This page will be updated throughout the month with the latest plumbing news, updates for lecturers, students and apprentices, plus the best of social media.
Thursday 7 May
YouTube DIY guidance on the rise, survey shows
New research reveals that as more than half of Brits (52%) plan to do DIY during the lockdown, many are turning to the internet for certain jobs best left to professionals.
The survey by the Gas Safe Register shows:
- Almost one in five (15%) of those embarking on renovations plan to DIY on jobs that could have gas safety implications
- Two-thirds (67%) of those planning to build an extension would use a YouTube tutorial for guidance
- Around two-thirds of those installing a gas cooktop (75%), a gas fireplace (67%), gas oven (64%) or gas boiler (61%) would use YouTube or Google for guidance
- More than a third (35%) of UK adults wouldn’t consider hiring a tradesperson during this current period of social distancing
- Only two fifths (40%) would seek the help of a registered gas engineer during lockdown, even if faced with major warning signs of a gas-related emergency
Tommy Robertson, a Gas Safe registered engineer from Surrey, says: “We know people are going to be doing DIY during lockdown. Since social distancing was enforced, I’ve already been out to visit a number people that have found themselves in a gas emergency from ‘simple’ jobs, like putting up shelving. All it takes is drilling a hole in the wrong place to end up in dangerous territory. If you’re in doubt, don’t do it. It’s important now that we stay home and stay safe – and don’t DIY with gas.”
More than 2,000 householders were surveyed.
Checkatrade launches new Alexa skill to make finding an emergency tradesperson easier
In an emergency, consumers can now say ‘Alexa, open Checkatrade’ – Alexa will then open Checkatrade and ask which trade is required before asking for a location.
Alexa will then provide the top Checkatrade tradespeople within that area.
There is no need to download or install an Alexa skill for this, it’s available for everyone.
Wednesday 6 May
WaterSafe’s top tips for Water Saving Week
WaterSafe is encouraging households to save water and help protect the environment as it partners with Waterwise for the sixth annual Water Saving Week.
It’s shared water-saving measures that everyone can safely do at home to make a difference, including:
- Shortening your shower – it should ideally be around four minutes long.
- Washing your dishes in a bowl instead of under a running tap to reduce water wastage by 50%.
- Researching water and energy-efficient appliances – compare bathroom products such as shower-heads and taps by using the Unified Water Label.
- Swapping your garden hose for a watering can – hosepipes typically use about 1,000 litres an hour, that’s more than 12 baths.
Starting on Monday 11 May, the daily themes are:
Monday: Save water to reduce your carbon footprint
Tuesday: Save water and help your community to thrive
Wednesday: Save water to save wildlife
Thursday: Save water to save cash
Friday: Save water to keep the UK beautiful
Daikin calls on installers to join its Energy for Change journey
Daikin has launched the Sustainable Home Network, an installer partnership scheme that forms an integral part of its wider Energy for Change campaign designed to help heating installers progress, expand and future-proof their business.
The scheme is aimed at those who want to prepare for the changes in the heating market and the rising consumer interest around renewable heating, but are in need of the help, support and training required to make the transition.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter outperforms entire UK motor vehicle market
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has outperformed the entire UK motor vehicle market in terms of registrations in April 2020, according to figures published by The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders yesterday.
This is the first time a van has outsold the most popular passenger car in a single month since June 1990, when the Transit had higher registrations than the Escort.
Tuesday 5 May
Two plumbers win fully branded van worth £30k in Vaillant competition
From more than 80,000 entries, Zoe Watson of Zoe’s Plumbing and Heating and Harry Joynes of HJ Plumbing and Heating were chosen as the winners of a brand new Volkswagen Transporter T32 van complete with their own company branding, worth more than £30k each.
Research shows that vehicles can be viewed by more than 3,000 potential customers per hour – so Harry and Zoe are now able to advertise their businesses while out on the road.
JTL launches campaign to recognise and support trade professionals
‘You’re our heroes of today, help us train the heroes of tomorrow’ recognises the role electricians and plumbing and heating engineers play in keeping people safe and warm whilst the nation stays at home.
Liam Sammon, Director of Learning & Innovation & Director of Develop Training at JTL, said: “The work of trade professionals is not only essential but is making a positive difference at this difficult time. From offering NHS workers free emergency repairs to raising money while self-quarantining – they are in fact heroes, whether they consider themselves one or not.
“A shining example of this is the 400 joiners, plumbers, engineers, electricians and military personnel who have built the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Birmingham. We are extremely proud that two of our very own apprentices from Interserve worked as part of this team.”
JTL is offering advice to those in the industry and will launch a free online portal where installers can access free industry-related taster sessions for engaging in CPD and upskilling later this summer.
Testo offers free postage on Flue Gas Analyser service
Testo is offering free collection and return carriage when you send in your flue gas analyser for service and calibration.
Your analyser will be picked up from your door by UPS and brought straight back after.
Get your free collection and return by sending in your analyser before 31 May.
Used Kitchen Exchange partner BiKBBI
The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has partnered with Used Kitchen Exchange to help them scale up their sales model through a installation proposition for their customers.
The environmentally-minded company sells used and ex-display kitchens and will now use the national Protected installation platform.
The Protected platform provides consumers and installers with financially protected transactions, insurance protected workmanship guarantees, access to dispute resolution and installations delivered independently by accredited members of BiKBBI.
If you are interested in being part of the Used Kitchen Exchange partnership, visit their website and use the retail code UKE20.
Worcester Bosch launches digital training hub for installers
The training covers a range of topics from gas specification to electrical safe isolation broadcast over Skype, where installers can ask real-time questions to a trainer.
The Worcester Bosch Training Academy has set up a Facebook training hub for installers who can access the information whenever suits them, from wherever they are.
The group shares a range of information, from in-depth information on key areas of training for installers with end of unit assessments and quizzes, live streaming and the ability to ask the Worcester Bosch training team any burning questions.
To join a training session, book a slot by emailing the training mailbox in the Facebook group. Installers must enter their Gas Safe Register or OFTEC number to be accepted into the group. If you are an apprentice, you must be under direct supervision of a Gas Safe and/or OFTEC competent registered engineer.
Monday 4 May
Which? puts its trust in REFCOM
Only refrigeration and air conditioning contractors who hold a REFCOM certificate will appear on the Which? Trusted Trader list from now on.
The endorsement scheme, which has been testing and recognising reputable traders for over 60 years, has altered the way it vets contractors and is using REFCOM certification to ensure quality and compliance.
The move came after REFCOM F-Gas and Elite member company Airconco (UK) Ltd, based in London, spent months lobbying Which? to change the way it assesses the competence of listed RAC businesses.
Head of REFCOM Graeme Fox added: “This is a big win against the cowboys, who are operating in the market and placing unfair pressure on good companies who do the right thing. Thanks to proactive REFCOM members like Gary Woodward, Which? will no longer allow sub-contracting businesses to advertise that they carry out air conditioning work if they are not properly registered and licenced to do so.
“Rogue operatives put the quality of services and products at risk, endanger lives and property, and undermine the UK’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Friday 1 May
Plumbers feature in new edition of Top Trumps honouring key and essential workers
The game lauds and applauds those key and essential workers who have saved Britain during the Pandemic… from doctors and nurses to less high-profile professions such as pest controllers, midwives and sea merchants.
Claire Simon, Global Marketing Manager at Top Trumps, said: “We are sure that this new edition of Top Trumps can lift spirits in this very challenging and unprecedented period of time, as well as raising money for the NHS, with all net proceeds going direct to the NHS.”
Unsung Heroes and Street Style are out of ten, whilst the highest Gadgets & Gizmos score is six – what do you think to the scores?
We've been working to enable us to restart serving the trades while ensuring the safety of customers and colleagues. We're pleased to say we will open 42 branches for Click & Collect and Click & Deliver orders from Wednesday.
For full details please visit https://t.co/uiGrJpQanA pic.twitter.com/c9c8G1Xy9q
— Selco Builders Warehouse (@SelcoBW) May 1, 2020
Key worker status recognised
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen both the Government’s and the public’s interpretation of what makes a key worker redefined. On Tuesday 28 April, in the daily coronavirus briefing, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, not only recognised the vital role emergency plumbers are playing, but rolled out further testing for those in the construction and plumbing industry.
In his speech, Mr Hancock said, “So from now we’re making testing available to all over-65’s and their households with symptoms, and to all workers who would have to leave home in order to go to work and members of their households, again who have symptoms. From construction workers to emergency plumbers, from research scientists to those in manufacturing, the expansion of access to testing will protect the most vulnerable and help keep people safe.”
Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering said: “We have known for a long time the critical role plumbers play in society. Plumbing and heating engineers have been on the front line, protecting households from emergencies during the pandemic. It is really positive to see our government publicly recognise the impact of plumbers and the plumbing industry in these trying times.
“For our members and the sector at large, the ability to access testing is vital. Not only does it protect consumers and the vulnerable, but it also alleviates some of the financial pressures being faced by those who cannot work due to potential symptoms.
Grundfos launches online training webinars
Get involved in Grundfos’ training webinars this month. Find out how to register here.
Monday 4 May 10am: Grundfos Shower Pump Solutions – an overview of different shower system types, basic requirements and Grundfos Shower Pump solutions.
Wednesday 13 May 10am: Grundfos SOLOLIFT2 – introduction to the range and a look at its main features and benefits.
Wednesday 20 May 10am: Grundfos Domestic Circulators – an overview of the Grundfos range of domestic heating circulators.
‘UK’s first’ plumber video-call app sees 400% increase in demand
Clipfix says it has had a 400% increase in demand since lockdown began – and will give consumers access to 15-minute video consultations with qualified plumbers to get plumbing issues fixed on the call for free, to help slow down the spread of the virus and help cash-strapped people stuck at home.
Available to download for free on iOS and Android, the Clipfix app has a unique interface between user and plumber that enables users to fix issues themselves. For example, the user can turn the torch on when in dark spaces in the app, aiding the job for the plumber, and the plumber takes photos during the video call, so the user has a report and pictures they can refer to if they need to in the future.
The flat-rate fee of £15 for 15 minutes will be waived for consumers until 31 May using the code STAYATHOME2020.