What to look for in a plumber


Attempting to carry out your own plumbing installation or repairs can easily end in disaster; mistakes can lead to expensive repair costs and some serious inconvenience. So, make sure you hire a qualified local plumber – here’s how.

Plumbing Qualifications

You should make sure you hire someone who has the plumbing qualifications needed to work safely and competently. Look for a local plumber who has carried out a plumber course such as one of these:

  • City and Guilds Craft/Advanced Craft Certificate
  • Plumbing Mechanical Engineering Services NVQ (or SNVQ if from Scotland) level 2 or level 3
  • Water Regulations Certificate
  • NVQ in Heating/Heating and Ventilation

In addition to these:

  • If your plumbing work involves gas, your plumber should be registered with Gas Safe – this is a legal requirement
  • Consider hiring a plumber registered with OFTEC, APHC, BESCA if dealing with oil or solid fuel
  • If plumbing work involves electrics, hire a plumber who also belongs to NAPIT or NICEIC

Be aware that not all plumbers will have these qualifications, many will have carried out apprenticeships under qualified plumbers – always take into account references and experience as well.

Plumbing Regulations

There are a variety of regulations plumbers need to adhere to, such as:

  • British Standards – there are a variety of British Standards to comply with, your plumber should have up-to-date knowledge of these
  • Building Regulations – especially Part G: Sanitation, Hot Water Safety and Water Efficiency and Part H: Drainage and Waste Disposal. Ask your plumber if they are able to self-certify work requiring building regulation approval – this means they will provide you with a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate and let your Local Building Authority know that the work meets set standards. If your plumber doesn’t self-certify you’ll have to apply for building regulation approval yourself, which will cost you
  • Water regulations 1999 – imposed by government, these regulations cover the installation and maintenance of all plumbing, water systems and fittings in England and Wales

Why Hire a Tradesman Registered with a Plumbing Association?

There are many benefits to hiring someone registered with a plumbing organisation like these:

  • The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) – members are trained in plumbing and heating work and are assessed every year. Plumbers who belong to the APHC must have a minimum of £2 million Public Liability Insurance and £5 million Employer’s Liability Insurance
  • The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) – members of this association are fully qualified and experience and work to a set code of conduct. The CIPHE also has a complaints procedure and requires its members to have Employer’s Liability Insurance and a minimum of £2 million Public Liability Insurance

Plumber Insurance

Always check your plumber has valid Public Liability Insurance, regardless of whether they belong to a trade association, this means you’re covered if anything goes wrong. You should also check your local plumber has good references and can provide a written quote. Get more tips on choosing a trusted tradesman and what to look for in a boiler engineer.

02/09/2015 |

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