
If you are not making money from your property, e.g. letting a property, then the answer is no. There is currently no law to undertake legionella testing in private domestic properties. However, if you provide accommodation or let a property then you are required to ensure you meet all Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Legionella Testing Kit

What comes with the pack?
  • x1 Sterile Sample Bottle
  • x1 Instructions
  • x1 Pre-Paid Return Pack
Can I mix the samples?

It is recommended that you use one sample bottle for each sample point. Do not mix samples from more than one tap as this will dilute positive results and gives no indication of what outlet or area is affected.

How much water should I sample?

The bottle must be full, with at least 250ml of water to undertake the test. Refunds will not be offered where minimum sample requirements are not met.

How long does it take to get the results?

We will start analysing your water sample as soon as we receive the bottles. The legionella bacteria culture test tasks at least 10 days to confirm results.

What the results mean?

uRisk is a water hygiene specialist, so unlike many other water testing service providers we are not just a laboratory, we’re water hygiene consultants, and therefore can explain what your results mean, and what the next actions are to remove the bacteria from your water system. uRisk offers disinfection and chlorination services for legionella when detected.

What water systems should be tested?
  • Drinking water (including water dispensers and coffee machines)
  • Hot and cold water systems
  • Care Homes
  • Healthcare premises
  • Water heaters
  • Dental units
  • Swimming pools
  • Spa baths
  • Cooling towers
  • Eye showers
  • Eye wash units
  • Water fountains
  • Vending machines
  • Closed water systems
Who is this DIY Legionella testing kit for?
The DIY test kit is best suited for those who wish for non-intrusive testing of water in areas such as Doctors surgeries or Dental practices. You may also wish to have testing or sampling carried out at home. Alternatively if you’re working on a budget, then this is a great way to reduce costs by undertaking the sampling yourself. Removing the need for water hygiene specialists visiting to perform the sampling for you. Our test kit comes with easy to use instructions with full customer support if required.
Can I mix samples?
It is recommended that you use one sample bottle for each sample point. Do not mix samples from more than one tap as this will dilute positive results and gives no indication of what outlet or area is affected. May companies provide sampling at low prices with this formula. It is not recommended and often becomes more expensive should you have a positive result, you will need to pay for more samples.
What is the shelf life of this testing kit?
When it comes to testing water, time is of the essence! Once the sample is put into your sample bottle, we have 24 hours to get the test to our laboratories for testing. Any longer and this can make for inaccurate readings.
What is the shelf life of this testing kit?

When it comes to testing water, time is of the essence! Once the sample is put into your sample bottle, we have 24 hours to get the test to our laboratories for testing. Any longer and this can make for inaccurate readings.

Legionella Schematic Drawings

What is a Legionella schematic drawing?

Legionella Schematic Drawings form an integral part of any legionella control and management programme and are specifically required by the HSE’s guidelines – HSG 274 Part 2. The legionella schematic drawings may be a simplified but accurate diagram that identifies the water system assets and equipment components.

Why do I need a Legionella schematic drawing?

A schematic drawing will help display the layout of your water system and will help you to identify risks and monthly temperature points (sentinel points). Key problem areas can be easily be identified and assists engineers in undertaking remedial works and water disinfections when removing any bacteria present.

When and how often do I need a Legionella schematic drawing?

An indication of when to review the schematic:

  • A change to the water system;
  • A change to the use of the building where the system is installed;
  • New information available about risks or control measures;
  • The results of checks indicating that control measures are no longer effective;
  • A case of legionnaires disease.”

We recommend annual reviews to ensure correct implementation is being carried out. Legionella bacteria can double within 15 minutes, so it is important to review your report and monitoring records regularly.

How much does a Legionella schematic drawing cost?

Legionella schematic drawings vary in price depending on the number of water outlets, cold water storage tanks, hot water cylinders, combi boilers and other water assets that may be present. The number of assets within your water system will determine the time spent on-site and how long it will take to produce your schematic.

So how much does it cost? Schematic drawings range from £50 to £500. Prices vary enormously often depending on the size of the company you use, their processes, the software and detail used. Most legionella schematic drawings take between 1-3 hours to produce. uRisk provides legionella schematic drawings from £50 for small to medium sites to £100 for sites large sites with over 200 outlets and assets.

How much does a legionella schematic drawing cost?

Legionella schematic drawings vary in price depending on the number of water outlets, cold water storage tanks, hot water cylinders, combi boilers and other water assets that may be present. The number of assets within your water system will determine the time spent on-site and how long it will take to produce your schematic.

So how much does it cost? Schematic drawings range from £50 to £500. Prices vary enormously often depending on the size of the company you use, their processes, the software and detail used. Most legionella schematic drawings take between 1-3 hours to produce. uRisk provides legionella schematic drawings from £50 for small to medium sites to £100 for sites large sites with over 200 outlets and assets.

When will I receive the Legionella schematic drawing?

On average, schematics are drawn within 1-4 hours. These are then sent at the same time as your legionella risk assessment and any other documentation if provided as part of the same service.

You will receive your legionella schematic drawing between 2-10 working days from the date of the site visit or order. From time to time, not often, our team will need a little more time, so please expect to have your report no later than 30 days.

Legionella Training

Do we need training for Legionella?

“The responsible person(s) appointed to implement the control measures and strategies should be suitably informed, instructed, and trained and their suitability assessed.”

Section 18 – ACOP L8 HSG 274 Part 2 (Fourth Edition 2014)

Who should take this Legionella awareness online training course?

This course is suitable for duty holders and responsible persons for health and safety of buildings with water systems of any size. This includes employers, self-employed and people who control water systems.

Landlords also have an obligation to be aware of the dangers of legionella and must undertake a legionella risk assessment to identify the risks from legionella.

Certification

On successful completion of this course will will receive a legionella awareness online training course certificate via email the same working day as completed. This can be used to provide evidence for compliance and auditing.

Assessment

The end of course test is taken after you have read through all of your training course material. You will be asked to complete a multiple choice questionnaire, where you will be marked automatically so you will know instantly whether you have passed. If you don’t pass don’t worry, you can take the test as many times as you need with no further charge.

Legionella Remedial Works

Why do I need to do Legionella remedial works?

After undertaking the legionella risk assessment it will have identified a number of risk areas within your report, that you need to remove or remedy to reduce the risk of exposure to legionnaires disease.

When do I need to do remedial works?

You will only need to carry out legionella remedial works once if actioned correctly. Should you make any additional changes to your water system it is important to consult with your water hygiene specialist to ensure the changes meet current regulations. However, legionella monitoring is an ongoing requirement where inspections and monitoring tasks should be carried out throughout the year. Periodic reviews of the legionella risk assessment should also be completed.

Will I get anything to say the works were completed?

Yes, you’ll receive a site report with photos of all the completed works. This way you have evidence and proof of works, as opposed to a certificate which is not legally required. We aim to provide you with peace of mind through out customer service and proof of work.

What do I do after the Legionella remedial works?

By undertaking remedial works you will reduce the risk of exposure to legionnaires disease.  Once all the legionella remedial works are complete, you will then need to focus on implementing your legionella monitoring (periodical checks and maintenance) with a logbook for recording keeping all legal duties and monitoring requirements.

What Legionella remedial works services do you offer?

View our Legionella remedial works page to see a full list of all remedial work services.

What are the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999

These regulations are not directly concerned with legionella hazards, but govern the design, construction and use of materials in water systems. They cover:

• backflow protection (use of air gaps and non-return valves);

• the maintenance of water quality (tank designs);

• the use of materials (those that do not promote bacterial growth);

• water conservation (prevent leakage).

What are the Thermostatic Valve (TMV) temperature requirements?

HTM 04-01: Safe water in healthcare premises. Part A: Design, installation and commissioning practices (Table 2 – Page 55)

Areas where TMV type 3 valves should be fitted:

• Showers and hair-wash facilities (set to 41°C)

• Unassisted Baths (set to 41°C)

• Baths for Assisted Bathing (set to 46°C – to allow for the cold mass of the bath. NB – prior to patient immersion, water should be checked with a thermometer.)

• Bidets (set to 38°C)

When is a chlorination/disinfection required?

HSG 274 Part 2 (Paragraph 2.127 – Page 42)

Where necessary, hot and cold water services should be cleaned, flushed and disinfected in the following situations, as specified in BS 8558:

• on completion of a new water installation or refurbishment of a hot and cold water system;

• on installation of new components, especially those which have been pressure tested using water by the manufacturer (see the manufacturer’s instructions);

• where the hot and cold water is not used for a prolonged period and has not been flushed as recommended or the control measures have not been effective for a prolonged period. For example, this could be as little as two or three weeks, but will depend on the ambient temperature, condition of the water system, potential for exposure to aerosols and the susceptibility of users considered in a specific risk assessment;

• on routine inspection of the water storage tanks, where there is evidence of significant contamination or stagnation;

• if the system or part of it has been substantially altered or entered for maintenance purposes that may introduce contamination;

• following water sampling results that indicate evidence of microbial contamination of the water system (see Table 2.2 or 2.3);

• during, or following an outbreak or suspected outbreak of legionellosis linked to the system;

• or where indicated by the risk assessment.

Do I need to remove or replace Flexible Hoses?

You should ensure all flexible hoses comply with the WRAS approval scheme and be tested and comply with BS 6920. “In buildings where there are those with an increased susceptibility to infection or with processes requiring specific water characteristics, materials of an enhanced quality may be required.

Healthcare buildings and care homes should specifically take note of alerts and advice from the Department of Health and Health Facilities Scotland. For example, healthcare premises are advised against the use of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) lined flexible hoses (tails) as these have been shown to be a risk of microbial colonisation. Such flexible connections should therefore only be used in healthcare premises where an installation has to move during operation or is subject to vibration.”

HSE 274 Part 2 p.2.35

“Flexible hoses should be used only for the following applications: to allow for vibration of equipment; to accommodate vertical displacement of high and low baths and sinks; to facilitate essential maintenance and access of bespoke equipment when no alternative is available. Note – Where fitted, flexible hoses should be kept as short as possible and be kink-free as to no affect flow”. – The Health Technical Memorandum 04-01: Safe water in healthcare premises. Part A: Design, installation and commissioning states in p.3.41

Caution Hot Water Signs, Not Drinking Water, Drinking Water Signs

“The Regulations require employers to use a safety sign where there is a significant risk to health and safety” – The Health & Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 p.4

Caution signs are recommended at any location where there is the potential for scalding hot water. This includes where TMVs are located as they may fail.

Must I improve access to water fittings?

ACOPs L8 states that “It is important that there should be ease of access to all parts of the system, components and associated equipment for management and maintenance purposes, e.g. tanks, calorifiers, thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs)…”

For more information please visit HSEs website for more information about ACOP L8.

Legionella Remedial Works

How do I meet Legionella Compliance?

Legionella Risk Assessment

The first step in meeting Legionella compliance is to undertake a legionella risk assessment that will identify the potential risks from Legionella posed by your water systems.

Legionella Remedial Works

Once these risks have been identified they should be removed, substituted or managed. This means undertaking any remedial works to reduce the risks identified.

Legionella Monitoring

Finally, you will need to control and manage the ongoing risk of Legionella exposure from your water system to employees and visitors by carrying out continued Legionella monitoring.

Why do I need to do water monitoring?

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and in compliance with the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP L8, HSG 274), duty holders, including employers and those in control of premises, must ensure the health and safety of their employees or others who may be affected by their undertaking.

This includes taking suitable precautions to prevent, manage and control the risk of exposure to legionella. You can do this by undertaking the following: a legionella risk assessment, actioning all identified risks within the risk assessment with legionella remedial works, sampling the water quality to confirm bacterial presence with legionella testing, and carrying out ongoing record keeping also known as legionella monitoring or water monitoring.

Take our online legionella training course for a better understanding of the compliance needed.

When and how often do I need Legionella monitoring?

Following a legionella risk assessment a water logbook should be produced to aid with your legionella monitoring and record keeping. Each water system is different and therefore will require a bespoke water monitoring plan. Typically tasks should be undertaken weekly, monthly, quarterly, six monthly and annually.

How much does water monitoring cost?

Water monitoring prices vary depending on the number of water outlets, cold water storage tanks, hot water cylinders, combi boilers and other water assets that may be present. The number of assets within your water system will determine the time spent on site and how long it will take to carry out all legionella monitoring tasks.

So how much does a water monitoring cost? Across the industry prices vary enormously often depending on the size of the company you use and their processes, speed of works and professionalism.

uRisk carries out price comparison and reviews regularly to ensure our prices are kept competitive and with the customer in mind.

How long does a water monitoring visit take?

Depending on the type of water monitoring visit it is and the size of the water system will determine how long a water hygiene engineer is on site for. For monthly temperature monitoring you can expect the engineer to be on site for a period of 30-60 minutes on average. However, if the tasks are quarterly de-scaling you might expect the engineer to be present for 1-4 hours.

Other tasks such as TMV servicing and inspections can take considerably longer due to the nature of the works.

How long are water monitoring contracts?

Legionella monitoring contracts at uRisk range from 2 to 5 years. In special circumstances we offer 12-month contracts, but the longer the contract the better price we can offer you.

What if I choose not to do Legionella monitoring?

It is your legal responsibility under HSE ACOP L8 (HSG 274) to ensure the safety of those at your place of work or property. Should you choose not to undertake water monitoring, you run the risk of allowing harmful bacteria to grow within your water system which may lead to illness and prosecution.

Legionella Remote Monitoring

What is the difference between remote monitoring over manual monitoring?

By opting for remote water monitoring you are choosing to use the industry’s latest technology in automated temperature monitoring, removing the need for manual temperature monitoring. This means reduced man hours spent driving between sites, reduced costs on travel and labour, improved management system with all records online in one place, and easy assess to records. The list really is endless.

Whilst this is a great technology, it only completes your monthly temperature monitoring. It still means that weekly flushing, quarterly descaling, six monthly expansion vessel flushing and annual tasks, servicing and inspections are still required.

Download the HSE Legionella Guidelines here for FREE

 

Why choose uRisk?

25 Years Experience

Over 25 years of water hygiene and legionella control experience.

Customer Service Excellence

Friendly and simple advice by phone, email & online at your convenience.

City & Guilds Qualified

All staff are trained water hygiene consultants and engineers.

Nationwide Coverage

With engineers located all across the UK, we're never too far away.

UKAS Accredited Testing

Our labs are UKAS approved providing you with quality assurance.

Full Compliance Services

Your one stop shop for Legionella control, no need to go elsewhere.

A fabulous company, excellent customer service, they try to accommodate appoitments, and do there utmost in emergencies, been with them a few years now,  honestly cant fault them. Coming out of Covid 19, having our building urgently disanitised,  big thank-you to Luke and Lee for staying so late to get the job done!! Thank you Devon, for juggling the diary to fit us in so soon. A Team 🙂
Jo Maskell
Jo Maskell
18:02 15 Jun 20
Extremely happy with our legionella risk assessment carried out by uRisk, easy to understand and great customer service. Thanks again
Nickayla Robertson
Nickayla Robertson
21:22 15 Jan 19
Brilliant service! Thanks a lot for the hard graft
Leon Macauley
Leon Macauley
21:12 15 Jan 19
Brilliant Service, efficient, professional, punctual and friendly.
Alex Windsor
Alex Windsor
18:21 15 Jan 19
uRisk have been helping us with our Legionella Control for a number of years now. We've recently had a CQC audit and they were very impressed with our legionella compliance! Thank you for all your help.
Mike Port
Mike Port
20:41 07 Aug 18
Fantastic training courses and we've found the legionella risk assessment very easy to read and far more detailed than any we have previously had. 5 star service!
Gemma Pond
Gemma Pond
20:37 07 Aug 18
Incredibly detailed and professional team. Have been beyond helpful with with our CQC legionella compliance for our Safety. They’ve found solutions to fit around how we work and our budgets. We are always advised with reference to HSE which has been brilliant.
Amy Thorne
Amy Thorne
20:29 07 Aug 18
We're a small GP practice and started using uRisk for legionella risk assessments. We opted to use their remedial and monitoring services and they've been absolutely great. We cannot recommend them enough! Thank you so much!
Amanda Pates
Amanda Pates
18:30 07 Aug 18
Brilliant company, customer service was great! And engineers were fantastic. Thanks again uRisk! Will definitely be using them for all future work.
Nikesh Gohil
Nikesh Gohil
12:49 12 Mar 18

We want to help you comply!