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MACHINES FOR LIVING The design revolution that will change the way you work




Why new laws for landlords mean big changes for you

The new kit that could prevent unnecessary tap replacements

Health minister requests CIPHE information on scalding


Welcome The future is never quite how science fiction movies imagine it. We’re supposed to be in a world of flying cars and dinner in tablet form, but the reality is sitting in a traffic jam, and settling for a sandwich at the services. That doesn’t mean everything is stuck in the past: we can access knowledge anywhere thanks to smartphones and broadband, to solve problems like building new houses. The UK hasn’t built enough homes since 1979 – we’ve been short every year since by 150,000 – and the quality of what we do build is often woeful. Off-site manufacture has been touted as the solution, and we’ve decided to look more closely at the process (p14). Better homes can also end the misery of mould that is blighting the lives of thousands with poor health. There’s now new legislation for landlords covering this (p12). Paul Williams also tries out new kit in The Fix (p27) and we’re starting regular Which? advice (p33) in another packed issue.


Contents FEATURES 12 Damp-proofing Tenants need to be protected against damp, and plumbing and heating engineers must help

28 23 THE FIX 23 In the third instalment of our series on pipe sizing, Paul Harmer talks about CIPHE loading units 26 CPD Test your knowledge 27 Tried & Tested TapMedic 28 Training Online learning

14 A flat-packed future? Could modular construction be the solution to UK’s housing shortage?

30 Your membership

18 Interview

33 Smarttalk

Mechanical engineering tutor David Darbyshire on his experiences of education with dyslexia

The CIPHE has partnered with Which? to bring you trading standards advice


The CIPHE is going digital!

34 Q&A: Arthur Li Hong Kong branch’s chairman on the key to his career success

5 From the CEO


Training and communication will move the industry forward

6 Frontline

Editor pandhengineering@

Editor Chris Smith Project manager Lizzie Hufton Head of design Simon Goddard Publisher James Houston Published by James Pembroke Media, 90 Walcot Street, Bath BA1 5BG Tel 01225 337777 Group Advertising Sales Manager Lee Morris, Advertising sales executive Hannah Sarsfield, Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) 64 Station Lane, Hornchurch, Essex RM12 6NB Tel 01708 472791

Industry news, legislation and regulation updates and more

Subscriptions P&H Engineering is the magazine for the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, containing technical articles, latest industry news and environmental and educational updates. It is published six times a year and sent free to members. Annual subscription for non-member £120 Annual subscription for overseas non-member £145 To join CIPHE, email

ON THE COVER Machines for living: the digital design revolution Page 14 Illustration: Adam Gale

Membership Founded in 1906, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is the professional body for the UK plumbing and heating industry. Membership is made up of consultants, specifiers, designers, public health engineers, lecturers, trainers, trainees and practitioners. The CIPHE has a membership of 7,500, including over 150 manufacturers and distributors. The majority of members live in the UK, although over 1,000 are residents in Hong Kong. The CIPHE is a member of the Construction Industry Council and a licensed member of the Engineering Council.

Copyright notice and disclaimer P&H Engineering is published bi-monthly by the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering. All material is copyright of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering and may not be reproduced without written permission. The publishers do not accept responsibility for errors or omissions. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Institute and publication of an advertisement or article does not necessarily mean the Institute endorses those products, materials or techniques.

MAR / APR 2019



We’ve come a small step closer to raising standards

KEVIN WELLMAN Chief executive officer

We can help move those in power to take action to protect the public through better regulation


FIND OUT MORE Information on career progression, leading to Chartered Engineer status and the Trailblazer apprenticeship, is available on CIPHE’s website.

ometimes it takes a while for an idea to scheme and encourage people coming into the find the right moment to be accepted and it industry to stick with it. feels like we’ve come a small step closer to The government’s ham-fisted announcement raising standards. about migration and skills (which lumped I sent our research on the rising number of plumbing with bricklaying together as unskilled) scalding injuries to the health secretary Matt at the end of last year hasn’t helped our cause. Hancock, prompted by the Department of Health’s According to Build UK, 63 per cent of contractors report on preventative working. The logic was have reported difficulty recruiting plumbers – but that we shouldn’t wait for MPs to come to us, lowering the competence bar is ultimately especially given the amount of energy costing the government money in Stay in being taken up by Brexit. injuries and fatalities. touch The minister responded with a Most likely, the announcement was Send us your views on P&H with a request for further information due to government departments not Engineering magazine and from the CIPHE. It’s encourgaing talking to each other as ministers are issues in our industry on because whatever happens to well aware of growing concern about Twitter: @CIPHE ministers, our ideas are firmly in the standards. Quality of workmanship government machine. was an issue in both Carillion’s collapse and the Grenfell fire. The public wants the Building skills government to act. As always, there are concerns. Despite Our argument is that if the voluntary, ‘light technological advances within our industry, touch’ approach to regulation isn’t working then it is concerning that only a third of trainees go we have to do something else. Robust, enforced on to the Level 3 NVQ. We can’t argue for change if licencing is the alternative. The government has we haven’t got our own house in order first. to properly support the industry to end the misery I’m delighted to say the Plumbing caused by bad building and poor maintenance. & Domestic Heating Technician Whitehall is slowly coming round but lives are at Apprenticeship (Trailblazer) was finally risk. The foot dragging must end. launched at the end of January. The scheme will take up to four years Keep talking to complete which is a big commitment Thanks to everyone who has given feedback on for employers and apprentices. CIPHE’s work in recent weeks. In particular the However, the resulting qualification positive feedback regarding the re-styled P&H with accompanying on-site experience Engineering and its contents has been welcomed and mentoring will provide engineering and appreciated. skills which will be advantageous to both the individuals who undertake The Trailblazer the programme and the businesses that scheme is now live they work for. We must get behind the

MAR / APR 2019



KEEP INFORMED Read all the latest news, updates, and member benefits Facebook/CIPHE

All that’s happening in plumbing and heating

Ofwat is calling for higher environmental standards from suppliers

Find out more Not clear on pipes and sewers? Ofwat sets out supply and standards at


OFWAT DEMANDS ACTION ON WATER LEAKS Water regulator Ofwat has called for suppliers to work harder to cut leaks and invest more to meet environmental standards


he watchdog Ofwat has declared that water companies must achieve a 15% reduction in leakage – more than 170 billion litres of water per year – which would Ofwat CEO, save enough water for Rachel Fletcher three months’ worth of daily showers for everyone in England and Wales. The target was set as an objective after the initial assessment of water companies’ business plans for 2020-25. Four companies – Affinity Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy, Thames Water and

The firms have been tasked with making £10bn of investment 6 P&H ENGINEERING

MAR / APR 2019

Southern Water – were warned that they have the most work to do in order to meet the tough challenges Ofwat has laid down for the sector. The business plans of three water companies – Severn Trent, South West Water and United Utilities – have already been given the green light. They have pledged to cut household bills by £70. The firms have also been tasked with making at least £10bn worth of extra investment to meet more stringent environmental standards, connect new homes and reducing pollution incidents by up to 80%. Ofwat CEO, Rachel Fletcher said: “We have challenged all water companies to deliver more for less over the next five years.”

Worcester Bosch is helping change perceptions

In the workplace

WORCESTER BOSCH CHAMPIONS MENTAL HEALTH Workplace mental health is being championed by one of the industry’s biggest manufacturers. Worcester Bosch revealed 40 members of staff have trained to become Mental Health First Aid Champions in a bid to support employees and end stigma around talking about the illness. Kerry Grindon, one of the members of the health and wellbeing team, said: “We made a commitment to change the way we think and act when it comes to mental health across every level of our organisation. We hope that it will help make all the difference.” Regulation

BODGED REPAIRS ON THE RISE Poor-quality or unsafe installations are increasing, industry leaders have warned. Industrial associates have told the CIPHE that they have seen a rise in complaints that are attributable to the quality of installation and workmanship, rather than product faults. Homeowners relying on unqualified traders was cited as the key reason for the increase. CIPHE CEO Kevin Wellman said: “All recognise that CIPHE members represent the professional end of the installation work force and would like to see how more can be driven to share those values and competencies.” Received a complaint? Learn how to handle it properly, p33


PREFABRICATION Will modula housing change the way we work when creating new homes? Page 14

NEWS IN BRIEF Regulation

HSE toughens welding fume rules Housing

Government pledges housebuilding boom PLANS TO BUILD thousands of homes across the country with government cash have been unveiled by ministers. Details of developments were revealed in a bid to meet the target of building 300,000 new homes a year, which will safeguard jobs across the industry. Infrastructure loans worth £157m were confirmed to enable developments in Devon and Cumbria. This will speed up developments that were delayed due to poor site transport links. Homes England, the government’s house-building agency, revealed it had struck a deal with the Ministry of Defence to build 10,000 homes on seven

Housing minister Kit Malthouse

bases at locations including Bedfordshire, Stafford and Essex. The government also confirmed a £78m loan will help start construction of 1,500 homes at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London, the site of the 2012 Olympics. The lead development partner will be Balfour Beatty and the first phase is scheduled for completion in 2022. There was also a £6m funding boost for affordable homes built by community groups across England. Housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “For too long, governments of all stripes have failed to build the homes our country needs. Last year we delivered over 222,000 homes but we need to deliver more.”


High Street retailers crucial to standards HIGH STREET RETAIL outlets could play a crucial role in raising quality standards, according to bathroom manufacturers. The Bathroom Manufacturers

Association (BMA) revealed research showing 43% of consumers go to shops to do their research prior to purchase. The association said the shops can

Rules on welding fumes have been toughened by the Health and Safety Executive. Concerns over cancer risks have led to a strengthening of HSE’s enforcement for all welding fumes, including mild steel welding, because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control. For more information go to

Trading standards

Consumer rights laws The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has called for greater central government support to tackle poor products on sale.


Pipework fail leaves tenants frozen A Birmingham housing association was forced to apologise after tenants in a housing block were left without heating or hot water. Wallsall Housing Group said excessive corrosion of pipework in the Humphries House block of flats was to blame.


Vaillant steps up for charitable cause

help enforce legal standards and water efficiency by influencing customers to change their buying habits and ignore poor-quality online products.

Vaillant has partnered with Coventry Plumbing Supplies and installer Wayne Kirby to provide and install two boilers at the Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind (CRCB). The CRCB is a registered charity that provides support, such as training sessions on technologies that can help improve the lives for the visually impaired.

MAR / APR 2019




Flame turns up the heat Flame Heating Group is expanding with a new head office. The Boldon-based firm has sites across the North-East and is looking to branch out to meet rising demand. MD John Savage said: “We continue to expand and create further job opportunities here in Boldon and across our branch network.”

Got a news story? Get in touch with editor Chris Smith using the email address on p3

RA Tech welcomes business development director Andy Pattison

Smart meters

Smart meter market goes global


The global market for smart thermostats will be worth £4.6bn ($6bn) by 2025. Research by Global Market Insights forecasts that increased construction and stringent government energy directives will be the main drivers. It said: “Sustainable building codes and standards across residential and industrial establishments will foster the thermostat market growth.” Increasing demand for energy efficient and smart home automation devices will positively encourage the adoption of the product.

Firms gear up for growth with key appointments THE INDUSTRY IS confounding uncertainty about the economy by pressing ahead with appointments to drive new business. Polypipe Group announced it has appointed a new managing director to lead its civils division. The company revealed it would be focusing work on solutions to help meet the challenges of climate change, population growth and sustainable urbanisation.


Polypipe has appointed a new managing director

Call to action for vulnerable people CIPHE members have been urged to get involved in campaigns to help vulnerable people. Frontline volunteers are needed to raise awareness on issues linked to safety and public health. Richard Soper, director of development at the CIPHE, said: “It isn’t just about what the CIPHE is doing, but what you can do as an individual, a business, or as a supporter.” Email


MAR / APR 2019

Steve Durdant-Hollamby is the new managing director of civils and has 26 years’ experience in the water management industry. He was managing director of the water management division at building products manufacturer Alumasc. Also expanding is RA Tech, which has responded to a significant sales growth with the appointment of Andy Pattison as business development director. He has spent more than 30 years working in heating and renewables, in sectors covering installations, maintenance, sales and manufacturing.

Site safety

HSE STEPS UP ASBESTOS CHECKS Building site checks for deadly asbestos are being stepped up across the capital. The HSE announced it will be inspecting construction sites in London to assess the management of asbestos removal and disposal.

Inspectors will be looking for evidence of construction workers knowing the risks, planning work and using the right controls for asbestos work. The HSE stated it would take enforcement action

in cases where breaches of regulation were found. Read more at


TRAINING UPDATE Does plumbing and heating learning have a future online? Page 28



Green future dominates at ISH 19


Innovations will focus on

SMART ENERGY AND better use of resources sustainable water systems are among the innovations being profiled at the world’s biggest work on urban areas.” heating and plumbing trade fair. Commercial realities of meeting Buyers are forecast to be in customer lifestyle choices have also Frankfurt for ISH 19, which takes balanced the exhibition agenda. place 11–15 March, in record Event organisers revealed that numbers and this year the focus the biggest range of colours in is on products and systems that bathroom products ever will be protect the environment. put before buyers: “Planners and The organisers said the big industry alike are responding to the innovations are focused on better desire for individually designed, uses of resources: “The responsible ultra-modern bathrooms.” use of water and energy in The event will mark a buildings is a subject of global milestone for supplier Conex significance – more so with the Bänninger, which is celebrating growing concentration of life and its 110th anniversary. CEO Mano Bakhtiari said: “This is a momentous year – one in which we will reflect on more than a century of success.”

Innovations are focused on better uses of resources


Find out more at

Smart energy

SMART HOME PILOT EXPANDS IN BRISTOL Council-owned supplier Bristol Energy is offering households tailored heat plans. The initiative uses smart technology so customers can pay for the rooms that they heat rather than in units of energy. Bristol Energy’s head of innovation Samantha Nicol, said: “We truly understand what our customers need, rather than just giving them what we think they want.”

Clean energy

CLEAN AIR PLAN GETS GREEN LIGHT Plans to tackle air pollution have been welcomed by manufacturers. The government launched a Clean Air Strategy as part of a bid to reduce toxic fumes that contribute to climate change and cause respiratory illnesses. In London, air quality has been at illegal levels since 2010.

Manufacturer Durapipe is enhancing its range of transitions for specialist fuel conveyance pipework systems. PLX now includes a specifically developed 63mm x 1½ in Male BSP Extended Transition to connect pipework to threaded connections in pump and sump areas within forecourt projects. The firm said: “This latest development adds to our existing range of transition fittings, which offer a flexible connection for the installer.”

The strategy said indoor air quality was a key issue and pledged to reduce air pollutants in the home, including ways to promote regularly ventilating where people live and work. From this spring, the government will be consulting on changes to building regulation standards Part F for ventilation in homes and other buildings, to help reduce the harmful build-up of indoor air pollutants. The work will be supported by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, which will produce new guidance. The government will also update legislation on air quality as current laws are the historic Clean Air Act of 1993.

THINK TANK CALLS TIME ON GAS HEATING Britain must get rid of fossil-based natural gas within 30 years to meet climate change targets, a think tank has warned. Bright Blue, which has links to the government, said demand for natural gas in the heat sector must be cut as it produces 35% of UK emissions. Senior researcher Wilf Lytton said: “UK gas must be completely decarbonised during the coming three decades if this country is to meet its targets. “Ofgem should approach the task of decarbonising gas with the same fervour as it has applied to delivering low carbon and affordable electricity.”

MAR / APR 2019


COLD COMFORT Legislation for damp homes is changing to protect tenants at risk Page 12

British Standards

BSI sharpens Legionella code


Congratulations to the following members... ...who the Election and Enrolment Committee have approved as Engineering Technicians (Eng Tech) and Chartered Engineer (CEng). Eng Tech Ka Ming Hung, Hong Kong

GUIDELINES ON ASSESSING water quality for the deadly Legionella bacteria have been revised after an increase in cases. BSI, the business standards company, has issued further guidelines for assessing water quality and the risk of Find Legionnaires’ disease. out more The update, British Get the facts on Standard BS 8580-1:2019 Water Legionnaire’s disease in Quality, Risk Assessments the public health section of the CIPHE website for Legionella control – Code of Practice, was described as a “significant revision” to the 2010 British Standard. The standard gives recommendations and guidance on the assessment of the risk of

Legionella thrive in damp conditions

Legionellosis presented by artificial water systems. Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by bacteria of the genus Legionella. David Fatscher, head of sustainability at BSI, said: “We shouldn’t underestimate the risk Legionnaires’ disease poses to society today. Having updated guidance and recommendations for its prevention is as important as ever. This revised standard aims to enable anyone with responsibility for the health and safety of others in public premises.”

Kwai Ming Chow, Hong Kong Mathew Diggle, West Yorkshire Barry Patchett, Lincolnshire John Weatherley, Essex Paul Broadbent, Kent Stephen Morris, Hampshire Andrew Jobson, Tyne & Wear CEng Chun Kit Li, Hong Kong Chun Wai Lai, Hong Kong

Not a member? Contact us to find out how you can sign up today 01708 463116


MAR / APR 2019


Industry manufacturer contact helps with professional development FACTORY VISITS are great for professional development, according to the CIPHE as members were encouraged to build a better understanding of manufacturers and the products they supply. Suffolk Branch, led by branch chairman Martin Wharmsby, recently held a professional development evening at Hounsfield Boilers production site in Needham Market where they met managing

director Andrew Hounsfield. They saw the manufacturing process of firm’s Tuscan boiler from start to finish along with the full current range. Key issues included the design of oil-fired boilers and how to achieve good customer service. A company spokesperson said: “We believe in carrying out R&D to make our products simple and functional. We do not build our products down to a price.” Membership director, Tim Sainty, said: “Events like these are an ideal way to keep up CPD and develop local networks that can improve product understanding and deliver enhanced customer service.”


DAMP-PROOFING Damp and mould cause life-limiting health problems and destroy properties. New legislation is about to make them priorities for landlords. Chris Smith finds out more


nfit for human habitation is a phrase that conjures up images of poverty in the times of Victorian slums. But it is a very real, modern-day problem for thousands of homes across the country that is causing illness for occupants and costing the NHS millions. It is also a legal issue, particularly for landlords and tenants, that’s about to become even more important for anyone renting out a property. By law, landlords must ensure there is a safe water supply, drainage and sanitary convenience as well as protect against damp. From March 2019, all social and private-sector landlords, or agents acting on their behalf, will be required to ensure that a property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of a tenancy and throughout its duration. That’s because the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is about to come into force. If a home isn’t up to the standard of the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS), tenants will have the right to take legal action for breach of contract. In practice, the fitness duty will apply to any Category 1 hazard in the HHSRS, including damp and mould (see Legislation Check box, p13). It’s this new demand that is likely to be a legal battleground


MAR / APR 2019

and one the plumbing and heating industry should be prepared for.

Tenant protection Until now, damp in a property due to condensation has not been something landlords needed to deal with. However, the new unfitness definition covers a property if it is so defective with damp “that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition”. One of the exemptions is “a tenant’s failure to use the dwelling in a tenant-like manner”, which then causes damp. However, the regulations should ramp up the battle with unscrupulous property owners, such as those running houses of multiple occupation (HMOs). Landlords have welcomed the new rules as they believe housing standards will improve as a result. David Cox, CEO of ARLA Propertymark, which represents private landlords, says: “These new rules will give renters greater protection against criminal operators, and it is a step in the right direction for the market.” Why has the government suddenly got interested in an age-old problem? The financial cost to the NHS. A report by the Department for Health and Social



Damp: the causes Damp and mould are caused by excess moisture in the air. The causes are leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames. In a newly built home, damp can occur if the water used when the house was built is still drying out. Mould only starts growing if a surface is wet for more than 24 hours and is a sign of rising damp. Damp is also an issue in coastal areas due to the level of water in the air. *Source NHS England, AXA Insurance UPDATE

The legislation check The new laws amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and the Building Act 1984. They will apply to new tenancies (of less than seven years) including a renewal of an existing tenancy from then. Examples of Category 1 hazards include: a dangerous or broken boiler, cold bedrooms, mould on the walls or ceiling.


CIPHE has long held the belief that ‘prevention is better than cure’ Care estimated poor housing costs the NHS in England £1.4bn a year. To tackle this, the NHS has started the Healthy New Towns initiative, which puts healthy living at the heart of future home building. West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership estimates poor housing is the source of more than 1,164 harmful events requiring medical treatment every year in Wakefield. Councillor Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for economic growth and regeneration, says tackling poor-quality rented housing is critical. She says: “20% of homes in the Wakefield district are privately rented. While the majority of landlords provide wellmaintained homes, unfortunately some are unsafe and badly managed.”

A nationwide issue But it isn’t just a problem for rented properties: according to AXA insurance, around one in 18 properties in England suffers from damp of some description and the impact can be serious. NHS England says sub-standard homes are the source of a multitude of health issues for the people living in them. “Badly maintained homes and poor living conditions can also have a negative impact on mental health,” it warns. Kevin Wellman, CIPHE CEO, says the health impact is serious: “There is no doubt that if you have mould and damp in your home you are more likely to suffer from respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma. Moreover, mould and damp can also affect the immune system, which is of particular concern to those with other conditions that make them vulnerable to infection.”

But the NHS has its limits and is calling for people in the housing and construction industries to help. Its recent report, ‘Prevention is better than cure’, says: “A range of other professionals have a responsibility to embed prevention throughout society.” Launching the report, health secretary Matt Hancock, warned the NHS could no longer invest in ‘business as usual’ services: “Prevention cannot be solved by the health and social care system alone. Everyone has a part to play and we must work together across society. “I want us to be working with all those who have a role in influencing health: communities, employers, industry and charities.” For heating and plumbing engineers, this means not only explaining to customers how to heat and ventilate their homes, but also tackling issues like leaking pipes and reporting bad practice such as poor installations or actions by rogue landlords or substandard properties that now break the law.

Joining forces Becoming local campaigners to raise awareness may have to be part of the battle against bad homes. Wellman welcomes the government’s new approach and wants members to get involved: “CIPHE has long held the belief that ‘Prevention is better than cure’ and it was encouraging to see such a statement is now on the government’s radar. “The CIPHE has promoted the concept of a home health check for some time now and members have a great opportunity to raise their concerns when they believe the public is at risk. In drawing attention to such preventative issues, it could be argued that tradespeople such as CIPHE members should be regarded as the fourth emergency service.”

More information Want to know more about preventing health problems? Go to the public health section of the CIPHE website (in the consumer area)

MAR / APR 2019






Illustration: Adam Gale

Britain needs thousands of homes, and fast. Modular construction and building design software are touted as solutions, but can they really help, and how is our industry affected? Chris Smith finds out

f necessity is the mother of invention, then the UK’s urgent need to build 300,000 new homes a year could be just the spur to drive change. The government has admitted there is a crisis due to the fact that the country hasn’t built anything like that number since 1979. Adding to the problem is a skills shortage in the construction industry, which is currently losing thousands of skilled people every month due to the retirement of an ageing workforce; and Brexit-related concerns about overseas workers. There’s a further problem with the quality of newbuilds that has sparked an investigation by Westminster MPs following high-profile campaigns by disgruntled buyers. The market was ripe for disruption and it’s come in the form of modular construction, also known as off-site manufacture. Houses and apartments are being made in factories around the UK, backed by big-money investors. The manufacturing technique isn’t new; thousands of prefab houses were built after World War II to replace bombdamaged homes. America and Europe have been building off-site for decades.

Germany is now the world leader in this building method and over the last decade, manufacturers such as Deba and Huf Haus have dipped their toes in the luxury end of UK housing developments, but it hasn’t caught hold more widely until now. Brexit is likely to have an impact: Deba has signalled it may scale back activity due to cost but, at the same time, EU migrants that have made up the short-fall in construction workers are leaving the country. Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast, who was commissioned by the government to review industry skills, warns: “We are not going to meet the challenge of Brexit by building in the way we’ve always done.”

Game-changer? Is modular the magic solution for Britain’s housing crisis, and what does it mean for the plumbing and heating industry? The game-changer has been a recent government announcement that, from now on, its preference for new publicsector buildings like schools and hospitals is that they should be built off site. The Greater London Authority (GLA) has commissioned consultants to draw up a framework for delivering modular homes

Any developer in 2019 that says they’re not interested in this won’t be in business by 10 years’ time at scale in London. The outline figure is 65,000 a year. Some big industry names think modular building is the key, too. Legal & General and Keepmoat Homes have both made a commitment. The insurance company has set up Europe’s largest modular homes factory in Sherburn near Leeds, with the capacity to produce up to 3,000 homes per year. The company predicts: “Modular construction is set to revolutionise the house building sector, bringing new materials along with methods and processes used in other industries, such as automotive and aerospace, to raise productivity and help to address the UK’s chronic shortfall of new homes.”

MAR / APR 2019



BIM modelling helps construction teams work closer together

Keepmoat has partnered with Ilke Homes to develop its first off-site houses in Doncaster. James Thomson, CEO at Keepmoat Homes explains: “The homes can be installed at a rate of up to six homes per site per day, meaning you could save as much as six months on a 50home development. Modular housing provides a new solution to the UK’s need for additional high-quality housing, which Keepmoat Homes is committed to helping deliver.”

We’re really excited about the whole thing. It gives people greater control over construction

involved at the second fix stage: the mechanical and electrical design. We apply the products and processes to the design and the engineers know what Making it happen should be in place and where it How does it work? A typical Did you needs to go.” house is built in sections at the know? The level of precision factory, including pipework Some manufacturers add required means detailed and fitting out. The sections plumbing at the factory, planning is needed using are then transported to site, whereas some create a software programme craned into position and then tailored plumbing at the new site called building information connected together. modelling (BIM). This pulls Plumbing supplier Polypipe together onto a digital file the design, Building Products has been involved buying, compliance, project management, in 10 modular projects – one worth around installation and inspection. It is viewed £10m. Head of technical and customer online by everyone involved, resulting in experience, Dean Asher, explains the a digital history of the house’s build. process: “Suppliers like us – and the Asher explains the next steps: “At the heating and plumbing engineers – get


MAR / APR 2019

factory, the installer has a box from us that has pre-cut and labelled parts which push-fits it together. No measuring is needed. On site, hot and cold water will already be set up along with the energy supply. If it’s a three-story house then the plumber connects the first unit to the mains, waits for the other two units and then connects top to bottom. The system is fully checked for leaks, inspected and signed off.” Construction firms have championed BIM already; Barratt Homes has demanded that suppliers will have to be BSI Level 3 compliant. It’s new technology and Asher says there is a common misconception about BIM. “It isn’t just 3D modelling. It’s a tool focused around the lifecycle of the project or product. It creates a detailed plan of everything to do with the build, including specifications of every item involved.”

New for old? But Britain’s current housing stock mainly dates back to the first industrial revolution – long before the computer or digital records were invented. Can the process work on old buildings? Asher


says it could end familiar problems on traditional buildings like creating a void by drilling in the wrong place. He says: “It will end the not knowing what part you have and what has superseded it. It’s useful for some of our parts that have 50-year guarantees. Facilities managers will be better able to plan servicing and replacement. If you see the plan, you can better estimate how much material you’re going to need. With all that’s gone on in the construction industry recently, with huge projects being left at various stages of completion by major firms, that has to be a benefit. It’s still way in the future for most people but the days of ‘it’s going to cost you…’ estimating are nearly over.” Could modular build and BIM put the trades out of business? The key issue to stay in touch is compliance – you need to be accredited to British Standards. Asher is reassured: “You just have to be able to use the same software as everyone else. It’s easy: you can download apps for your phone or tablet or get the software for your computer.” (See ‘Battle of the BIM software’, above right.) He adds: “The factory installer has to be trained to the same standard as every other installer. In the first few years, most people won’t encounter it – we’re only a decade on.”

Mind the knowledge gap The lack of skills isn’t the only drawback. There is a compliance lag in the finance and insurance sectors, which need evidence on quality to calculate risk for cover on warranties and site safety. The Commons local government committee warned last year that, to increase the use of modular building, regulators had to give “lenders, consumers and builders the confidence” to use them. Committee chairman Clive Betts MP says quality homes would be the best advert for innovation: “We must ensure that modern methods are built to last. The radical changes to housing construction of the mid-20th century failed to survive five decades. This cannot be repeated.”


Battle of the BIM software Building information modelling software is used by architects, structural engineers, designers and contractors. Used correctly, it enables different trades to work together, managing the build process together. It also creates a single shared record of who does what, which regulations apply and who is responsible. Autodesk Revit, ARCHICAD and SketchUp are among the other software packages in the marketplace. Find out more at


The modular model The developer Urban Splash has created its own range of homes. Owners choose the internal layout, colours and the size of their new homes (ranging from 93–140m2). With external cladding that can be adapted to suit local planning requirements. The homes were completed in 20 weeks (16 weeks for construction, four weeks to finish the interiors).

The industry will have to change due to the Hackitt inquiry recommendations following the Grenfell Tower fire. It’s here where BIM could have a big impact because of the new demand for a ‘golden thread’ of accountability and record keeping that passes through construction to completion. According to Asher, ensuring that these records really are passed on is key: “The downside is information sharing when the owner takes over. The data will still be there but you need the file to

download to get the 360-degree view and the information about the building.” Nevertheless, he predicts developers hoping to meet the government’s housing targets will embrace both modular construction and BIM. Asher says: “Any developer in 2019 that says they’re not interested in this won’t be in business in 10 years’ time. When you get 100 per cent consistency, the profit for everyone will be considerably higher. Why build something that’s going to cost three times what your competitors will charge?” One key issue is scale: modular homes need cranes and space but big or historic cities have small plot sites surrounded by buildings. But the biggest stumbling block is likely to be human nature. We are all different and our homes reflect this. Modular building works for functional developments like care homes and starter apartment blocks, but may not when individual dwellings are involved. The planning system is also grappling with the innovation to avoid local communities looking the same as everywhere else. It’s this issue that led Barratt Developments to ditch plans to develop a modular homes factory. Barratt CEO David Thomas explained later that “having very uniform streets of housing is not what the planners are looking for.” Whether modular building will really become the norm for construction in the UK isn’t immediately clear but the drive for better standards means BIM is going to become a significant part of the industry here – and soon. Asher says: “We’re really excited about the whole thing. It gives people greater control over construction and a wider choice for people who are thinking about the new home they will live in.”

More information Read the new procurement rules on public sector buildings at:

MAR / APR 2019



MAKING A DIFFERENCE He started working on farms with no qualifications but is now teaching plumbing. Tutor David Darbyshire explains why people who find learning difficult shouldn’t fear training


chance piece of advice was to lead to a revelation about why school had been tough for David Darbyshire. He is now a tutor in plumbing and gas building services at Preston College. It wasn’t an obvious choice for him, as he explains. Why did you become a plumber? I left school with no qualifications and I didn’t have a great time there as a kid. There was no way you would have got me through the gates of a college. I worked on farms after I left school. I then started working for a plant hire firm, operating diggers, bulldozers and dump trucks. I worked around various building companies, digging in the trenches for water services and drainage. While working for one of the firms, I would

There was no way you would have got me through the gates of a college 18 P&H ENGINEERING

MAR / APR 2019

go and labour for other trades when it was quiet on plant machinery side. I particularly enjoyed helping the plumbers. How did you train? I decided to bite the bullet and go back to college two days a week as an adult learner. Because I had been working so much with the plumbers on site, I got through NVQ Level Two with ease. I then started working for one of the part-time college lecturers/gas assessors. I completed my Level Three working for him. He had me designing, installing and commissioning complex systems. One of the properties we worked on had 54 radiators, four highline warm air heaters, two big bathrooms and four ensuites. It also had the biggest hot water cylinder I have seen to date. We used two 55kW boilers and designed a low-loss header. I would work out all the heat loss calculations, the pipe sizing and more. I sometimes felt like it was frying my brain, but it all worked out in the end. How did you get into teaching? My college offered me a job as a technician. I did laugh to myself thinking back to when I left school and my thoughts about


How to train an employee with dyslexia Where an individual has disclosed dyslexic difficulties, discuss the format of the training and the accommodations the individual may require in advance of the start of training. Individual dyslexic learners will have different needs. These should be organised at the outset. Some people may have not disclosed their dyslexia and others may not understand that they have dyslexic difficulties. Dyslexic people often take longer to master new tasks, but once mastered they are well and truly learned. *Source: British Dyslexia Association


I understood what some of these young people were feeling about education

feel I got a lot from it. I found out why I didn’t get on with school. The college asked if I would be assessed for dyslexia and dyscalculia. The results showed that I had both. And then they measured my intelligence – and that was high.

Tell us about your current role? education. I decided to take the job. I moved around different colleges to better From the role of technician, I worked my myself, and then I worked for one of the way up to be an instructor-demonstrator outside training providers. I heard about quite quickly and started teaching adults a job at Preston’s College and decided like myself. to apply for it. I also like that Preston’s The college suggested I might College have gone into partnership want to start teaching 16 with JTL apprenticeships. Not a to 19 year olds in full-time We’ve gone back to the college member? education. I thought ‘not a teaching the knowledge, and Email us at bloody chance’. But I did, the training provider doing the to find out how you and found I worked well in onsite assessments. I feel this can sign up this area. I understood what will work well and benefit some of these young people were the students. feeling about education. Some were there because they wanted to be, some Does the CIPHE help? because their parents said they had to go I’m very much behind CIPHE and what to college and to either get out of the house it stands for – bringing up standards in or get a job. I enjoyed the challenge. the industry and the approved contractor scheme. But for me it’s the support it gives What other challenges have you faced? to education and the learners. A good College suggested I did my certificate in number of our learners are now student education – this was one course I really members and can access the CIPHE didn’t want to do, and I honestly don’t website for learning resources.

David’s own college experiences made him able to empathise with the young people he went on to teach


Become a maths master Maths Level 2 is now needed to join the Trailblazer apprentice scheme. For some, that means tackling a subject that seems impossible, but there are plenty of online resources to help. Sometimes, it’s due to bad teaching in early years. Anxiety about maths, coupled with very low selfesteem could also be an issue where a student fears they will fail. Dyscalculia is a deeprooted inability to understand and undertake mathematical calculations. The word describes people whose mathematical problems arise because of a genetic malfunction. You can help an apprentice: Always use a context that the person can relate to and combine this with maths language, symbols or an image to embed the concept. Encourage a growth mindset of “I will be able to do it with practice.” Read more here:

More information Find out more about hiring an apprentice in the Apprentice Portal (under Membership Services) on the CIPHE website

MAR / APR 2019



IT’S TIME FOR THE INDUSTRY TO MAKE CHOICES Tony Gittings of Rinnai looks at the changes that have now become a permanent and developing part of the domestic heating and hot water marketplace – selling direct to the consumer, bypassing the traditional supply route


here is a 15-second iPhone video clip on Twitter at the moment of a big lad, full of muscles, destroying a door inside a building. It takes him two punches, one kick and both his hands to wrench the door right off its hinges. Accompanying this is some very stark copy which talks about how he’d had a job booked in to install a boiler, but he had lost out on price to one of the big, direct-to-consumer online brand names. His fury carries over from the film to the text with some very explicit language. The change in the domestic heating and hot water marketplace is that online buying is now taking over the supply chain. Some boiler manufacturers want to sell more and more direct to the consumer. It is as simple as that. The traditional route to market of: manufacturer – merchant/distributor – installer – end user/consumer is being used less and less. The new,


MAR / APR 2019

direct route may have casualties: the merchants/ distributors, and the installers, who are likely to be hit hardest by the driving down of prices. Boiler producers have traditionally made their margin at the factory gate. Meanwhile, the merchants/ distributors relied on the branded boilers to bring the installer into their sales arena, buy all the materials for an installation and make up the margins on fittings, piping and ancillaries. The percentage of household expenditure that goes through the web has continued to rise and will only increase further in future. This change in consumer spending has been widely reported on in the media. The BBC News website and Retail Gazette have recently run articles on the dramatic demise of shopping centres. Retail Gazette quoted some heavyweight financiers – APAM Asset Management –


In just a few years, the big brands will be aiming everything they’ve got directly at the end user

ABOVE LEFT: Tony Gittings, managing director of Rinnai, says that more firms will need to address the need to sell directly to the consumer

who reckoned that there were as many as 200 shopping centres that were financially on the edge of existence.

Closed shop

APAM estimates that hundreds of shopping centres, worth around £7 billion, are in danger of breaching debt covenants. This number has reportedly increased by 75 per cent since last year. Retail Gazette reported that APAM’s executive director Simon Cooke said this was in part due to lack of reinvestment by private equity owners, with the average shopping centre in the UK having changed hands or been refinanced three-and-a-half years ago. The BBC report quoted Retail Gazette and added in its own experts. Nelson Blackley, from the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre, said the growth of online retail in the UK – on sites such as Amazon – had been faster than in almost any other retail market in the world. The demise of “major anchor stores” like BHS and Toys R Us and the rise of online shopping has caused a “downward spiral”, said Blackley. “If the major anchor store moves out, that has a halo effect on other stores in that centre. It’s a downward spiral and you can’t fill shopping centres with nail bars and vape shops.” Blackley, who is based at Nottingham Trent University’s Nottingham Business School, pointed to research in the Financial Times that suggested about £2.5bn

worth of shopping centres and retail parks are up for sale in towns and cities across the UK.

A fixed-price future? An installer friend of mine, who operates nationally, had this down-to-earth assessment of how this is reflected in our industry: “I am not that old, but I remember Woolworths going out of business in the late ’90s and look at BHS and House of Fraser going down the plughole recently – massive names in retailing. As an installer, I am alive to the change in my customers’ buying habits. You don’t need a PhD in ‘The Blindingly Obvious’ to realise the game has changed. I think it is a matter of concentrating on the new and not wasting time on the old ways. They are gone.” At Rinnai, we made our own decisions several years ago. Then, about 30 per cent of our total sales were through the distribution route to market. That is now around 15 per cent and that is with distributors which are geographically and strategically placed to deliver direct to the installer. It is not difficult to envisage that, in just a few years, the big brand names will be aiming everything they’ve got directly at the end user. But there is a risk that this then ends up being at the expense of the installer, who could have to work on an iron-clad fixed-price basis which may not reflect the true value of the job. We chose our route many years ago and have continued during all those years to fully commit to the installer as our partner – we have stayed connected. Others may try to ‘re-connect.’ But it is the installer that is our future and we see nothing on the horizon likely to change that – after all, all gas fired products must, by law, be installed by a fully qualified Gas Safe person. And that means that the individual must have a high level of expertise. Yes, we deal with specification and consultants, but that is inevitable on commercial sites which require design and engineering services. Engineering savvy – which is what professional installers have…

More information For more information on the RINNAI product range visit

MAR / APR 2019



Technical and professional advice from experts, including pipe sizing, online training and more PAUL HARMER Lead technical consultant CIPHE CEng MIET Paul is a chartered engineer who has consulted and led on many high-profile plumbing and heating industry projects


The CIPHE loading unit methods Paul Harmer explains how to use the CIPHE Plumbing Engineering Services Design Guide to calculate hot and cold water pipe sizing FREQUENCY OF USE When designing or installing hot and cold water pipework in non-residential buildings, it is recommended that the loading unit method within the CIPHE Plumbing Engineering Services Design Guide is used. The guide can be viewed online by members of the CIPHE at The key difference between the CIPHE method and the two sizing methods demonstrated in the last two issues of P&H Engineering is that the CIPHE method gives the designer the choice of

different frequency-of-use factors: low, medium and high. An example of high frequency of use is a theatre at peak times; an example of medium use is a standard office building. This article illustrates how frequency measures affect overall pipe size.

ORIGIN OF UK LOADING UNITS During the 1960s, a past president of the Institute of Plumbing (IOP) called Harry Howick created a loading unit system method which was derived from an idea developed in the USA based on the Hunter fi xture unit. Roy B. Hunter

authored a book called Methods of Estimating Loads in Plumbing Systems, which explains the original theory. Hunter’s method of estimating the load in a plumbing system is based upon assigning a discharge value to each plumbing fi xture outlet when compared with a base appliance of 1 LU. The CIPHE design guide includes a table showing the base data for simultaneous demand (Table 14, not shown), which highlights a wash basin with a frequency of 1,200 seconds as the base appliance, with all other outlets being given a greater value. The data in this table was used to create the single probability graphs in the guide for both copper (figure 1, overleaf) and plastic that enables the user to convert the total LU of the appliances into the simultaneous design flow. This new method from the IOP was included in the 1965 version of the BS CP 310 standard, which was subsequently published in the design guide.

SIMULTANEOUS DEMAND The simultaneous demand is the total number of appliances that are operating

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Single probability graph – copper

The frequency of use is simply the time difference between the use of the appliance

From page 22 of the CIPHE Plumbing Engineering Services Design Guide 200 s m/ 4.0

150 s m/ 3.0

100 80


60 1


s m/ 1.0



/s 5m 0.7



OD mm


OD mm 133

s m/ 0.5


OD mm 108



Flow rate – litres per second


1000 D mO 76m D mO 67m

6 4


D mO 54m

3 2


35mm OD

Velocity 1- 1.5 m/s flow rate 1.35 l/s



D mO 35m


70 50 40 30

D mO 28m

0.8 0.6


100 loading units

D mO 42m

Loading units


s m/

/s .5 m

Flow rate 0.8 l/s

50 loading units



Velocity 1 - 1.5 m/s

D mO 22m



28mm OD


5 D mO 15m



guide, erosion and corrosion can become a risk with velocities in excess of 2.5 m/s. In figure 3, taken from table 17 in the CIPHE design guide, it states the maximum pipework velocities for different locations. By contrast, pipework that is oversized, creating laminar flow regions, may create other water-related risks. In addition to velocity, the available dynamic flow pressure at each outlet needs to be no less than 1 Bar dynamic or 5 Bar static, according to BS EN 806:3, depending upon the manufacturers’ recommendations. Therefore it is critical to firstly ascertain the available pressure at the inlet to the building to ensure that the selected pipe size minimises the pressure being lost through the connecting pipework.

0.10 0.08


0.06 0.05 0.001 0.002






Head loss in metres per metre run

Head Loss per m of pipe 0.08





High frequency use application within a theatre, 100 LU

Type of appliance

at any one time, which can be calculated using probability theory. The factors that have to be taken into account are: capacity of appliance in litres; drawoff flow rate in litres per second (l/s); draw-off period in seconds (time to fill appliance); and frequency of use. These factors differ for different buildings.

medium and high use (figure 2). Low use is deemed to have a time difference of 1,200 seconds (20 minutes) between each use, compared to 10 minutes for medium and five minutes for high use. Low use occurs where there is a single person or small group; high use occurs at buildings such as theatres or buildings used for sports events.



The frequency of use is the time difference between the use of the appliance. The CIPHE loading units method, which differs to BS EN 8558 and BS EN 805, is that you have the option to choose between low,

According to figure 4, when sizing the pipework, it is important to ensure that within any circulation areas, the water velocity does not exceed 1.5 m/s due to the risk of noise – however, according to the

MAR / APR 2019

Table 15, Plumbing Engineering Services Design Guide

Head Loss per m of pipe 0.1

Medium frequency use application within an office, 50 LU


Frequency of use Frequency of use Low


Basin, 15mm sep taps



High 4

Basin, 2 x 8mm mix tap



2 10

Sink, 15mm sep/mix tap



Sink, 20mm sep/mix/tap




Bath, 15mm sep/mix/tap




Bath, 20mm sep/mix/tap




WC Suite, 6-litre cistern



5 6

Shower, 15mm head



Urinal, single bowl/stall




Bidet, 15mm mix tap




Hand Spray, 15mm




Bucket sink, 15mm taps




Slop Hopper, cistern only




Slop Hopper, cistern/taps




Clothes washing m/c, dom




Dishwasher m/c, dom







Pipework velocities


Table 17, page 16 of the CIPHE Plumbing Engineering Services Design Guide

The simple example below has been created for illustration purposes only to demonstrate scenario one, high frequency-of-use theatre (figure 4). You could go through the same process to illustrate scenario two, medium frequency-of-use office building.

Pipe material Noise rating NR


Metal: copper, stainless steel, galvanised (m/s)

Plastic UPVC, ABS, CPV, Pb (m/s)

Service duct, riser, shaft, plant room




Service enclosure, ceiling void




Circulation area, entrance corridor




Seating area, lecture/meeting room








Theatre, cinema




Recording studio






the suitable pipe size, based upon a suitable pipe velocity and maximum pressure loss per metre of pipe. As sizing hot and cold water pipework for any commercial building is a complex calculation, which takes into consideration many other factors, it is critical that a suitably qualified engineer, such as an Incorporated or Chartered Engineer, in this area of expertise is consulted.

Using figure 2, below left (Table 15 from the CIPHE design guide), the designer needs to take care when selecting whether the outlet and building application is suitable for low, medium or high usage. Once the total number of loading units has been attributed to the supply pipe, the designer would then use figure 1 to plot the total number of loading units onto the graph to choose


Simple schematic: High frequency of use (theatre) Including all of the outlets in the installation (example)


LU4 LU4 LU4 LU4 LU4 LU4 LU4 LU4 LU4 LU4 High frequency use within a theatre.

A Total of 25 basins with 100 loading units.

Calculate the total number of loading units for the application and ascertain whether to select low, medium or high frequency of use. Label each outlet with the corresponding loading unit. For the purposes of the illustrative example, scenario one (theatre) uses a loading unit of 4 for each basin; if you were working with scenario two (office building), you would select a loading unit of 2.

STEP 3 SELECT THE REQUIRED PIPE SIZE Taking a look at figure 1, the total number of loading units of 100 (scenario 1) and 50 (scenario 2) have been plotted onto the graph. Figure 5 is a summary of the differences in the selected pipe size for both scenarios.

WHERE NEXT FOR THE INDUSTRY? The CIPHE is a member of the stage 2 LUNA steering group in collaboration with CIBSE researching a new method for pipe sizing hot and cold-water services. The report from stage 1 can be accessed on the CIPHE website at


Differences between high and medium frequency of use

Find out more

Based on the results of plotting each scenario on the graph in figure 1



Flow rate l/s

Pressure loss per metre of pipe Pa



Velocity m/s

Pipe size OD mm

















For further information on how to expand you career as a plumbing engineering designer, contact membership@ciphe. for advice on what qualifications and experience is expected to achieve Engineering Council registration for Engineering Technician (Eng Tech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).

MAR / APR 2019


THE FIX / PIPE SIZING Career progression


Under the CIPHE Code of Professional Standards, members are required to participate in CPD

Assessment: Methods for calculating pipe size Complete this assessment and it could count towards your CIPHE CPD requirement

Your CPD CIPHE members are expected to complete 30 hours of CPD each year. Completion of these assessments can count towards this requirement.

What to do Over the last three issues, we have shown all of the methods in use for calculating pipe size. The following questions cover content from all of them.

1.......................................................... What is the difference between static and dynamic pressure?

.......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... ..........................................................


When changing a hot water system from atmospheric to mains pressure, there are two important factors to identify as the cold water enters the property, can you name them?

.......................................................... .......................................................... ..........................................................

3 ..........................................................

What four factors have been used to calculate simultaneous demand?

.......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... ..........................................................


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What is the minimum dynamic and static pressure required at each outlet according to BS EN 806-3:2006?

.......................................................... .......................................................... ..........................................................


Which British Standard is used to calculate hot and cold water pipework sizing in multiple residential buildings? (please circle correct answer): A. BS 8558:2015 B. BS EN 806-3:2006 C. BS EN 6700:2001 D. BS EN 8000:2008

Answer the questions (using an additional A4 sheet if necessary) and return by scanning and emailing or posting to the address below.

Your details Please complete this form Your name:

CIPHE membership number:


When designing hot and cold water pipe work for non-residential buildings such as a hotel with multiple showers, the frequency factor would be (please circle correct answer): A. Low B. Medium C. High


Why is it important to not exceed a velocity of 1.5m/s within a water pipe in a residential occupied area?

.......................................................... ..........................................................


Identify two risks associated with a water velocity within the pipe work in excess of 2.5m/s?


Return to: CPD Assessment, CIPHE, 64 Station Lane, Hornchurch, Essex RM12 6NB Email: Or visit the members-only area of the CIPHE website,

.......................................................... .......................................................... ..........................................................




TapMedic specifics

is a former CIPHE president who still runs his own business

Fits: 3,968 different cartridges from more than 80 manufacturers Packaging: Buy it in a standard-size case Price: £216 including VAT. Contact: Find out more and order the kit from the website, where you can also purchase replacement cartridges and spindles


Tried & tested TapMedic Former CIPHE president Paul Williams tries out the TapMedic kit


t’s the most common job for plumbers and the one that’s least loved: dripping taps are a frustration for both customers and fitters because the time taken to fix them feels like it outweighs the severity of the issue and the cost of the fault itself. Merchants often won’t stock spares because it isn’t viable and installers frequently don’t have space in a van for them. Until now the solution has been to fit a new tap which unnecessarily adds to the mountain of metal going for scrap. Claiming to solve the problem is the maker of TapMedic, a universal replacement tap cartridge kit. Its creators say it can fix 3,968 different cartridges

What impressed me most was the ease of altering the direction that the tap turns

and covers more than 80 manufacturers. It’s contained in a standard-size case and costs £180 plus VAT. Replacement cartridges and spindles can be bought to top the kit up when needed so that, in theory at least, it will last for years. So, does it work? Paul Williams bears the scars from over 25 years as a plumber and has been putting the kit through its paces over the last two months.

“Then I measured up the spindle in line with the existing tap. After marking it, I cut it to the correct size using the cutting jig provided. I then reassembled the tap and fitted it into the tap body. I tested for leaks and ease of use, and both were great. “The kit has been well thought out. What impressed me most was the ease of altering the direction that the tap turns – you can do this by altering two grub screws with the hexagon key provided.”

ON THE JOB “For those who have seen it at exhibitions or advertised, it looks like just a complicated box of fittings, and that was my initial reaction. However, after reading the instructions and watching the online video, I set about repairing a pair of kitchen taps at a customer’s property. “I started by removing the tap head and finding the correct spindle. There are a number of spindles in the box, each with the spline count on its end. I isolated the water, then removed the cartridge from the tap body and finally aligned this with a cartridge from the kit, to see if they were the same size (by checking that the seat depth was compatible).

THE VERDICT “The customer gets one visit and I don’t have to search the web in my own time for parts so it will pay for itself quickly. It’s worth the money for the selection of spindles and cartridges. A very good kit to have in the van.”

Submit your kit To submit your product for review, contact pandhengineering@

MAR / APR 2019




Moving with the times With more training and product guidance being offered online, are the days of colleges and training centres still valid?


any manufacturers are increasingly providing online tutorials and updates through their websites. So, does that mean traditional learning and training centres providing knowledge for installers have had their day? The industry has a skills shortage and needs new recruits, so could online learning be used to entice new people into the industry? For new recruits, there are 34 colleges across the country delivering training and qualifications approved by the CIPHE – they provide everything that an apprentice needs to learn, from pipework through to water regulations and knowledge of sustainable heating. Jerry Whiteley, the CIPHE’s technical manager, says traditional learning is vital but the move online might be driven by need rather than choice. “The big challenge at the moment is that the

We can see a future where the majority of training is done online 28 P&H ENGINEERING

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Could online training entice new recruits?

tutors qualified to Level 3 are almost impossible to find,” he says. “It’s more theoretical because the skills learning is done at Level 2, but it’s still a problem we’ve got to think about.”

LIFELONG LEARNING Training doesn’t end with passing a qualification. With CIPHE members obliged to gain 30 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) throughout the membership year, it can sometimes be tricky to keep on top of everything that counts towards those precious CPD points. There’s also the other challenge for most people who are self-employed. Any training has both the cost of the course but also the cost of a day not helping customers. Whiteley says: “We can see a future where the majority of training is done online. There are the time constraints – particularly if you are self-employed. There’s also the changing way in which

people want to learn: you only need look at the web to find video tutorials on social media channels.” But if the industry is to drive up standards and give customers the best service possible, staying up to date on the rules and new products is critical. This is where the 19 outlets awarded the status of Industrial Associate Approved Training Centre (IA ATC) by the CIPHE come in. Among them are specialist providers as well as manufacturers. The specialists cover specific issues such as regulatory change; for example, the launch of the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018) last year. This was a major event for the industry and ensuring people are compliant by July this year has led to a lot of people signing up. One of the providers, Steve Willis Training Centres, says: “Demand for courses has been extremely high, and this is likely to continue as the deadline for qualification approaches.”



About Mycareerpath To help track your CPD, the CIPHE has created the Mycareerpath professional development system. Located on the CIPHE website, it’s an online tool for members to plan, evaluate and record professional development. It allows you to record activities and experiences that contribute to your CPD, so that you can build up a body of evidence that can be updated, printed, and sent to colleagues or institutions for online review and comments.

There will always be a need for a real-time test of skills

Manufacturers like Worcester Bosch are also going down this road The other challenge for installers is keeping up with developments from manufacturers. Most now update product guidance online, but many have yet to develop full online tutorials.

WORKING WITH THE INDUSTRY Manufacturers remain committed to real-life learning. Just a few months ago, Baxi launched three courses backed by the CIPHE on combi-boilers, multi-meter training and boiler diagnostics. Each last a day and the firm says heating engineers often attend all three days. They work on live boilers that have been

set up by the trainers with faults for them to identify and put right. Steve Owen, national training manager at Baxi Heating, says: “Without ongoing training, skills would quickly become dated and the quality of installations would suffer. At Baxi, we’re therefore committed to investing in the best trainers and learning facilities possible to help plumbing and heating engineers feel confident when working with Baxi products and to reach their learning and development goals.”

THE ESSENTIAL MIX So, is the online learning revolution likely to pass the industry by? Whiteley says: “We know that it’s the way the government wants to go and that’s why we are going to develop two new digital training products. Manufacturers like Worcester Bosch are also going down this road and we’ve had a lot of discussions with other Industrial Associate Supporters amongst our membership.” But, he says,

even with a move online there will always be a need for a real-time test of skills: “In the future, training centres will more likely become testing centres in the same way as we have driving test centres. But – and it’s an important one – there will always be a need for real-world training because fundamentally people will still have to prove they can do the job, or that they have the knowledge about the appliance they are installing.”

More information To find out more about approved training centres go to the training section of the CIPHE website:

MAR / APR 2019


Your Membership Are you making the most of the services and benefits that you are entitled to as a CIPHE member? TIM SAINTY CIPHE Membership Director Tim looks after the growing CIPHE membership, enhancing services for members and improving communications

Digital drive

ONWARDS, UPWARDS AND ONLINE +44 (0)1708 463102

Having a strong digital presence is vital for driving up standards and that’s why we’re changing


odernisation is at the heart of the industry – it affects everyone, from design teams to installers. Making things better by being faster or more efficient and, most importantly, meeting standards, is what it’s all about – and we have to keep up through continuous improvement. That’s why the CIPHE Board of Trustees has just committed to a significant investment to modernise the Institute, with a particular focus on how we operate digitally. Although the

driving purpose is about how we can deliver more for our members, there will be some challenges along the way. As members, you will most likely not even notice what happens during the first four or five months of the project – it will mostly be about changing the way the CIPHE staff and our volunteers access our systems that we use. For anyone who is deeply interested in this level of detail, it will be about transferring the organisation on to business systems that can better integrate with the ones we use to

We want CPD content available to members when they are on the job provide valuable membership services and industry information. After this, the fun stuff – no, stay with me on this! – can really begin. It will be then that we focus on the direct benefits for members and the wider plumbing and heating community and how you engage with and manage your relationship with us, the industry’s professional body.

What will be our priorities? Our main aim will always be to help our members to be the best that they can be, and that is true of this project too. Some of you will already have seen some of the exciting technical developments that are taking place at


MAR / APR 2019

the CIPHE, with novel and innovative believe this project will be of great ways of delivering CPD and education value in helping us to deliver on already well underway. But that our organisation strategy and content needs a reliable home charitable purpose. Stay and it needs a place where With a project of this size in touch it can be easily accessible there will be pain along Want to keep in touch more frequently? Follow for all members. We want the way and the teamwork our progress via that content available to required to deliver it will Twitter @CIPHE members when they are on be significant. I will use this the job, too. column to provide updates on As well as that, we want to progress throughout the year and raise the profile of the CIPHE and our ask that you please bear with us while members. Making the CIPHE a more we complete this work. Finally, please valuable resource for customers so they promise me that you won’t tell my understand better who the Institute colleagues it was my idea… is and why they benefit from having a member working for them will be A new website for P&H crucial. Showcasing the achievements, Engineering competence and professionalism of our While we’re on the subject of digital members through our find-a-plumber developments for CIPHE, it is great to business directory will all help to announce that April will see the launch strengthen our proposition and the of a new digital home for content that is value of what it means to be a member published in P&H Engineering magazine. of the CIPHE. Providing extra benefits for readers, The CIPHE has a growing contributors and advertisers, this site membership right across the world, will replace the online page-turner that and the individuals within it have we have previously relied upon. Look out an ever-increasing range of skills and for announcements from us nearer the responsibilities. All of us at the CIPHE date and email me with any enquiries.


Changing times Some big developments are coming that will benefit you: Enhanced collaboration with the hundreds of manufacturers, merchants, colleges and organisations that already support the CIPHE with a view to deliver a wider set of services for members. Additional support for our volunteers and representatives at a branch level, including enabling a wider distribution of events and content that members contribute towards. Integration with systems that will help to personalise user experience when using the CIPHE website. Recognition that the majority of our members will access the website via a computer that travels in their pocket rather than one that sits on their desk, so digital solutions will respond accordingly. Provision of simple opportunities to join, upgrade and renew membership via the CIPHE website, replacing many of the paper-based systems that we currently depend upon.

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MAR / APR 2019

0203 859 7100


Getting it right from the start Which? Trusted Traders has teamed up with the CIPHE to help you provide great service to customers. We’re starting with advice on handling complaints


tarting a job on the right footing always helps. It’s a good idea to give customers a copy of your terms and conditions before the start of any job, so they know what to expect from you. Keeping the channels of communication open during a project can often prevent problems turning into Special complaints. Try to deal offer! with your customer CIPHE members get 50% directly – either face to off the first six months of a Which? Trusted Trader face or over the phone. endorsement!

procedure, what happens next and the timelines involved. Keep written records. Make a written note of the complaint in a complaints log, then acknowledge the complaint to your customer in writing and offer formal response and, where possible, agree a course of action to resolve the problem.

Dealing with complaints All Which? Trusted Traders are obliged to try If you receive a written complaint to rectify works that are not up to scratch – via email or letter – what is the best way to deal with it? Address the issue as soon as possible. If your customer is unhappy, further delay will only increase their irritation. Contact your customer and try to arrange a meeting to discuss the issue and agree a resolution. Encourage your customer to be as specific as possible about the exact nature of the complaint and how

Customers may find it awkward to raise complaints and they rely on you to make the process run smoothly they want you to resolve it. In turn, you need to be as specific as possible about what you will do to address it, including, if required, what remedial work will take place, when and what will be involved. All this needs to be put in writing. Remain polite and professional at all times. Customers may find it awkward to raise complaints and they rely on you to make the process run smoothly. Ensure they understand your complaints

Listen to what your customer is saying. Sometimes the source of their complaint will be obvious, sometimes they may have trouble articulating exactly what they need from you and you will need to help them reach a resolution. Remember, as a member of the CIPHE you already commit to a Code of Professional Standards. If you are genuinely unable to resolve an issue with a customer you can always refer them to us. A complaint can be independently assessed by CIPHE technical experts and a ruling on the complaint can be made. See complaints-procedure/.

Find out more The Which? Trusted Trader logo is one more way of telling customers they can be confident of receiving a good service from a reputable business. To find out more about how an endorsement from Which? can benefit you as a CIPHE member, call 0117 4566032 or visit

MAR / APR 2019



Arthur Li The CIPHE’s Hong Kong chairman reveals how his childhood led him to engineering and how practice builds experience



What interests you about the industry?



It is very important for me to keep refreshing my mind – when I am trying to develop a system, solving engineering problems and learning new technologies.



My whole career. I would say I have never stopped improving with the aim of achieving more stand-out moments in my career. This comes with successful projects and time. Over the past 30 years, I have been involved, in different roles, in developing thermal systems for prominent projects – from hands-on design to consultation and supervision. My team grows with our accumulation of experience and knowledge in building steam plants, hot water systems and air heating systems. We give extended guarantee periods up to 10 years because we are confident in the quality of our work.

How did you get into it?


After graduating from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, I entered the industry directly. There wasn’t even a moment of hesitation.


Can you explain how you got into your current role?


Through practising in engineering. I got used to solving the problems of systems, whether during the design stage or after building. I like to study systems and find out their limitations and advantages, especially paying attention to the thermal section. This led me to help solving design difficulties or running problems of thermal systems. Although these might


This uni was Li’s springboard into the industry

not have got me money or contracts, they improved my engineering sense and increased my career opportunities.

and learn from operators and users. It is often feedback that improves problem solving and technical knowhow.




What’s the best thing you’ve learned?

In the engineering industry, we always need to listen to the clients



When I was a child, I got used to getting broken or failed toys. I repaired them for playing. This built my interest in solving engineering problems, and later led me to studying Mechanical Engineering.


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Would you do it all over again?


Yes. Nowadays I like talking to people of all ages and careers to ensure my thinking is stimulated and that I can learn from others as much as I hope to teach them.

Share your story Would you like to appear on our Q&A page? Drop a line to editor Chris Smith pandhengineering@

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P&H Engineering March/April 2019  

P&H Engineering March/April 2019  

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