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How to help your customers prepare for winter

The benefits of hiring an apprentice, and how to get it right

Turn your product ideas into real-world plumbing solutions

RAISING THE STANDARDS Why we should welcome strengthened regulations


Welcome If plumbing and heating could be summed up in one statement it might be ‘cause and effect’. Whether it’s a frozen pipe damaging a property or a new ventilation unit that saves a company energy costs, every action has an impact. So, if you’re not alarmed at the talk from government ministers about cutting regulations, you should be. The CIPHE has been arguing against making it easier for rogue traders for a long time. The Hackitt inquiry wants proportionate, effective regulation to prevent another Grenfell – not fewer laws. On behalf of you, our members, we are raising our concerns about this with ministers. In this issue we’re looking at the rule changes you need to be further aware of and how to comply. The winter run-up is nearly with us, so we’re also highlighting the jobs customers will be asking about during the autumn so you can help them get through the next cold spell. From fighting the cause to helping customers, there’s plenty here to enable you to be effective.



20 25 THE FIX Paul Harmer explains how to turn your product ideas into reality 30 Multi-generational bathrooms Advice from Mira on accessible showers 33 Squat toilets Installing floor-level toilets correctly

14 Raising the standards Why our industry should welcome tighter regulations – and the newest changes you need to know about

18 You’re hired! Expert advice about hiring and working with apprentices

34 Your membership

20 Ready for the rush?

37 Comment

Early autumn is a busy time of year for domestic jobs as customers prepare for winter. Here’s how to help them

The importance of ongoing training


to becoming a works manager

Find peace of mind

38 Q&A: Richard Waite ...on moving from being ‘on the tools’

5 From the CEO


The CIPHE is taking the government to task to ensure standards are met

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 Why our industry should fight for better regulation 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.

SEP / OCT 2019



Regulation is not enough to improve industry standards

KEVIN WELLMAN Chief executive officer

Westminster fails yet again to understand how to get safety right; it’s not just about regulation


DEFRA Defra also has another consultation out for comment, ‘Consultation on measures to reduce personal water use’, and we would welcome your input. The consultation closes on 11 October; further information is available via:

his year, I corresponded with I had argued the case for CPD across Stay in The Rt Hon Matt Hancock the industry: he in turn suggested touch MP, Secretary of State for that The Management of Health and Got an opinion on an Health and Social Care, regarding the Safety at Work Regulations 1999 are industry issue? Join in the conversation on government’s report ‘Prevention is sufficient, especially as Section 13 Twitter @CIPHE better than cure’. I advised him this makes clear reference to training ‘being was something the CIPHE had promoted repeated periodically where appropriate’ for many years. (both in terms of installation and Health & Having brought his attention to the increasing Safety, e.g. temperature relief valves). number of incidents of hot water scalding and I’m now trying to ascertain how many people Legionnaires’ disease, he requested further have been prosecuted under the Regulation for information. It was therefore disappointing when failing to undertake the safety-related training in his department responded to my follow-up letter respect of TMVs, temperature and pressure relief to say he was too busy to meet and the issues I had valves. I suspect that I know what I will find. raised were not a matter for him. They suggested I approach the Ministry of Housing, Communities Consulting on safety and Local Government, as it is a housing issue. Thank you to members who submitted comments I duly approached The Rt Hon James Brokenshire towards the consultation ‘Building a Safer Future: MP – the then Communities Secretary – to raise Proposals for reform of the building safety concerns about plumbing-related problems that regulatory system’. We have submitted our response cause 40-50 deaths each year. Brokenshire replied and await the government’s findings. saying that issues of competence are a matter for A response to another consultation, namely Trading Standards and requirements are already ‘ECO3: Improving consumer protection’, has also in place to minimise ‘rogue traders’ through the been submitted. I expressed concern that the Competent Persons Scheme. government seems to be putting its eggs in one basket in recommending a preferred supplier to oversee the ECO scheme. This is TrustMark which, historically, has relied on trade associations to support it. I was also alarmed that those wishing to submit comments were expected to purchase PAS2035 for the princely sum of £195. There should be no financial barrier to responding to a government consultation if government really is seeking a broad spectrum of opinion.

Incidents of hot water scalding are on the rise

SEP / OCT 2019



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

All that’s happening in plumbing and heating The prime minister has indicated he will review regulations



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



The former chief executive of Syco, pop mogul Simon Cowell’s entertainment group, is the top speaker at the Bathroom Manufacturers Association’s annual conference. Ellis Watson, who has also led some of the UK’s top media firms and overhauled US Greyhound Bus operations, will open the event on 8 October at the Carden Park Hotel, Cheshire. For more details and to book a place call 01782 631619 or email bandkconf

The government has been urged to rethink pledges to cut regulations


oncerns were raised after new prime minister Boris Johnson signalled he would cut red tape in a bid to boost business. The commitments were made during his leadership campaign and in his first policy speech to industry leaders in Manchester during the summer. In that speech, Johnson committed to build more homes and pinpointed building rules as problem, saying: “We will review everything – including planning regulations.” Housing is the top domestic priority for the new ministerial team and advisers with a commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year.

It’s clear cutting regulations is not the answer 6 P&H ENGINEERING

SEPT / OCT 2019

The key figure helping Johnson is Sir Edward Lister, who is the current chair of the housing regulator Homes England with responsibility for increasing housing building. But with a potential general election on the horizon, fears are mounting that a party manifesto would include a commitment to reduce planning and building rules in a bid to build more homes. CIPHE chief executive officer Kevin Wellman said safety and quality would suffer as a result: “Decades of corner-cutting in the building industry have left thousands of people living at risk in poor-quality homes and the Grenfell fire tragedy claimed 72 lives. Cutting regulations and increasing risk for new builds is not the answer.” See more on raising standards, page 14


ALBON TAKES THE HELM AT HSE The workplace safety watchdog has a new chief executive. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed current inspector general and chief executive of the Insolvency Service, Sarah Albon, will join the organisation this month. She is replacing acting chief executive David Snowball who has held the post since June 2018. Albon’s previous roles include director posts with Ministry of Justice. Albon said: “My focus will be on continuing to deliver improvements in health and safety as we move into a future with new challenges, technologies and opportunities.”


THE BIG CHILL How to prepare as the industry approaches our busiest time of year Page 20


Saniflo’s seaside success


E-school to boost installer training AN ONLINE LEARNING tool has been launched by Salamander to improve product knowledge and best practice. Training modules have been created for installers, students and merchants. Developed in conjunction with the CIPHE, the training courses can be accessed on a website or through Salamander’s installer hub. The e-School categories feature modules such as Gravity Systems and Solutions, EVE Product Training, and HomeBoost Product Training.

The new online learning tool includes games and technical videos

By signing up to their free Installer Hub, installers can earn points for each pump installed, which can be exchanged for high-street vouchers. Installers can also opt to feature on their Installer Map by registering their training module scores, helping to boost visibility to homeowners. Tim Sainty, CIPHE membership director, said: “Training is increasingly being provided online and the Salamander e-School is a valuable tool for installers.” Find out more at www.


Bristan’s new installer community INSTALLERS CAN NOW get exclusive access to products and expertise from the tap and shower specialist Bristan with the launch of

its ‘On Tap’ installer community. Members can communicate with other plumbers plus receive dedicated customer services from Bristan. They also have access to

the latest product information and product training, and can enter exclusive prize draws and giveaways. Sign up at www.

SECOND QUEEN’S AWARD FOR MIRA THE MIRA Sport Max shower has earned Cheltenham-based company Mira a second Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Mira received its first accolade in 2017 for its Flight Safe anti-slip shower tray. This second award recognises the Sport Max model’s patented design, which boosts water flow by 30% without using more water.

An off-site manufactured shower system has been chosen for a seaside development. Saniflo’s Kinedo shower cubicle was picked by Lancashire-based Tustin Developments’ project in Lytham St Ann’s to transform a former tax office into a block of 36 luxury apartments. Tustin Developments’ owner, Andrew Roberts, said: “There is a premium to pay [for these products] but this is earned back quickly thanks to the swift installation process.” Visit


Flame reaches further Flame Heating Group has opened its third North East bathroom showroom. The heating and plumbing merchant has expanded with a new development on Riverside Industrial Estate, Sunderland. Glenn Neal, investor director of the Sunderland branch, said: “Our new bathroom showroom will support our growth and allow us to enter new markets and serve even more customers on Wearside.”


New pipe system Pipe manufacturer Pegler has announced a new addition to its range. A new multilayer pipe system, VSH MultiPress, incorporates an aluminium layer with additional inner and outer layers of polythene (PE-X) to enhance resistance to loads generated by internal pressure and high temperature. Amy French, Pegler product manager, said: “We really are the only UK leading manufacturer with a complementing product portfolio that can make any plumbing and HVAC system truly integrated.”

SEPT / OCT 2019



NEWS IN BRIEF Technology

E.ON joins blockchain data revolution Energy giant E.ON has revealed a miniature IT device for smart home applications. The firm has registered a patent for a household data unit that will enable its customers to sell their own data to analytics companies. The device, the size of a £5 note, collects data from smart home technology and then allows customers to decide if they want to sell it. Secure encryption and blockchain technology prevents data from being stolen or manipulated. E.ON would act as an intermediary in any sale. The device could go on sale as early as next year.


Hotel trends set new Roman range Leading international shower designer and manufacturer, Roman, has introduced polished nickel as a new colour option. The new addition is focused on their frameless 8mm Liberty collection of hinged and sliding doors. The collection includes sliding doors with the choice of barrier-free entry. David Osborne, managing director of Roman, said: “Hotel trends filter down into retail and so we are introducing the most popular metal finishes as standard options. We have more colour options planned to launch towards the end 2019 and throughout 2020.”


SEPT / OCT 2019

Find out more Read more on water safety standards in our feature on p16

Selco’s Howard Luft says existing branches are a priority


Retail plumbing suppliers surviving high street shocks HIGH STREET RETAIL suppliers are defying the downturn with fresh investment. Selco Builders Warehouse has announced a £10m branch investment programme to modernise local stores and the owner of Homebase has taken over 44 Bathstore outlets. Selco will focus its investment on long-standing branches in Birmingham, Reading and London. The group is also looking to grow its network of 66 stores. Howard Luft, Selco chief executive officer, said: “We are determined to ensure that our existing branches remain a key priority and it is important we bring them in line with the modern standards tradespeople associate with new Selco outlets.” Hilco Capital, owner of the

Our existing branches remain a key priority

Homebase chain announced it had acquired 44 branches of Bathstore after the firm went into receivership. A further 100 stores were closed as part of the deal but the firm also revealed its work to turn around the Homebase brand was succeeding. The firm has reduced costs at Homebase by £34m and reduced stock losses by 30% year-on-year. Earnings before tax have improved by £140m in the first six months, according to Hilco. Damian McGloughlin, chief executive of Homebase, said: “We are delighted to welcome Bathstore into our family. With a reputation for quality service and excellent products, Bathstore complements Homebase’s reinvigorated range. “Since the launch of our turn around plan just over 12 months ago, we have been focusing on reintroducing the popular ranges and products that our customers have been crying out for.”


HIRE CALLING Clearing up the myths around taking on a plumbing and heating apprentice Page 18



Court fines firm for unsafe gas work


A BUILDING FIRM has been fined for carrying out work that led to gas escapes. EGP Building Services Ltd was fined after work carried out at the Bellway Homes development in Heathcote Park, Warwickshire between August 2016 and May 2018 was found to be sub-standard. Coventry Magistrates Court heard that fires were reported at two occupied properties. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found more than 60 properties were assessed as being at immediate risk of fire or explosion. Gas hob installation work had been carried out by fitters who were either not gas safe registered or were working outside the boundaries of their registration.

Gas hob installation was carried out by unqualified fitters

There was also no planning, supervising and monitoring to ensure work met standards. The Leicester-based firm admitted breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety etc. Act 1974 and was fined £280,000 with costs of £918. HSE inspector Helen Chesworth said: “EGP Building Services Limited exposed members of the public to the risk of serious injury or death through unsafe gas work and it was fortunate that no one was harmed. “Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous, so it is vital that this is only undertaken by trained and competent engineers who are registered with Gas Safe Register.”


P&HE launches new web portal THE LATEST CIPHE updates and advice for the plumbing and heating industry will soon be available online. P&H Engineering is launching a new website this month where you can find a carefully curated mix of technical information, inspiring stories, educational

updates and CPD learning. It will tackle key issues including safety, planning, best practice and industry developments. You’ll find advice to help registered plumbing and heating engineers meet new challenges. CIPHE membership director Tim Sainty

Cambridgeshire Bathrooms has opened a showroom at a second location. The bathroom design and supply service has opened a unit at The Lakes Business Park in Fenstanton after securing a funding package from Natwest. The firm opened its first outlet in Pampisford more than 15 years ago and the 6,000-sq-ft space has created six jobs bringing total headcount to 17 people. James Cardwell, director and owner, said: “This new launch will allow us to reach new customers and expand our team by welcoming six new employees.”


CONSTRUCTION LEADERS CALL FOR INSOLVENCY ACTION Construction industry leaders have warned weak balance sheets among big UK contractors have created a major risk for supply chains. Members of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group warned trade insurers are refusing to provide cover, leaving smaller firms at risk of insolvency. Rudi Klein, the SEC Group chief executive said: “The government must now act to adopt MP’s Peter Aldous Bill, already in Parliament, that protects monies from upstream insolvencies.”


MILLION-POUND SHOWROOM said: “This is a huge step forward. I am sure members will find the new website useful and informative.” www.pandh

Bathroom manufacturer Ideal Standard International has spent £1m on its new London showroom, the London Design and Specification Centre, which opened in July. “This showroom, which allows specifiers, designers and architects to share ideas, is a step towards better understanding the needs of today and the demands of tomorrow,” said Stephen Ewer, Ideal Standard’s UK managing director.

SEPT / OCT 2019



GENERATION GAME Adapting homes for older people and multigenerational living Page 30



Ofwat limits finances of big water firms The water regulator is set to tighten the governance rules to limit money being moved to parent companies. Ofwat announced it is consulting on prohibiting by licence practices such as water firms making loans to parent companies unless it has been signed off by the watchdog. The regulator said firms “will have to clearly show how the arrangements serve customers’ interests or they will be blocked”.

Fraudster handed £59k fine after failing to install bathrooms A ROGUE TRADER has been jailed and fined after failing to install dozens of bathrooms and kitchens. Adahm Sheikh, who had been trading under the names Home Improvement World and Amazing Kitchens from 2013-16, was found guilty after an investigation by Trading Standards officers. He had been selling in the foyer of Tesco stores across London and netted sales of £130,000. He had used fake testimonials on his website taken from other companies. More than 40 complainants said he had failed to deliver the agreed work or done nothing at all. Sheikh was given a 98-week prison sentence, suspended for two

years and ordered to complete 150 hours community service. He was also ordered to pay Brent & Harrow Trading Standards costs of £59,354 and a statutory charge of £100. Cllr Varsha Parmar, Harrow Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “Thanks to joint work from our Trading Standards officers and the national Trading Standards officers Sheikh’s criminal venture has come to an end. This is what we do to rogue traders, we make sure they pay for their crime.”

The trader had more than 40 complainants

This is what we do to rogue traders, we make sure they pay for their crime


Public urged to cut water use


Lightning strike risk to showers, Met Office warns The Met Office has warned the public to avoid taking a shower during thunder storms. The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning last month and advice for homeowners about what to do during a storm. The Met Office advised: “Don’t take a shower. For the same reason you should avoid taps and sinks, a bolt can travel through water pipes and electrify you.”


SEPT / OCT 2019

WATER COMPANIES, campaigners and the Environment Agency have launched a campaign to cut water consumption. The Love Water campaign, backed by more than 40 environmental groups, called for the public to reduce their water use, which currently is

150 litres per day. The campaign will feature events and initiatives, such as beach and river cleanups and water saving projects. Among campaign points was highlighting the £100m spent by the industry on clearing blockages caused by items like wet wipes

and cooking fat. Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency said: “The campaign will also work with industry, water companies and other regulators in the longer-term to cut down on wastage.” LoveWaterUK


NEWS IN BRIEF Manufacturing

Worcester gets 5G technology Worcester Bosch has become the first firm in the UK to have a factory using 5G technology. Production lines and manufacturing systems are using the faster connectivity to achieve a 1% improvement in productivity, according to early feedback from tests.

There have been 22 reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease in London this year


A very slippery customer Met Police officers faced an unusual adversary after a homeowner called them to remove a snake from their boiler. The non-venomous Royal Python is now being cared for by the RSPCA, whilst a public appeal to reunite it with its owner has been issued.


Vasco turns up the heat Radiator maker Vasco is promoting updates and new models to its range. The firm is focusing its autumn sales around new electric models of Mono Beams and Oni plus the awardwinning Mono Beams and Mono Bryce aluminium models. Vasco has also updated colours and installation options for other models. Visit

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

Health officials investigate Legionella outbreaks Investigations have been launched into outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease across the country. Health officials in London were called in to investigate an outbreak at the famous Dolphin Square housing block in Westminster, which is home to a number of MPs. It was the second case in three months at the address, where residents had suffered respiratory illness linked to the Legionella bacteria. Public Health England (PHE) said there had been 22 cases in London alone since the start of the year. PHE investigators also confirmed that a spa in Bournemouth was the source of an outbreak that hospitalised nine people. More than 40 people were given health tests after visiting Healax Salt Caves in Bournemouth.

These cases justify our concern at the lack of training about Legionella”

01708 463116


Public health

SEPT / OCT 2019

Dr Fiona Neeley from PHE said: “Thankfully, in all cases of illness that have been reported to Public Health England to date, those affected are now recovering from their illness. There are no ongoing risks to health for the wider population in relation to this incident.” Officials have also now signed off a London school following concerns of the risk of an outbreak. Inspectors have said they are now satisfied with The Bridge Secondary School in Tufnell Park, London after the bacteria was found in the water supply for sports facilities. A Health and Safety Executive spokesperson said: “Following an inspection by HSE, immediate measures were taken by the school to isolate the potentially at risk parts of its hot and cold water system.” CIPHE chief executive officer Kevin Wellman said: “These cases justify our concern at the lack of training and awareness about the dangers of Legionella. It’s time the government took action.”

Illustrations: Adam Gale

R AISING THE S TANDARDS A raft of new rules are impacting on the industry. What’s changed and why does red tape matter? We find out more…


central pledge of the new prime minister was a commitment to cut red tape. That business is being held back by a raft of rules created by bureaucrats is a familiar claim, but does it really stand up to scrutiny? There certainly are enough rules to go round: from electrics to building regulations, there have been plenty of changes to keep up with. Countering this is the pace of technology that is driving change and the need for the construction industry to improve quality. Building


SEP / OCT 2019

standards were highlighted again this summer after a fire at a block of flats in Barking, East London. Some insurers now refuse to cover the liability of some building inspectors and this could become an issue for installers. Why does the industry need to back rules that add time and expense to the job? CIPHE chief executive officer Kevin Wellman says: “We can either complain about each new update that we need to think about, or see it as a tool to keep us above the rogue traders. Increasingly,

customers need to prove for insurance that they are compliant, whether that’s a domestic or commercial job. “Professionalism is based on knowledge and skills, and being aware of standards is a part of that. The industry is changing and the CIPHE can engage to make regulation better but just complaining about red tape undermines our industry and its professionalism.” Not every regulation update works with every part of the construction industry, and there are always tensions


We can either complain or see it as a tool to keep us above the rogue traders when the rule books are changed. An obvious example is the row over PAS 2035, the new demand for energy efficiency in older buildings. Martyn Bridges, director of technical communication and product management at Worcester Bosch, was vocal about the new certification rules – specifically the lack of consultation with the people who have to install products. He says: “This new publicly available standard was not authored by anybody from our industry. It is the certification market that stands to gain from putting the extra compliance in place, not installers or even end users.”

Negative implications Martyn argues: “Aside from making the process longer and more complicated for installers, who have been doing this job for years and understand retrofitting like the back of their hand, it is the homeowners who will be most affected. You can imagine that with two more parties involved, the costs for installing a new boiler will go up – and it will be coming out of the homeowner’s pocket. “Overall, this is another example of a regulation body that hasn’t approached the industry it will directly affect for advice and discussions.” His argument points to a wider problem of how the UK has been approaching building regulations. The Hackitt inquiry into building industry rules following the Grenfell fire found a regulatory system that was complex and not joined up. Hackitt recommended a system that was proportionate and met modern demands. The government accepted the proposals in full.

Industry leaders say the need to update the industry’s regulations is long overdue. Wellman says: “In some ways, the electrical regulations system is far better. For us, the water regulations are 20 years old. There’s a very small number of water inspectors now and they can’t have oversight of every installation.” With a new British government looking at making changes to planning and building regulations, what should ministers focus on?

Compliance issues The Hackitt inquiry raised the critical issue of enforcement and Wellman agrees that this has been the other major failing. There is little awareness about why regulations need to change or the penalties for non-compliance. Wellman says: “Incredibly, there are parts of the construction industry where there are no threats of enforcement so they don’t comply with the rules. It’s like speeding: if we’re going to have standards, they need to be enforced: public trust can only be garnered when people can see that it happens.” The British Standards Institute, which is the leading international organisation driving standards in every industry, explains the benefits of having regulations. A spokesman for BSI tells P&H: “Standards are an agreed way of doing something. They are a statement of good practice, designed to make things

Standards then and now


saw the establishment of the British Standards Institution, the first international standards body. One early standard reduced the number of sizes of tramway rails.


standards were published in the last year

better, safer and more efficient. They can cover a huge range of organisational activities, from making a product to delivering a service or creating a process. Using standards offers a wide range of benefits: they can help organisations to improve performance and manage risks, operate in a more efficient and sustainable way, speed up innovation, increase trade and build customer trust.” The Building Research Establishment (BRE), which leads on design and development innovation in the UK, is also clear. It argues that quality has to improve and standards are the only way to achieve this. Niall Trafford, the BRE’s chief executive officer, says: “We must build well. Over the years we thought we had developed an enviable reputation for standards in the UK. The truth was rather more nuanced, as Grenfell showed. The recently produced report by Dame Judith Hackitt left nobody under the illusion that the current system does not require major attention and revision.” In response to the Grenfell fire, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government set up the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG), led by Dame Hackitt, to improve standards. It reported on progress this summer and made clear its direction of travel – red tape is here to stay. The ISSG says: “It is encouraging that parts of industry are raising standards and working collaboratively, however there is much more to do. It will be important to ensure that standards are raised across industry.” There is also the opportunity for the industry to reassert its position as a skilled trade. “Building safety and climate change are the two top issues that the public want to see action on,” asserts Kevin Wellman. “Both are critical issues for all our futures – it is about far more than box-ticking in our everyday roles. Being a leading voice in making sure we have the standards that protect lives and the planet is vital. We have to be the change we want to see.”

SEP / OCT 2019




STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE We look at some of the key changes already under way or coming soon. What are the most recent updates and what do you need to do? Electrical systems The drive for energy efficiency has resulted in an overhaul of IET regulations, which came into force at the beginning of the year. The new BS7671:2018 has led to new recommendations for the design, construction and assembly of electrical systems to achieve optimum energy efficiency. It also demands the use of approved parts in assemblies. The problem: customers are largely unaware of the change and won’t know about approved parts being used. Installers will need to check electrical certificates for compliance and explain to customers why an existing installation may need to change, as well as check existing supplies and spares as they may no longer be compliant. The same applies to parts supplied by customers.

Building regulations on energy The Standard Assessment Procedure covering energy calculations has been updated as SAP 10. The regulations are updated every four years and the rules are currently undergoing major changes. The latest set of updates has been delayed due to the upheaval in central government, but there have been indicators about the big changes that are coming. The main focus of contention has been around electric CO2 emissions. Any building that has purely electric heat generation is difficult to get through the process because targets are calculated mainly on gas. There are also changes to thermal bridging and overheating risk. The impact of opening a window to improve ventilation has been reduced.


SEP / OCT 2019

The presumption that heating changes for homes at weekends has altered, as have light energy calculations. With a demand that gas use is reduced to meet emission targets, this is one set of rules that is set to change.

The objective was to achieve an integrated and consistent approach to facilities management. It is part of BSI’s wider Built Environment offering and is based on the international standard ISO 41001 for facility management systems. Central heating systems To achieve certification to the The media has wrongly claimed that standard, organisations undergo an central heating systems do not need to be independent assessment, including flushed out to comply with regulations. a rigorous on-site audit covering all It’s not a recent change but customer the requirements. knowledge based on website Ahmad Alkhatib, assurance research may be inaccurate. business development Did you The installer has a choice director at BSI, explains: know? of available cleaning “This certification scheme Until SAP 10 comes into methodologies that will helps organisations to force, SAP 2012 must still be used for Building meet the requirements of recognise the scope of their Regulations the Building Regulations for responsibilities and create a compliance England and Wales, Part L., 2006. management structure, with appropriate resources to fulfil the Facilities management needs of stakeholders.” This summer, BSI launched a If you’re part of a facilities certification scheme with supporting management team, check with your training courses to help organisations training lead about courses. If you are develop, implement and maintain the lead, it’s time to consider booking a effective facilities management across compliance inspection. all their operations.

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Professionalism is based on knowledge and skills, and being aware of standards is part of that

The digital planning and project oversight system has been in use for over 20 years. Users are already working with software that goes from drawing board to site. There is now a standard, the BSI BIM Level 2 Kitemark, for those using it. The people who have it can demonstrate that their infrastructure or building projects meet the requirements of the UK government’s BIM Level 2 condition of contract. It also proves that

Standards are an agreed way of doing something. They are a statement of good practice they have taken the necessary measures to manage the security risks that affect a built asset in whole or in part, asset data and information. Anne Kemp, professional head of BIM at Atkins and ISO Convenor for the ISO 19650 series of standards, says: “The BSI Kitemark is an important line in the sand for shifting organisations into a mindset of adopting consistent and demonstrable workflows for BIM.” If your firm is about to bid for government work or a contract with some of the big developers, they will need to prove they are up to date and can become embedded in the systems of the other contractors on the project.

Major accidents at work The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH) was created after the Buncefield oil depot explosion, to cover operators working on major sites handling hazardous materials. It includes a requirement for the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to review them after five years. That review is now underway and the industry is expected to have an input. The HSE states: “The purpose of the review is to see if the operators have met their objectives. The HSE needs to hear from COMAH-site operators and others involved in COMAH, including emergency planners and responders.” The online COMAH forum set up by the HSE is one way to do this, as well as sharing your feedback with the CIPHE.

Changes in Scotland and Wales The influence of devolved government is beginning to impact on building regulations. Scotland has overhauled its building regulations, largely in response to Grenfell. The revised building standards handbook applies from October 2019 in Scotland. Key changes include improved standards to assist people with disabilities. Public toilets must now incorporate provision for changing facilities to help families. The Welsh government has announced a review of its building regulations to reduce carbon emissions and improve fire safety. Scotland and Wales both now have in law the demand for sprinkler systems to be fitted in buildings.

More information IET electrical rules:

BEAMA have published a new Technical Bulletin on why low-voltage assemblies must comply with BS EN 61439. This bulletin explains the legal obligations for manufacturers and purchasers:

Facilities management:

BIM updates:

SAP 10:

SEP / OCT 2019



Taking on an apprentice can be advantageous for the individual and for the business that they work for

YOU’RE HIRED! Apprenticeships are in demand. CIPHE technical manager Jerry Whiteley clears up the myths about hiring and shares advice for employers


career in the heating and plumbing industry is an attractive option and an apprenticeship can give a trainee a crucial foot on the ladder. Taking on an apprentice is a big commitment, though, and there is a lot for an employer to think about.

Let’s end the myth The purpose of recruiting an apprentice in the first place is to help your business grow. Excellent training will enable you to develop staff tailored to your specific business needs. You and the apprentice should be thinking about how to maximise their skills and knowledge in order to grow your business, and planning for further continual development. That’s a working relationship that will move you forward and help you to retain the employee on a long-term basis. Employers with a wage bill over £3m each year pay the apprenticeship levy. Non-levy paying employers share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with government. You pay five per cent towards the cost of


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training, while the government pays the rest.

Career change It typically takes about four years to achieve Level 3 qualifications from scratch. Traditionally, an apprentice was someone aged between 16 and 18, recruited as a school leaver, but there’s no age limit for apprentices. Later-life learners who want to change career can bring valuable experience to the heating and plumbing industry. Our industry sadly still suffers from stereotyping and male dominance: female applicants have been overlooked for far too long. There are many advantages to taking on a female apprentice, not least the preference of some customers for a female member of staff to be present in their premises.

Try before you hire Have you thought about a trial period or work experience as a starting point? Many young people who attend college will be required to complete a work experience placement as part of their course. An employer can encourage

someone to pursue a career they may not have considered. After a few weeks, you will both know if there is potential.

Travel Consider whether the apprentice will be able to travel safely and in good time to the locations you need them to go to. Reconsider if the journey is likely to be too long and arduous, and remember you have a duty of care. An apprentice’s salary is often below minimum wage and if someone is spending most of their earnings on travel costs, the long-term outcome may well not be a happy one.

Training An apprentice will probably go to a college or a training provider at least one day a week. You not only have to pay them for this day, but also take responsibility for their education through shared monitoring and ensuring each stage of learning is put into practice. Don’t leave things to the local college and then find out too late that an apprentice is not progressing as they should. The new Plumbing & Domestic Heating

FEATURE / APPRENTICESHIPS Looking for an apprentice? Email Tim Sainty (tims@ to talk about CIPHE’s trainee members looking for opportunities

Two learning pathways 1. Plumbing Level 3 and a gas qualified outcome. This will require the person to be trained in a range of domestic plumbing and heating skills and also to work alongside a Gas Safe Registered engineer who holds at least Level 3 equivalent qualifications of their own. The apprentice will gain UVHW and Water Regulations Qualifications. 2. Pathway two covers all of the above but without a gas structure. Pathway two covers renewable energies such as heat pumps, solar HW and water recycling. All are trained for and assessed, with at least one of the assessments completed on-site, so you must be installing one of the above renewables to get an outcome.

Standing around watching is boring and not the best way to learn Technician Apprenticeship (Trailblazer) launched at the end of January. Training is for approximately four years and the assessment is now performed by an independent body. Previously, it was done in two stages: Level 2 for two years followed by a further two years for Level 3 (or Craft Certificate (L2)) and then Advanced Craft Certificate (L3)). In the past, many apprentices or career change candidates only completed a Level 2 or equivalent, often without an NVQ. This is why some now think the new Level 3 Trailblazer Apprenticeship takes longer. It doesn’t, the new method just strengthens the route to achieving the qualification, resulting in better qualified apprentices and more opportunities to grow your business.

Towards the last few months of the programme, and in conjunction with the employer, the apprentice will be ready for independent assessment. Level 2 English and maths must be completed at this stage, and the apprentice will need to compile a work log. The end-point assessment includes a knowledge test and installation testing, but is only carried out with the agreement of all involved – apprentice, employer and training provider. If you have an apprentice who has already achieved Level 2 NVQ, then the programme is adjusted based upon the authenticated evidence provided and the timespan will be reduced. For example, this might mean starting on the third year of the programme.

When does the existing scheme run out? The present framework with the old qualification (Level 2 & 3 NVQ) is valid until December 2019. You may find some colleges or private training providers still offering it, but it will be phased out as funding is withdrawn. If you have a Level 2 Diploma only, then you still have until December to sign up for the Level 2 NVQ.

We don’t do domestic plumbing? You will need to take a look at alternative routes: Level 2 Building Services Engineering Installer is a two-year course; Level 3 Building Services Engineering Service and Maintenance Engineer takes four years.

Employer responsibilities Your business will have to hold relevant insurance for an employee. The apprentice has to train with a company – that employs them there’s no such thing as a self-employed apprentice. When funding is applied it goes through PAYE and this will flag up an individual’s employment status.

Starting up When the apprentice starts work, it’s worth investing in some basic tools for them. They will learn quicker and your business will benefit sooner. Standing around watching is boring and not the best way to learn. An apprenticeship is someone’s first step on the path to a career and not a short-term fix. Getting it right is important, because you’re dealing with a person’s ability to get on in life and better themselves. You are not only preparing someone for work but also readying them so they can best represent your business in the future. There is no finer feeling or contribution made to the industry than when this is successful.

Find out more: All Apprenticeship standards can be found online at: instituteforapprenticeships. org/apprenticeship-standards /?keywords=heating

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WINTE R IS COMING The busiest time of the year is coming as people prepare for winter. We look at servicing, advice and more so your customers will be ready for the big chill


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fter a summer of record-breaking temperatures, the winter seems a long way off. But smart customers who plan ahead will be booking in early to have their heating systems overhauled during what is the busiest time of the year for the industry. The volume of winter business is not surprising. A survey conducted by the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy this year found 86% of UK residents use gas central heating. Customers have good reason to ensure their boilers are winter-ready, because in recent years the hot summers have been followed by harsh winters. In 2018, the ‘Beast from the East’ brought 50cm of snow and temperatures of -14ºC. In those conditions, old heating components and poor installations quickly fail under the relentless daily pressure.

So where to start? Going back to basics will help your customers in an emergency. So, make sure they know the location of, and have labelled, the stop-valve on the incoming water supply main. Most service work will centre on the boiler, particularly in domestic settings but manufacturers update products regularly so refreshing your knowledge is useful ahead of the rush. Steve Owen, national training manager at Baxi Heating, says: “Without ongoing training, skills would quickly become dated and the quality of installations would suffer. We’re committed to investing in training

Increased usage can put pressure on gas appliances and could lead to them breaking down

to help plumbing and heating engineers feel confident when working with Baxi products and to reach their learning and development goals.” Up-to-date product knowledge is especially relevant when it comes to the fault codes that modern digital boilers use to show that something is wrong. As each manufacturer has a different system of codes, it’s worth finding out what they are. But irrespective of the make of boiler you’re servicing, or its age, there are general steps to follow when it comes to preparing one for winter.

Follow the process The service checklist is crucial for ensuring a boiler remains under warranty, whatever make it is, but there are also building regulations to remember. Power flushing the central system is now a requirement for all central heating systems, as it prevents contaminants damaging the system. If the heat exchanger becomes clogged with a build-up of corrosion or sludge, it can lead to failure. The same is an issue for the circulation pump, which can become clogged by magnetised algae. The Domestic Water Treatment Association advises: “If microbial fouling is found within a central heating system (often detected by the presence of organic slime or a ‘rotten egg’ smell), consider treatment by chlorination. Further advice should be sought from the chemical treatment manufacturer. “Red water or rust in a central heating system is a sign of oxygen ingress due to a fault or incorrect component installation. These faults must be rectified before the system is cleaned and inhibited.” Boiler manufacturers have the same approach. Worcester Bosch says: “Think of it as if you were buying a new car; you wouldn’t use the oil from your old car.”

USEFUL TIPS Keep up to date with the latest guidelines for winter preparations

Check manufacturers’ websites for advice: Vaillant offers technical advice via its website. Go to: for-installers/ Worcester Bosch has an FAQ section at: www. professional/support/ troubleshooting/faqs Baxi has a trade hub for installers at www.baxi. DWTA Code of Practice. Read more on flushing systems through at: For CIPHE advice on winter plumbing emergencies see: emergencies The Gas Safe advice tip sheet for customers: www.gassaferegister.

Gas escape A system that has not been used could have pipework that has failed or a blocked vent. This could lead to a gas leak. Gas Safe advises looking for an inspection hatch. If there is condensation in the room or

Servicing your customers’ central heating systems before winter will prevent breakdowns in cold weather

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Boiler breakdowns can be deadly for elderly and vulnerable people the pilot light keeps going out, that is an indication of a gas leak. Gas Safe says: “When cold weather sets in, many households will rely on gas boilers and fires to keep warm. This increased usage can put pressure on gas appliances and could lead to breakdowns when they are needed the most. It’s vital that everyone has their gas appliances serviced and safety checked annually to prepare them for the winter months.”

Fuel poverty danger Gas Safe has advice for customers on low incomes, particularly pensioners who have old appliances. Although not a plumbing issue, ask if their cooker has been serviced and remind them that they should never use a cooker to heat a room. With a gas fire, look for black staining on

RIGHT: It’s advisable to insulate the condensate pipe to reduce the risk of it freezing and blocking

or around the appliance. If the homeowner has a coal fire or log burner, ask if they have had the chimney checked for bird nests.

Other common faults Frozen and burst pipes head up the league of household disasters when the cold weather hits. Jerry Whiteley, technical manager for the CIPHE, has the following advice: “If pipes could do with a bit of thermal help then use some lagging. It’s cheap and easy to fit. Also, if a client is going away, advise them to leave the thermostat set low (at least 5ºC) to prevent pipes freezing. They should check their insurance policy too, to see if they have to comply with any directives such as draining down pipework.”

Upgrade the system Since the run-up to winter is when many people get their heating systems serviced, it also makes it a good time to think about improving them. Mark Wilkins, Vaillant’s head of training and external affairs, says installers should consider asking if customers wish to upgrade products. He says: “As we approach heating season, installers have the opportunity to not only strengthen customer relationships by providing practical advice, but to upsell products and services, too. For example, installers can highlight the value of smart


Get the bookings flowing in How can you ensure you can get winter service bookings early to reduce emergency call-outs? Consider whether your customer would prefer a phone call, flyer, letter, email or text message. Some customers are less IT-savvy and may not respond to emails: 30% of emails aren’t even opened. If you have a customer database, make sure it complies with data regulations. You must have permission to contact everyone on your list. Keep your message simple and end with a call to action such as ‘Call me now to arrange a visit.’

controls for keeping a customer’s home at the right temperature.” But as money is often tight during the holiday season, it’s sometimes wise to focus on simpler solutions that won’t require expensive purchases, as Wilkins points out. “Installers should offer their customers guidance to ensure the condensate drain is correctly installed and properly insulated to prevent it from freezing – it sounds obvious, but it’s a small thing that can save a lot of hassle. By insulating your condensate pipe you are reducing the risk of it freezing and blocking again in future. All good DIY stores should sell pipe insulation and this can easily be fitted with little effort.”

More information The CIPHE has customer plumbing and heating maintenance advice leaflets for members. To find out more, contact


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Technical and professional advice from experts on hot water systems, ventilation 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


Product development

How to make your inventions a reality Have you come up with an idea for a great product? Paul Harmer explains how you can turn your innovation into a commercial success


s an ex-installer who became an inventor of various plumbing and heating products, I always remember my days on the tools searching for solutions to problems that I encountered on site and then discussing them over a cup of coffee at break time. Every installation is effectively a prototype and no two jobs are the same, so plumbing and heating installers are experts at solving problems and working under pressure. It is these fundamental problem-solving skills that set me on the way as an inventor.

THERE IS AN INVENTOR IN EVERY INSTALLER I would regularly question why the particular product that I was installing was missing some key features, or why it wasn’t making my job easier for me as the installer. However, as I was not immersed within the product development arena, I did not appreciate the scale of the task required to create a profitable product. It was a very steep learning curve when I embarked on this exciting but challenging journey, but I was determined to see it through to the end. One of the important issues that our

industry faces today is the transition towards the decarbonisation of heat and the industry is already actively looking for solutions to challenges that we face. This is an area that is currently ripe for fresh thinking and innovation in developing and delivering products that enable the industry to move forward.

70% OF NEW PRODUCTS FAIL TO MEET CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS It is easy sometimes to focus on a problem that you have encountered once. But it’s important to ask yourself: is this really a problem that other installers are facing on a day-to-day

Every installation is effectively a prototype and no two jobs are the same SEP / OCT 2019



VALUE PROPOSITION CANVAS The product or service to be created (left) and the customer profile (right)

Gain Creators



Job or Task Pain Relievers

There are many facets to understanding whether a product is viable basis? You may have thought of an idea for an amazing product that would have been perfect for your task, but you have to ask yourself several questions. Is it going to be a volume product? Will you spend forever trying to convince the market it needs to solve a problem it did not know it had? There are many other facets to understanding whether a product is viable, such as the best material to be used (plastic, metal etc); the most cost-effective manufacturing process (injection moulding, metal fabrication etc); and the cost of raw materials. However, one of the most important starting points is digging deep into the ‘value proposition’.

THE VALUE PROPOSITION A value proposition is the promise of value to be delivered, communicated


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and acknowledged by the customer. It is also the belief of the customer in the value or benefit that they have received, experienced and acquired. The value proposition canvas (figure 1) can be used as an exercise to visualise a value proposition. It consists of two sides; the left-hand side of the diagram, which is the product or service to be created, and the right-hand side, which is the customer profile – in our industry the plumbing and heating installer. Even this requires being able to adapt your mindset from who is usually programmed in to be viewed as the customer. A plumbing and heating installer’s job involves numerous different aspects and there are many potential areas for product design, such as a tool or new fitting that speeds up the job. In simple terms, once you have recognised the specific task that your customer is carrying out, then the idea is to list as many pains that they experience while carrying out that job and the gains that you believe they would like to make.

ENGAGE WITH FELLOW INSTALLERS Once you have fully understood the customers’ profile, the next step is to list as many pain relievers and gain

creators that you believe would solve the customers’ problem(s). From here you can start to ideate your product concepts.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Do you force your product down the throat of the customer by approaching from the left-hand side of figure 1 (the product), or attempt to understand the customers’ needs first and approach from the right-hand side (the problem). Common sense may tell you that it is better to understand the pains and gains of the customer and start from the right. The value proposition gives you the ability to illustrate and visualise in a group what value needs to be created.

THE PIPE SLICE THAT CUT TIME Plumbing and heating installers used to have problems cutting pipework in confined spaces. In 1984, Englishman S Garton invented a revolutionary item that we all still rely on today – the pipe slice (figure 2). Traditionally, pipework was cut with much larger pipe cutters, such as those invented in 1924 by an American, David Kilgour (figure 3). The pipe slice has definitely been of value to the plumber because it speeds up installation. Its unique self-engaging cutting feature means you



PIPE SLICE (1984) Garton’s revolutionary invention

PIPE SLICE – MODERN Building on Garton’s 1984 design


PIPE CUTTERS (1924) The larger tools invented in the US

don’t have to adjust the cutter to tighten the cutting wheel onto the pipe. While companies have attempted to further innovate and progress the original pipe slice invention (see figure 4, above), in my opinion, nothing has yet come close to having the same transformative impact.


One of the main reasons for the failure of a product is a lack of market research

One of the main reasons for the failure of a new product idea is a lack of market research carried out before too much time and money is invested into the idea. Are there any other products already on the market that are solving the same problem? What are the unique features that set your product apart from any other? Is there enough margin in the supply chain and where is the product going to be sold? Is your product infringing a competitor’s patent? What regulations do you need to comply with before the product is sold? This list is not exhaustive and you can never carry out too much research – although it is that entrepreneurial spark that tells you when something is right.

PROTECT YOUR IDEA One of the biggest mistakes made by budding inventors is not ensuring that

Ensure that you, as the inventor, receive a good return for your work the intellectual property they have created is fully protected. It is easy to become overexcited at the start, when you are anxious to share your idea with potential investors. However, you must be aware that once you have shared your idea to the public without a non-disclosure agreement, then it instantly loses its novelty and cannot be patented. Another important thing to ensure is that when you partner with an investor, you have a fair and valid licence agreement in place that clearly states the terms of your contract. There are many business models that you can employ, such as a licence to manufacture, or you can simply offer the investor shares in your business. One of the key elements of the contract is to ensure that you, as the inventor, receive a good return for your work creating the product. It is paramount that you seek the services of an independent lawyer to check the contract – do not rely on your investor’s lawyer, who will ultimately be fighting their corner. Technology such as 3D CAD software, 3D printers and rapid prototyping capabilities mean there has never been a better time to create a new product. It is possible to have a fully functioning first prototype in your hands, from initial sketch to 3D printed model, on the same day. This is early in the development stage but it enables you to assess your design and receive invaluable feedback for your idea from day one.

CIPHE PLUMBER BECOMES INVENTOR Ty Harnett, Technical Director of Coolag (a CIPHE Industrial Associate), spent many hours on the tools trying to think

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VALUE PROPOSITION CANVAS EXERCISE Ty Harnett created this canvas while developing a depth-planning tool for shower fittings


Gain Creators Integrated manifold and universal backplates Wall plate with jigsaw design for multiple outlet fittings


Reduce risk of leaks

Fit and forget No sealing tape required at 2nd fix

Greater accuracy at first fix

Internal adjustable sealing disc

Happy customer Adaptable to multiple shower outlet fittings

Quicker second fix

Job or Task

Alfie in wall shower fixing kit


Pain Relievers Prevents movement of pipe fittings

Customizable protruding chrome threaded tube

Interlocking wall plate to ensure accurate and level shower fittings

of innovative solutions to the problems he faced. An issue that Ty highlighted was the challenges he faced when depth planning for wall-mounted shower fittings. During a CIPHE innovation workshop, Ty participated in a value proposition canvas exercise, demonstrated in figure 1, where we talked through the whole value proposition to arrive at some examples (figure 5, above).

Dual seal within wall Chrome flush mounted decor rings for increased watertightness

Finished shower not level

Leaks behind walls due to lack of thread engagement

Female irons protruding beyond finished wall

Loose bar mixer

Female irons recessed too far behind finished wall

One of the key features that enabled his product, the Alfie in-wall shower fixing kit, to overcome the challenges of depth planning was its unique ability to ensure a robust and accurate second fix installation. This is illustrated in figure 6, below, which shows a typical layout within a solid wall construction (left) and a stud wall construction (right) when depth planning during first fix. The kit also prevents pipe movement,


THE COOLAG ALFIE IN-WALL SHOWER FIXING KIT Allowing for more accurate depth planning at first fix stage

Depth planning for shower fittings

Poor seal and water ingress behind chrome shrouds

reduces the risk of leaks and helps to ensure that the finished shower is level.

CIPHE SUPPORTS INNOVATION, COMPLIANCE AND PROFESSIONALISM There are many challenges on the road to successfully bringing a new product to market, such as protecting your ideas through design registrations, trademarks and patents, and accessing investment. The CIPHE will be looking to run a workshop for members, explaining the opportunities and challenges surrounding product development and hopefully helping to reduce the risks involved in bringing your product to market. The workshop will include presentations and advice from experts including patent lawyers, investors, manufacturing engineers, material scientists and marketeers to help guide you on the path towards becoming a successful inventor.

Find out more If you feel that a workshop in this area would be of benefit then please email us and let us know.


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Changing with the times Older people are increasingly living in family homes unsuitable for their needs. Paul McGuire from Mira Showers explains how some of their products could help


s the UK population continues to grow, it is estimated that by 2050 one in four people in the UK will be aged 65 years or over – an increase from almost one in five in 2018. According to a survey conducted for The Telegraph by Barclays, two thirds of people believe that the solution to an aging population would be to move towards a multigenerational home, although only 16% said that their current house would be suitable. The rise in what is being called the ‘sandwich generation’, where parents are often faced with caring for their own children whilst at the same time providing some, or a similar amount of, care for their own parents or in-laws, means that adapting homes to suit the needs of all the family is becoming a growing opportunity for installers.

WET ROOM POPULARITY One of the frequently more challenging considerations for multigenerational households is providing a showering solution that is accessible for all of the family. Since most traditional bathrooms feature a bath of some sort, the first change in specification will often start with the removal of a bath in favour of a walk-in shower. Popular because of the aesthetic, as well as the functional benefits, wet room adaptations are proving to be a common


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aspiration in these circumstances, owing to the clean look and feel of the finished floor surface Customers are as well as the obvious asking for wet room-style accessibility this provides. solutions However, as installers know all too well, wet room adaptations often come with a cost that consumers seldom anticipate, and include a host of installation challenges that further inflate the price and feasibility for many.

FLIGHT LEVEL SOLUTIONS Following the development of our popular Flight technology, our latest offering in shower tray solutions is the new Mira Flight Level tray. With all the strength of the capped acrylic Flight technology, Mira Flight Level has a profile height of only 25mm. This can be installed to suit the installation conditions specific to site. The tray can be installed straight on to the finished floor surface to provide a minimal 25mm step-over, in order to gain access to the shower area. Alternatively, for tastes and installation conditions that allow it, the tray can be installed recessed into the finished floor surface, which gives all the benefits of a level access floor without the added expense and complication that typical wet floor installations entail.

Could online training entice new recruits?

Wet room adaptations often come with a cost which consumers seldom anticipate For installations where slips or falls might be a concern, Mira Flight Level is also available as a Mira Flight Level Safe variant, with built-in anti-slip technology. Certified to DIN51097, Mira Flight Safe technology features an antislip texture that exceeds the highest category of this standard. With bare feet, Mira Flight Level Safe is tested up to an angle of 30 degrees, while the current highest standard is 24 degrees. With slips, trips and falls a concern for younger generations as much as for the elderly, this provides peace of mind and independence for any member of a multigenerational household.


A low profile of 25mm makes these trays easy to access

Mira’s Flight Level trays can be fully recessed into the floor

Another consideration where multigenerational households are concerned is, of course, the delivery of safe water temperatures for showering. One typical solution would be to install a thermostatic mixing valve, capable of being commissioned to limit the maximum blend temperature discharged by the product.

THERMOSTATIC OPTIONS For some housing stock however – owing to existing services or the limited water pressures available from gravity fed systems – the ability to gain a desirable performance from any kind of thermostatic mixer shower, without the installation of an associated shower pump, would often add additional complication and unwanted costs to the renovation. Where a thermostatic mixer shower is not the order of the day, there are thermostatic electric showers capable of delivering the same peace of mind

by limiting the maximum blend temperatures delivered.

BUILT-IN SAFETY FEATURES The Mira Advance is BEAB Care approved. Much like TMV3 for mixer showers, BEAB Care approval (awarded by the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board) ensures that during normal variations in supply pressure, the shower will automatically adjust to maintain a stable blend temperature. In the event that the supply conditions do fall below the minimum maintained pressure, showers that are approved to BEAB Care will automatically cut off the flow of water in order to protect the user from scalding. The additional benefits of Mira Advance also mean that – through the selection of a small dipswitch located on the internal cover PCB – a maximum temperature can be commissioned by the installer to either 48ºC, 45ºC or 43ºC. Or, to comply with guidance from the

Thermostatic Mixing Valve Association and the NHS D08 document, it can be set to 41ºC for care environments. With the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) estimating the overall UK scalding figures to be around 2,500 cases per year, the importance of this capability should not be underestimated. With the right level of awareness of the product choices available for both installers and consumers, Mira believe that in multigenerational households, stylish can also mean safe.

More information CIPHE members wishing to find out more about specifying and installing these Mira products visit the Professional Zone of Mira’s website.

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Squat toilets

Go with the flow Installing a squat latrine is an increasingly common job. Jerry Whiteley explains how to get it right


s the name suggests, a squat latrine is a toilet that you squat at rather than sit on. Essentially, it’s a toilet pan or bowl fitted at floor level. Squat toilets are used all over the world and are becoming increasingly common in the UK. Therefore, a greater understanding of installing one and complying with the relevant regulations (such as Water Regulations) is a must. The appliance can be a flush type from a cistern and water seal, similar to a conventional Western-style sit-down toilet, or a dry type. They are considered more hygienic as there is no sitting down, and they are easier to clean using a mop and bucket. The squat toilet is generally set into the floor and tiled around or completed with

These toilets are becoming increasingly common in the UK

Squat latrines are usually set into the floor and tiled around

another finishing product. The toilets are generally made from porcelain, ceramic or stainless steel. If it’s stainless steel, then take care with the sharp edges and remove the blue protective film.

TOILET TYPES There are two types of squat toilet: one that is flush with the floor and the other raised about 300mm off the ground. Retro fitting is often very difficult without raising the floor due to the drainage system pre-set or the likelihood that the floor is solid. A raised floor installation has the benefit of offering access to the plumbing for servicing or unblocking. Connecting to the drain outlet for the floor level means making sure the soil pipe/drain can be put into the floor void and getting a fall. The unit will require either a ‘P’ trap or ‘S’ trap fitting depending on the arrangement onto a standard 110mm outlet. In either case, it is important that the floor structure is sufficient to take the weight. The flush pipe is a back entry flushing inlet. The surrounding area must be watertight for reasons of spillage and

hygiene. Washing is sometimes done via a handheld hose water supply fitted adjacent to the appliance. This is where the category 5 appliance must be checked for compliance with the Water Regulations, much the same as any other toilet. The Water Regulations, backflow prevention – R15.12.2 a/b recommendations and diagrams explain the method of fluid category 5 protection for the use of a spray or jet, which could become submerged into the WC/squatting WC.

BACKFLOW DEVICES The water supplying the hose or jet must be provided via break cistern (CWSC), alongside this a suitable backflow prevention device suitable for category 5 risk can be type AA, AB, AD or AUK1 air gap in conjunction to the break tank for the water supply protection.

More information If you have any technical questions or need advice, call CIPHE Technical Support on 01708 463117 or email

SEP / OCT 2019


Your Membership One of the key benefits of being a CIPHE member is being kept informed of industry issues that matter

TIM SAINTY CIPHE Membership Director Tim looks after the growing CIPHE membership, enhancing services for members and improving communications

Insurance +44 (0)1708 463102

Find peace of mind As a plumbing and heating engineer, you face a number of risks when working, most notably injury. But the CIPHE has your health covered Any


lthough it’s essential you with discounted private questions? to prevent accidents health insurance. Both are Contact Tim Sainty via his and injuries from well-respected companies and details above if you have happening in the first have an extensive amount any enquiries regarding your CIPHE member place, things don’t always go of experience in the health benefits according to plan and, should insurance industry. the unexpected occur, it’s vital to protect yourself so you can focus on Manage your risk regaining your health and returning to Private health insurance is a great way to work as soon as possible. manage your risk and, as a CIPHE member, To that end, CIPHE has teamed up you have exclusive access to a voluntary with M&L Healthcare Solutions and private health insurance scheme, which General & Medical Healthcare to provide provides a variety of benefits, including

CIPHE members can benefi t from access to dedicated health consultants


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Private health insurance is a great way to manage your risk a discounted price, reassurance when you need it most and fast access to diagnostics and treatment. If you were to experience any symptoms that cause you concern, private health insurance can give you some control over the situation, allowing you to concentrate on recovering and getting back to work sooner. Through this exclusive scheme, you have access to a variety of health insurance products, including low-cost options and more comprehensive cover. Low-cost policies offer essential and everyday levels of cover with in- and out-patient benefits, whereas more comprehensive policies feature an extensive range of advantages, with cover for cancer treatment and additional cash benefits included. The scheme gives you access to over 1,000 hospitals and medical facilities around the UK, where typically you

can enjoy a private room with ensuite facilities, unrestricted visiting hours and excellent food, giving you the privacy and luxury to focus on your health. Not only that, but you are also likely to have the same consultant dealing with you throughout your treatment, and will have access to nursing staff with more time to dedicate to your personal care.

You will have access to nursing staff with more time to dedicate to your personal care

Extra benefits for you As well as receiving a high-quality health insurance policy at a discount price, you’ll also have exclusive access to a range of further benefits including health and wellbeing services, and Lifestyle Rewards.

Free health and well-being All of the private health insurance policies come with access to a comprehensive range of health and well-being services, meaning you’ll have access to a team of specialists who are on hand to offer advice and reassurance when you need it.

You’ll have access to a 24-hour telephone counselling services, online health checks, lifestyle programmes, self-help modules, everyday life support and a vast array of medical information at your fingertips.

Lifestyle Rewards As an exclusive benefit, you will also have access to over 200 deals and added-value offers through our scheme. There are various items that you can get exclusive discounts on, including clothing and

accessories, home furniture and interiors, food and dining, travel and much more. Further benefits include: Cover your family and only pay for your first child, all others are covered free* Cover for specified pre-existing conditions A personal service with fast and efficient claims handling Assigned Client Relations Coordinator for every client Over 1,000 hospitals and medical facilities to choose from *Excludes where cover for pre-existing conditions has been added to the child’s policy

FIND OUT MORE For more information about your exclusive discount or to obtain your free quote, please call M&L Healthcare on 0800 145 5838 or email They will be happy to talk you through your policy options and provide advice on what cover is available for you.




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0203 859 7100


Train to gain and be fit for the future Demand driven by the latest technology and scientific developments means training is vital, as Richard Soper, director of development at the CIPHE, explains


We need to ensure young people are given the best possible training

he plumbing and heating industry is dynamic and everchanging, with a host of new technology to constantly keep abreast of. It plays a key role in helping people to live comfortably in their own homes and is closely linked with the government’s pledge to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our ATCs new prime minister For more information spoke of investing about CIPHE Approved now for a prosperous Training Centres future and it is clear visit that training young about-ciphe/approvedtraining-centres people in our sector must be a part of this.

New technology The value of training is brought into focus by the prospect of genuine game-changing technology. Hydrogen boilers and new forms of mechanical ventilation differ from the types of appliances that installers have previously been trained to work with. This could transform the way in which future engineers are expected to work. Ongoing learning and training is crucial, which is why the CIPHE is dedicated to delivering a diverse programme of CPD to all of its members. Most important of all, however, is to ensure that young people are given the opportunities to learn the plumbing

New technology could transform the way in which engineers work and heating trade. Apprenticeships are key and addressing the apprenticeship gap was a significant topic of discussion at the CIPHE President’s Dinner 2019. We have to deliver thorough and effective training in order to produce engineers who are capable and safe, and this cannot be done without funding.

In spite of the challenging economic environment, the CIPHE sees through its network of Approved Training Centres that there remain some shining examples of colleges, private organisations and further education facilities, which are training and encouraging young people to enter the industry. Often operating on the tightest of budgets, these institutions work tirelessly, redrafting curriculums to match the needs of our industry in order to train the next generation of engineers. Without their devotion, our sector would be in a far worse position than it is, and we must thank them for their tremendous hard work.

More information If you want to assist the CIPHE in promoting the safety, health and welfare of the public through its increasing membership, please contact Tim Sainty via 01708 463102 or

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Richard Waite EngTech MCIPHE RP Between keeping staff and customers happy, the works manager for DB Heating in Tavistock sets sail on the high seas to enjoy yacht racing


What interests you about the industry?



Richard worked his way up from plumber to boss


There’s always something different going on. You never know what’s going to come up from day to day, whether it’s with your own job or someone else who needs help.



When I was on the tools I loved the satisfaction at the end of every job. Each one was a massive achievement and whether you got a handshake or a bottle of wine at the end, it meant something to me. It’s different now because I have to get different personalities to work together. That’s another kind of result.

How did you get into it?


I was going to follow my brother into electronics, but while waiting for the course to start I got a summer job with a local heating company. I was only going to do it for a few weeks, but I loved it and I stayed. I had the chance of an apprenticeship and I could see the learning curve. That was back in 1982.


I’d been working with the same set of directors for 30 years and they offered me the role of works manager because I’d been a plumber. I couldn’t say no.


What’s the best thing you’ve learned?


How to deal with different personalities. Whether it’s your own staff, customers or clients, you have




I do a lot of yacht racing. I share a 28ft Impala with three others to keep the costs down. Most weekends we do a local club race on a Friday then spend the rest of the weekend at places like Falmouth or Fowey. It’s good fun and frightening at the same time – keeps me on my toes!


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How did you get into your current role?

to find a way to get what you want from people in a good way and satisfy them that you’ve done a good job.


If you had the chance, would you do it all over again?


Yes, 100%. My job has allowed me to see fully my side of the industry. Through watching builders, I’ve been able to work on my own homes. I’ve done a few up based on my knowledge.

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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