If you're a professional plumber or running a plumbing business there are a number of plumbing
organisations, associations and governing bodies that can provide help and support to your business.
You might not think that it is worth joining a trade association or a plumbers' association, but they
can be things that customers notice and look out for when selecting a trades person or installer to
carry out work for them. Perhaps you're wondering what the benefits of joining a third-party organisation
may be. Or you could be looking to find out which are the main institutes in the United Kingdom. Either
way this guide will provide a rundown of what is out there and what their benefits are to you and your
UK plumbing business.
Benefits of Joining a Third-Party Organisation
By joining a plumbing association as a plumber and business you may get a range of benefits. These can
include accreditation, the ability to display their logo on your business materials, along with
opportunities such as training, seminars, and certification. Some of these organisations also inform
their members of industry news and any developments within the industry that a plumber might need to
know about. This means if there are any major changes to the industry, such as with building regulations
for example, you will likely find out from these organisations. This can be a great way to keep up to date
with the plumbing and building industry. Generally, the goals of plumbing trade associations are to
promote professional and competent work to a set standard. This means that plumbers that join these
schemes have been deemed to be at a required level.
Often when the general public are looking for a plumber to do work for them, they are often recommended
to hire a plumber that is a part of a professional body to avoid the rogue traders. By being a part of
one of these organisations it can help drum up work and show any potential clients that you are a plumbing
professional and take your job and business seriously.
As a plumber there are two main professional body organisations that you may encounter, these are
the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) and the
Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) which is a trade body for
the plumbing and heating industry in England and Wales. An association membership with either or both of
these organisations can help your business in a number of ways as already discussed.
In Scotland the equivalent organisation to APHC is SNIPEF which stands
for the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation.
WaterSafe is a directory and national accreditation body for the competent persons scheme
and qualified plumbers’ registrar in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To join WaterSafe not
only do you need to be qualified but you will also need to join one of their approved contractor schemes.
There are also some accreditations that have been created by the water companies themselves. These include:
APLUS which stands for the Anglian Water accredited scheme.
WaterMark is the approved plumber’s scheme for Severn Trent
TAPS, Thames Water Approved Plumbing Scheme.
Signing up to one of these schemes can be a good idea as it will show your customers that their local
water company has approved you to work as a plumber. As these water companies are fairly well-known brand
names, this can work as a seal of approval to customers who maybe unfamiliar with some of the more
traditional specialist plumbing accreditation groups.
Finally, the Water Industry Approved Plumber (WIAPS) scheme is worth joining as it is a
large national association that is free to join and can also help get you registered as a WaterSafe
plumber as a part of the membership
Other plumbing, heating, and building organisations
As a plumber you will likely encounter the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) which
covers a few different areas that relate to water product installations in the UK. It is both a scheme
that the water companies are a member of, but also it covers certification of products relating to
plumbing installations such as plumbing fittings.
Heating companies that work with gas will need to join the Gas Safe Register and prove
their level of competency and certification. So, if your heating business wants to install gas boilers,
cookers, and other gas appliances then the Gas Safe Register will be an organisation that you will need
to deal with on an ongoing basis.
You might also come across the following organisations once in a while:
BPEC - is a key provider of training and certification services that cover a range
of services including gas and plumbing.
JTL - is a plumbing training provider.
IB-PMES (Joint Industry Board for Plumbing Mechanical Engineering Services in
England and Wales) - offer a range of services, but the one perhaps most relevant to plumbers is that
they offer industry recognized registration cards for individuals working in the plumbing field.
PHSP - supports plumbing and domestic heating employers - if you employ people in
your business then it might be worth exploring that PHSP can offer your business.
OFTEC - is a trade association that works on behalf of the oil heating and cooking
industry in the UK. As a plumbing company you might not have direct dealings with this association,
but you might see news and bulletins from the organisation from time to time.
The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group - is a holding association that
works across many fields in the construction industry, with a focus on payment practices for
specialist contractors including plumbers.
When it comes to running a plumbing business and being a plumber, you might not need to be involved with
an association or an organisation that much in your day-to-day work, but it is always useful to know what
is out there and how they can support your business.
Finding a great plumbing supplier such as Plumbing Stocks
is also something that can help you run a successful plumbing business. Knowing you can find a plumbing
business that can deliver you the products you need to do your job, quickly and efficiently with
competitive prices is a must to ensure that you can do the work you need to do, effectively and on time.