Sometimes we need a plumber in a hurry and in an emergency situation the temptation is to maybe scan the local adverts or do an internet search, giving the job to the first one available or the one that seems the cheapest. Taking that approach to getting important repairs to the plumbing and heating system in your property is very much a roll of the dice and you could get lucky or you could become seriously unstuck and have numerous other problems to contend with as a result of bad workmanship.
Whether you are looking for a plumber in an emergency situation or have a job that you don’t feel competent or qualified enough to tackle yourself, it makes a lot of sense to search out approved plumbers who have the skills and just as importantly, the qualifications to do a professional job.
When you get a plumber to do work for you they need to be able to work safely and competently and one of the best ways of ensuring you get a job done to a high standard is to hire a plumber who has some or all of the required qualifications. Most reputable plumbers will either display on their paperwork or their advertising the qualifications that they have. For basic plumbing work you would expect them to have a City and Guilds Craft/Advanced Craft Certificate and either a level 2 or 3 NVQ in plumbing and mechanical engineering services or an SNVQ if they are based in Scotland. They may also have an NVQ or SNVQ in Heating/Heating and Ventilation and a Water Regulations Certificate.
There are certain plumbing tasks that require an additional set of skills and qualifications and if your plumber is working with gas, they should be registered with Gas Safe as a legal requirement. Approved plumbers display these credentials on their website. If you require work to be carried which involves oil or solid fuel appliances then you may want to consider looking for one who is registered with OFTEC, APHC or BESCA and working with electrical wiring requires an additional qualification again, meaning they should preferably belong to NAPIT or NICEIC.
Variety of regulations
There are a number of different regulations that plumbers need to adhere to and you would expect a competent plumber to have an up to date knowledge of current British Standards, some Building Regulations, particularly Sanitation, Hot Water Safety and Water Efficiency and a working knowledge of the 1999 Water Regulations.
It is often a positive aspect that a plumber has chosen to be a member of a Plumbing Association and in doing so, they are agreeing to adhere to certain standards of workmanship and have adequate insurance in place. When checking out your plumber’s credentials, look to see if they are registered with the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors or the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering. It is always a worthwhile investment of your time to check out the credentials that you plumber has and when you engage the services of a suitably qualified and approved plumber, you are far more likely to be satisfied with the work that they do for you.
John Mason is a veteran of home maintenance. He often writes about common questions and concerns for the everyday homeowner.