MARCH / APRIL 2020 THE MAGAZINE FOR THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF PLUMBING AND HEATING ENGINEERING
SECURE YOUR VAN
HIP Apprentice of the Year, call for education reform and more
Radical innovation in the global water and energy sector
Van crime’s on the rise: here’s how to safeguard your livelihood
WE ALL STAND TOGETHER The CIPHE is joining with regulatory bodies to protect consumers and traders
Welcome Dare we dream of the future in uncertain times? Looking forward is not easy with the world in its current state. However, if you are serious about improvement, then it’s actually part of the job. Climate change activists will argue that we have no choice if we look at our local climate and major international incidents, such as fires the size of Wales that have been burning in Australia. So this issue, we are exploring the incredible ideas combining science and engineering to improve water supply and make the planet more sustainable. From hi-tech toilets to waste-burning boilers, we’ve found some amazing innovations (p20). Back in the regular world, we’re also looking at work van security (p12) and pushing forward with our manifesto commitment to improve standards (p14). As part of our Under Pressure campaign, we reveal some tips to look after your mental health (p25). Thank you, as always, for your continued support.
We’re online! Visit pandhengineering. co.uk for regular updates and archived features
CHRIS SMITH Editor
12 Daylight robbery
Apprentice pay, Under Pressure campaign update and other news
Are you doing everything you can to protect your van from theft?
14 United we stand
When work pressure builds, here’s how to reduce stress and anxiety
The CIPHE and LGA, together with trading standards, are working hard to protect consumers and traders alike
20 Change makers We look at international innovations driving environmental standards
Education and training News, resources and the latest from the HIP Apprentice of the Year
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 Advertising sales executive Harvey Falshaw, firstname.lastname@example.org Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) 64 Station Lane, Hornchurch, Essex RM12 6NB Tel 01708 472791
The importance of registration; we work best when we work together
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 email@example.com
26 THE FIX Paul Harmer shares indepth advice on thermal storage batteries 29 Q&A CPD questions to bolster your skills
32 Your membership
5 From the President
Developing non-technical skills will help boost your reputation
34 Q&A: Rob Berridge The heating consultant who loves to jam in his time off
ON THE COVER How the CIPHE is working with other bodies to protect consumers and traders 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.
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FROM THE PRESIDENT
When standards are not maintained, there are serious consequences
CHRIS NORTHEY CIPHE President catherines@ciphe. org.uk
Safety is an issue for all politicians: at the CIPHE we’re pushing for change
GET INVOLVED We’re campaigning for better safety standards and the more people involved, the stronger the case we have. We’d love for you to get involved. If you’d like to help, contact membership director Tim Sainty by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay in there are serious consequences. he start of the Grenfell touch That’s why we need things like Inquiry and the revelation Follow our campaign registration. When qualified of serious failings in the progress in 2020 professionals are involved it’s one water supply at a new hospital in on Twitter way of ensuring the work is done Scotland have again highlighted @CIPHE properly – and we can offer backup in the need for better standards. cases of dispute. One of the themes since the very beginning for the CIPHE has been maintaining and improving standards. For Reliable networks many reasons, rules are still not being looked at Recently, I’ve been getting out to meet members and quality assured. at different branches around the country. I Whether it’s from the small domestic scale gave an informal technical talk to Suffolk and work by a sole trader to the ultimate risk of a Norfolk members in January about legionella, public hospital, serious failings remain. which was well-attended and hugely enjoyable. From my experience, sometimes people are We looked at the issues from an installer’s put under time pressures. It can be financial point of view based on my experience working pressure. It’s easily done. If they have 50 things on healthcare projects. Sometimes a fresh to do on a job, they lose five things and it’s hit perspective helps, and it’s always good to bring and miss as to what those things are. They people together. might be small procedures, or they might be That’s one of the benefits of the CIPHE that we high risk. When standards are not maintained, don’t often talk about: the informal networks and friendships that develop over time. Being able to get a second opinion from someone – We are working sometimes through a simple phone call – makes with government the world of difference. bodies to raise standards Don’t forget that the CIPHE also has a technical team that you can get in touch with when you’re stumped by a problem. It’s true what they say; sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
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KEEP INFORMED Read all the latest news, updates, and member benefits Facebook/CIPHE twitter.com/CIPHE www.ciphe.org.uk
All that’s happening in plumbing and heating A new Office for Environmental Protection is being set up to help raise environmental standards
Got a news story? Get in touch with editor Chris Smith using the email address on p3
GOVERNMENT RAMPS UP ACTION ON GREEN AGENDA Ahead of the COP26 UN climate change conference ministers are upping the pressure on water and waste services
he government has launched a major push to meet environmental targets including zero carbon emissions in the runup to a UK conference. A blitz of activity ahead of Britain hosting the UN COP26 conference in November included the reintroduction of a wide-reaching Environment Bill to improve air and water quality. Water companies will be directed by ministers to work together to improve the resilience of water and waste services. A spokesperson for Defra said: “The legislation
Heat networks are a crucial aspect of the path towards decarbonising heat 6 P&H ENGINEERING
MAR / APR 2020
will create legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities.” It was followed by confirmation of plans to make energy regulator Ofgem regulator for heat networks across the UK. The proposal was announced in a consultation by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The deadline for responses is the end of April. Read more on the Environment Bill: tinyurl.com/uwnobbb. To take part in the consultation, email by 1 May: email@example.com
HS2 TO MEET BREEAM EXCELLENT STANDARD Railway stations on the HS2 line will meet top standards for ventilation and energy use, according to its design team. As part of confirmation of the High Speed 2 rail project, details were released on two station designs including Solihull. Grey water will be used for waste, and ventilation systems will meet high standards to limit energy use. The statement said: “The interchange at Solihull focuses on sustainability, maximising natural daylight and ventilation and a station roof design which can capture and reuse rainwater. The station will be built to achieve a ‘BREEAM excellent’ standard and zero carbon emissions from energy consumption.”
NEW BUSINESS SECRETARY TO TARGET HEAT INDUSTRY Alok Sharma, the former housing minister who had a key role in the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire, will lead reforms to heat industry and meeting environment targets. Sharma has been promoted to Business Secretary and president of the COP26 talks that will set global environmental targets. He promoted water saving initiatives as development secretary and prepared for the Hackitt inquiry into building regulations as housing minister.
VAN GUARD Advice on protecting your work van, and your livelihood Page 12
NEWS IN BRIEF
CIPHE backs World Plumbing Day 2020 THE WORLD NEEDS plumbing to save lives and save the planet. The bold call to action is the central message for World Plumbing Day on 11 March. The World Plumbing Council holds the event every year to highlight how good sanitation is still needed in developing countries where diseases like cholera are still major killers. Members are encouraged to use their Twitter and Facebook pages to
CIPHE 2020 AGM
share messages and celebrate the day. To help do this, there are two fact sheets that can be found on the World Plumbing Council website. Membership director, Tim Sainty said: “Raising our visibility by talking about what we do and why it matters is vital for our industry and I encourage everyone to get involved.” Find out more at: www. worldplumbing.org/world-plumbingday-resources
£20k Folkestone public toilets TOILETS CLOSED TO the public have now been reopened thanks to a £20,000 investment by a Kent council. Folkestone Hythe District Council stepped up with the money to revamp the toilets at a shopping centre and allocated
a further £12,000 for future maintenance and upkeep. The facilities were built in 2007 as part of the shopping centre development, but the owners decided to close them following repeated vandalism. The CIPHE has been
campaigning for councils to maintain public toilets as many have been closed or sold due to austerity cuts. Cllr David Monk said: “I’m pleased we have returned public toilets to the centre of Folkestone.”
This year’s AGM will take place on Friday 19 June at UIB Ltd, 69 Mansell Street, London E1 8AN. Registration is from 10.30am for an 11am start. Lunch is available after the meeting, which will be followed by presentations from the technical department. If you’d like to attend, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01708 463115. Regulations
HSE Brexit guidance The UK’s departure from the EU does not change safety regulation, the HSE has warned. It has issued guidance for the transition period, which runs until the end of the year. The HSE said: “Your responsibility to protect the health and safety of people affected by your work activities remains the same during the transition period.” See CIPHE member Brexit guidance at: www.ciphe.org.uk/ newsroom/brexit Efficiency
Thanet fights cold Thanet District Council has been awarded £34,742 to support a 10-week project to target poorly insulated and energy inefficient properties. The funding will be used to proactively identify all privately rented homes in Thanet that have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G. Unless exempt, privately rented homes should have an EPC rating of E or above.
POSSIBLE CORONAVIRUS PIPE CONTAMINATION
ALTERATIONS TO BATHROOM pipes in an apartment block in Hong Kong have
As part of the Safety Excellence in Energy series, ‘The Future of Gas III – informing a safe decision by 2025’ event, 25-26 March, in Birmingham will update on major projects, such as H21, H100 and HyDeploy.
been cited as a possible factor in the spread of coronavirus in the area. Thirty households in Hong Mei House in Tsing Yi were evacuated in February following confirmation that two residents in their block, which shares the same piping system, had been diagnosed with the virus. Investigators found that, in one of the units, the vent pipe had been altered and disconnected from the main waste pipe, potentially allowing contaminated air into the flat.
HSE gas conference
Read more at: hsl.gov.uk
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Find out more
Read more news and advice from the CIPHE at www.ciphe.org.uk/ newsroom
HSE revises weld fume rules
Ventilation laws have been updated again
HSE TO CREATE SHADOW BUILDING SAFETY WATCHDOG THE HEALTH AND Safety Executive (HSE) is to establish the new Building Safety Regulator in shadow form immediately. The announcement is part of recommendations to the government following the fire at Grenfell Tower. It will raise building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings. With a strong track record of working with industry and other regulators to improve safety, the HSE will draw on experience and the capabilities of other regulators to implement the new regime. Dame Judith Hackitt will chair a Board to oversee the transition. Chair of the HSE, Martin Temple said: “HSE’s vast experience of working in partnership with industry to improve lives will ensure that people are confident the creation of the new regulator is in good hands.”
Not a member? Contact us to find out how you can sign up today email@example.com 01708 463116
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THE HEALTH AND Safety Executive has revised its controversial guidance on welding fumes after challenges from the industry. Tougher regulations have been brought in to cover extraction, even in open air situations, which has led to calls for clarity on how the regulations could be put into practice. The HSE took the unusual step of issuing an emergency warning last year and set new demands for extraction systems. It has made it mandatory for a competent ventilation engineer to thoroughly test systems for performance every 14 months. This will need to be signed off and records will need to be kept for at least five years. Where
equipment has failed, the ventilation engineer will need to show where preventative maintenance was carried out. It also recommends using alternative cold joining techniques and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise risks. The HSE said: “By law you must protect your workers by controlling the health risks from welding fume. This applies to specialist welders and workers who do some welding, no matter how small the amount. All welding fume can cause lung cancer.” CIPHE technical manager Jerry Whiteley said: “Those overseeing ventilation systems in industrial settings will need to review this.” Visit: tinyurl.com/w5424al
The Lighthouse Club is raising funds through sports challenges
Lighthouse kicks off year of fundraising A SPRING BALL, golf challenge and a cycling challenge across Ireland are among the fundraising events launched by an industry mental health charity. The Lighthouse Club, which supports people with mental health issues, has organised a series of sponsored events, sports challenges and
black tie evenings to enable it to develop its life-saving work The charity is partnering with the CIPHE and P&H Engineering for our Under Pressure campaign to help the thousands of people across the country who are experiencing mental health issues. Its work includes developing a smart
phone app and providing funds for workers struggling with debt. Chief executive officer Bill Hill said: “More people are coming to us and we have plans to reach even more people. So, get involved and help raise money for our workforce in need.” Find out more: www. lighthouseclub.org
RAISING STANDARDS Find out what the CIPHE, the LGA and trading standards are working together on Page 14
Boardroom practices must become more transparent
Water firms must do more on transparency THE BIG WATER utility firms have met demands from their watchdog to overhaul boardroom practice – but they have been told there is more to do. Ofwat published its first report on water companies’ response to the new board leadership, transparency and governance principles with a warning that they have more work to do. The changes to boardroom oversight are part of the regulator’s ongoing challenge for companies to act in the long-term interest of customers and the environment, and to demonstrate their commitment to the wider public interest they serve.
CONCERN RAISED OVER APPROVED REGULATION REFORMS
The report found companies are moving in the right direction but have more to do to embed principles in the business to change company culture, clarify bonus payments to executives and improve diversity. Since August 2019, all water companies have had a licence condition in place to meet the objectives of the board leadership, transparency and governance principles. Aileen Armstrong, Senior Director of Finance and Governance at Ofwat said: “We expect companies to build on emerging areas of good practice, and drive a culture that places the needs of customers and the environment at the heart of their business.”
Industry urged to report human slavery victims INSTALLERS AND SITE workers have been urged to report cases of human slavery in the construction industry. National Trading Standards warned trafficker gangs are targeting domestic and construction projects to create massive profits through illegal working.
In one case a victim was paid just £3,000 for three years’ work. The trade compromises safety standards and undercuts legitimate traders. Firms now have a legal duty to report cases they are aware of. “The doorstep scammer is not a lovable rogue,” said Lord Toby Harris, the chairman of National
Trading Standards. “Often behind the person who turns up at your door offering cut-price services is a serious criminal. Not only are they happy to rip off older people, those living on their own, and indeed, anyone who is taken in by their patter, but they may also be exploiting and even enslaving vulnerable people.”
INDUSTRY LEADERS have raised concerns over the latest changes to the Approved Build regulations. The Building Engineer Services Association urged the government to link Part F and Part L of the Building Regulations that are currently under review in order to better tackle issues such as overheating that can impact air quality. CIPHE technical manager Jerry Whiteley said: “We are pleased that change is under way and hope this is clarified urgently.”
FIRMS URGED TO PAY DATA PROTECTION FEE THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER’S Office (ICO) has launched a campaign to remind small companies and SMEs of their responsibility to pay a data protection fee – in most cases just £40 or £60 per year. The Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018 require every business that processes personal information to pay a data protection fee to the ICO, unless they’re exempt. Failure to pay may result in a fine of up to £4,000. You are likely to hold personal data from customers through processing payments, visits to your website or if you have CCTV for crime prevention purposes. Paying the fee and being listed on the ICO’s register of fee payers displays professionalism. Pay your fee at ico.org.uk/ fee or, if you’re exempt, complete the form at ico.org.uk/no-fee
Joining the scheme is a legal requirement and shows you care about your customers’ privacy
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Find out more You can find more regulation updates at www.pandhengineering. co.uk
The SEA has called for strict emissions regulations
EU SETS SIGHTS ON ENERGY LABELLING
Tougher emissions rules crucial, says SEA
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION is considering single energy labels for air-conditioning heat pumps and local space heaters. Officials say the new system, similar to the labelling system for domestic appliances, would help consumers compare and choose energy-efficient solutions, such as home heating technologies, more easily. The proposals are being circulated across the industry and UK manufacturers would need to consider compliance after the EU-UK transition period ends later this year. The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment said: “EPEE strongly supports this proposal that would foster the uptake of renewable and energyefficient solutions. Separate labels for space heaters and heat pumps do not make sense.”
RULES ARE KEY to meeting low-carbon targets, according to the sustainable heating industry body. The Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) said a new system of progressively stricter emissions regulations was needed if the UK was to meet tough CO2 reduction targets. The SEA, the trade body for the green heating industry, is consulting on proposals to lobby the government to set tougher limits to the permitted emissions per kWh of heating provided. The government has committed to phasing out fossil fuel heating in
properties off the gas grid by the end of the 2020s and decarbonise heat to achieve net-zero by 2050. The SEA said that toughening standards over time was the only way to achieve this. It has consulted on the plans across industry and academics. Their feedback – along with a detailed outline of potential regulations – will be shared with BEIS, the Committee on Climate Change and other stakeholders. To find out more visit: www. sustainableenergyassociation.com
NEW CHECKLIST FOR INHIBITOR STANDARDS RECENT CHANGES HAVE been made to the Benchmark commissioning checklist and installers need to be aware, according to Fernox. Previously, installers had to state if they had used a
cleaner or inhibitor. There are now more requirements needed to comply with BS 7593:2019. Francine Wickham, global marketing director at Fernox, explained: “It now asks which brand and
product the installer has used. The installation of a filter is also listed, and the inclusion of water softeners has been added to the scale reducer category.” For out more at: www.fernox.com
DEFRA DELAYS WATER SAVING REVIEW TECHNICAL ISSUES HAVE delayed publication of a government consultation on water saving. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had received 324 responses by the October deadline for its
The EU has recommended new labelling for space heaters and heat pumps
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consultation on The water-saving making surface review will be published and groundwater “as soon as possible” supplies more efficient. publication of the The results were due summary of responses to have been published to the consultation. We in January, but that are working to resolve has now been put on this and will provide hold. A statement said: the summary as soon “We have had to delay as possible.”
FE ATURE / SECURIT Y
DAYLIG HT ROBBERY Vans are increasingly being targeted by thieves. We reveal the scale of the crimes and what you can do to protect your business
t’s every trader’s nightmare: being miles from home and suddenly without tools and a van out of action. But that’s exactly what faced six workmen who were all targeted by thieves in November 2019 while staying at hotels in Ipswich. Within the space of a few hours, each had their vans, which were left in the hotel car parks, broken into. One had around £4,000 of equipment taken. In just minutes, thieves damaged the side door of one van by cutting at the metal near to the track before gaining entry. Another van was entered via a drilled hole in the rear sliding door and levered open.
The crimes weren’t that unusual: a warning was issued by Kent Police in January after a run of thefts that netted thousands of pounds in just a few days.
Knock-on effects Information from insurance firm AXA reveals the true cost of a break-in: “Your insurance policy may protect you from financial loss and keep you on the road – but if you’re self-employed, with no backup plan or pool of company vehicles to draw on, having a damaged van or lacking the tools for your trade can cause your business to grind to a halt.”
It takes years of hard work and a lot of expense to build up a tool kit Keep tools in a heavy-duty box bolted to the van’s floor
POLICE ADVICE TO BEAT THE THIEVES Suffolk Police advise that if you’re working on site or are away from home: Ideally, remove tools to a secure location elsewhere Always lock all doors and shut windows, physically checking van doors are locked If you park on your driveway consider installing motionactivated CCTV Be particularly aware when unloading To increase the security of tools, you can bolt either a cage or box to the base of the van, which should be secured with a sturdy close shackle padlock to reduce
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incidents and deter thieves Setting an alarm or immobiliser will make it more difficult for the offender Keep note of the serial numbers of your tools, or engrave them to ensure they are identifiable as yours Deter thieves by backing your van close to a wall when parking and ensure it is alarmed and parked either in a garage or a well-lit, public area If you are offered tools in suspicious circumstances, do not buy them and let police know immediately by calling 101. You can also
MAR / APR 2020
contact Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111. A spokeswoman for Kent Police told P&H Engineering: “We welcome efforts made by individuals and organisations to help reduce vehicle crime.” The Association of British Insurers advises that you should talk to your insurance company when considering measures to protect what is your livelihood. A spokesperson said: “In addition to parking your van in well-lit or secure areas, other steps include fitting extra locks on equipment stored in the van, fitting an immobiliser and limiting
advertising on your van so it is not obvious to thieves what is stored in there. Your insurer can also advise on the best security devices to use.” CIPHE technical manager Jerry Whiteley says: “It’s concerning that manufacturers are not fitting alarms as standard. That’s something the van industry needs to rethink. “But we can also do our bit by not buying second-hand tools, especially from the web or at a car boot fair. Tempting though it is when kit breaks, it’s feeding the crime economy and frequently turning over another trader.”
FEATURE / SECURIT Y
Top tip Always make it as difficult as possible for thieves to access your vehicle
Not a member? Email us at membership@ ciphe.org.uk to find out how you can sign up
The national scale of the problem was revealed in official figures uncovered by What Car? magazine, which revealed the findings of freedom of information requests. Since 2016, more than 117,000 vans have been broken into and 43,000 vans have been stolen. Unsurprisingly, London was the highest crime area. The reported cost to businesses was a staggering £61.9m.
Why are vans a target? In short, vans are not well protected, the tools have a value and can be sold easily. What Car? found most vans do not have alarm sensors in the rear bay or side doors making entry easy. The most common method of attack is ‘peel and steal’, where thieves use their own body weight to pull the side door off its rail. Failing that they simply cut into the metalwork. Selling on the tools is easy: there is a strong secondary market on eBay, Facebook Marketplace sites and other websites. There are also morning street markets, pawnbrokers and car boot sales. Police forces across the country have seen their numbers cut and have had to focus on violent crime. Traders are angry about the situation and demanding action. Plumber Lee Watts started the
Twitter tag #noVANber and an online petition two years ago to get the theft laws toughened after his van was broken into. The petition said: “It takes years of hard work and a large expense to build up a tool kit and a van that enables you to earn an honest living. More and more people are being affected by this crime and it needs to be stopped. Also, we need a system that ensures any victim will be reimbursed for their loss in full, immediately, to enable that person to carry on working.” Tool theft can be catastrophic for a small business and the CIPHE believes that the logging of serial numbers for new and second hand tool sales would reduce the frequency that thefts are occurring. In the meantime, there are things you can do to protect your possessions (see box, left).
Since 2016, more than 117,000 vans have been broken into
Register your tools for free at www. immobilise.com by registering the serial numbers and models, and use ultraviolet pen to (invisibly) mark your property, which at least increases the chances of having them returned to you in the event of them being lost or stolen.
Cover the cost Not covered for van theft? The CIPHE can help. Our insurance partner is UIB (United Insurance Brokers Ltd). Christopher Bates, UIB divisional director says: “Having your tools stolen and your van damaged is hugely stressful. We can help. UIB specialises in the plumbing and heating industry. In addition to Public Liability Insurance, UIB can provide insurance for tools, vans, breakdown and more. And we offer preferential premiums for CIPHE members.” www.uibdirect.co.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org
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UNITE D WE S TAND
he pressure to get the job rightÂ has never been greater due to increasingly demanding consumers and concerns from regulators over quality and safety standards. The first report from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry made clear there had been serious failures in the design and build process that led to the fatal fire. At the same time, the Scottish government has confirmed an inquiry will be held into why there
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were serious failings in the water supply at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow that led to serious illness and potentially the death of patients. In the domestic market, untrained fitters using cheap components, plus lax regulations, have also impacted on the reputation of the industry. The fight against rogue traders of all kinds is being fought by the CIPHE, the Local Government Association (LGA),
Lax regulations have impacted on the reputation of the industry
Illustrations: Adam Gale
The CIPHE, the Local Government Association and the national trading standards agencies are working to raise standards â€“ and help you protect yourself
FEATURE / STANDARDS
Did you know?
which represents councils teams work hard to protect NTS prevented more than in England and Wales, plus the public from doorstep and £130 million of losses to trading standards at local and online scams, rogue traders consumers and business national level. and loan sharks, and the huge during 2018/19 As a result of the Grenfell impact this work has.” inquiry, councils are now very aware of their enforcement National-level protection responsibilities. The CIPHE is supporting Local trading standards services the work of National Trading Standards prevented at least £42m worth of (NTS) and local authorities in ensuring consumer harm in 2018/19, as well as buildings are safe and rogue traders are prosecuting in excess of 1,100 people for brought to book. criminal offences. A total of more than Where building regulations are not 317 years’ worth of prison sentences (108 being followed, local authority building years suspended) were also handed down control departments are your first contact to criminals as a result of prosecutions point (see box, below). Where domestic by local trading standards services. work or sales of poor-quality goods are Traditionally, the standards covered involved, local trading standards officers issues like counterfeit goods, but today will take the lead. they protect far more, and will escalate Councillor Simon Blackburn, chair of major issues to NTS. the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities The NTS is responsible for gathering Board, says: “Councils’ trading standards important intelligence from around the country to combat rogue traders and enforcement issues that go beyond local authority boundaries. One issue it is currently fighting is modern slavery in the building trade. Organised gangs are targeting vulnerable young men from deprived areas – such as those with alcohol and drug dependencies, people who are unemployed, homeless people and
KNOWING THE LAW If you find work that does not meet building regulations, the planning authority can take enforcement action. According to Planning Portal information: “If a person carrying out building work contravenes the Building Regulations, the local authority may prosecute them in the magistrates court where an unlimited fine may be imposed (sections 35 and 35A of the Building Act 1984). Prosecution is possible up to two years after the completion of the offending work. This action will usually be taken against the
person carrying out the work (builder, installer or main contractor). Alternatively, or in addition, the local authority may serve an enforcement notice on the building owner requiring alteration or removal of work which contravenes the regulations (section 36 of the 1984 Act). If the owner does not comply with the notice the local authority has the power to undertake the work itself and recover the costs of doing so from the owner.” Read more at: tinyurl.com/vo8m3g6
Councils’ trading standards teams work hard to protect the public from doorstep and online scams immigrants – to carry out substandard house ‘improvements’ and repairs on properties. Louise Baxter, head of the NTS Scams Team said: “The tactics used by criminals often leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors.”
New campaign NTS has launched a campaign, Friends Against Scams, to get people to report cases, backed by utility firms. Jo Giles, customer safeguarding manager at gas distribution network Cadent, says information sharing – especially from customers – is vital: “Scams are becoming more commonplace, more sophisticated and harder to spot. As utility companies, we meet and talk to customers on a daily basis. This puts us in an ideal position to support people who may be targeted.” Sharing details of rogue traders is a first step, but names are nothing without evidence. CIPHE president, Chris Northey, says the technical team is happy to get involved in cases to support members to defend their reputation, and that of the profession. But it’s not a simple process. He says: “It comes back to having people in the industry who are professional and competent. If you have to report someone, especially for something that involves Trading Standards, you need evidence. The CIPHE can get involved in a professional assessment.
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FE ATURE / S TANDARDS
What we can do
Scams are becoming more commonplace, more sophisticated and they are harder to spot “You also need to protect yourself: if you’ve got no records to validate what you say then you have a problem. It can become a situation where someone will counter what you say. The risk is that you could be held responsible for something that wasn’t your fault. So it’s critically important to have records of undertakings and who signed off work.” He added that it’s vital that CIPHE members who are not following regulations are held to account: “It’s a good way of maintaining our own standards too. If a member falls below it, we have a process for dealing with that.”
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The CIPHE is encouraging the government to deliver stronger rules for building work and for water regulations to be updated. Chris Northey says members can help at a local level too: “There are things that we can do to support the work of trading standards teams. It’s good to publicise the fact that trading standards are there and will use the statutes that they have if a case comes up.” But councils need our help to continue this work. Having lost 40% of their budgets over the last decade, most local councils have had to make cuts to trading standards teams and building control departments. The government is reviewing spending plans for the next five years and has already called on them to make cuts of 5% to their budgets. The LGA says council trading standards and planning teams need to be funded to be able to enforce the regulations and need installers to lobby ministers. Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, says: “The government needs to ensure councils are adequately funded, so they can continue to take effective action at a local level against criminals and provide the vital local regulatory services that keep residents safe.”
Contract care It’s not just traders who get caught out by scammers. Mike is a Kent-based plumber who is chasing payment from a customer for installing a bathroom and is now looking at legal action. He tells P&H Engineering: “It was a straightforward bathroom installation. I talked each stage through with the customer and gave a thorough estimate. At the end they rejected the work as not up to standard. It’s now a legal issue so whatever I get back, there are extra costs.” If you find yourself in this position, your membership of the CIPHE and adherence to a Code of Professional Standards is something you must make the court aware of. To prevent something like this occurring, make sure you have a signed contract. Keep evidence of your work, such as receipts and photos of the job. Ideally, get a third party to check the contract. To understand your legal responsibilities, you need to know how and when a contract is made and you need an understanding of contract terms so that you can be sure they are fair. To find out more, go to: www.businesscompanion. info/en/quick-guides/ consumer-contracts
Useful contacts Citizens Advice consumer service helpline 03454 040506
Friends Against Scams, a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk
National Trading Standards www.nationaltradingstandards.uk
MARCH / APRIL 2020 EDUCATION AND TRAINING MAT TERS FOR PLUMBING LECTURERS
Inspiring the next generation CIPHE technical manager Jerry Whiteley takes us behind the scenes at the hard work that goes into the HIP Apprentice of the Year competition
INSIDE LEVY ON LEARNING Why the CIPHE is urging reform to help apprentices
MIND MATTERS Taking care of students’ mental wellbeing
NEW RESOURCES Salamander’s training resources reviewed
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Jerry (far right) at the prize giving
All participants received a certificate of achievement
TIME TO SHINE FOR RISING STARS
with plenty of time for questions. In reality,
of course, most are chomping at the bit to know how well their student is doing. This is brilliant because their competitiveness adds to the atmosphere and heightens expectations. It’s funny to see how they start off laid back upon arrival and as the day progresses they get twitchy. As the mid-way point arrives and everyone takes a break it’s like watching the ringside coach lean over the ropes giving their advice and motivating their boxer to win. From the candidate’s perspective Find out they arrive fully loaded with tools more and a bit nervous because it’s Make sure your students across the UK. As a judge now reality. They’ve probably know about the resources you can imagine this not had a great night’s sleep at ciphe.org.uk involves a lot of travelling because they’re about to enter about the country and meeting the unknown. However, they are all many people. Of course, this also up for the challenge and can’t wait to has the added benefit of getting the get started. CIPHE name out in an approachable and personal way. SETTLING NERVES This year’s first regional round was held The day starts softly, with everyone at Petroc College Mid Devon Campus, meeting for introductions. Then it’s off to Tiverton. The day before the competition the workshops to drop off the candidates started, the bays and sponsored equipment and brief them on the drawings and were prepared and checked. The day of the specifications. At this point they can ask competition had an early start for everyone questions and receive reassurance on their as they needed to get unpacked and understanding of the criteria. introduced to events. Once past this stage, the candidates get Candidates usually arrive with a tutor started and the tutors leave to get their from their college and are briefed on the training. Typically, candidates come from formalities of the competition, with a few a range of backgrounds. I always have a hints and tips to help settle nerves. walk around them at this early stage to The college staff are given a full day of check they are underway and calm. I ask CPD, by a whole range of manufacturers, them a little about themselves and I like
CIPHE technical manager Jerry Whiteley has been impressed with the dedication and professionalism on show at the HIP Apprentice of the Year competition
he Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering is dedicated to the highest of educational standards so it is a privilege to get to see some of the best talent in the country in my role as one of the judges in the HIP Apprentice of the Year competition 2020. The HIP competition is now in its 11th year and is open to all learners between the ages of 16 and 21. They can be on a study or apprenticeship programme. The regional rounds start in January
The competitiveness of the tutors adds to the atmosphere and expectations 02
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to know which level of learning they are at and which type of programme. I also find out how long they have been on their courses and how long they have been doing plumbing and heating. This helps them settle down and they appreciate the supportive questions, hints and tips.
SHOWCASING SKILLS It’s interesting to learn a little background because you get a much better appreciation of the candidate. The answers are varied. Some are on study programmes and have not yet been out into industry but are eager to take the next step while others have been working in the family business since they were 14. Therefore, their previous experience is just different and not necessarily a barrier. Key attributes that shine through are things like talent, pride in the work, planning work, understanding diagrams, problem solving and preparation. My observations are that candidates frequently start the task in a slightly different way but achieve the same end goal. Some learners like to use a laser level and some
The students gain confidence from taking part
Anyone looking at it would be thrilled if it was work done in their home
the traditional way using a quality spirit level. Occasionally, you’ll see the clipping being done with a screwdriver while most use a battery drill. As the competition is based on plumbing and heating skills, you’d expect pipe skills and jointing to be a large part of the task. The pipe bending of copper tube is the same as any curriculum criteria and generally 15mm or 22mm. The jointing ranges from soldering, push-fit using Tectite and compression. This year has seen the introduction of the Pegler Yorkshire Tectite flexible metal pipe. This has highlighted that a few in either industry or college have used this but not everyone. A briefing is given by Glenn from Pegler Yorkshire on how exactly it is used. This always includes the correct method of marking the insert depth using a gauge. By 3:30pm the head judge calls time. You can always tell when it’s near the end because you get the distinct smell of Brasso metal polish! As judges, we look for work accurately completed against the diagram issued. This includes measurements, components fitted correctly, soldering and any scorching of the walls, depth markings on the push-fit joints and overall quality of workmanship. The time competitors spend checking and double checking their work is considerable as the standard is so high. I love this part because for me it shows the candidates’ passion and talent. Their colleges and employers must be so proud
Timeline How does HIP Apprentice of the Year work? October Applications open: college lecturers complete applications online at the HIP website January Regional rounds begin across the UK April The final between regional winners takes place
to know they understand how to do fantastic work and that anyone looking at it would be thrilled if it was work done in their home or project. As the students and tutors gather for the results, they get lots of official photos and everyone receives manufacturers’ prizes – so many, they struggle carrying them all. A certificate of achievement is given out to proudly hang up later. But of course, there can only be one winner at each regional event and they always appear to be shocked and pleased. Each and every one of the candidates has grown in stature and ability by the end of the day. The tasks set are generally much harder than the projects set within a curriculum and therefore each candidate has exceeded their own expectations – designed to inspire them further when back at college or work. Competitions are a great way of engaging and encouraging diversity, as has been witnessed throughout each regional events. This event is a great opportunity for colleges and employers to raise the profile of training and education of tomorrow’s plumbers and heating engineers. The final takes place over two days at Adey HQ in Cheltenham on 23 and 24 April and it’s going to be very competitive based upon the skills and talent heading there.
More information Look out for next year’s event on the HIP website or in the magazine from October 2020 www.hip-magazine.co.uk/events
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Entry-level apprenticeships will fall without reforms
EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION… The CIPHE believes that the new government’s priorities need to include reforms to support education and apprenticeships for our industry
hile the last election may have hinged on Brexit, it’s fair to say that education is normally high on the list of priorities when it comes to campaigning. After all, a fit-for-purpose education system is the holy grail for all governments. While it may have taken a bit of a backseat in the December general election, now that we have left the EU, it’s time for education to once again become the centre of attention. And the CIPHE is keen to focus MP’s minds on the job ahead. The challenges facing those in education are many. There is no simple quick fix for the current system, with the main issues surrounding:
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Funding and budget cuts Recruitment of education professionals Rising pupil numbers Classroom technology Fit-for-purpose examination and assessment system Mental health The curriculum itself. When it comes to education in the plumbing and heating industry (and construction in general) these issues seem to multiply. Recent reforms have seen apprenticeship starts fall by a fifth since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017. By introducing a 0.5% tax on the total pay
You can find archived features on training and education at www. pandhengineering. co.uk/careers
bill of employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million, the Levy was meant to increase the amount of funding available for apprenticeships and allow employers to be at the centre of the system. Its aim was to raise education and skills up a level. However, with four in five levy-paying businesses yet to take on a single apprentice, something has gone terribly wrong. A Freedom of Information request from the Open University to HM Revenue and Customs found that 53,449 individual employers have paid towards the Levy, but only 10,417 employers have accessed
Demand for apprenticeships continues to outstrip supply www.ciphe.org.uk
their digital apprenticeship Service Account, and made a minimum of one commitment to taking an apprentice on. Data supplied by the Education and Skills Funding Agency has shown that only 14% of the total Levy funds paid by employers has been spent. In reality, the Levy has moved provision from entry-level apprenticeships, to what’s in essence rebadged graduate training courses for existing, skilled employees. This is because the companies that paid in could only recoup their money if they invested in apprenticeships. Many decided to up-skill their existing workforce, rather than take on school leavers. This means young people, as well as adults wanting to up-skill who are in low paid work, or in areas dominated by Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), are at a significant disadvantage. Adding to the issue is an imbalance of funding for certain subjects; for example, the funding available to the domestic plumbing and heating Trailblazer apprenticeship is much lower compared to other subjects. At a time when gas as a heat source is being replaced, this can only have a negative impact on the industry as a whole. The sad fact is that demand for apprenticeships continues to outstrip supply of employers. This same issue is likely to affect T-Levels, when it comes to offering work placements to students. While the CIPHE welcomes moves to allow non-levy paying businesses (SMEs/ micro-SMEs) access to the apprenticeship service from 2020, financial support still does not go far enough.
The CIPHE is urging the government to make further reforms to the Levy
Firms need to be encouraged to invest in training
Reduction in apprenticeship starts since the introduction of the Levy in 2017
Levy-paying businesses haven’t taken on one apprentice
£ million investment has been called for to boost apprenticeships for SMEs
Jennifer Coupland, CEO of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, has called for the Government to invest a further £750 million to boost apprenticeships for SMEs. While the Learning and Work Institute has warned that without urgent Levy reforms, the number of apprentices at SMEs will fall by 75,000. It seems clear that unless the funding available to non-Levy paying firms is increased, we will continue to see big business fund their existing workforce, rather than take on those at entry level. The CIPHE’s manifesto is urging the government to make further reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy, re-examine
funding for apprenticeships so it is targeted at the anticipated future skills gap, review T-Level funding, and fund 16 to 18 year-olds from DfE budget – rather than the Apprenticeship Levy – safeguarding starts for entry level apprenticeships. The Institute is also calling for further practical and financial support for sole traders and SMEs.
More information You can read more of the CIPHE’s manifesto at www.ciphe.org.uk/manifesto
SUPPORT FOR SMALL FIRMS The UK domestic plumbing and heating industry is predominantly made up of sole traders and micro SMEs of five individuals or fewer, who need more support in taking on an apprentice.
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KEEP INFORMED Read all the latest news, updates, and member benefits Facebook/CIPHE twitter.com/CIPHE www.ciphe.org.uk
Education, training and apprenticeship news
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS Help to protect the mental wellbeing of the young people you’re working with
he CIPHE’s Under Pressure campaign aims to get the industry talking about mental health. With stress from exams, navigating growing up, relationships, and the pressures of social media (and online bullying), it seems the number of teenagers struggling with their mental wellbeing is on the rise. Figures recently acquired by Tes (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) show that 17,500 college students are regularly seeking mental health support in England (not just for a one-off crisis). This figure was reached from the third of colleges that responded to their Freedom of Information Request, meaning the real number is higher. Statistics from the mental health charity YoungMinds show that: in 6 young people aged 1 16-24 has symptoms of a common mental disorder
Mental health problems often start when people are young
such as depression or an anxiety disorder; Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by 24; In 2017, suicide was the most common cause of death for both boys (16.2% of deaths) and girls (13.3%) aged between 5 and 19; Nearly half of 17-19 year olds with a diagnosable mental health disorder has self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point, rising to 52.7% for young women;
Health First Aid England, risk factors can include: Having a long-term physical illness; Having a parent who has had mental health problems, problems with alcohol or has been in trouble with the law; Experiencing the death of someone close to them; Having parents who separate or divorce; Having been severely bullied or physically or sexually abused;
Fewer than 1 in 3 children and young people with a diagnosable mental health condition get access to NHS care and treatment; In total, less than 1% of the total NHS budget is spent on children and young people’s mental health services.
Peer pressure – including on social media; Coping with uncertainty and change – moving home / schools; Living in poverty or being homeless; Experiencing discrimination, perhaps because of their race, sexuality or religion; Acting as a carer for a relative, taking on adult responsibilities;
The causes of poor mental health in young people are varied. According to the Mental Health Foundation and Mental
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Having long-standing educational difficulties. Children and teenagers can develop the same mental health problems as adults. It’s therefore incredibly important that colleges can offer a safe haven to seek help, with staff trained to recognise mental health issues, dedicated mental health first aiders and college counsellors. The encouraging news is that the same Tes report found the majority of colleges were stepping up to the plate, with a 713% rise in mental health first aiders and staff trained in mental health awareness. Colleges can find out more about mental health training and access free resources at mhfaengland.org/individuals/ youth Young people can find support at youngminds.org.uk For general information on mental health issues visit mind.org.uk
BACK THE BID FE WEEK HAS been coordinating a campaign for the UK to host WorldSkills in 2027. Known as the ‘Skills Olympics’, the competition showcases young talent from across the globe, pitting the best of the best against their counterparts on a global stage. WorldSkills was last hosted here in 2011. FE Week said it was co-ordinating the campaign because: “A bid is an opportunity for our sector to truly think big and demonstrate a bold ambition. We can exploit the process of bidding, and hopefully hosting, as a catalyst for change. Adopting an ambition to implement international benchmarking across the sector and thus creating a stronger economic future for more young people.”
19% of apprentices paid below National Minimum Wage THE DEPARTMENT FOR Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published its annual Apprenticeship Pay Survey for 2018/19. It has found that in Great Britain, 19% of Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices were paid below the appropriate National Minimum Wage (NMW), or National Living Wage (NLW) for their age. Those closest to the beginning of their apprenticeship were more likely to be paid appropriately, with just 11% of those who had been on
their course a year or less paid below the NMW / NLW. However, 25% of those who had been on their course for a year or more dropped below the appropriate rate. Those attending college once a week were also far more likely to receive noncompliant pay (22%), which would indicate employers not paying apprentices for time spent in formal training. Age also plays a part with 34% of 19-24 year olds paid below the NMW / NLW in the second or third year of their apprenticeship. For those aged over 25,
Apprentices aren’t being paid properly
this percentage drops to 28%. The survey also found that in the construction sector, the median basic hourly rate was £6.71 in 2018, up from £6 in 2016. However 20% of apprentices were still paid below the NMW in construction. However, those working in construction were likely to be paid for overtime 88% of the time and 75% received a pay increase during their apprenticeship. To download the full report visit https://tinyurl. com/sfueegp
Get involved by using the hashtag #BackABid on social media or visiting FEWeek. co.uk/BackABid Competitions can help promote change
Centralised system leaves millions behind SIX MILLION PEOPLE in England risk being without a job, or in work they are overqualified for by 2030, suggests new research for the Local Government Association (LGA). Furthermore, the LGA – which represents councils in England – estimates that not meeting the skills needs of employers could lead to a potential loss of £120 billion in economic output by the end of the decade. The research for the LGA by the Learning and Work Institute (L&W) also reveals that by 2030 there could be:
5.1 million low-skilled people chasing 2 million low-skilled jobs – a surplus of 3.1 million low-skilled workers; 12.7 million people with intermediate skills chasing 9.5 million jobs – a surplus of 3.1 million people; 17.4 million high-skilled jobs with only 14.8 million highskilled workers – a deficit of 2.5 million. According to the report, Brexit is an opportunity to improve the current
centrally governed skills and employment system, which sees £10.5 billion a year spent by eight government departments or agencies across 20 different national schemes. The LGA says the current offering is confusing, fragmented, untargeted and ineffective, and that councils, combined authorities and their partners can help the government tackle skills gaps and more effectively reduce long-term unemployment by being able to target support locally.
The LGA is calling for the government to use the budget to devolve all back-to-work, skills, apprenticeship, careers advice, and business support schemes and funding to the local areas in which they are used. This would see groups of councils across England given the power and funding to deliver a one-stop service for skills, apprenticeship, employment, careers advice and business support. To read and download the report in full visit tinyurl.com/ wyctxme
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SALAMANDER TRAINING RESOURCES Sergio Afonso, a plumbing lecturer from CIPHE Approved Training Centre, Boston College, on using Salamander Pumps’ resources
n my view, the training resources developed by Salamander Pumps and the CIPHE will help learners to be inspired and to effi ciently acquire extra knowledge, practise, and connect up their background knowledge, by providing a good deal of expertise in correctly selecting and installing the right pump for the job. These resources will also empower apprentices with training in new technologies and developments, so they can become more up to date with the plumbing industry. The resources are well-structured. Students are presented with clear objectives, which are specifi c and measurable. The resources are provided with a training manual and interactive quiz that is easily adapted to a virtual learning environment, such as Moodle, and there are three quizzes that complement the training manual: Salamander Eve product training, Homeboost training and Gravity pumps. Every learner commented on the clarity of the delivery and the quality of the materials as a great tool for assessing their development of knowledge.
ENCOURAGING LEARNING The activities are simple and short. Prior to use, the class was given a brief lecture, and encouraged to apply their knowledge to reach set targets from which a group discussion developed. This aided the learners’ understanding, and it appears these resources have
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The resources help students learn about technology
been successful with development of directed learning activities. Once you embrace the fact that the students have to be given control of their activities, you will see surprisingly good results. Many of the students who engaged in The resources can these activities seemed encourage discussion to mature in a matter of minutes after picking up the training manual. On some occasions, instead of having Salamander resources are effective a set plan for a session, these resources in supporting learning engagement can be used to guide students to the and learners’ motivation. When you learning outcomes they need to meet. upload and adapt materials on a virtual At other times, students are encouraged learning environment, learners are to view themselves in a more mature enabled by the in-depth knowledge light through the responsibility of peer of the course to choose projects that assessment. reflect their own interests, and this will The forms that I designed to guide help their motivation, progress and the students through that process were achievement. embraced by many of them. Moreover, for the first time I began to see evidence that they could take pride in their work, More information when they asked me to amend the Visit salamanderschool.co.uk to find out form so that written feedback could be more about these resources. given to their peers. They were actually The CIPHE is dedicated to raising the asking to do more work; I couldn’t standards of plumbing and heating believe it. I am optimistic that as these education in the UK and partnerships strategies are used more frequently, and with IAs and colleges is a great way to do developed further, all my students will this. Find out more from CIPHE technical manager, Jerry Whiteley: begin to embrace the directed study ethic and start to realise the potential that I feel has been missed during much of their education to date.
CHANG E M AKE RS World Plumbing Day on 11 March showcases innovations from around the globe that are saving water, lives and the planet
ecessity is the mother of invention and the climate change crisis is spurring a radical wave of innovation in science and engineering not seen for generations. The great news is that universities in the UK and around the world are at the forefront of research – and they are working with heavy hitters such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Southern Water. Their innovations range from ecofriendly toilets to carbon-capture systems that create energy from waste. What’s driving all this? In short, the climate change emergency and
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international agreements to make change happen. The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment explains the problem and the solution: “There is an overwhelming consensus – across industries – that efficient and sustainable heating and cooling solutions and technologies are readily available to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. And then to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. There is no lack of technological innovation, but these products need
to be scaled up and deployed to reach the people.”
Moving forward together Many of these innovations will be raising their profile during World Plumbing Day on 11 March 2020, which promotes safe, sustainable sanitation around the world. They all tackle the two big problems facing developing countries: they don’t have the water or drainage networks to ensure safe sanitation or the clean energy infrastructure to support them. And every country needs to cut CO2 emissions, so most researchers are recommending that there is no point
FEATURE / ENVIRONMENT
It’s surprising that we are still flushing 10 litres of water down the toilet building inefficient systems with aid money, and that governments like the UK’s need to enable them here. It’s a huge levelling up exercise. So what products are out there and can they be scaled up? Scientists and engineers at Cranfield University are involved in a number of projects seeking technological solutions to global challenges of poor sanitation and creating reliable, quality water supplies for communities in developing countries. Professor Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, executive director of the International Water Association (IWA), who is working with Cranfield University, believes we are in a new golden age of sanitation. He says: “A heightened pace of change has been seen in the global water sector over recent years as professionals and organisations attempt to address a host of challenges, such as climate change and population growth.
Research equipment contributing to the SuperGen Bioenergy hub’s work (see page 22)
“Emerging economies have a unique but fleeting opportunity to change the way they think about water and sanitation. How is water used – and reused? Should water systems and their accompanying infrastructure and services be centralised or decentralised, linear or circular? Although the potential to do things differently in these emerging areas exists, the window of opportunity to create a more sustainable pathway is relatively small (five to 15 years) and hence quick action is needed if one is going to create a paradigm shift.” The Cranfield University team’s most high-profile innovation has been the Nano Membrane Toilet, which has attracted headlines after gaining funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr Alison Parker, who is at the centre of the project, says: “It’s quite surprising that we are still flushing 10 litres of water down the toilet and there are large
numbers of people around the world still relying on a latrine. There’s nothing in between.” The toilet uses an Archimedes’ screw that separates the waste. It also features a membrane that filters the pathogens to leave pure water that can then be reused. The waste is dried and burnt to create energy. The nano toilet is energy neutral and will tackle health problems like the spread of cholera. Dr Parker tells P&H Engineering: “The technology is still developing – there is still quite a long way to go. It’s a small idea with a lot of components that have to work together and be robust because of where it is going to be deployed.” Why has it taken more than 150 years to rethink the toilet? She says: “People like to flush and forget. People don’t like to think about their waste.” They’re not the only innovator in this area. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is developing a
From virtual to reality The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has been refining building design since 1921. It too has risen to meet the Climate challenge. At a symposium in Wales recently, BRE chief executive, Gillian Charlesworth said low-carbon design and construction was being achieved “through people, expertise, collaboration and strong ideas”. “This industry must build its influence to bring about change. It is surely possible for the talent within the industry to influence from the ground up. “Innovation has stalled because of lowest priced tendering, a lack of focus
on the customer and enduser, no focus on value and a lack of data.” “To solve challenges we must use data, facts and evidence. We’ve done a lot of things to buildings across the UK over the last five years or more to improve their energy efficiency, and a lot of it was wrong. All organisations wanted to do was spend the money – ‘Let’s sort these houses out, we’ve got to get these people out of fuel poverty.’ And all we did was seal up the houses and made people even more sick. Nobody properly understood basic building physics. So that is all having to be put right now.”
The driver is the customer, according to BRE: “Increasingly, we are seeing consumers wanting more from their homes and their awareness around climate and environmental issues is gaining momentum. BRE has supported government proposals in raising the minimum regulations through the development of SAP – the calculation methodology that sits behind Part L of the Building Regulations. “In addition, BRE continues to support the ambition of government around the implementation of the Future Homes Standard.”
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FE ATURE / ENVIRONMENT
A heightened pace of change has been seen in the global water sector wastewater electrolysis cell (WEC) for toilet wastewater disinfection. It uses semiconductor anodes and stainless steel cathodes. The treated wastewater is designed to reuse for toilet flushing and agricultural irrigation. The unit itself is designed to fit in shipping containers and handle the waste of 25 users per day.
Burgeoning biogas Generating energy from waste is another area of innovation. Researchers at Loughborough University have been developing a small-scale biogas system that converts food waste to methane and can be monitored via the internet. Their technology not only scales up, but also enables, carbon capture, which Dr Tanja Radu, lecturer in water engineering is developing with partners the Supergen Bioenergy hub, the Department of Transport and Southern Water. An air-tight unit containing Read bacteria breaks down the more on... matter to create the gas. ...on bioenergy systems The solid matter that is left supporting the UK’s transition to a low-carbon becomes fertiliser. Better Recovery Unit (HERU) team future at www.supergenstill, the system uses algae to to support the production bioenergy.net capture the CO2 contained in the phase of the hybrid water methane. The aim is to then inject heating system through sharing the gas into the National Grid. valuable knowledge and best practices “We are creating decentralised energy currently used within Siemens’ factories. production and preventing the burning The HERU, a UK innovation, takes of biomass. Indoor cooking in developing everyday items, which would previously countries causes breathing problems. It’s have been destined for the “waste” an almost complete circle. What’s not to management system, such as coffee cups, like?” she says. nappies and plastics, and converts them One question mark over any new into energy to heat water for households technology is whether manufacturers and commercial buildings. will be prepared to upend their Founder and chief executive of business models. HERU, Nik Spencer said: “We are The industrial giant Siemens has absolutely delighted to be working already teamed up with the Home Energy alongside a multinational company like
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The Home Energy Recovery Unit converts waste into energy to heat water
Siemens. Their knowledge, experience and expertise of mass industrial manufacturing is invaluable to the production of the HERU. “This is a significant moment in bringing the HERU to market and builds upon the excellent results of the ongoing field trials.” CIPHE technical manager Jerry Whiteley is clear that it’s time for installers to take notice of innovations like these. He says: “Making what we have ‘a bit better’ isn’t an option. Why should developing countries re-create our systems with all their inefficiencies when better options are out there? Change is coming and we, as an industry, need to be ready for it. Keeping up with the latest innovations matters; if you don’t then you’re standing still.”
More information Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation www.gatesfoundation.org
European Partnership for Energy and the Environment www.epeeglobal.org
Cranfield University Water Science Institute: tinyurl.com/qqw3nkc
PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Under pressure: how to ease anxiety Anxiety is a growing problem in our industry, however, there is support out there
ur survival mechanisms were very useful when we faced predators, such as lions and tigers, and needed our fight or flight instincts. Then came email. And text messages. And project deadlines. And social media. And more. Overloaded with information and deadlines, it is easy to become overwhelmed by being over-vigilant, and that can trigger anxiety. Bill Hill, chief executive of an industry mental health charity Lighthouse Club, says: “The big statistic is that within the construction industry, 20% of all work-related absence is linked to serious anxiety and depression. That can mean feeling anxious about going into work and lead to a depressive state.” He points out that some stress is useful as without it we wouldn’t function in situations like job interviews. But prolonged exposure to stress can trigger anxiety attacks and long-term problems. What are the signs of anxiety and what can be done to help? In short, it’s a fear that things are worse than they are. Our fight or flight mechanism goes into overdrive and the warning signals – a tense stomach
Prolonged exposure to stress can trigger anxiety attacks and longterm problems
feeling of being on edge or not in control.
The fix There are lots of ways to beat anxiety: Talk to someone who knows you: you get another perspective and a bit of time out Breathe in fours: count to four each time you breathe in and out – and do it four times Go for a walk – it uses up nervous energy and will help clear your head Break your thoughts down: sometimes we sweep everything into a big negative bubble, so create single thoughts you TOP TIP can manage Make your phone Use a mindfulness your friend: avoid There is now help with anxiety app on your phone. social media and use for workers in our industry Lighthouse Club has one, mindfulness apps instead the Construction Industry Helpline (details below). and raised heart rate – take over, Bill Hill says: “Talking is the leaving you restless, edgy and unable to biggest thing. You’ll find other people concentrate. It can become debilitating. have the same worries. We’re all capable Bill Hill says: “Stress is a part of once we put things in perspective.” working in our industry: 57% of the workforce are self-employed so they’re always looking for the next job. The people who are coming to us are at the Resources to help point where anxiety has overcome their Find more on anxiety conditions and support at www.anxietyuk.org.uk daily lives.” Call the Construction Industry Helpline on 0345 605 1956 or download the app from the Think this is you? App Store or Google Play. The warning signs include: a dry mouth, Find support for employers on improving tense muscles, frequent need to go to the workplace mental health www.buildingmentalhealth.net toilet, hyperventilation, headaches, a
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P&H ENGINEERING 25
Technical and professional advice on low-carbon heating solutions as well as CPD questions 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 email@example.com
Thermal Storage Batteries New thermal storage solutions could help us make the most of renewable energy in the race to reach zero carbon by 2050, says Paul Harmer
ow that the UK has officially left the EU and the government has such a large majority in parliament, our industry should expect some rapid changes and firm decisions to support the decarbonisation of heat. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is now focusing its resources on tackling climate change and will be publishing its low-carbon roadmap for our industry in the summer of 2020. The heat pump heat demonstrator project will be commencing in mid 2020, in which the government will be investing
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£16.5 million into the installation of 750 heat pumps into consumer homes to look at everything from performance to consumer behaviour; a similar project is currently being investigated with hydrogen boiler technology. The heat demonstrator project will also be looking to test near-to-market technologies to see how they may improve the efficiency and adaptability of heat pump technology. One such technology is the use of thermal energy batteries to increase the amount of domestic hot water available in an equivalent space to that occupied by a traditional domestic hot water cylinder.
HOW CAN THERMAL STORAGE PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE DECARBONISATION OF HEAT? One of the major challenges that government and industry face in their quest to decarbonise heat is being able to match low-carbon fuel from its generation directly to the consumer’s heating or hot water load. If the UK is to meet its tough 2050 emissions targets then it will require some form of infrastructure change that may include the mass deployment of green hydrogen through the existing gas network combined with the electrification of heat. However, the deployment of
The deployment of electricity to heat homes will not come without challenges www.ciphe.org.uk
THE FIX / NEW HEAT SYSTEMS
electricity to heat our homes will not come without challenges due to the seasonal nature of producing renewable electricity from wind, solar and hydro sources. One such solution to this obstacle could be the use of seasonal storage technology that can be deployed to capture green electricity through the use of low-cost off-peak energy tariffs and turning it into thermal energy, while off-peak is likely to be defined as when the wind blows or the sun is shining. This article aims to look at the current water storage thermal technology on the market today and to compare them against some of the new disruptive solutions appearing on the horizon such as phase-change materials.
Heat pump with buffer tank
THERMAL BATTERIES AND TYPES WATER STORAGE Domestic hot water storage thermal energy batteries The majority of us link the term battery to those types that are used to store electricity. However, in this article we will be referring to a battery as a thermal
energy battery; a physical structure used for the purpose of storing and releasing thermal energy. In essence, a domestic hot water cylinder is a form of battery, as it stores energy temporarily in a volume of water to be used at a later date for domestic hot water. Depending on the size
Amount of usable energy storage within 200kg of organic PCM vs 200 litres of domestic hot water at 60°C The stored energy per degree for a 200 litre hot water cylinder vs an equivalent 200kg phase-change material battery 11 10 9 8
kW energy within the domestic hot water unusable energy (5.6 kW) ** kW energy in the PCM unusable (17 kW) * kW energy within the domestic hot water unusable energy (5.5 kW) **
kW stored energy
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
unusable energy within the DHW hot water cylinder between 40°C
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65
unusable energy within the DHW hot water cylinder between 40°C and 60°C 40°C
*The calculations are based upon an equivalent heat exchanger (HE) surface area as a traditional DHW cylinder. This figure will reduce dependent upon PCM type and an increased HE surface area. ** The calculations are based upon the minimum and maximum energy in a DHW cylinder using BS EN 12831 part 3
of the hot water cylinder, it defines how much water you are able to draw off at the required temperature at any given flow rate. This is typically stored at 60°C and the effectiveness of different DHW cylinders may be calculated using the methodology within BS EN 12831 Part 3. In simple terms, before an installer specifies a hot water cylinder into the consumer’s home, it is critical for them to understand the actual consumer’s hot water usage patterns to meet their needs. Simple thermal stores or buffer tanks A simple thermal store or buffer tank is quite common in log gasification boiler installations where a large volume of water is used to maintain the efficiency of the biomass boiler during its combustion phase by avoiding the issues experienced by boilers with low turndown ratios. However, more advanced biomass boilers have a higher turndown ratio due to their ability to modulate down as low as a modern natural gas boiler. Buffer tanks are also used in combination with heat pumps to ensure a minimum volume of water is present within the heating system at times when the heating load is low. This helps to prevent the heat pump from short cycling, maintaining a minimum flow rate through the heat pump when heating zones are
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P&H ENGINEERING 27
THE FIX / NEW HEAT SYSTEMS Write to us FIGURE 3
PCM thermal battery connected to a domestic hot water system
Send your technical questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Be prepared! How can the installer prepare for the potential rapid changes industry faces in the future? Be a member of the
turned off (figure 1, simple buffer tank in a heat pump system). However, more modern heat pumps have an ability to operate without a buffer tank with the use of components such as variable compressors. Phase-change material (PCM) A PCM thermal battery incorporates a material with a high latent heat capacity at narrow temperature ranges which can achieve high energy densities compared to water. These types of materials melt and solidify at very specific narrow temperature ranges and are defined as phase-change materials (PCM). The two most common materials used are both inorganic and organic such as parrafin wax and salt water mixtures and additives. Figure 2 demonstrates the considerable increase of usable energy when comparing 200kg of a phase-change material within its
phase-change temperature range and 200 litres of DHW. During this phasechange period, the outlet hot water temperature would be maintained at the desired DHW temperature of 40°C until the PCM has completed its phase change between a liquid and a solid; however, the issue that a future product designer will face is the inherent low conductivity of the PCM itself, which requires a specialist internal heat exchanger to charge and discharge energy at a sufficient rate (figure 3, depiction of a PCM store with integral heat exchanger). The amount of theoretical stored energy within 200kg of a specific PCM, if fully discharged, equates to around 490 litres of water delivered at 40°C. However, further advancement into various PCM mixtures that increases the thermal conductivities is moving at pace.
ARE THERE OTHER BENEFITS WITH THE USE OF A PCM THERMAL BATTERY?
Seasonal storage technology can be used to capture green electricity 28 P&H ENGINEERING
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Compared to a traditional DHW cylinder, a PCM thermal battery avoids the need for a G3 building regulations certificate and eliminates legionella growth that would normally present a risk within a stored domestic hot water cylinder. As
CIPHE to be connected with forthcoming legislation and to help us shape a future that works for both the installer and consumer; Carry out consistent continued professional development to stay ahead of your competition and expand your knowledge of new technology; Start to look at your customers’ real patterns and behaviours – how they use their heating and hot water – before you specify a heating and hot water system; Understand how to
correctly size a domestic hot water system that meets the needs of your customers.
we move towards the mandating of low flow temperature heating systems with a maximum flow temperature of 55°C, this type of technological innovation could help minimise the risk of legionella growth. See opposite for this issue’s 10 questions for your CPD.
More information Use the mycareerpath online facility to plan, evaluate and record your professional development. Read more at: www.ciphe.org.uk/cpd
Assessment: Underfloor heating Questions on system design and installation How do you avoid pump failure and pump noise? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .......................................................................................
When it comes to pipework, what does PE-RT stand for? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .......................................................................................
To ensure the primary flow and return, what are the correct velocity limits? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .......................................................................................
Why is oxygen diffusion an important concern? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .......................................................................................
What is the standard for floor screed suitable for underfloor heating? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .......................................................................................
The Fix Last issue (Jan/Feb 2020) Paul Harmer shared professional advice on low-carbon floor heating systems
For domestic use, how should the customer best control the system? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... What is the main factor for adjusting flow rates on a manifold? â€Ś .................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .......................................................................................
How do you avoid primary and secondary pumps operating in series? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... Part L of the building regulations has a U-value for floors on new homes. What is it? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .......................................................................................
What is the British Standard for wet underfloor systems? ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .......................................................................................
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 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:
Return to: CPD Assessment, CIPHE, 64 Station Lane, Hornchurch, Essex RM12 6NB Email: email@example.com Or visit the members-only area of the CIPHE website: www.ciphe.org.uk/cpd
2019 ASSESSMENT ANSWERS To find all the correct answers for the assessments we ran in 2019 issues of P&H Engineering magazine, visit www.pandhengineering.co.uk/cpd
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P&H ENGINEERING 29
ADVERTORIAL / RINNAI
RINNAI AND THE ART OF ZEN + ZEN PLUS Rinnai re-imagines home hot water and heating systems
innai, global leaders in continuous flow hot water heating products and systems, is introducing the Zen and Zen Plus home hot water and heating system which marries established and proven manufacture durability with new technologies to offer great energy efficiency, user control and, importantly, an unparalleled level of comfort. The Rinnai Zen and Zen Plus system will increase
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comfort and reduce energy usage whilst also providing a highly economical solution for today’s changing marketplace. “Our core expertise is the mass production of long-term reliable combustion products with advanced technologies – we are a global leader and make over two million water-heating units every year for domestic, residential and commercial applications,” says Chris Goggin, head of Rinnai
ADVERTORIAL / RINNAI
We are committed to working with installers as our route to market. The installer is still the major player and, in our view, always will be UK operations. “We have been researching and monitoring the UK domestic heating market for several years until we had a proven system. That time is now, and we are offering hot water heating units together with a superior performance combi boiler in 24kW, 29kW and 35kW outputs.”
Working with installers
OPPOSITE: Smart controls come as standard with the Rinnai Zen and Zen Plus BELOW: The Rinnai Zen and Zen Plus systems offer the provision of luxury levels of hot water at affordable sums
“We are not launching into the mass UK boiler market. That is, in our view, a saturated and oversubscribed market which is in the throes of a major upheaval in its structure due to the advent of online direct sales platforms. We are offering something very different. And we are aiming to serve a market sector previously overlooked and almost ignored – the provision of luxury levels of hot water at affordable sums to the middle and top end of the marketplace. “Another major difference with the Rinnai Zen and Zen Plus is that the route to market is with installers. We are committed to working with
installers as our route to market. The installer is still the major player and, in our view, always will be.” Some of the features of Zen and Zen Plus are: IOT controller as standard; fast heating mode; DHW pre-heat function – saving wasted water; energy monitor function that allows user to monitor energy usage; flue that runs up to 30 metres; Rinnai boiler App for android and iOS; constant temperature-accurate hot water delivery at continuous flow rates.
Staying in control There are also smart wifi controller and app benefits. The Rinnai app seamlessly connects to the controller in the property; the user can control the boiler remotely adjusting temperature, setting weekly and daily programs, receiving alarm functions, monitor energy usage and set limits. The wifi and boiler controller also uses GPS from the user’s mobile to bring on the heat when you are getting close to home to ensure the house is warm when you arrive. Rinnai Zen and Zen Plus are available for use with both natural gas and LPG.
More information For more information on the RINNAI product range visit www.rinnaiuk.com
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Your Membership One of the key benefits of being a CIPHE member is being kept informed on the industry issues that matter TIM SAINTY CIPHE Membership Director Tim looks after the growing CIPHE membership, enhancing services for members and improving communications
Part 1: Code of conduct
+44 (0)1708 463102
When it comes to raising standards and securing five-star reviews from your clients, interpersonal skills can seal the deal
f you’re advertising yourself as a CIPHE-registered professional, skilled and reliable engineer, then you are setting high expectations for your clients. Not just for your technical abilities and knowledge, but for your non-technical skills, too. But it’s these interpersonal and communication skills that not many of us have benefited from training in. So, how do you make it an effortless part of your working day? All CIPHE members abide by its Code of Professional Standards, and Point 1
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
If you develop just one skill, make sure it’s empathy. It’s estimated that around 70% of buying experience is influenced
by how a customer feels they are being treated, rather than the actual product or service itself. The ability to understand your customer’s point of view will give you a big insight into their requirements and expectations, along with how you should approach the work. Some may need a lot of handholding, while you patiently explain step-by-step what you will be doing, where you need to access and when, while others may expect you to get on with the job with minimal fuss and interruption. Remember that if you are there in an emergency, your client may be stressed and upset. Kindness also goes a long way. Your elderly client who lives alone may not have spoken to anyone face-to-face in days, so taking an extra five minutes to
If you are there in an emergency, your client may be stressed and upset
A little kindness goes a long way, as can social gestures, such as having a cup of tea with an elderly client
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sets out that members must ‘carry out their own work or supervise the work of others… communicating and performing to an acceptable standard’. Here’s a little advice on what that means, and how to meet the standards we pride ourselves on.
MAR / APR 2020
Include clear checkpoints at each stage of designing or installing scope of the installation will add additional time and costs.
Always keep clients in the loop when it comes to changing timescales or costs
have a cup of tea and a chat could make a massive difference.
5 Any questions?
mess and dust, so taking an
extra five minutes to leave Contact Tim Sainty via his details, above left, if you have your workspace as tidy as any enquiries regarding possible and have a quick your CIPHE member Be punctual vacuum around is a nice benefits No one likes having time touch that most clients won’t wasted – time is the one thing in expect. Even small gestures, such this world that we never get back. If as washing your cup up after a hot you are going to be late, always let drink, will make you a winner in the your client know and give them a politeness stakes. realistic ETA. Remember that it is likely that your Communicate schedules client will have taken a day off work Issues frequently crop up when – which may be hitting them clients are not given clear, realistic financially – or had to rearrange plans schedules, so if you want to go over and to make sure they are home for your above when it comes to customer visit. Therefore, if you do have to service, this can be key. It is important re-arrange dates or timings, make sure that all sides understand the timescales you give them an apology, a valid involved and if the schedule begins to reason for moving their appointment slip, talk to your client right away. This and as much notice as possible. gives you the chance to explain why and re-arrange key dates. If additional hours or costs are Be clean incurred because a client changes their Using dust covers to minimise mess mind mid-way through a project, then it and tidying up after yourself is not only is your responsibility to ensure they polite, but it shows you are professional realise the implications of those and respectful of your client’s property. decisions. Never assume they Keeping things neat and tidy stops understand! It is advisable to include trip hazards (and potential health and clear checkpoints through each stage of safety nightmares) and shows you are designing or installing a project so a responsible engineer. The majority clients are clear that changing the of homeowners will be expecting
Finally, integrity is everything. We all know some people are only interested in price. In those cases even the best customer service skills in the world won’t matter, but remember it works both ways. Know your worth as a professional installer. If the only way you can bring your prices down is to use inferior materials, cut corners or ignore standards or codes, then you have priced correctly for that job and you can walk away with your head held high. You will likely need all of that learned professionalism when you are invited back to rectify their mistake! While some of this does not come easy to everyone, know that introducing just a few small changes to your approach can make a really big difference. Make the effort and you will find you soon get known for your five-star service, exceeding your client’s great expectations and maybe even some your own.
FIND OUT MORE For further information on the CIPHE’s Code of Professional Standards, visit www.ciphe.org.uk/consumer/code NEXT ISSUE Coming next issue we look at the best way to deal with grievances, which, unfortunately, are bound to crop up in your career.
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MEET THE MEMBERS
Rob Berridge EngTech MCIPHE The designer has more than 30 years’ experience of heating and water systems… and plays guitar in his own recording studio
What do you love about your job?
How did you get into the industry?
How did you get into your current role?
HAVE YOU GOT A STANDOUT MOMENT?
Constantly thinking about how to do things better.
I’ve just designed for the Plantasia Swansea. It’s an eco-forest in the middle of the city. It’s 1km sq in size. They’d over-specified the heating system. That was really interesting.
I worked at a plumbing merchants when I was 16. That’s the best way of getting the knowledge of what you’re going to be installing.
I had an accident and had to come off the tools. I’d worked on big plant installations, but I had to learn computer-aided design and pipe-sizing velocity. To get respected when you go into a company there’s a lot you have to know. At the trial for my first job I spent an hour in the plant room. I made four pages of notes but only got halfway down the first when I was told I’d got the job – the others had only been in there 10 minutes and just proposed like-for-like. I run my own heating design business (www.robberridge.co.uk) and I’ve also
It’s getting hot in here: the Plantasia Swansea
set up a software company to help people calculate heatloss: www.heat-engineer.com
What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve learned?
The industry has got no cohesion. There’s plenty of people at the
coalface but the lobbyists have had it their way for far too long.
What are the benefits of a CIPHE membership?
Would you do it all over again?
I’ve been a member for five years. I got into it after I came off the tools – it’s about giving something back.
Tell us something people don’t know about you
I play guitar and bass. I was semiprofessional for 10 years; I was unloading the tools from the van then loading up the music gear and doing a gig for 50 quid. Now it’s for pleasure. I’ve got my own recording studio at home.
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I absolutely love the industry. I would go into design again, but not the tools; it’s become so competitive in terms of costing jobs that corners are being cut and I don’t think customers are truly getting value for money.
Share your story Would you like to appear on our Q&A page? Drop a line to editor Chris Smith pandhengineering@ jamespembrokemedia.co.uk