Apprentice standards 'must be pushed'

EAL has praised the results of a government survey into British apprenticeships, but has warned against complacency.

Poor communication is 'biggest time waster' for plumbers and installers

Poor communication wastes more heating engineers' and plumbers' time than being stuck in traffic, according to a new study by business software developer Clik.

Fears over solar PV viability are 'wholly misplaced', says industry

All four major trade associations representing domestic solar PV have joined together to 'set the record straight' about the current status of solar power and the Feed-in Tariff (FiT).

Norwich gas installer receives eight-month suspended sentence

A Norwich gas installer has received an eight-month suspended prison sentence, a £10,000 fine and 250 hours of unpaid community service after his inadequate work on domestic gas appliances put the lives of a mother and daughter at risk.

Fraser Lawrence elected new SNIPEF president

Fraser Lawrence, principal of Perth-based F&S Lawrence, has been elected president of the Scottish & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers' Federation (SNIPEF).

Micro-CHP could be "one of the best green investments"

Energy company BSOLAR believes green micro-CHP boilers could be "one of the best investments you can make", according to managing director Peter Bladen.

F-Gas Legislation has 'failed to improve standards'

One year after its implementation, thousands of gas engineers have still not been trained to the required F-Gas legislation standards, according to technical skills training provider Develop Training.

New CIBSE president calls for Benchmarking

Incoming CIBSE president David Fisk used his first presidential address to call for more real performance data and less greenwash in building services systems.

Plumb Center launches micro-CHP training

The UK's first micro-CHP course has been launched by national merchant Plumb Center. The one-day training course will be available in three training centres across the UK.

Plumbing delivers growth for Travis Perkins

Travis Perkins, a national UK supplier of building materials, has seen revenue grow by 4.4% during the first four months of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011.

Former Energy Minister says gas industry must be 'more responsible'

The gas industry needs to become a more responsible one according to the former Minister of State for Energy, who was speaking at the SBGI Gas Industry Awards.

National Skills Academy opens first centres in Wales

The National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies has opened its first centres in north and south Wales, with hubs located at Llandrillo and Neath Port Talbot Colleges.

Travis Perkins supports TV apprentices

A three-part TV series sponsored by Travis Perkins which followed a group of young builders as they built a house on time and on budget, secured more than half a million viewers on its first showing.

UPDATED: Wolseley sells Bathstore brand

Wolseley UK is selling its Bathstore business to Endless LLP with immediate effect, it has been announced.

Amazon US moves into construction supplies

Amazon is launching a new website to tap into the construction and industrial supplies market in the US, and could soon target the UK construction industry.

Major bio-liquid pilot announced at OFTEC conference

Bio-liquids may soon be rolled out for oil-fired heating in a pilot scheme for around 300 households.

Construction activity rises in Q1 2012, claims survey

Activity levels in the construction sector edged upwards in the first three months of the year according to the latest RICS Construction Market Survey (10 May 2012). This result contrasts with the sharp fall in output suggested by the official data.

Air conditioning sales rise sharply

Climate Center has reported a 30% growth in air conditioning sales, despite the overall market remaining largely flat.

Gas bills will rise again this winter

Rising wholesale gas costs will make utility bills rise again this winter, according to British Gas' parent company, Centrica.

PM in urgent briefing to 'rescue' Green Deal

The Prime Minister has commissioned the Cabinet Office to carry out an urgent briefing on how the Green Deal scheme can be rescued.

Scottish building firm enters administration

Scottish building firm UBC Group has gone into administration this week, placing 277 jobs at risk across the country.

More solar jobs at risk at Carillion

Carillion Energy Services has continued to cut staffing levels in the wake of the government's cuts to the solar feed-in-tariff, with the total number of redundancies now standing at almost 1,200.

Local council advertises plumbing and maintenance contracts on twitter

North Lincolnshire Council is advertising all contracts worth over £10,000 to local businesses using Twitter.

UK house prices to rise 8% in next three years

Global real estate firm CBRE says UK house prices could rise by up to 8% over the next three years, with London properties increasing by as much as 22%.

Glen Dimplex Boilers is to leave the UK

Glen Dimplex Boilers is to withdraw from the UK boiler market over the next few months to focus on other market sectors.

Poor heating controls cost consumers £3.2 billion

Poor control of domestic heating and hot water is costing UK consumers over £3.2 billion per year - £122 per home on average - according to time switch maker Sangamo.

Gas fitter prosecuted following Gas Safe Register investigation

A cowboy gas fitter from Nottinghamshire has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) following Gas Safe Register's investigation, which uncovered illegal and dangerous gas work.

New warranty and training for oil technicians

Oil heating technicians working on commercial boilers will soon be able to register with OFTEC in a brand new category.

Southern Water to provide subsidy and work with local plumbers to fix leaks

Southern Water is planning to use local plumbers to fix household leaks following the urging of Lewes MP Norman Baker.

Construction sector growth eased off since March but still in recovery

Despite recent reports that the construction sector is to be blamed for the return into recession, the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for April has reported continued recovery.

Knauf Drywall builds for the future with country star's Imagination Library

Knauf Drywall, manufacturer of lightweight building materials and systems, has become the first ever corporate programme operator of Dolly Parton's UK Imagination Library.

IDHEE president challenges radiator manufacturers over output data

President of the Institute of Domestic Heating & Environmental Engineers, Alan Black, calls for radiator manufacturers to step up and publish relevant output data that helps engineers.

Multi-million pound investors in Northumberland host supply chain event

Major investors in Northumberland are joining forces to promote a series of contracting opportunities arising from planned investments of over £250m at a supply chain event on 10 May.

Essex charity bulk-buys oil for rural communities

A charity in Essex has set up a countywide scheme to bulk-buy heating oil for rural communities.

Manufacturers combine to talk about energy efficiency in social housing

A free workshop on how landlords and social housing providers can increase the return on their energy and carbon efficiency initiatives is being held in Coventry on 21 May.

Water Label chief executive defends industry innovation

In an open letter to Sir James Dyson, Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the Water Label, responds to the entrepreneur's comments on plumbing engineering.

Delays cause decline in green training

Doubts over government policy on renewable energy are causing employers to postpone or cancel green training initiatives, a recent survey has shown.

Postal rate change has big impact on small businesses

The rise in the price of stamps brought in by The Royal Mail on Monday will change the way small businesses communicate, according to research conducted by Pitney Bowes.

TP forms alliance to deliver Green Deal proposition

Travis Perkins Group has formed an alliance with Toriga Energy to deliver what it described as a comprehensive Green Deal proposition for consumers and the trade.

A fifth of properties may be 'unrentable' by 2015

A fifth of commercial and residential property may be excluded from the rental and lease market by 2015 unless owners move quickly to comply with new energy-efficiency rules.

Construction sector blamed for double-dip recession

The struggling construction sector is being partly blamed for putting the UK economy back into recession, after the Q1 2012 GDP figures were released last week.

Renewable energy sector supports 110,000 jobs, according to new report

A new report from the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Innovas has revealed that the UK's £12.5 billion renewables industry already supports 110,000 jobs across the supply chain, and could support 400,000 by 2020.

Heating engineers launch new federation for the trade

A new trade organisation - the Heating Engineers & Allied Trades Federation (HEATFED) has been launched, which its founder said will help the '"views and feelings of rank and file heating engineers to be heard".

Deputy PM announces more energy efficiency help for poorest in society

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced that £540 million of the government's home energy-efficiency programme will be targeted specifically to help the poorest people in society.

Sales of building materials reflect disappointing national construction figures

The latest sales indicators from the Builders' Merchants Federation show that national sales of building materials rose by just 0.6% during the three months from December 2011 to February 2012.

Australia and New Zealand launch migration drive

Australia and New Zealand are conducting one of their biggest migration drives in years to attract skilled tradespeople to emigrate.

Employers concerned over 'bad reputation' of apprenticeships

EAL has backed government moves to tackle poor quality apprenticeships, after an independent survey revealed that 57% of industry employers are concerned about damage to the reputation of apprenticeship programmes.

NAPIT to host free green energy seminar

NAPIT is hosting a free seminar on green energy, with attendees able to access discounts and cashback vouchers worth £190.

Plumber escapes jail for overcharging pensioner

A plumber in Kidderminster has been given a supervision order after being found guilty of overcharging a pensioner for work in his bathroom.

Plumbing for Charity in Central Asia

A group of London plumbers will be volunteering with international housing charity, Habitat for Humanity in Asia this summer.