We’ve all heard those scary stories about ’cowboy’ builders, plumbers and contractors who’ve overcharged homeowners and then left a property in disarray after a seemingly simple job. And although they’re very rare, it’s still important to ensure that your plumbing job is performed by a trustworthy professional who has trained on a plumbing course and who will give you a reliable service at a fair price.

So how can we tell the cowboys from the good guys?

Research reliable plumbers

Be sure to ask a variety of people who they use for plumbing services in the local area. By contacting someone who’s trusted by friends and family (preferably that you also know), you’re much more likely to avoid disreputable plumbers. Also, be sure to request references from prospective plumbers; if they don’t possess a portfolio of satisfied customers, then it may be worth looking elsewhere.

Get a written quote

It may sound simple, but a good, trusted, trained plumber will have no problem providing a written quote for the work he’s about to undertake. If your selected plumber scribbles a quote on a note or will only offer a verbal agreement, it’s not worth the hassle.

Insist on a trained individual

Plumbers of any repute will have a recognised plumbing qualification that shows they have the core competencies to get your job done quickly and effectively, so you should insist on your plumber having one.

Ask for insurance policies

A trusted plumber will have an insurance policy that will protect both you and them in the event of anything going wrong, so don’t start working with someone who doesn’t have one.

Tell others

And don’t forget, you have the capability to stop cowboy plumbers yourself by letting other people know of better tradesmen elsewhere. If your plumber is friendly, flexible and competent, then be sure to tell your friends, who will be far more likely to use them rather than an untrustworthy scammer.

Do you think you have the skills to become a plumber? Hone them with plumbing courses at Access. There are a range of different plumbing courses available – to learn more call 0800 345 7492.

Thousands of people across the UK and Europe have enrolled on electrician courses over the last few years. And they have doubtless done so thinking of the fulfilling, interesting and varied workflow; the opportunity to meet a wide variety of customers and of course the great wages that can be earned by working as an electrician.

However, when these two Norwegian workers found themselves stranded on a power line, 85 metres (280 feet) in the air above a fjord for an entire day, they couldn’t have foreseen such a hazardous situation.

The pair were working on a power line high above a fjord in Nordfjord, western Norway, when a technical failure saw their basket stuck in extreme weather conditions. They were forced to sit in the basket for several hours, awaiting rescue, but when a helicopter arrived it couldn’t get close enough to them as a result of the driving wind and rain – and was only able to lower them down food, drink, phones and clothing to get them through the night.

After a long night stranded against the elements, in the morning they were supplied with abseiling equipment and – with a little help on the phone from trained alpine experts – began the 280 feet descent into a boat waiting below.

Jan Gunnar Hole, who led the company’s successful retrieval of the men, said that teaching them to rappel down to a boat was the “simplest solution”. He said: “The men were cold, of course, but when you’re climbing down from 85 metres there is a lot of adrenaline.”

The two men underwent health checks at a local hospital and were found to have no problems.

Are you looking to become an electrician? It’s an interesting, challenging job – though adventures such as these are far from commonplace.  Here at Access, we provide a wide range of electrician courses, regardless of your background, age, experience or career goals. To learn more about our fun, flexible courses, explore the rest of the site or speak to one of our team on 0800 3457492. 

Good news for builders, electricians and those who have studied on carpentry courses: the Government have announced a conservatory building initiative that could provide a huge boost to skilled, trained workers. 

The plans, which are hoped to kick-start the stalling British economy, will see homeowners given new opportunities to build large conservatories, extensions and other household constructions without worrying about expensive, problematic planning permission. People will be permitted to extend their homes by up to eight metres with no opposition thanks to the new relaxed regulations, while demand for quality builders, plumbers and carpenters is also expected to grow as more people choose to extend their properties. 

The rules are a temporary solution and will be applicable in the UK until 2015, and do not apply to loft extensions or multi-storey builds. Currently, domestic planning application fees are around £150, and paying professional advisors can cost thousands more. Planning permission is a barrier to many homeowners building extensions. And although around 90% of applications are eventually approved, they can drag on for months.

Skilled workers are also sure to benefit from other commercial aspects of the initiative, in which businesses will be able to expand shops by 100 square metres and industrial units by 200 sq. m without worrying about planning permission, so long as they own the premises. 

Alongside the removal of planning laws, the Government have also tried to give a shot in the arm to the housing industry, by underwriting £10 billion of borrowing for property developers and housing associations to build on sites, and launching an extension of the FirstBuy scheme, which will help first-time buyers without a deposit get an equity loan to get a mortgage. The Prime Minister David Cameron estimated that the plans would see an extra 70,000 houses being built in the UK and 140,000 jobs being created.

Are you looking to learn a trade to make the most of the renewed interest in house extensions and conservatory building in the UK? From carpentry courses to plumbing courses, electrical courses and much more, at Access Training we have a variety of flexible courses for all abilities.