We’ve all heard those scary stories about ’cowboy’ builders, plumbers and contractors who’ve overcharged homeowners and then left a property in disarray after a seemingly simple job. And although they’re very rare, it’s still important to ensure that your plumbing job is performed by a trustworthy professional who has trained on a plumbing course and who will give you a reliable service at a fair price.

So how can we tell the cowboys from the good guys?

Research reliable plumbers

Be sure to ask a variety of people who they use for plumbing services in the local area. By contacting someone who’s trusted by friends and family (preferably that you also know), you’re much more likely to avoid disreputable plumbers. Also, be sure to request references from prospective plumbers; if they don’t possess a portfolio of satisfied customers, then it may be worth looking elsewhere.

Get a written quote

It may sound simple, but a good, trusted, trained plumber will have no problem providing a written quote for the work he’s about to undertake. If your selected plumber scribbles a quote on a note or will only offer a verbal agreement, it’s not worth the hassle.

Insist on a trained individual

Plumbers of any repute will have a recognised plumbing qualification that shows they have the core competencies to get your job done quickly and effectively, so you should insist on your plumber having one.

Ask for insurance policies

A trusted plumber will have an insurance policy that will protect both you and them in the event of anything going wrong, so don’t start working with someone who doesn’t have one.

Tell others

And don’t forget, you have the capability to stop cowboy plumbers yourself by letting other people know of better tradesmen elsewhere. If your plumber is friendly, flexible and competent, then be sure to tell your friends, who will be far more likely to use them rather than an untrustworthy scammer.

Do you think you have the skills to become a plumber? Hone them with plumbing courses at Access. There are a range of different plumbing courses available – to learn more call 0800 345 7492.

Did you know that most plumbing jobs can solved with relative ease at home without having to use a professional plumber? And while larger work should still be carried out by professionals who have been trained on a top plumbing course, being aware of how to mend more menial matters will certainly save you money in the long run.

Here’s a list of the five most common plumbing problems – and how you can fix them:

1.    Dripping taps

Perhaps the issue of the dripping tap is the most common problem in plumbing. And while it’s seen as a relatively minor problem that can easily be ignored, if left too long it can result in high water bills. The most common solution to a faulty faucet is to replace the worn or broken washer inside, but sometimes you may need new taps. Worry not, even these can be simply installed without having to consult someone who’s been on a plumbing course – just remember to switch the water off first!

2.    Bunged-up drains

Drains are designed to allow water to flow through, but occasionally larger items can find their way down and block the passage, especially in kitchen sinks where leftover food can become a problem.

The powerful suction provided by a humble plunger can often break a block’s resistance, or if that doesn’t work, try unscrewing the fixture under your sink and cleaning it out. But hold your breath – it may smell…

3.    Blocked bogs

One of the most dreaded of plumbing’s complications, and similar to a clogged drain, where waste (all together now: eeeeuuuwww) builds up and causes a blocked toilet. Again, a plunger is your friend, and if that doesn’t work use a sewer snake (not a real one), which is a device that can wind through a toilet’s U-bend and push the problem far, far away.

4.    Broken water boiler

We all need hot water, and it can be awful when a boiler breaks. But before contacting a professional who’s trained on a plumbing course, test your boiler’s pipes and connections to the rest of the house. You may find the problem can be solved simply and without great expense by replacing a broken part.

5.    Leaky pipes

Often, when your pipes spring a leak it’s because one has been knocked out of place. By tightening the affected joint, you may be able to solve the problem. Or, if that doesn’t work and there’s an actual hole in your pipe causing leakage, you may need to replace the pipe.

Are you interested in becoming a plumber? Here at Access Training we offer plumbing courses that cater for all levels of ability, whatever your background and whatever your goals. To learn more about our flexible plumbing course please speak to one of our friendly advisors today on 0800 345 7492.

Recent research has been conducted over in the US into the difference in efficiency of hard and soft water and the subsequent impact on plumbing and heating systems.

The study has been conducted by the Water Quality Association, which recorded the drop in efficiency caused by hard water in both stored and tankless gas water heaters. The study found that for every 86ppm (parts per million) of hardness in the water (with 150ppm the common measure of hard water) there was a resultant drop in the efficiency of the systems of 4 per cent when using 190 litres a day.

So for those living in hard water areas the reduction in efficiency could amount to just under 10 per cent, whilst individuals in very hard water areas could experience a decrease in efficiency of 20 per cent. The research also found that hard water and subsequent build up of lime scale could damage water heaters, leading some to fail in less than two years.

This inefficiency increases energy bills, which many households are struggling to pay with the economy in such a sad state. There are however some excellent systems on the market that can protect your hot water systems from limescale and corrosion and increase the efficiency of the system along with its likely lifespan.

Most of these soft water systems use a patented zinc sacrificial anode system, which releases and combines zinc ions and calcium/magnesium ions together to from aragonite, which is a non-adhering lime. Once treated the water is perfectly drinkable and still contains the natural minerals that occur in water naturally.

To learn the latest techniques used by plumbers and to achieve the qualifications you need to get ahead in the industry, plumbing training here at Access ensures courses that fit around your existing schedule, with pass rates for many of our courses exceeding 95%. Call us on 0800 345 7492 for further information.

Whether you are a first-time property developer or a veteran, plumbing courses and other vocational courses can save you a lot of money when refurbishing your property. By learning hands-on skills you can save money not only on labour but also by ensuring work is carried out properly, to the correct time-scale and to a fair budget.

Plumbing courses can be taken at a number of different levels, so whether you only know a little or already know a lot, you can add to your skills. Essentially, for property developers, vocational and plumbing courses are an investment in skill. Over time, the savings you will make on labour and on will accumulate; you could soon stand to save an awful lot of money, especially if you see property development as a long term ‘career’.

The problem is, the property market is no longer what it once was. Property developers do not have unlimited funds to throw at a building and still see a return on their investment. This means that plumbing courses, and other practical courses, are more important than ever before. Being canny and in the know about the trades will allow you to make informed decisions about your overhaul of your properties.

Plumbing courses could also save you money if you are simply developing your own property. Renovating an old, tumbledown place can be a very cheap way of find your footing on the property ladder, but if you don’t know your way around the plumbing and fall prey to an unscrupulous plumber, it could be even more expensive then purchasing a brand new property.


To find out about Access Training’s plumbing courses or other vocational courses browse the rest of the website. We offer flexible plumbing courses to suit all levels, all abilities and all timescales. To speak to one of our knowledgeable staff call 0800 345 7492 today.

The NICEIC has just has published the results of a survey which asked registered electrical contractors their thoughts on Part P of the Building Regulations. Around 1,500 completed the survey. The results obtained, which reflected a wide spread of electricians’ views, are to be considered by the Government in their latest review of current Building Regulations.

As discussed in previous posts, the effectiveness of Part P is currently being looked at and re-examined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who published the initial legislation back in 2005. This dictated that electrical courses graduates working domestically must have attended one of a specific range of electrical courses to become a qualified installer. They also had to be part of a Competent Person Scheme.

There has been much debate regarding the changes needed, with most agreeing that Part P electrical courses should be amended to improve the current model. The responses received from the NICEIC survey support this view with 85% believing it should be retained. Three quarters of contributors said that there should be a pubic list of approved electrical installers for consumers to use, preventing unqualified electricians from carrying out domestic electrical work.

One of the most telling findings was that half of the respondents have seen a marked increase in the standard of electrical work since Part P was brought in as an essential element of electrical courses.

Other notable findings were that 75% of contributors said they wanted firmer action to be taken against those individuals who did not comply with the scheme. At present prosecutions are virtually non-existent.

Finally, an important point the electrical courses graduates wanted homeowners to understand was which DIY tasks they can carry out themselves as opposed to those they need a qualified electrician to complete.

Here at Access Training we feel that safety comes first and that, despite its numerous faults, Part P has been an undoubted success since its introduction, increasing the quality of the workmanship being carried out in people’s homes.

Here at Access Training we offer Part P electrical courses which will enable you to reach the industry required standard. If you require any further information regarding Part P electrical courses, or any of our other courses for that matter, please call 0800 345 7492 or email enquiries@accesstraining.co.uk.

On the electrical courses we provide here at Access Training, we believe an integral element is the preparation of students for future developments in the industry. Currently the subject of solar photovoltaic or solar PV is a particularly hot topic of conversation. As part of our training we ensure that students on our electrical courses are fully aware of the technology involved, however, we are finding some students have concerns about its longevity and are worried about what to say to customers if they enquire about the benefits of investing in a solar PV system.

Solar technology is widely expected to be one of the key methods of producing environmentally friendly power in the future, but what is not clear from the information currently available to the general public and electrical courses students alike is the current benefits for the customer and installer.

The benefits of solar PV installation can be summarized thus:

•    Feed in Tariffs backed by the Government
•    Electricity which can be consumed for free
•    Gain an income by selling surplus back to the grid
•    A reduction in carbon footprint and CO2 emissions
•    Ideal for the UK climate as the technology works all year round

One of the benefits that students of our electrical courses have found to be most impressive is that customers earn a guaranteed 41.3p from their electricity provider for every unit of electricity they produce. This allows some individuals to earn anywhere from £600 to £1250 a year, representing a return of 8% to 14%. However, the exact figure will be dependent on the position of the panels, the amount of sunlight to which the property is exposed and the overall size of the installation.

If you would like to find out more about solar PV installation and its benefits, or for more information about the electrical courses on offer here at Access Training then call our course advice team today.

Star of property program Relocation, Relocation, Phil Spencer has advised property developers and those considering property development courses to think very carefully when considering how to invest in their projects. He stated in The Times that there are adaptations property developers can make which will add over 9% to the value of a property. If you are considering attending one of Access Training’s property development courses, then this should come as excellent news. Upon completion of our property development course, you will be in a position to reap the rewards of your hard labour when it comes to selling your home and moving on. 

Adding value to a project is the bottom line for all graduates of property development courses; Spencer explained the most effective way of achieving this was with a kitchen, bathroom or garden refurbishment. The tutors at Access Training’s property development courses whole heartedly agree with this point and teach their students how to carry out such refurbishments to the most exacting of standards.

Those of you considering undertaking property development courses should firstly note Phil’s comments:  “If you are only going to improve one room, make it the kitchen. This has now become the showpiece area of the home. We don’t just cook in it; we do homework, watch television and hold dinner parties in it too. The number one priority is creating a handsome and efficient work surface, ensuring easy access between the three points of the kitchen triangle, namely the sink, fridge and cooker.

“You should also ensure the equipment you install is as up to date as possible, so it won’t look outdated in 10 years. Property development courses teach individuals to ensure the price bracket of your kitchen matches the price bracket of your home. There is no point putting a £25,000 kitchen in a £250,000 house; you won’t see a return on investment. Equally a £10,000 kitchen in a £1 million house will only drag down the value. Typically, a new kitchen will add 4.6 per cent onto the value of your home.”

Phil also offered some valuable advice as to how best refurbish your bathroom: “The secret is to keep things simple. You don’t need to do a lot with the room; it’s all about the features you put in. You should think about a set of new taps (£20), a heated chrome towel rail (£50), a big shower head (£20), a power shower (£250-£750) and a glass screen (£100) or glass door (£125) instead of a shower curtain. A new bathroom puts 2.88 per cent onto the house value.”

The third area that Phil said that graduates of property development courses should concentrate on is the garden: “Make it accessible and enjoyable from the house; glass doors are a good idea, as is outdoor lighting. View the garden as another room; install decking (£250 up to £5,000) and you can add two per cent to the house value.”

If you are considering property development and are looking for all encompassing property development courses, Access Training can offer you property development courses which will teach you the trade skills needed to add real value to your property at a fraction of the cost. Take a look at our bathroom fitting courses, kitchen fitting courses for more details. Alternatively call us now and we’ll answer all you questions.

The UK has for the last few years been suffering from a stagnant housing market as a result of the now infamous financial crash suffered back in the latter half of 2008. As a result many homes saw an average of £10,000 wiped off their housing valuations resulting in home-owners having to put on hold their plans to move up the housing ladder. Many owners have instead deciding to make well considered home improvements to add value to their homes. As a result of this the DIY market has increased in popularity having been less favourable in previous years.

Research carried out by Idealo.co.uk discovered that searches for DIY goods online have increased dramatically compared to the same period a year ago. They accredited this to home owners continuing to view their houses as an investment and not simply a home and were attempting to counter the fall in their house value by making sometimes expensive alterations.

Idealo.co.uk found that the most popular searches were for ‘cheap tools’ which was recently also ‘trending’ in Yahoo.co.uk’s top 10 of all searches in the UK. Evidence also suggests that more people are now searching the internet for home improvement goods and bargains. Notably painting & decorating supplies were high on the list of items searchers wanted in order to create that all important new look. DIY courses as well as property development courses have also seen a rise in popularity as people seek to learn the skills they need to go it alone.

So if you are thinking about making some home improvements in an effort to maintain the value of your property and want to learn how to deliver a professional finish as expected from a tradesman, take a look at Access Training’s DIY courses or property development courses and you can start clawing back any value your property may have lost.

All individuals should be more than equipped to carry out DIY tasks around their homes if they receive just basic DIY training. This advice comes from AA Home Rescue, whose spacewoman said that even though there are limitations to the tasks a homeowner should expect to carry out themselves, there are simple DIY tasks which are within easy reach of all homeowners.

Such tasks include the repairing of plasterwork, patching up cracks and holes, replacing tiles, basic plumbing tasks such as fixing leaking taps, hanging pictures using hooks, putting up shelves, decorating a bedroom by hanging wallpaper and painting walls and ceilings are all tasks individuals should be able to handle given some short instruction.

Although individuals are encouraged to have a go at the more basic of tasks, AA Home Rescue strongly advise the more complex jobs, such as those which require a professional qualification and may involve gas installation or domestic electrics, are best left to fully trained and qualified professionals. A gas system must only be worked on by someone who has undertaken a gas course and has gained their GasSafe qualification. In the same respect, only qualified electricians who are Part P qualified should work on any aspect of your household electrics.

Here at Access Training, we offer the perfect DIY trades training course which will give you the basic skills to carry out all manner of simple DIY tasks. Our short and friendly courses will help you discover the sense of satisfaction which can be gained from carrying out DIY tasks yourself, as well as helping you to save a considerable amount of money. It will also provide a valuable stepping stone if you are looking to progress onto more complicated tasks in the future.

Get in touch to learn more about our training courses!

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