With all the reports about cowboy builders doing shoddy maintenance work and unregistered gas engineers making potentially fatal mistakes, is it any surprise that finding a trusted tradesperson is becoming a major problem across the UK? In fact, a recent survey from the HomeOwners Alliance and TrustMark has found over half of Britons are hesitant to do maintenance work on their homes because they have difficulty finding someone they feel they can trust.

This result then has a knock-on effect as to what said homeowners then do. While the 2014 Homeowner Survey found 12% won't do the work at all and 26% simply delay the project, a significant 40% then choose to do their own repairs/DIY. When it comes to certain trades, this could easily end up in injury or worse. Other statistics found were that 27% will only do essential works, while if forced 28% will use tradespeople they are uncertain about.

Only earlier this week Heating & Plumbing Monthly reported a plumber in Kidderminister is behind bars for 16 months after overcharging elderly and vulnerable customers up to 800% more for simple jobs. Among Mr Steven Greenaway's misdeeds were:

  • Charging one elderly woman in Cradley Heath £1527 to repair a leak on her toilet and replace the cistern - a job averaging around £200 to do
  • Charging a Dudley pensioner £500 to unblock a toilet, then proceeding a charge her a further £780 after claiming the kitchen tap needed work
  • Charging a mother and daughter £1000 to repair a dripping tap - money that they had been saving for a holiday
  • Charging a Worcester couple £1,200 to repair a leak on a radiator valve - leaving them feeling "like they had been mugged"
  • Charging another Worcester couple more than £800 for work to repair a stop tap that should have only cost around £120
  • And as a final insult, he even advertised DISCOUNT rates for pensioners in Yellow Pages adverts

This piece isn't just meant to point the finger at these frauds who give a bad name to tradespeople everywhere, its also to show trainees how much better they can be. You don't need to con the elderly to make a healthy wage nor do you have to pretend to have qualifications - all you need is proper training and not only will you actually have the qualifications to your name, you'll also be able to make the money honestly. And as positive word of mouth about your business grows, so will those interested.

It all starts with getting the right training, and no matter which trade you're planning to persue a career in Access Training can help. From plumbing and gas to electrical, carpentry, plastering and more, our state-of-the-art centre and experienced tutors will take you from the level of absolute beginner all the way up to becoming a fully trained professional. To find out more about the courses we offer here at Access and how you can change your life with a brand new career, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 or by filling in the enquiry form found on this website. One of our course advice team will soon be in touch.

Competent Person Electrical Register

After much deliberation on what can be done to ensure consumers are hiring safe and qualified tradespeople to carry out work in their homes, the Select Committee on Building Regulations has announced that a single Competent Person Electrical Register is ready to go live. The decision was made following a recommendation made by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, with the register set to officially go live on June 30th.

Is it mandatory to join the competent person electrical register? 

This marks a similar move to the long-standing Gas Safe Register, joining which is a legal requirement of all gas engineers operating in the United Kingdom. However, joining the Competent Person Electrical Register is not mandatory, making it similar to the plumbing equivalent Water Safe. The move to create a single register was welcomed by existing Competent Person Scheme brands ELECSA and NICEIC. Although both put forward positive recommendations and supported parts of the report, they also felt some points were not explored thoroughly and "did not reflect the true state of the industry".

Under building regulations Part P, all fixed domestic electrical installations must be suitably installed, tested and inspected to ensure that they are in safe working order. Without achieving a Part P certificate and joining a Competent Person scheme, electricians are required by law to have their work independently verified by an external inspector.

When the scheme (full name: Registered Competent Person Electrical) goes live on June 30th, all full scope Part P electricians in England and Wales will be added automatically by their provider and encouraged to use the logo as a symbol of their qualification. An official launch event will then follow on the 2nd of July in the Palace of Westminster. Minister for Communities and Local Government, Stephen Williams MP, will give a keynote speech to a wide array of key industry stakeholders and MPs, alongside NAPIT Group Chief Executive Officer, Michael Andrews and Chief Executive Officer of Certsure, Emma Clancy.

Clancy commented that the new website, will "become the one stop shop for consumers looking to hire an electrician to carry out work in their home."

Attaining a Part P certificate and joining a Competent Person Scheme is a vital part of becoming a domestic electrician, and something we can fully prepare you for here at Access Training.

Whether its part of a more intensive electrician course or the single qualification you're looking for, our experienced tutors will guide you through everything you need to know to reach this important step in your career. To speak to one of our course advisers and find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

UK weather isn't always the kindest of things and, after some especially bad wind and rain earlier this year, it seems Spring is finally settling in nicely. This good turn in the weather seems to be especially good for skilled tradespeople, with their demand reaching record numbers as homeowners use this time to repair, maintain and even improve their properties.

This information comes from Trustmark, the Government-endorsed quality mark and online search database for qualified plumbers, electricians, carpenters, plasterers and more. In just the last four months, the number of searches across all trades has increased by 79% compared to that of last year - putting the total figure for the year on track to double that of 2013.

Among the trades which saw the highest improvements were ones that would be needed to fix properties after the Winter's spell of bad weather, including expert roofers (up an incredible 915%), flood recovery specialists (198%), garden landscapers (94%) and tree surgeons (91%). While this seems like a huge proportion of the searches, it was in fact only around 24% for these months as homeowners were on the lookout for many other handymen and women to improve their homes. Here are just a few of the trades that have seen a sharp rise in searches this year, many of which we teach here at Access:

  • Plasterers and renderers (88%)
  • Plumbing and heating engineers (83%)
  • Air conditioning specialists (79%)
  • Painters and decorators (77%)
  • Handymen (77%)
  • Electricians (52%)

So if you've ever wondered how "in demand" these trades are, the figures should speak for themselves. If you've been considering a change of a career and qualifying in a construction trade then now is the perfect time to do so. And you can forget about college courses and apprenticeships that would take up to three years to complete - at Access Training we can get you fully trained and qualified to a professional standard in a matter of weeks.

And to make this idea all the more enticing, we're holding a special offer on all of our courses throughout May in celebration of our birthday. We're offering up to 50% off of all of our courses this month when the deposit is paid in full, however the course itself does not have to be sat in May - you can complete and complete it when you're ready to! For more information and to speak to one of our course advice team, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Social media site for plumbers

Many of the plumbers reading this blog post will already be using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to promote their businesses. But did you know that there's now a dedicated social media network exclusively for the plumbing trade? Say hello to Connect.

Launched by leading shower/taps brand Bristan, Connect is an online platform that aims to provide installers with a dedicated area for them to get in touch with one another to share information or ask questions. Joining is completely free, and users will be able to upload images and videos of their work or products they think are worth recommending to others. In turn, the community will also provide news and information on the latest products, how-to tutorials, industry news and first access to promotional offers and discounts on Bristan's shower and tap products. It's the ultimate social media platform for plumbers!

Connect's creation was spurred on by Bristan's largest survey to date, which was conducted earlier this year. They found that many installers felt that there were few opportunities online for them to share information with each other. Signing up has been made as hassle-free as possible; you don't even need to create an all-new account! Instead, you can just sign up with an existing Facebook or Twitter profile. 

For more information you can visit the site at www.bristanconnect.com

Via HPM Magazine

Meanwhile, you can also keep up with Access Training on Facebook (link here) and Twitter (@accesstraining1). For more information on our range of trades training courses, which include plumbing, electrics, gas engineering, bricklaying, carpentry, tiling, plastering, painting/decorating and more - give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Every year the Gas Safe Register holds a 'Gas Safety Week' to promote proper safety when it comes to gas installations and appliances and what signs to look for if you suspect a gas leak. Last year 2700 different industries (ourselves included!) pledged their support and got involved distributing leaflets, holding promotions or simply spreading the word about gas safety in any way that they could. However this year (taking place the 15th-21st September), they're calling on your to share your stories about being a Gas Safe Hero.

Russell Kramer, chief executive of the Gas Safe Register, explained that for 2014 the register's aim is to highlight the work registered engineers have done and how they've gone "above and beyond". This could be anything from simply holding neighbourhood events to raise awareness to fixing dodgy gas work or even evacuating a home in the event of a leak.

Engineers are able to share their stories by visiting GasSafeRegister.co.uk/hero, which will then go on to appear on the Gas Safety week website as well as potentially be shared with the media. In addition to this, the Register is also looking for Heroes to talk to the media about their experiences and help spread the word of Gas Safety. Those interested in nominating themselves as a spokesperson can also do so at the aforementioned link.

Mr Kramer concludes with these words;

"Gas Safety Week is about bringing gas safety to the forefront of people's minds. So this year, I'm urging the nation's engineers to join in – tell us your story, nominate yourself to be a spokesperson or pledge your support. It's only through the whole industry uniting that we can hope to reach the 23 million UK gas consumers - encouraging them to always use registered engineers, to get appliances checked regularly and to sign up to the free annual gas safety check reminder service at www.staygassafe.co.uk"

Are you on your way to becoming a Gas Safe Hero? Any budding engineer knows that in order to become a professional gas engineer, one must first pass their ACS assessments and sign on to the register - a legal requirement of ANYONE working on gas installations and appliances. But before any of this can happen, you first need a high quality gas training course and a proper work placement to put together a portfolio of your work. And where can you get all of these things? Here at Access Training of course!

At our state-of-the-art training centre, you'll learn all the theory and practical skills you need from our experienced team of tutors before moving out on a guaranteed work placement. Following completion of your portfolio you'll be able to come back and sit your ACS assessment, bringing you to the level of a fully qualified gas engineer. To find out more about the course give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Construction expansion continues as new surveys show house building activity remained close to a 10-year high last month, moving the industry into its 12th consecutive month of growth.

Housing starts have grown to a rate of around 15,000 a month, with house prices increasing because supply is unable to meet demand. The Bank of England's deputy governor, Jon Cunliffe, has warned that it would be "dangerous to ignore the momentum that has built up in the UK housing market". A report from Legal & General has also revealed the extent of Britain's "national obsession" with house prices - values have shot up by 4,300pc over the past 40 years, and it also warned that a lack of supply could lead to housing becoming the biggest driver of UK inequality. 

The Government has been doing its best to combat this, introducing numerous schemes to increase the number of new houses across the UK. In Wales specifically Cardiff, Newport and Bridgend are just a few of the places with areas of land prepped for new builds. But while the building of new houses might solve the problem of demand, it in itself brings along another issue - does Britain have enough skilled construction labourers to make it happen? Cardiff, Newport and Bridgend were mentioned earlier as examples because these three places are facing that very problem and are in desperate need of teams of qualified bricklayers to help continue the work planned there.

The economic recession was a very difficult time for the construction industry, so seeing it recover in the way it has is a tremendous achievement. But it can only continue with your help. If you've ever considered changing careers to become a professional construction worker, whether it be as a bricklayer, carpenter, plasterer, tiler or decorator - now is the time to do it. Demand is at a high, which will not only secure you plenty of work but also an enviable wage. But first you'll need the qualifications employers will be looking for - something we can help you with here at Access Training.

We offer intensive training courses in all the aforementioned construction trades, each of which are fully accredited by City & Guilds. In a fraction of the time you'd spend on a college course, you'll learn all the skills and techniques needed to complete a professional job. From basic 1-week courses all the way to full NVQ portfolios, Access Training can help you get trained up to the standard you need. To find out more from one of our course advisers and arrange a tour of training facilities, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.