Via Tilezine

The Tile Association have warned retailers to stay alert of a credit card scam that last affected tilers back in 2010.

Like before, the scammer will phone up as a customer to place an order for Quartz tiles worth around £3,000. They will say that they do not live locally and are unable to visit the store, and therefore pay for the tiles using a credit card. The payment will be successfully processed and the tiles themselves will either be collected by a courier or delivered to a local address.

Weeks later, the card issuer recalls the payment after being told by the holder that it is an unauthorised/fraudulent payment. The retailer will then discover when they try to retrieve them that the tiles are gone, leaving them with a larger cost to cover.

Phil Reid, Association Executive for The Tile Association, warns retailers "Please be wary of taking large value credit card payments over the phone, this method of payment is not considered secure by the banks and you face the risk of not being insured against the loss, especially if the delivery address is different to the registered address of the card. Insisting that the customer visits the store to pay for the goods via the 'chip and pin' system or via a BACS transfer, if they are unable to visit your store, gives you protection from the banks recovering the payment without your knowledge or consent."

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If you're a keen DIY tiler thinking of turning professional or would like to begin your tradesperson journey with this avenue of the construction industry, an Access Training course will provide you with everything you need for a happy and properous career. With a state-of-the-art training centre, experienced staff and a course providing you with all the necessary qualifications for employment, you're unlikely to find a better alternative elsewhere. To find out more about our tiling courses or any of the other trades training courses we offer, have a chat with one of our course advisers by calling 0800 345 7492.

The Construction Industry Training Board has issued a serious warning to the UK constructor sector, reminding them that it faces a skills "time bomb" if it fails to find new workers before potentially 400,000 people retire in the next five to ten years.

The new labour market research, published by the Office of National Statistics, breaks the information collected down into the following main points:

  • 19% of UK construction workers aged 55+ (equivalent of 406,000 people) are set to retire in the next five to ten years
  • 24% of workers aged 45-54 (518,000) will then subsequently be retiring in the next ten to twenty years
  • 37% of the UK construction workforce is self-employed, and 23% (182,800) of those are also set to retire in five to ten years

With these huge numbers in mind, the research also noted which areas would be affected more than others. The East Midlands and South West would particularly suffer, with 22% of workers (that's 31,900 and 39,500 for each place respectively) set to leave. On the other hand Greater London, which holds the largest number of construction workers in the UK at 318,000 people, is estimated to not take the hit quite so hard. There only 12% (38,500) are expected to leave. Meanwhile in Scotland and Wales, the number is set to be similar to the total number of people retiring in the North East and South West of England - which is round about 56,000 people.

When you consider all of this, its unsurprising that UK construction was found to have a higher age profile than many other UK industries (19% are set to retire in comparison to the rest's 17%). To combat this, the CITB is encouraging employers to look at recruiting more and more young people, many of whom will have only just received their GCSE or A-Level results and be considering their next steps.

CITB Interim Chief Executive William Burton said: "Almost one in five workers are set to retire from the construction industry over the next five to ten years, so not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry or invest in the training to up-skill our existing workforce, is no longer an option. The construction sector is essential for growth and, to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990s, we urge employers to act now."

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If you've just finished school and looking for a more physical alternative to office work or college/university, have you considered a career in the construction industry? With demand constantly growing for young skilled workers, you're unlikely to find yourself short of work and doing a job with plenty of variety. But first you'll need the right qualifications, which you can find on an Access Academies professional training course. At our state-of-the-art Cardiff training centre you can find bricklaying, plastering, carpentry and tiling training all under one roof, complete with experienced tutors and the qualifications you need to make it in the industry. To find out more and book your place just give our advisers a call on 0800 345 7492.

 

One of the ways the Gas Safe Register has decided to mark Gas Safety Week by launching the very first nationwide interactive gas map, which can be viewed at www.staygassafe.co.uk.

This map reveals just how many unsafe gas appliances have been found across the UK, how many gas-related accidents or emergencies have occurred and even how many unregistered gas fitters have been caught preying upon the public. It's the first time this level of information has been recorded and compared across postcodes, and the results aren't looking good for the capital of Wales.

Cardiff ranked second only to Birmingham as the area with the highest number of unsafe homes, at a total of 31.1%. The full top 10 (if you can call it "top" that is) of unsafe places in the UK can be viewed below:

1. Birmingham (34.2%)

2. Cardiff (31.1%)

3. Edinburgh (30.9%)

4. Norwich and Ipswich (27.9%)

5. Coventry (27.8%)

6. Manchester (27.5%)

7. Bedford (27.3%)

8. Glasgow (25.2%)

9. Milton Keynes (24.2%)

10. Bradford (23.3%)

While there may not be a whole lot in it between the places, these numbers are still significantly higher than they should be. So where did the research find is the safest places? Brighton took the prize with just 5% (1 in 20) homes found to be dangerous, followed closely by Liverpool (6%), Southampton (6%), Northampton (7%) and Hull (8%). 

The data inspected just under 100,000 homes in Great Britain in the last three years, and found that one in six homes, the equivalent of 4.28 million households, had an unsafe gas appliance. Appliances in one in 25 homes were immediately dangerous and if left unchecked were at risk of causing a gas fire, explosion, leak or carbon monoxide poisoning.

One in three gas customers in Great Britain (around 7.69 million households) also admitted that they’ve never had their gas appliances checked or maintained, despite eight in 10 people (82%) recognising that it needs to be done to protect them from gas dangers. Gas Safe Register’s inspections further found that gas fires are the most dangerous gas appliances in homes. One in three gas fires checked by the Register were unsafe, compared to one in 11 boilers and one in 13 cookers. Just like boilers, gas fires and gas cookers need to be checked and maintained regularly to remain safe.

The public is also being caught out by cowboy unregistered gas fitters, pretending to be legal engineers. One in 10 people admit they took it on trust that their gas engineer is legally registered and never checked if they were. Nearly 3,000 illegal gas jobs have been investigated by Gas Safe Register since 2010, of which nearly two in three (61%) left victims’ homes unsafe and one in five were so dangerous that the Register had to turn off the gas appliance immediately.

Russell Kramer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said: "Gas safety is a life or death matter and something that shouldn’t be ignored. People are aware of the potential risks of unsafe gas work and they know what they should be doing to keep themselves safe, but as our research has found, not everyone is acting on that information. This is why we have launched the gas map. It is the first time that data on unsafe gas appliances and illegal gas work has been compared across postcodes in Great Britain. We want people to realise that gas safety is something that they should take seriously and by bringing it to their doorstep it makes it harder to ignore.

"We hope to see millions of people using the gas map during and beyond Gas Safety Week to get a better understanding of how they can protect themselves. Some areas are more at risk, but even in safer areas there is no room for complacency. You only need to enter your postcode to find out localised information about your area. You can also sign up for a free reminder service to get your appliances checked, so that you don’t forget to do this vital and life saving check every year, and search for registered engineers. Our messages this Gas Safety Week are simple – get your appliances checked every year, sign up for our reminder service and only use a Gas Safe registered engineer. It could save yours and your family’s lives."

If you're a Cardiff gas engineer, its up  to you to help lower this figure and get our city off of the table. Meanwhile, if you're a trainee gas engineer or looking to enter the gas trade, it is essential that you not only get the right qualifications, but get Gas Safe registered so that you are legally permitted to work on gas appliances and installations across the UK. An Access Training gas course will provide you with everything you need - expert tutelage, professional qualifications and the best foundation work possible for you to go on and become Gas Safe. To find out more take a look at our courses page or contact one of our team on 0800 345 7492.

 

Gas Safety Week: Keeping our nation safe

Access Training are proud to be supporting Gas Safety Week taking place 16th - 22nd September 2013.

Gas Safety Week is an annual safety week to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is co-ordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on your gas boiler, gas cooker and gas fire.

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Every year thousands of people across the UK are diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a highly poisonous gas. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it, but it can kill quickly with no warning.

If you’re a Gas Safe registered engineer why not get involved and help remind customers they should:

  • Check their gas appliances every year. Gas appliances should be safety checked once a year and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Tenants – make sure the landlord arranges this.
  • Check their engineer is Gas Safe registered. They can find and check an engineer at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.
  • Check their engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card. Make sure they are qualified for the work they need doing. They can find this information on the back of the card.  
  • Check for warning signs their appliances aren’t working correctly e.g. lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.  
  • Check they know the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.  
  • Check they have an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert them if there is carbon monoxide in their home.

Be part of this national campaign with events, advertising and PR taking place across the country to help keep the nation Gas Safe. To get involved and order materials to raise awareness of gas safety visit www.gassafetyweek.co.uk. Alternatively email marketing@gassaferegister.co.uk.

 

Back in the beginning of August we wrote a post about the forthcoming Gas Safety week, which was set to kick off between the 16th and 22nd of September. Well time has flown since then, and its now only three more days until the week-long awareness campaign gets underway!

Set up by the Gas Safe Register, this week will see all areas of the gas industry - manufacturers, retailers, training companies, consumer bodies and even the public, make a special effort to inform about the importance of proper gas safety and the dangers from not taking proper care. So far of 2500 different people (including Access Training) have pledged their support toward the cause, and there's still plenty of time for you to do the same! Simply visit the website and sign up to pledge your support, and following that you'll be sent a supporter's kit to give you some ideas of what you can do in your area.

 

What is the Gas Safe Register?

Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are qualified to work safely and legally on gas appliances. By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register. It replaced CORGI.

Registering with Gas Safe Register is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out gas work in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey. For more information and to register email register@gassaferegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5577.

 

How to find an engineer

To make sure that gas appliances such as boilers, fires, ovens and hobs are fitted, fixed and serviced safely, only a Gas Safe registered engineer should carry out the work. If someone other than a Gas Safe registered engineer undertakes gas work, they are breaking the law and could put lives at risk.

To prove they are legally permitted to work on gas, all Gas Safe registered engineers have an ID card with their own unique licence number and a photograph. Those in the building industry must always check that engineers contracted to undertake gas work are on the Gas Safe Register.

To find or check an engineer go to www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

 

Access Training will begin a week long look at gas safety in our blogs, and may even throw in a few special offers for all budding gas engineers too. Gas Safety is an extremely important concern to us, and it is not something that should be taken lightly. Download your supporter's kit today and help spread the word of Gas Safety! 

Yesterday it was announced that the Welsh Government has issued new procurement guidance to allow public sector bodies to exclude contractors known to be using blacklists from bidding for contracts.

Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt said: "The use of blacklists is wholly unacceptable and I fully sympathise with the individuals and their families who have suffered a terrible injustice as a consequence of contractors engaging in this practice.

“Procurement is an important part of the overall policy toolkit of the Welsh Government.  Under no circumstances is it acceptable for any business in receipt of public procurement expenditure to use blacklists. I am determined to take action in Wales. I trust that other Governments in the UK will take similar action if they have not already done so."

The ban will supposedly only cover firms found to be still operating blacklists. Contractors involved the construction trade’s infamous blacklist scandal will still be able to bid for Welsh work provided they have apologised publicly.

Andy Richards, secretary for Unite Wales, added: “The Welsh government’s action to rid Wales of the scourge of blacklisting by ensuring that those who practice blacklisting do not benefit from public contracts is to be commended.  

We look forward to working with the Welsh government to put this policy into practice and urge other governments across the UK to follow suit in bringing in tougher laws to call time on blacklisting everywhere.”

Via Construction Enquirer

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.

Despite numerous articles panning the Green Deal and various other renewable energy initiatives, it seems they've had little effect on the general public's support for environmentally-friendly alternatives.

New research by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which surveyed over 2000 UK households back in July, has found that their strategies for implementing more renewable energy sources across the country still receive high support from the public - with 76% of respondants backing their plans.

However despite this seemingly high number there has been somewhat of a decline in interest. 18 months ago this figure stood at a slightly higher 79%, but earlier in the year it stood at a much more impressive 82%. However on the upside the number of those that oppose renewable installations hasn't changed - standing at the same 5% it did 18 months ago.

As well as recording support for large-scale energy generating methods such as wind farms and biomass, the research also found that Brits are actually quite in the know when it comes to saving money on their own personal bills with 76% having considered different ways to bring bills down. Unfortuntately, it also seems that this knowledge perhaps isn't in the right places just yet, with nearly half of respondants (47%) having never heard of smart meters. This is only 6% less than it was 18 months ago.

Smart meters are an important part of government strategy. They work by connecting homes directly to energy firms through electricity meters. This means their bills are always calculated via exact readings as opposed to estimated usage levels, which can lead to lower costs in the long run.

Towards the end of August the Electrical Safety Council revealed that DIY errors are the cause of almost half of all serious electrical shocks in UK homes.

Their survey, which took results from both electricians and consumers, found that many DIYers in fact CAN'T do it themselves and are in fact causing themselves extensive and expensive repairs that need to be done by a professional electrician. And that's if they're lucky - they're also risking both their lives and their family's lives.

These over-confident "Dive-in" DIYers are not only attempting simple jobs either, as one in five respondants without any form of electrical training said that they were confident enough to try their hand at installing new lights. One in ten even said they'd even have a go at new wiring!

So where is this added sense of bravado coming from? Well it's partly coming from relying on the advice of friends and family, who usually aren't electrically qualified themselves (over half surveyed admitted to this) but there's also another source - the internet. Two fifths said they happily turn to Google for advice, using "how-to" video guides from YouTube rather than getting proper training or calling in a professional.

But even with this factors considered, it usually comes down to the stereotypical male bravado. two fifths of men say they feel a responsibility to do electrical and DIY jobs, and almost half of all men are likely to try a job themselves or ask a mate, before seeking help from a professional.

In addition to these facts 2,000 electricians from across the country were asked about their experiences and the results were equally as alarming. 82% said repairing failed DIY efforts costs the homeowner more overall in the long run. Even worse, one third said they had seen or been involved with fixing DIY which had resulted in fires, serious electric shock or serious financial cost to repair.

Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council, said: “As budgets continue to be stretched, many people will look for the easy solution but we have found this can often be more costly in the long term and can also pose severe risks. There is a lot of good advice out there on how to go about tasks safely but you must make sure the advice you take is reputable. For the small tasks that you are not sure of and for all the major jobs, my message is DDIY – Don’t Do It Yourself – get a professional in. You can find a registered electrician in your area by searching the Electrical Safety Register.”

DDIY even has some minor celebrity backing in the form of former Changing Rooms DIY expert Andy Kane (aka "Handy Andy"). He said: He said: “I’m well known for my DIY skills and love getting stuck into a good project. But when it comes to electrical DIY I always get professional advice and help. I don’t think it’s unmanly to want peace of mind for yourself and your family. Even when you are carrying out simple DIY jobs like putting up pictures, it’s important to be aware of the potential danger electricity presents in the home.”

So next time you're thinking of installing some new kitchen lights or doing a bit of rewiring, stop and think whether it's really in your ability to do that. Either swallow your pride and get a professional electrician to do the job properly, or consider getting real electrician training so you can do it yourself with REAL confidence. As well as offering training courses to those looking to become a professional electrician, Access Training can also give DIY enthusiasts the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need to do extensive home rennovating. To find out more visit our courses page or call us on 0800 345 7492.

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