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.

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.