So it's now turning cold and winter is beginning to set in after some mild and changeable weather. As a result professional plumbers are going to start getting those panicked calls from customers regarding frozen pipes leading to expensive floods and leaks, potentially ruining the house and its contents.

As any professional plumber will know, there are some obvious mistakes that people make when they are taking measures to protect their house to prevent these issues occuring, the most obvious being to turn your heating off if you go away as it makes sense when you’re going away to stay with family. The top tip we cover is:

Don’t turn the heating off and leave it on a low setting

This action in itself, could cause serious problems if the temperature drops too low as the pipes will freeze and could burst whilst you're away. 

  • You should leave the house warming to a minimum of 14 degrees centigrade. The only time you should leave your heating off is if you're away for a longer period of time. 
  • Consider turning the stop cock off or even draining the system altogether if away for long periods, but this needs to be carried out by a trained and qualified professional plumber or they could end up with further issues. 
  • Many households will have a combi boiler heating both the hot water and heating elements of the home so the danger here is that the pipes will have condensation within and cause the boiler to stop working. And remember, all pipes can freeze.  

Pipes freeze whether they are plastic or copper

There are also stories abound that people with plastic pipes rate than the traditional copper pipes means that they won't freeze or burst. When it comes to this problem, the type of pipe is irrelevant, it depends how much the pipe has to expand when the water within freezes. 

  • Insulation of pipes is key with all of this, so all pipes that are in areas where freezing is a risk suck loft spaces and garages. 
  • It's also imperative that any dripping or leaking pipes are dealt with as possible as this will increase the likelihood of the pipes or drains freezing. 
  • If in doubt turn the stop off and call professional plumber:

Turn the stop cock off and call a profesional plumber

If a pipe bursts or there appears to be a problem with a persistent drip or ‘weep’ then the stopcock should be turned off and any repairs should be completed by a qualified plumber.

  • Alternatively a hairdryer, could be used to thaw out a frozen pipe but be careful not to use a high heat setting. 
  • Don’t be tempted to use a naked flame such as a lighter or even a blowtorch to thaw the pipe.
  • Homeowners should make sure they know where the stopcock is situated and they should regularly make sure that the tap itself is serviceable.

Using the services of a professional plumber

There is a danger also that some plumbing work can be carried out by homeowners rather than hiring a professional plumber. 

  • The cost of hiring a plumber is an unwelcome expense to many but the mistakes made could mean they're paying a plumber more to fix a plumbing issue than was necessary than the first place, costing more time and money. 
  • To make sure the job is done right the first time, it is easier to simply call out a qualified plumber to avoid any costly mistakes. 
  • At Access Training our experts can offer you advice if you’re not sure about any training that may be required to carry out a task.

Advice from Access Training’s plumbing tutors

Our Tutors advice, thorough years of experience, is to: 

  • Always use a qualified plumber to ensure the job is done safely and most importantly carried out to UK building regulations.
  • Nobody should undertake a task that they were not trained to rectify as possibly dangerous scenarios can result from the most simplistic looking tasks. 
  • A trained professional plumber, someone who has received the training, skill and knowledge and therefore holds professional plumbing qualifications, is the only way to deal with problems that arise. 

At Access Training, we are always striving to provide people of all ages, young and old, with the professional level of training, knowledge and skills needed to carry out basic and complex tasks, safely and efficiently. For those looking to become skilled and qualified as a plumber, we will teach you what you need to know, allowing you the opportunity to turn basic DIY jobs into earnings and a career.

How we train: 

To find out how to become professionally certified in a trade such as plumbing or to simply discuss the career options available to you, call us today.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

In latest Covid-19 developments, Wales is preparing itself for a 2-week ‘Firebreaker lockdown’, which takes the entire country back to the restrictive conditions it saw in March. Similarly, Manchester and other large towns across England are on the verge of being made into ‘Tier 3’ restricted zones. The UK is seeing significant and dangerous rises in the number of Covid-19 cases. But as ever, we’re asking the same questions – what does that mean for workers and businesses in the construction industry?

As the country prepares itself for another potential large-scale lockdown, we’re here to sing the praises of the ‘fireproof’ construction industry, which, despite all the odds, is thriving and surviving through this turbulent period. Furlough and lockdowns will likely be things of the future, for months and potentially years to come. Retraining in construction early could be your ticket out of purgatorial furlough schemes, stationary jobs, and a sinking job-support ship. Read on to find out five reasons why we think retraining in construction is a no-brainer.

 

 

  • All construction work is set to continue despite lockdown

 

Although minor repair and maintenance work in private homes is banned in Wales, all other commercial and infrastructural building work is set to continue. Build UK has recently issued a template letter for all construction workers to carry around with them, in case they are mistakenly stopped by police enforcing the lockdown. This letter will have details of the worker, company they work for, and site they are working on – for any workers currently in the construction industry, you can download your own here: https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/health-and-safety/wales-lockdown-workers-issued-letter-of-proof-as-construction-continues-20-10-2020/

In short, construction workers are now treated as essential workers – and rightly so!

This will be a massive reassurance to those working in construction, as it ensures that major projects will go ahead, freeing up a long backlog of projects yet to go ahead. Even better, construction work of all kinds is continuing as planned in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland too. 

 

‘A sharp output rebound of 13.5% for the whole construction sector is forecast in 2021’ – David Rice, Construction News (October 20th, 2020)

 

 

  • Productivity and demand are at an industry record high

 

A recent forecast has shown that construction industry output has been affected less than first fears indicated. The Construction Products Association predicted an initial 20.6% reduction in output, but this has been lowered to 14.6% – a significant decrease. The industry is one of the few whose performance is actually looking set to improve as time moves on, and is proving to be the safest and most stable place to work at the moment – and, indeed, for a long time to come.

 

 

  • Construction made a quick recovery post-lockdown

 

The speed with which the construction industry got back on its feet is very promising, but it’s all down to one important fact: construction is essential, and tradespeople will always be in high demand. This is exactly what was seen in July and August of 2020, when the demand for construction work, after seeing a backlog of months, skyrocketed. Sites opened quickly after the lockdown, and workers adapted well to the new restrictions. They got their heads down, and did the job – a testament to hard work, determination, and a passion for the trade.

 

 

  • Building sites have adapted well to Covid-19 restrictions

 

When lockdown measures were first relaxed in July and August, allowing construction work to recommence, there were great concerns that social distancing measures would inhibit the productivity of a building site, making work inefficient, slow, and expensive. But this has not been the case – on the contrary, social distancing has hardly affected large-scale, infrastructural building sites at all. The trades have been allowed to continue largely unscathed, in relation to many other sectors across the country.

 

 

  • The lockdown won’t stop you from becoming a tradesperson

 

What the last six months have seen is that the appetite for changing career and retraining as a tradesperson has never been more ravenous. Thousands of people have approached us, from a range of different backgrounds, to seek our services and reskill themselves in whatever aspect or aspects of construction they wish. Taxi drivers, chefs, pilots, entertainers, solicitors – you name it. 

The development of our online portal means that, wherever you are, in whichever ‘Tier’ or whatever state of lockdown, you can begin a course right from the comfort of your own home. Over lockdown, literally thousands of people have benefited from this flexibility, and with more lockdowns potentially looming, we don’t want you to miss out this time.

With the uncertainty ahead which clearly isn’t going away anytime soon, we hope you can see that the decision to retrain really is a ‘no-brainer’. If you think you have what it takes – the practical skills, the determination, and willingness to work for what you want – then Access Training can get you into lucrative, satisfying, and above all important work, in no time at all.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Even if they aren't part of a trade, one of the first things people probably think about when they look at a building site is how safe it looks. Health and safety is always the top concern when it comes to building site work, and new statistics from the Health & Safe Executive show just how different things are in comparison with 40 years ago.

Their new document, titled 'Statistics on fatal injuries in the workplace in Great Britain 2014' suggests that the number of fatalities in Britain has dropped by 85% over the past 40 years, from more than 650 a year in 1974 to a record low of 133 today. The provisional data also states that there were a total of 42 fatal injuries to construction workers in the UK between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014, which is 9% lower than the average figure of 46.

Minister for State Health and Safety Mark Harper praised the findings, calling Britain "officially one of the safest places in Europe - and the world - to work". He also added: "While we all rightly curse false health and safety excuses, it's worth thinking how fortunate we are that we can go out to do a hard days' work, knowing our safety is being taken seriously."

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt also commented on the news, praising the Health and Safety at Work Act. "The Health and Safety at Work Act may be 40 years old but it – and our regulatory system – are world class."

Site safety may be better than ever, but construction workers looking to work onsite still now require a Green Labourers' Card to prove they are qualified to work and are familiar with the health and safety requirements. To earn this, applicants are first required to pass the Level 1 Health and Safety in a Construction Environment award. Here at Access Training we offer the City & Guilds version of this exam, which you can complete alongside your construction training or as an individual qualification. To find out more on the exam and the changes made the the Green Labourers' Card. give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

News via HVP Mag

Dangerous gas appliances

The Gas Safe Register, the UK's gas safety authority which all gas installers are legally required to join upon completion of their ACS assesments, is urging members of the public to get the safety of their gas appliances checked after their latest research revealed that 9 out of 10 Britons could not identify gas appliances that were deadly or potentially life-threatening.

1,200 consumers were shown 10 images of gas appliances, eight of which were dangerous and only two of which were completely safe to use. The results were particularly startling, with nearly everyone (95% to be precise) thinking at least one of the deadly appliances were safe. 6% of them even thought that all eight of them were safe! Only one person of the entire 1,200 was able to correctly identify all 10 - and that is definitely cause for concern.

Six of these eight dangerous gas appliances could have resulted in a gas leak, fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning, but were thankfully from homes checked before anyone got hurt. The other two appliances shown, however, were ones that had only been discovered after the damage had been done - one tragically killing the homeowner and the other hospitalising a family. In the case of the appliance that resulted in a fatality, half of respondents thought it looked safe when shown the photograph.

Stakeholder manager for Gas Safe Sarah Hill had this to say about the findings:

"Our research backs up what we, as the UK gas authority, already know - people cannot spot a deadly gas appliance as often there are no obvious signs. That’s why it’s vital to get your gas appliances safety checked regularly by a registered engineer, who has the skills and the know-how to spot the dangers. Sadly, we also know that the consequences if you don’t can be serious, especially when CO is involved as you can’t see it, taste it or smell it."

Would you be able to spot an unsafe gas appliance? If you think you could just look at the pictures and spot it, have you considered a career as a gas installer? Gas can be an extremely useful source of energy when installed properly but if anything goes wrong the results can prove fatal. Installers are required to have passed their ACS assessments and join the Gas Safe Register before they are legally allowed to start work, and here at Access Training we can provide you with all the training needed to work safely with gas appliances.

To find out more about our professional gas courses, please contact us on 0800 345 7492.

Charlie Mullins, head of arguably Britain's biggest plumbing firm - Plimco Plumbers, has taken a stand to highlight a serious loophole in current gas regulations. 

While it is common knowledge that gas engineers need to become Gas Safe registered once qualified in order to legally install and maintain gas appliances, the same does not apply when it comes to the purchasing of boilers and other gas-related equipment. Although some builders' merchants will check their customers registration before letting them buy such things, an increase in internet-based suppliers is making this something harder and harder to police.

Because of this, rogue engineers can find it far easier to trick customers into believing that they are Gas Safe registered. Not only them, but also unqualified indviduals such as homeowners who may not know the rules and believe they could have a go at it themselves. Should a mistake be made by either of these parties, the results can be fatal and potentially cost people their lives.

Therefor Mr Mullins believes that the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) needs to clamp down on this huge flaw in the system, extending its regulation of the gas market to the purchase of equipment - something that can only be done by altering the law.

The Plimco Plumbers CEO considers it "ludicrous" that buying boilers/gas equipment is as simple as walking into a shop or clicking your mouse. He added that gas "in the wrong hands is a lethal weapon and used incorrectly people will end up dead".

He went on to talk about how once a "cowboy gas fitter or over enthusiastic amatuer" is in possession of these things, the law is powerless to save lives despite it being illegal for them to install it. Certainly prosecutions can follow should that person be found out, but in most of these cases prosecutions only happen after a life-taking tragedy has already happened.

Charlie suggests:"The truth of the matter is there’s only one opportunity to protect people from this dangerous legal anomaly and that’s to make it illegal to buy gas equipment without a Gas Safe ticket. We have built ourselves a pretty decent safety system to protect people from monoxide poisoning, so why do we insist on retaining a great big hole in the net? The law needs to be changed because this is something that will save lives."

What are your thoughts on the matter? Certainly the thought of non-qualified people being able to go into their local branch of B&Q and purchase gas equipment should be alarming to all the Gas Safe registered installers out there, after all the training you have gone through to get where you are today. To become a fully qualified gas engineer, candidates need to go through a rigorous training course - at the end of which they will be able to build up their gas portfolio and pass the required ACS assessments. Only then will you be able to join the Gas Safe register and be legally permitted to work on gas installations and appliances.

To find out more about what it takes to become a Gas Safe engineer and Access Training's range of intensive gas courses, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Get in touch to learn more about our training courses!

First Name *
Surname *
Telephone Number *
E-mail address *
Ask A Question *
 
Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character
Enter Letters (No Spaces) *