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Plumbing diary: The impact of coronavirus


In her latest blog, Level 2 plumbing student Rhiannon de Wreede tells us how she’s getting on with her studies and feels the impact of coronavirus.


The world we live in is in a state of unprecedented change… but rest assured, people will still need plumbers, even if it’s only emergency work. The last month at college has been divided into before we felt the impact of the coronavirus and after, with the last couple of weeks seeing significant changes.

I’ve been happily getting on with things, in college and out. More knowledge has been laid down over the basics and the realisation dawned that you have to actually remember stuff from past modules.

I have applied all my plumbing knowledge on the final practical assessment for the diploma… the bathroom installation. This includes nearly everything we’ve learned over the last seven months, hot and cold water, central heating, sanitation and common plumbing processes (lots of those!). No room for rainwater drainage, but you never know what the future holds in bathroom design and I do like the visual aspect of Ogee guttering, it might catch on!

After a fight with my fellow students to be the next in the bathroom bay (only joking, it was an arm wrestle, actually I barged my way in before my fellow student could suggest the aforementioned arm wrestle – sorry Tony (and it was his birthday), I began the task.

Stepping into the bay I felt confident. As I focused on the layout required I felt calm, I understood it. The first fix in Speedfit was plain sailing, a little copper work (always enjoyable – I really love soldering) and it was ready to pressure test. Then realisation took over, there were little drips everywhere and reassurance from others about multi-use fittings did little to alleviate my frustrations. A few changes, many double checks and finally I had it under control. In hindsight, the drama was a relatively minor one.

Feeling pleasantly surprised that I could still remember how to hang a rad, I learned levelling a bath isn’t too demanding, basins are fiddly fiddly fiddly, the mixer tap was fun and toilets are encouragingly doable. I think I’d like to have a good go at the proper soil vent pipe, use a strapped boss and a hole saw etc, but otherwise I was a happy plumber.

There were only four plumbing students in for the last week of college. It’s unknown whether we’ll be in subsequent weeks but we left with a certain amount of inevitability, and I left feeling my work was completed. Who knows what happens next? Probably all those little jobs around the house I’ve been ignoring… the beauty of plumbing is it’s everywhere.


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