Play it safe

Play it safe

A new registration service has been launched to make it easier for qualified plumbers and customers to find each other. Aimed solely at Approved Plumbers, WaterSafe is set to become a mark of quality and trust.
It can be hard to get noticed online for even the best qualified plumbers. At the same time, customers can find it hard to get hold of a competent plumber when they need one most. With so many directories online open to plumbing installers of all levels, it is easy to see how customers looking for a trusted professional could feel bombarded and not know which way to turn.
What is WaterSafe?
WaterSafe is a new hub and search facility that has been developed by the water industry solely for Approved Plumbers. Designed to help cut confusion for customers, the scheme will help them to find the best-qualified plumbers who meet the highest standards in the business and are approved by one of the seven Approved Contractors’ Schemes in the UK.
Nearly 2,000 plumbing installers have already signed up to the scheme due to be officially launched late this year. Existing Approved Plumbers can join for free as part of their Approved Contractors’ Scheme memberships.
WaterSafe accreditation is open to Approved Plumbing businesses (including sole traders) from Water Industry Approved Plumbers’ Scheme (WIAPS), Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF), Anglian Water’s A Plus, Thames Water’s TAPS and Severn Trent’s WaterMark schemes. Costs to join each Approved Contractors’ Scheme vary but each scheme offers its members free WaterSafe accreditation as an added bonus.
Why WaterSafe?
The driving force behind the scheme is to keep drinking water supplies safe. Customers can often be unaware of the serious risks posed by poor plumbing installations in their properties and could find themselves prosecuted if their plumbing does not meet the legal requirement set out in Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations or Scottish Water Byelaws.
This is where WaterSafe comes in. The new scheme will ensure Approved Plumbers get the recognition they deserve by offering promotion online under the WaterSafe banner – a name customers can trust supported and promoted by the water industry across the UK. Customers will get the assurance that the work complies with the Water Regulations and Bylaws and get a certificate to prove it.
As well as UK water suppliers, there is additional backing for the scheme from both the Worshipful Company of Plumbers and Water UK – the trade body for all the water supply companies.
Each WaterSafe member will enjoy promotion on the nationwide network and customers get peace-of-mind from a trusted name. Public sector or contract-only members who do not wish to be listed in a general search can still carry the WaterSafe logo after signing up.
The WaterSafe brand is set to become an increasingly common sight online, on the road and in directories as more plumbing businesses sign up to the scheme and proudly display the logo.
The scheme is also open to sole traders with the accepted qualifications and each will, like bigger companies, be able to display WaterSafe branding on their vehicles, on paperwork and online. Each new WaterSafe member will get a pack with useful information about membership and a van sticker.
All members of WaterSafe working under an Approved company must have already joined an Approved Contractors’ Scheme. The first requirement is an NVQ level 2 or equivalent in plumbing and hold an accompanying Water Regulations and Bylaws certificate. It is then possible to join an Approved Contractors’ Scheme – which vary in price – and take up WaterSafe accreditation. WaterSafe and BPEC are also currently working on an alternative qualification for experienced plumbers.
Any company must also be covered by at least £2m public liability insurance and employers’ liability cover – where applicable – of £5m as a minimum.
Each WaterSafe recognised plumber will also be required to undergo an audit within the first 12 months of membership and existing members will be audited on a risk-based approach in order to maintain the highest standards in the industry.
WaterSafe welcomes all plumbers who meet the minimum requirement to join us and become part of the biggest approved installer network in the water industry.
Anyone interested in joining can get in touch with WaterSafe on 0333 207 9030.