We wrote about it back in mid-August, but this week saw the official launch of WaterSafe, the new plumbing assurance scheme to give consumers the peace of mind that they know the plumber they've hired is fully qualified for the work.

Thought the website went live a while ago, the scheme brings together the following seven existing Approved Contractors' Schemes operating in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

  • The Water Industry Approved Plumbers’ Scheme (WIAPS)
  • Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)
  • Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE)
  • Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF)
  • Anglian Water’s A Plus
  • Severn Trent’s Watermark
  • Thames Water’s TAPS.

Supported by all key plumbing bodies and water companies in the country, WaterSafe provides an online database and search facility of plumbers, recognising their qualifications and competency. 

To join the scheme, recognised plumbers employed by an approved business on the register will need to have successfully completed an NVQ Level 2 in Mechanical Engineering Services (6089 - Plumbing) and hold a water industry-recognised Water Fittings Regulations qualification. Unlike the Gas Safe register WaterSafe is not a legal requirement, however by joining a nationwide register plumbers will become part of a wider group of professionals that is set to become the biggest search facility for approved plumbers in the UK.

Kevin Wellman, chief executive officer for the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE) and board member for WaterSafe says: "Following months of planning and investment, we are hugely excited to launch WaterSafe.

"Until now, the plumbing industry has not had the presence of a scheme that encompasses all of the Approved Contractors' Schemes in the UK. As such, it has been very difficult for consumers to make an informed choice when sourcing a credible plumber, struggling to distinguish from the plethora of trade associations, accreditation bodies and trust marks.

"WaterSafe has been designed to negate this confusion. By bringing together these existing schemes under one unique umbrella organisation, WaterSafe offers assurance of a professional, accredited plumber every time. In this way, our aim is to not only promote good plumbing practice and compliance with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws, but also clamp down on the inherent issue of rogue plumbers. WaterSafe will give competent and approved plumbing businesses the recognition they deserve."

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If you have any outstanding plumbing qualifications or are looking to become a professional plumber yourself, have you considered a comprehensive plumbing course from Access Training? Our courses are suitable for both newcomers and experienced plumbers alike, so give us a call on 0800 345 7492 or check out the plumbing courses section of the site to find out more.

The summer months are behind us and despite a few more days of good weather, homeowners will soon be getting ready to turn their boilers and central heating on for the first time since the Spring. Houses are going to need heating, and when these boilers need maintenance and replacement who's going to be there to pick up the slack? Your local plumber of course!

With plumbers and gas engineers expected to see a rise in business over the next few months, if you've been considering a change in career to one of these trades now is the perfect time to make it happen. Earn your plumbing and gas qualifications on one of Access Training's range of professional trade courses, following which you'll be able to apply to join the Gas Safe Register - a legal requirement of anyone working on gas appliances in the UK. You'll then find yourself in a world of work with plenty of variety - you'll be meeting new people every day and no two jobs will be quite the same. Not only that, but the rewards are great too - and these only get better if you take the extra steps to become a self-employed tradesman.

Winter might be coming, but life as a plumber/gas engineer certainly won't leave you out in the cold. To find out more have a look at the course section of our website or chat with one of our sales team on 0800 345 7492.

While good practical training may be the most vital quality to have in a plumber, it's important that they also have a good grasp of the common terminology they may come across while on the job. So Access Training have put together a very basic glossary of various plumbing terminology, which will hopefully be of benefit to some of you.

Actual capacity: The amount of water contained in a cistern or other container when it is full to its practical working level.

Air-lock: Air trapped in pipes, causing a reduction or complete stop in the flow of liquid.

Back-siphon: A condition where the flow of liquid is reversed and siphons back towards the source, which can lead to contamination.

Bar: The unit that water pressure is measured in.

Bleed valve: A valve that releases air from the central heating system.

Cistern: A contained used for holding water at atmospheric pressure.

Flow rate: The volume of water that is delivered to a tap, recorded in litres per minute (l/m) or litres per second (l/s).

Grey water: Waste water from domestic processes.

Hard water: Water which contains a higher level of calcium salts, making it an alkaline. When heated it deposits the salts on various components in a system, causing "furring up".

Main water valve: The main water shutoff that prevents any water from going into any of the pipes or plumbing. Plumbers may refer to it as the main shutoff valve.

Nominal capacity: The amount of water contained in a cistern or other container when it is full to the top edge.

Soft water: Rain water that falls on peaty, moorland and sandstone areas and is acidic. Soft water is better for washing, but can lead to many corrosion problems.

Stopcock: A hand operated on/off valve permitting water flow in one direction. The house stopcock is located where the supply enters the property, and can be used to shutoff water to all fixtures in the house.

Storage cistern: A specific type of cistern used for storing water to be used, such as delivering hot and cold water through pipework.

Supply pipe: A pipe that carries mains cold water around the home.

Tank: A container that is not open to atmosphere, usually a non-cylindrical closed vessel.

Vent pipe: Pipe that allows the release of air or water from a hot water system.

Of course this is only a very brief glossary, and missing many of the things you'll need to know as a professional plumber. If you would like to learn more and perhaps even gain the qualifications needed to become a plumber, an Access Training plumbing course could be exactly what you're looking for. To find out more please visit the courses section of our website or give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

New research conducted by Pink Plumbers, a national brand delivering female plumbers, has found that more women have the desire to become their own boss in the workplace then men.

The research, which was carried out last May, had a sample of 2000 adults from across the UK. It found that almost two out of three people (63%) wanted to take the steps toward self-employment. A total of 66% women wanted to be their own boss, narrowing out the males asked who came in at 60%.

Pink Plumbers was set up by single mother and entrepreneur Jo Lawrence, who created the franchise to make it easier for women wanting to join the plumbing trade by offering support and confidence. There is a clear gap in the market for female plumbers, with her research also noting that 86% of women think there should be more women working as plumbers. 69% of men also agreed.

Apart from setting up her Pink Plumbers franchise, Lawrence has also been proactive in organising a series of college roadshows across the UK, speaking to students about her own experiences as a plumber. She will also be publishing a book titled Hints and Tips for the Practical Plumber, which is due for release in September. It is designed to provide business and plumbing tips to help plumbers navigate through the difficulty of setting themselves up. 

Encouraging trainee plumbers to take the steps to become self-employed is also something we encourage here at Access Training. As well as providing you with vital qualifications through our range of bespoke plumbing courses, our teaching staff will also guide you on how to set up your own plumbing business. If you would like to find out more about what Access can offer you, please contact us on 0800 345 7492.

Via HVP Magazine

Gas Safe has proved time and time again to be an effective method in separating genuine gas engineers from cowboy traders, so that the general public know that when they hire a tradesman he or she is legitimate. But despite this, this sort of system is currently only available for gas engineers - so Joe Bloggs may not have the same level of certainty when hiring a plumber for wet work.

Until now that is. Or more precisely, October 8th 2013.

WaterSafe has been put together to provide a search facility of all Approved plimbers working in the UK, thanks to a partnership between UK water suppliers and the seven Approved Contractors' Schemes working across the UK. It will promote compliance with the Water Supply Regulations 1999 and Scottish Water Byelaws in order to protect the public and make it even more difficult for unqualified dishonest plumbers to get work. Unlike the Gas Safe register this isn't a legal requirement, but will publically show plumbers are both fully qualified and competent in their trade. So arguably its something that's probably in your best interest to do.

WaterSafe's website isn't open just yet, however it can be found at www.watersafe.org.uk where you can find all the relevant contact details to find out more about the scheme. Keep checking back to this blog, as we're sure to be covering more of this brilliant new scheme closer to its official launch.

In the meantime - if you have any outstanding plumbing qualifications or are looking to become a professional plumber yourself, have you considered a comprehensive plumbing course from Access Training? Our courses are suitable for both newcomers and experienced plumbers alike, so give us a call on 0800 345 7492 or check out the courses section of the site to find out more.

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