Network Construction Operations (NCO) Water

About the Scheme

The Network Construction Operations (Water) is a registration scheme for the skills, knowledge and understanding required to perform various tasks and duties on the water networks. The registration categories reflect the different roles.

The scheme is for all individuals involved in water network operations and provides organisations and asset owners assurance that all individuals undertaking work on the water network have the appropriate level of relevant skills, knowledge and understanding.

NCO Water registration is accepted by LRQA as evidence of competence for Self-Lay contractors for their Water Industry Scheme (WIRS).

There are 2 routes to registration for the NCO (Water) scheme:

  1. completion of a regulated national vocational qualification (NVQ), e.g. EUIAS Level 2 Network Construction Operations (Water), the CABWI Level 2 Certificate in Network Construction Operations (Water), a City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Network Construction Operations (Water) or an SQA SVQ in Network Construction Operations (Water)
  2. completion of an approved Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education Apprenticeship e.g., Water Network Operative

These are available through awarding organisations and training providers and have been developed using national occupational standards/apprenticeship standards and are based on the appropriate roles.

Alternative Route to Registration

The Level 2 Water Network Operative apprenticeship is a new route to registration for the NCO Water Scheme in the following categories:

  • Service Layer
  • Mains Layer 180mm
  • Repair & Maintenance

Individuals must also hold a current EUSR registration for Safety, Health and Environmental Awareness (SHEA) Water and National Water Hygiene (NWH)

If you or an employee have achieved the above, you can submit a request for registration by emailing

Registration Categories

The NCO Water scheme provides the following registration categories, starting with trainee for those entering the water industry progressing through to a more specialist role for those individuals who locate and repair leaks and carry out maintenance on the water network:

  • Trainee (Probationary) and Trainee (Experienced Worker)
  • Assistant
  • Service Layer
  • Mains Layer up to 180mm
  • Mains Layer up to 315mm
  • Mains Layer up to 355mm
  • Mains Layer 315mm and above
  • Mains Layer 355mm and above
  • Repair & Maintenance

Registration Pathways

In addition to the registration categories listed, an individual will also be registered as either ‘Self-Lay’ or ‘Distribution’ pathway, or both.  This is determined by the qualification/units completed or the apprenticeship undertaken.

As a guide:

  • the unit for working on ‘Sites’ is Self-Lay pathway
  • the unit for working in the ‘Highway’ is ‘Distribution’ pathway

EUSR Registration

Registrations for NCO (Water) can be made either online or paper based.

Online – online applications should be submitted using QuartzWeb, with the completed forms and supporting evidence uploaded.

Paper-based – applications should include the completion of a Registration Form, appropriate evidence and a photograph must be submitted to EUSR Support, Avon House, 435 Stratford Road, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4AA or emailed to

NCO (Water) registration is valid for five years, with the exception of the Trainee categories.

Registration for the Trainee (Probationary) category is valid for 30 months.

Registration for Trainee (Experienced Worker) is 30 months until 30th April 2025. After this date the registration period with be 12 months.

Registration for both categories of Trainee cannot be renewed and registration is only available once on each category.

More information on requirements for registration is detailed within the relevant Registration Category.

EUSR Registration Renewal

Registration renewal on EUSR is required after 5 years.  An individual may be re-registered for NCO (Water) for their existing or recently achieved categories where the required evidence has been submitted and verified.

Renewal registration is available for the following categories only:

  • Assistant
  • Service Layer
  • Mains Layer up to 180mm
  • Mains Layer up to 315mm
  • Mains Layer up to 355mm
  • Mains Layer 315mm and above
  • Mains Layer 355mm and above
  • Repair & Maintenance

Evidence Requirements

Registration on EUSR for the NCO (Water) scheme is based upon the completion of an appropriate regulated qualification or an apprenticeship and where evidence for registration has been submitted and verified.

The evidence requirements are detailed under each registration category page.

Registration Pre-requisite

An individual registered as an Assistant must have EUSR registration for both National Water Hygiene and Safety, Health & Environmental Awareness (SHEA) Water as a pre-requisite.

Find Out More

If you would like to get trained in this scheme, please see our schemes search. If you are a trainer and would like to deliver this scheme, please see our guidance in the Approval and Delivery section.

If you have any queries relating to EUSR or the evidence requirements for any of our schemes or programmes, please contact the EUSR Support team. We are available Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 5.00pm via email or tel: 0121 745 1310.