Does our industry need any more policing?

Published:  12 September, 2012

Paul Dooley recalls how mandatory registration with Gas Safe tightened up the industry, and looks forward to a water safety scheme.

An inspector came out had a look at a couple of your jobs, watched you perform a tightness test and checked you had a set of the British Standards relating to gas. It was as simple as that.

I was just 21 years of age trying to be better than a whole load of others just like me. I was installing full plumbing, heating and gas systems for a builder, in a street of houses in Longfellow Street, Bootle. The houses belonged to Merseyside Improved Homes, who were one of the pioneering housing associations on Merseyside.

Most of the street was getting renovated so I was able to take the inspector in any number of houses I'd completed so he could check my work. Membership of CORGI helped me get on various tender lists and pick up commercial work I wouldn't have otherwise got, as well as giving support and technical advice. It was a good move and one I'm glad I made, though few members of the public had any idea what CORGI was in those days.

In 1991 it became mandatory for engineers who worked on gas to become registered and it helped tighten up the industry. Sadly I believe CORGI lost sight of its core activities and, as a result, lost the contract to run the scheme. In 2008 Capita won the tender and have since operated the registration scheme in a much better way under the 'Gas Safe' banner.

There is currently talk about a 'Water Safe' scheme being implemented which would be another good step forward for the legitimate installers in the industry.

The scheme is currently voluntary and recognises reputable plumbers who hold formal qualifications, have been assessed in the water regulations, passed the assessment and work to the correct standards.

It allows them to self certify certain work too. Plannet Plumbing is a member of this scheme. As Approved Plumbers we are happy to answer any customer queries regarding water regulations, approved fittings, contamination, supplies or any related matters.

In view of some of the shocking workmanship and contraventions of the water regulations we regularly see by unqualified 'plumbers', well meaning 'have a go joiners' and so called 'multi skillers', the prospect of this scheme becoming mandatory should be welcomed.