UK Plumbing Contractors Guide
Plumbers are best known as repairers of domestic water pipes. However their scope is actually far more wide reaching. They understand, install and repair boilers, water and drainage systems and waste disposal units. Often plumbing contractors are called in to install bathroom, laundry and kitchen white-ware, encompassing everything from toilets, sinks, washing machines, dishwashers, dryers and bathtubs. Clogged toilets and drains usually require a plumber call-out.
As the plumbing industry is largely unregulated in the UK, there is no law to prevent untrained people from calling themselves plumbers and taking on plumbing jobs. Even gas fitting is carried out by unregulated ‘plumbers’ and is badly policed by the CORGI trade body. Sadly, few are found out, and these people bring the industry into disrepute. However more and more cities and councils around the country are demanding that anyone working within their jurisdiction as a plumber has the correct qualifications.
Many homeowners undertake plumbing work themselves, and are generally allowed to do so by law, despite health and safety risks.
Best advice is to never, ever carry out any repairs to gas pipes, and only ever use CORGI-registered gas fitters. By the way, they should have a photo-ID card with their CORGI registration number, which you can check with CORGI themselves (tel: 0800 915 0485).
Only ever attempt basic plumbing repairs yourself, such as changing washers on a tap so long as you turn off all inbound and internal water supplies beforehand. Ensure you have the telephone number of a registered plumber at hand in case it goes pear-shaped!
Which brings us to how you find a plumber. You can do worse than use your local yellow pages or look through the featured plumbing contractors on this page. They advertise almost everywhere – the important thing to do is to check the plumber you select is qualified. Most reputable plumbing contractors will be members of the Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering. This professional and technical organisation has around 12,000 members with the stated aim of raising standards of plumbing in the public interest. They also have a very useful and free technical helpline on 0870 414 5533.