Brian Silvester was welcomed as the new President of APHC (Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors) by industry colleagues at the Presidents dinner at 30 St Marys Axe better known as the Gherkin, London on Saturday 27 June. Addressing distinguished guests, APHCs President said he would make the competence of plumbing and heating businesses his priority and suggested some straight forward steps Government should take regarding Competent Persons Schemes.
Brian addressed guests including Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan, former APHC Presidents stretching back to 1972, and representatives from industry bodies. He said: "During my year as National President I wish to champion Competent Persons Schemes. They can address a number of key objectives, including skills, environmental policy or just simple compliance with building regulations. They are extremely cost-effective and easily enforced.
"Lord Leitch said in his report that "Skills are the key to unlocking potential" and he advocated Licences to Practise. But before Government moves forward with yet more legislation, it needs to look at its established schemes. Competent Persons schemes could easily fit this remit. "28% of carbon output in the UK is from dwellings. Our industry services the largest contributor to this footprint - heat producing appliances. When I recently attended a plumbing conference, one speaker outlined how the devolved administrations wish to pull forward the implementation date for the Zero Carbon homes initiative to 2012.
"As a Welsh resident I started to think about how competence for these types of resources would be managed and implemented in such a short time frame. The only really viable route without duplication is through Competence Persons Schemes, so rather than yet more paperwork and wasted resources setting up yet another government initiative, lets have joined up thinking and use the Competent Persons Schemes. "I call on Government to review its position on Competent Persons Schemes, to improve funding to Communities and Local Government and to place a higher importance to this as yet untapped resource. Promotion of the schemes, especially those mechanical in nature, should be reviewed and coordinated across Government departments. The fragmented nature of the programmes being used needs to be addressed - be it the MCS programme, Fossil Fuel specific programmes, Water Regulations or Trustmark - these need to be absorbed into one simple, straightforward programme for the plumbing and heating industry."