John Thompson, CEO of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) looks at the merits of WaterSafe – a free online directory and national accreditation body for competent and qualified plumbers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
WaterSafe is a national register of approved plumbers launched in October 2013 with backing from UK water companies and the drinking water regulators. The scheme checks and approves plumbers to protect homeowners and businesses who are looking to have plumbing work carried out.
There are many benefits to being on the WaterSafe register. Approved plumbers can self-notify certain types of plumbing work without issuing prior notification to the local water company and approved plumbers can issue certificates to confirm that the work complies with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws. This can speed up how quickly work can be done and provides reassurance to customers that you’re qualified and trusted to work safely with water. Plus, customers can easily find a registered plumber online via the WaterSafe website.
In addition to water companies, WaterSafe is recognised by many large organisations who only use businesses that employ WaterSafe approved contractors. For example, NHS guidance advises all hospital trusts to use WaterSafe approved plumbers in their premises, in order to safeguard public health.
To be eligible to become a WaterSafe approved plumber, you must operate in the UK, hold a suitable plumbing related NVQ Level 2 qualification, have a recognised water fittings regulations certificate and be a member of an Approved Contractor Scheme, which APHC is one. You must also hold Public Liability Insurance for £2 million and where applicable have Employers’ Liability Insurance of £5 million. You must have in place an appropriate customer complaints handling process and I agree to issue completion certificates and make appropriate notifications to the water company.
Perhaps the best part of WaterSafe is that it can be free for suitably qualified plumbers who are members of an Approved Contractor Scheme. This means members of APHC who hold a recognised water fittings regulations certificate can join WaterSafe at no cost.
You can also join WaterSafe through of one of the other six Approved Contractor Schemes which include Anglian Water’s APLUS, CIPHE, SNIPEF, Severn Trent’s Watermark, Thames Water’s TAPS and The Water Industry Approved Plumbers’ Scheme.
Ultimately, WaterSafe helps give approved plumbing businesses the recognition they deserve.
More information can be found here.