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Plumbing Trade Associations, Organisations & Institutions

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.

Plumbing Organisations

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.