NO! It’s not, is the simple answer.

The number of homes installing cavity wall insulation has crashed by 97% since the government's flagship energy–efficiency scheme was introduced, new figures have revealed. Previous energy-efficiency schemes meant cavity wall insulation – one of the cheapest ways of cutting energy bills and climate-warming carbon emissions, was heavily subsidised or free. But under the Green Deal, which aims to upgrade the efficiency of 14m homes, households have to take out a loan to pay for the measure.

Figures from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, which monitors the issue of installations and guarantees, show that only 1,138 installations were completed in April 2013, down from 49,650 in April 2012. The government's own impact assessment predicted in January 2012 that cavity wall insulations would collapse by 67%, but the reality has far outstripped this estimate. Government data shows that 1.4m cavity wall insulations are needed to meet its carbon targets.

This crash shows a "desperate need for financial stimuli for the Green Deal".

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The Green Deal is an ambitious, long-term programme designed to deliver home improvement in Great Britain on an unprecedented scale." He noted that a cashback scheme currently offers £250 for cavity wall insulation, although this will not cover the total cost. "Additional help for this type of work may also be available for people in hard to treat properties, and those on benefits or low income," he added.

Luciana Berger, the shadow minister for climate change, said: "This staggering collapse in the number of energy-efficiency installations is a disaster for our economy and a body blow for hundreds of small businesses across the country. This is all the more damaging when there are at least 5.8m homes in the UK that still need cavity wall insulation, according to the government's own estimates."

The government's impact assessment also predicted a drop of 93% in loft insulations, the most cost effective energy-efficiency measure of all!

- Mark Jenkins

The BPEC Charity is once again taking nominations for its Life Award programme, which offers a grant of up to £15,000 to those with plans of improving others' lives using their plumbing skills.

Last year £30,000 was given to four projects which ranged from developing a safe water system to a health clinic in Mozambique, apprentice plumbers working alongside a village community in Uganda to build drinking water wells and similar safe drinking water work in Nicaragua. A little closer to home, the charity also gave money toward the development of a virtual plumbing college online to support students and teachers alike. Regular updates on these projects can be found on the Life Award's progress blog

There are three separate opportunities for financial support over each year which are open to ALL who are working in the UK plumbing industry, whether you are self-employed, a tutor or even an apprentice. These are the BPEC Life Award, the BPEC Support Fund and the BPEC Sport Awards.

The BPEC Charity, also known as BPEC (Training) Ltd, was re launched in 2012 with the strapline of "re-investing in our industry". The charity's focus is to raise the knowledge and skills of those working in the UK Plumbing and Heating industry. It also provides the opportunity to offer support to those who would like to pursue a career in the industry, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. More about its vision, mission and values can be seen HERE.

You can register to find out more about the Life Award. The deadline for entries is the 31st July.

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Access Training's bespoke plumbing courses are BPEC accredited, a sure sign of the quality of learning we offer students. If you are interested in gaining the necessery qualifications to become a plumber, our experienced teaching staff are ready and waiting to help you. To find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

 

As of the 1st July 2013, all bathroom products covered by Harmonised European Standards will be required to have the familiar marking pictured above fixed to them or their packaging.

This comes with the introduction of new legislation from the CPR (Construction Products Regulation) that will be in place throughout Europe. These changes are mandatory and failure to comply could lead to an up to three months prison sentence and/or a fine of £5,000 per incident. Products will also need to bear a type, batch or serial number, with technical documentation being retained for a period of ten years after the product has been sold.

While the CE mark is NOT a quality mark it does however indicate that the product is fit for its puporse. It is a key indicator of compliance with European legislation and enables it free movement throughout the European market.

Chris Taylor-Hamlin, technical director of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, said: 

"It’s a serious issue. Fortunately members of the BMA have been fully informed, through our technical committees, for over 12 months about the requirements of the new Regulations and have been able to plan changes to their inventory - it’s one of the many advantages of membership. But we have heard of some horror stories of suppliers who have been blissfully ignorant of the changes and are now having to spend thousands having their products tested and relabelled. It’s hit their bottom line.

"CE marking is a necessary burden. It outlaws non-compliant products, and highlights those suppliers who have no infrastructure for recording keeping and batch marking. These new regs mark a major step change in our industry."

Research by the Electrician Technician Registration has found that "a lack of recognised standards for industry competence" is restricting both electricians' ability and their eventual career progression.

The study looked at how electricians' perceived their professional and discovered many were confused about what constitutes "competence" and which industry bodies could be called upon for careers guidance. Participants in the research also claimed that the vast amount of electrical qualifications available to them made it difficult to decide which routes of study to take in order to gain professional recognition. They also agreed that without a visible benefit of pursuing such qualifications, they feel no reason to aspire toward them.

In an attempt to address these concerns, the Technical Advisory Panel and Steering group (TAPS) - a collaboration of bodies including the IET, the Engineering Council, Electrical Contractors' Association and the Joint Industry Board, will now act on these key issues highlighted in the research;

 

  • Developing careers pathways to enable professional recognition for electricians to progress to engineering technician.
  • Adopting a 'one body' consistent approach to providing advice on a national scale with an electrician technician membership package.
  • Mapping the engineering technician professional standards to the established industry competence card schemes, NVQs and apprenticeship frameworks.
  • Promoting the benefits of gaining engineering technician recognition to support career progression.
The full report can be found HERE.

Not sure on the qualifications you need to get you your dream career? The staff at Access Training is made up of industry professionals who will be able to advise and guide you on exactly the electrical qualifications you need to make it in the industry. If you want to follow your dream and become an electrician today, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Following a recent appliance safety campaign report that illustrated the low success rate for product recalls in the UK, the Electrical Safety Council has taken new measures to promote public awareness of the dangers these products can cause.

The report, titled Safer Reports, Better Business - A 360° Approach to Improving Electrical Appliance Safety, found that the average success rate for electrical recalls is a mere 10-20%. In the last six years, there have been over 250 product recalls, so with this figures in mind there are still hundreds of thousands of potentially dangerous products still in circulation. Or worse, still being used in households!

Most products recalled are usually done so because the present a risk of fire or electrocution, with many of them items such as chargers or adaptors. Though the media may pay more attention to larger appliances (fridge freezers, dish washers etc.), these smaller things present exactly the same risks. 

The report also researched public attitude toward product recalls, and revealed two main obstacles - indifference and underestimation. It found that nearly two million adults have knowingly ignored a product recall in the past, with a further million admitting to currently owning an electrical item that has been recalled. It seems many people would rather jeopardise their safety instead of sending back that new HD television they bought to be replaced!

In order to make information about product recalls clearer and more readily available, the ESC has launched their own online product checker, where products can be searched by brand name, model number or product type. On top of this and an extensive media campaign, the ESC will also be working closely with manufacturers and retailers to develop new ways in improving recall rates.

The ESC product recall checker can be viewed HERE.

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