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Working with government to create a safer future for you and your customers

The CIPHE’s new president, Mel Gumbs, sets out his plans

Advice from the CIPHE Hong Kong branch on drains and COVID-19

CHAIN REACTION Better, safer, smarter: is nuclear power the future?



Welcome As the country begins the long road back to some sort of normality, the CIPHE continues to fight your corner. Safety at work and financial advice remain critical issues and the team is working hard to make sure you get the right information. We’re updating you on that work in this edition. Plans for a new nuclear power station would normally have been big news. It’s big in scale, creates huge job opportunities and impacts on the low-carbon agenda. We’re looking at what it means for the industry. We could all do with some good news and announcing the CIPHE’s first BAME president is exactly that. Mel Gumbs’ journey from St Kitts to Slough and through a career in the plumbing industry to President of the Institute is to be celebrated and he sets out his plans for the year ahead with plenty of optimism.

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FEATURES 12 Meet the president The CIPHE’s new president, Mel Gumbs, outlines his plans

23 THE FIX Correct drainage and sanitation installation and its role in preventing the spread of infectious conditions

28 Your membership

How our industry will adapt as the country emerges from lockdown

A report on the CIPHE’s first online AGM, plus a new member benefit from Copronet

18 New power generation

33 Advice

14 The new normal

Energy giant EDF is planning to build a new nuclear power plant, Sizewell C. We explore the risks and benefits


Our Under Pressure series continues, looking at dependency issues

34 Q&A: Martyn O’Connor The managing director of Heatshine on innovation and fast cars

5 From the CEO


Kevin Wellman urges members to get involved in keeping the public safe

ON THE COVER Will a new nuclear power plant help secure Britain’s energy supply? Page 18

6 Frontline


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, Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) 64 Station Lane, Hornchurch, Essex RM12 6NB Tel 01708 472791

Apprenticeships at risk, legal rulings, guidance updates and more

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.

Illustration: Adam Gale

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

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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KEVIN WELLMAN Chief executive officer

It’s not just about PPE and maintaining social distancing

As we move towards normality, everyone must get involved in keeping people safe


Stay in touch Follow our updates on COVID-19 at www.ciphe. coronavirus/

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 our membership director Tim Sainty by emailing

ince the COVID-19 outbreak began in March, the CIPHE team has been determined to ensure members got the support they needed and that the Institute was at the heart of decision-making. That strategy has worked and we’re continuing to do everything we can to represent and help you as we know already this is going to be a long haul. We’re a member organisation and that means it’s a partnership where we all look out for each other. Safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment and I’m taking every opportunity to raise awareness of the health and wellbeing of the public. It’s not just about PPE and social distancing: it’s maintaining building safety to stop the spread of legionella and pointing out that standards are there for a reason. You can do this too – and we must keep the momentum going after the lockdown is lifted. Building owners, homeowners and officials now have safety in their mindset so let’s keep nudging them to ensure it stays there. The pressure on household budgets has also created an opportunity for rogue traders and desperate people being pushed to start trading on a shoe-string. We are already working on how we are going to respond to that – including what we will tell the government. We’ll be doing this as part of our strategy of acknowledged engagement with government departments. The biggest issue for us has been supporting the vulnerable, whether it’s our members or the public. Being useful in a time of crisis is the best thing that we can do – and we have also been able to respond quickly. That’s in no small part due to the CIPHE

team and expert members who have pitched in. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work. . We’re not just supporting the UK governments: the Hong Kong branch has been doing vital work to help end the COVID-19 outbreak and has begun sharing the learning from the response of members as well as the research they have undertaken. You will find evidence of that in this issue of the magazine. Governments need evidence-backed information from trusted organisations on which to base their decisions. We are able to provide this – and do so from the position of an organisation that has been promoting best practice for decades. We are determined that some good should come from this awful situation so we never have to go through this again.

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

All that’s happening in plumbing and heating

Employers must be given help to ensure their apprentices can complete their training

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


CIPHE CALLS FOR ACTION TO PROTECT APPRENTICES FROM DOWNTURN Losing apprenticeships will impact the industry in the short term and exacerbate skills shortages in the future


pprentices and their employers need help from the government to avoid job losses due to the lockdown, the CIPHE has warned. With colleges closed and firms under pressure from lost business and reductions in furlough funding, concerns have been raised that apprenticeships and training budgets could be early casualties. The CIPHE has called on ministers and the Education and Skills Funding Agency to make sure trainees can finish their courses and training providers are supported. CIPHE chief executive officer Kevin Wellman said: “We have seen in past recessions that apprenticeships are halted. This impacts on trainees now and creates a skills shortage in the future. This is something that cannot be overlooked.”


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It came as a report commissioned by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson warned cuts in training would hit school-leavers hardest. The report, A Future Generation’s Deal, called for extra funding to prevent youth unemployment. Jamieson warned: “As the year progresses, we could see large numbers of young people find that they have very limited opportunity for paid employment once the lockdown is lifted. In my view, this is a ticking time bomb.” The Department for Education and Skills said: “The government is committed to supporting apprentices, and employers continue to build the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future.” Read more about apprenticeships in the industry at www.

Public health

PHE TELLS FIRMS TO FLUSH OUT LEGIONELLA England’s health regulator has told businesses to ensure all water supplies are safe following the COVID-19 lockdown, echoing the advice of the CIPHE chief executive officer Kevin Wellman (published in the last issue of P&H Engineering). Public Health England issued guidance on cleaning water systems in buildings that have been closed for months to avoid spreading the deadly legionella bacteria. The advice was aimed at hotels, gyms, hairdressers, dentists and conference centres where water would have been sitting in pipes such as air conditioning systems since March. The CIPHE has published member guidance on mitigating the risk of legionella: coronavirus/water-systems-post-covid19


SPRINKLERS MANDATORY FOR NEW TOWER BLOCKS IN ENGLAND Sprinkler systems will be mandatory in new residential tower blocks, the government has confirmed. Laws covering new buildings in England more than 11 metres tall will be changed as part of a package of new safety measures. CIPHE chief executive officer Kevin Wellman said: “I am, of course, delighted that government has recognised the need for sprinklers in high rise residential properties. We have been campaigning for this for many years. We accept that in other properties there might be different solutions but as long as a fire safety plan is in place that is acceptable.”


ALL CHANGE New CIPHE president Mel Gumbs sets out his vision for his term in office Page 12

TWITTER TALK The Institute and members have been influencing the big issues on social media


Gas networks call for £900m switch to hydrogen THE UK’S FIVE GAS NETWORK COMPANIES have called on the government to invest £900m to create green gas network infrastructure across the country. The five – Cadent, National Grid, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities – said work could mitigate some of the economic damage from COVID-19 and create Europe’s first zerocarbon gas grid. It came as the Energy Networks Association (ENA) published research showing investment into zero carbon

hydrogen infrastructure would save bill payers £89bn. The investment could cover new gas storage facilities, upgraded local gas networks and a large-scale trial of domestic hydrogen boilers. David Smith, ENA chief executive officer, said: “With the solutions to tackling climate change being as much local as they are national, we have to take the opportunity to rebalance our economy in the right way.” Find out more at:



panel of industry experts, including the CIPHE, have decided the winners of the top industry installer awards. Phil Metcalf, of Phillip Metcalf Cooling and Heating Services in Lancaster, was crowned the national winner of the Heating Installer Awards 2020, beating hundreds of entries. Ryan Carlton from Cleethorpes scooped the first ever Rising Star prize. The Most Sustainable Installer award, which recognises those in the industry who are doing everything they can to minimise the

impact of their work on the environment, went to Jonathan Coyle from Harvest Cornwall. Phil Metcalf said: “It’s entirely humbling for me and my team to receive such acclaim from our peers and industry representatives. These awards play an important role to highlight the professionalism and hard work put in by heating engineers every day.” For more information on the Heating Installer Awards and to register for next year’s awards, please visit

@CIPHE shared an animation with @BEAMAUK @CorgiServices @HHIC and @TheNHIC explaining how to restart work safely. “We have come together to support this #safe #working #practice animation, to help communicate how, by working together safely, the plumbing & heating industry can be restarted and consumer confidence rebuilt: https:// @WatersafeUK joined former CIPHE president @AWilliamsLtd and @DwrCymru in a webinar to raise awareness of domestic plumbing issues that have come up during lockdown. WaterSafe said: “Thanks to everyone who took part in our webinar for homeowners on #plumbing problems during COVID-19.”

Installers and other members of the industry got together to open up about mental health issues to help support anyone feeling the strain from the crisis. Pete Brown as @GasSafePete replying to @TradesTalk tweeted: “Yes I find it difficult to talk about #mentalhealth as I find it to be a very private thing to talk about, it takes guts to tell people that you have a problem & need help. Respect to the brave, we need to destroy the stigma so everyone can feel they can talk #TradesTalk”

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The hearing at Luton Crown Court underlined that employers must protect the safety of their staff

Find out more


Read more news and advice from the CIPHE at newsroom

A BID TO RAISE MONEY for furloughed workers with mental health issues has been backed by the CIPHE. The Institute’s Twitter feed and the P&H Engineering website,, were used to promote the fundraising drive by the Lighthouse Club which provides mental health and financial support to the industry. The charity, which is partnering our Under Pressure campaign, has started an emergency appeal to raise £1m after having to cancel all of its fundraising events due to the COVID-19 crisis. Chief executive officer Bill Hill told P&H Engineering: “The challenge we have is that grants provided by the government are meant for smaller charities and we are very different. We’re getting towards halfway with donations and it’s great to have the support from CIPHE members so thank you to everyone for their help.”

CIC BACKS TRADE CREDIT SCHEME THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY COUNCIL (CIC) has backed the government’s trade credit insurance scheme. The guarantee scheme to help firms carry on trading will be funded by £10bn of government cash. The CIC, of which the Institute is a member, said firms in the industry would be helped as a result. “The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme, which has been agreed following extensive discussions with the insurance sector, will see the vast majority of trade credit insurance coverage maintained,” it said.


HSE fines firm £1m over sprinkler fall A REFURBISHMENT FIRM has been fined more than £1m after an employee suffered life-changing injuries after falling while inspecting a sprinkler system. Luton Crown Court heard the man was seriously injured on 5 September 2016 at a site in Hemel Hempstead while checking the system for leaks. A ladder gave way and the man fell three metres from an internal roof sustaining injuries that required a blood transfusion and 14 stitches to his head. The HSE investigation concluded Modus Workspace Limited of Greencoat Place, London, had failed to put in place reasonably practicable measures to prevent a fall for both the engineer and

other contractors working on the roof. The firm had failed to discharge its duty to ensure those not in their employment were not exposed to risks, in particular that of falling from height. The company was found guilty after a five-week trial of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1.1 million and ordered to pay costs of £68,116.18. HSE inspector John Berezansky, commented: “This case highlights the importance of taking reasonably practicable measures when planning and managing the risks regarding work at height within the construction industry.”

INDOOR AIR MATTERS POST-COVID THE FORMER Worcester Bosch chief executive officer has urged installers to promote indoor air quality to those outside of the industry. Richard Soper said the lockdown has made people more concerned about air quality. He is supporting the launch of Unico Systems’ small duct heating, cooling and ventilation into the UK. He said: “We’re all spending more time at home due to COVID-19. With the UK set to get hotter over the coming years, demand for the type of climate control and filtration currently found in cars is going to increase.” To find out more about Unico Systems visit:


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INSTALLERS UNAWARE OF OVERHEAD CABLE DANGER INSTALLERS have been urged by the national grid’s operator to join a safety campaign to raise awareness of dangers from overhead power cables. UK Power Networks want plumbers in the South East to raise awareness and adopt safe behaviours while understanding the risks of working around its overhead cables and substations. Hackney Council is among those that have already joined. To find out more and access campaign resources contact:


POWER TO THE PEOPLE? Could a new nuclear power plant provide thousands of jobs – and years worth of energy for the UK? Page 18


Government seeks help to set heat pump rules INSTALLERS CAN HELP the government set new qualifications for heat pump installation in housing. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is aiming to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy later this year, which will set out the actions for reducing emissions from buildings. New training demands will be part of this. The expected increase in deployment of heat pumps in forthcoming years will require a significant increase in the number of trained, high quality installers. This will likely require a robust training framework that will future-proof installers with a high level of skill to install heat pumps. The initiative is part of cross-government work to ensure the UK is ready to meet

tough emissions targets which will be agreed at the next UN climate summit next year. CIPHE members were among those who took part in a consultation in June to help officials understand the existing skills base in the heating and plumbing sector so they can then plan policy to increase the number of low carbon installers. Proposals on training will be put forward by the Low Carbon Technical Working Group, chaired by Paul Harmer, the CIPHE’s lead technical consultant. Chief executive officer Kevin Wellman said: “We want a professional industry now and in the future. Now the government has asked us for our views, we have to take the opportunity to respond and I urge everyone to take part.” Find out more at:


WASTEWATER PLUMBING CRITICAL TO FIGHTING DISEASE, SCIENTISTS WARN MAINTAINING WASTEWATER plumbing systems must be a priority to avoid spreading diseases, scientists have warned. Research published in The Lancet Global Health said maintenance was critical to ensure disease transmission through the wastewater plumbing system is minimised. It said: “By its very design, the wastewater plumbing system is a harbinger of pathogenic microorganisms with, under some circumstances, the potential to enable airborne transmission of viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

INTATEC MARKS DECADE OF TRADE AND UNVEILS NEW HIPER II UNIT THERMOSTAT FIRM INTATEC has celebrated a decade in business by expanding product lines. The manufacturer of anti-scald valves and showers has extended its warehouse to make room for new stock. The firm now employs 60 staff with a turnover in excess of £30m. Managing director Stuart Gizzi said: “In our early days we campaigned to help bring antiscald legislation into the Building Regulations and it’s one of my personal highlights that we’ve been instrumental in doing that.” The company has also unveiled its upgraded interface unit with the Hiper II. Benefits include its electronic control unit, which provides constant monitoring of the system and the Modbus communications system, which provides easy-to-understand feedback for users. Gizzi said: “This takes the key features from that model and takes them to the next level, improving functionality and performance.” Find out more at

UK SCIENTISTS JOIN EU WATER PROJECT SCIENTISTS FROM the University of Exeter have joined a new pan-European initiative to develop new techniques to re-use wastewater. A team from Exeter’s engineering department and the Business School are collaborating with researchers in the ULTIMATE project funded by the European Commission. It aims to create economic value and increase sustainability by utilising resources within the water cycle. It will focus on international agro-food, petrochemical and biotech sector.

TRITON GOES VIRTUAL SHOWER MANUFACTURER Triton has created six troubleshooting videos to help installers. The clips cover issues that usually end up being resolved by calling the firm’s customer service team. Issues covered include dealing with water pressure problems and replacing a flow valve on a mixer shower. To watch the clips, go to:

To read the full report go to:

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GUIDANCE UPDATE Find out more You can find more regulation updates at www.pandhengineering. Guidance


Health & safety

HSE strengthens workplace sickness rules for COVID-19 THE WORKPLACE SAFETY WATCHDOG has revised reporting rules to cover COVID-19 illnesses. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated the guidance for anyone designated as the Responsible Person for reporting accidents and illnesses in the workplace to comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). RIDDOR puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses). As workplaces re-open after the lockdown, the risk of exposure to the virus has increased. The HSE set three rules for when a report had to be made: • Someone being unintentionally exposed to COVID-19 or

potentially exposed to the virus counts as a dangerous occurrence. • If an employee is diagnosed with the virus and it was caught at the workplace, this must be reported as a case of disease. • A n employee’s death that is the result of occupational exposure to COVID-19 must be reported as a fatality. The HSE said: “The reporting requirements relating to cases of, or deaths from, COVID-19 under RIDDOR apply only to occupational exposure, that is, as a result of a person’s work.” CIPHE chief executive officer Kevin Wellman urged members to make use of the free legal service for members if in any doubt: “The guidance on the circumstances for triggering a reporting requirement are both wide and vague. Expert advice is vital.” To find out more go to:

THE BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION (BSI) has published new guidance on the development and construction of hydrogenfired gas appliances. The new guidance, PAS 4444:2020, sets the first technical rules on safely using hydrogen gas in domestic and commercial buildings. Large scale tests have already begun to phase it into the national gas supply and manufacturers are already looking to bring hydrogen boilers onto the market. The guidance has been written to support the Hy4Heat research programme currently being run by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) but could be widened into industry standardisation. Find out more at: Water

BUSINESS AS USUAL SAYS WRAS THE WATER REGULATORY ADVICE SERVICE is not letting the COVID-19 outbreak impact on supporting the industry. WRAS said it was focused on customers and had adapted to ensure business continuity. It said: “We will continue to monitor and adapt any of our processes as needed as the situation continues to evolve.”

INTERGAS In our May/June issue we inadvertently published an old Intergas Safety Alert from February 2019. We apologise unreservedly to Intergas for any inconvenience this may have caused.


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MAN ON A MISSION Mel Gumbs is the CIPHE’s first BAME president and he wants to move with the times and make the industry more professional


he CIPHE’s new president is a man on a mission to win hearts and minds to the cause of being a professional. Mel Gumbs Eng Tech MCIPHE RP, who takes over from Chris Northey, wants to promote the Institute to young people coming into the industry and embrace digital technology. He says: “My aim is to get the everyday people to stand up and say ‘I want to be a registered plumber’. If we can spread the message and get people talking about the Institute, then we’ll be going in the right direction. That’s my goal.” Key to winning the battle will be changing the perception that membership is another cost rather than a career investment. He says: “When you go to the merchants, you meet people who must pay £200 to be Gas Safe registered


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engineers and have it on the side of their vans. People will be happy to spend up to £20,000 on tools but don’t get the idea that elective membership of a professional body is an investment. “Customers can see the benefit: you know the rules and abide by them. That’s what it’s all about.” It’s part of the reason why he wants to focus on new entrants to the industry – taking on the short-cut culture in the trade has to start at the bottom.

We’re all surviving at the moment and we need to look out for each other

“With the people just taking the Level 3, all they’re thinking about is that they’re joining the Gas Safe register. To do the job properly, you’ve got to know your plumbing. That’s what we’ve got to try and change,” Gumbs says. His election as president caps off a rise through the membership ranks that began at college. “I’ve been a member for 44 years. I joined when I was at college because my lecturer was a past president – he signed my form. If you’d have told me then I would one day be president, I wouldn’t have believed it.” Gumbs explains why he signed up: “I joined the CIPHE because I believed in the principles. There was an oath on all the paperwork. I believed in what I was saying.” Getting involved with the CIPHE happened almost by accident when he

Did you know?


The original Institute of Plumbers was established in 1906 and finally got its Royal charter in 2008

joined the Surrey branch. He says: “They were looking for committee members and someone put my hand up at the end of the meeting… years down the road I became chairman of the branch and I’m now the branch secretary. We’re keeping in touch with people at the moment, making sure everybody is okay.” Becoming a convert to video calls and conferencing because of the lockdown has spurred him to also promote technology and online learning.

Staying in touch “When I haven’t been working, I’ve been doing so many conference calls. All the manufacturers are doing webinars. We can’t go to them so they’re coming to us. The video training opportunities are incredible. It’s something we can look at in terms of reaching out.” He adds: “We’ve got to keep in touch with our members and this is a way of doing it.” His other big goal is to improve diversity in an industry that still has much to do to reflect the population it serves. Gumbs is clear that it’s something the Institute can’t tackle on its own.

He says: “We’re all surviving at the moment and we need to look out for each other. It’s right to be proud of who you are. I’ve been approached by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, who are trying to be more diverse and get more women and young people in. They’ve got quite a bit of clout. We’re looking to create a group to work on this and I’m looking forward to it.” Gumbs sees the COVID-19 crisis as both a challenge and an opportunity. Members need advice and support to keep their businesses going. Apprentices need help to stay in the industry. But it’s also a chance for the CIPHE to make use of the connections gained in government and in the wider industry to make a difference. He is determined to be a part of that drive forward. He says: “The way things are at the moment, people are looking for answers on what to do and where to go. The Institute has been there liaising with the government and passing that information on to members. We’ve got an opportunity to step forward and step up and start to promote the Institute.”

JOURNEY TO THE TOP The new CIPHE president’s journey to the top began in St Kitts and today he runs his own business in Camberley, Surrey. Mel joined the Institute in 1977 and is now registered with Engineering Council at EngTech level. He says: “I was born on a tiny Island in the Caribbean Sea called St Kitts, my mum and dad came to Slough, where I went to school, took all my exams, got O Levels and CSEs. I attended Slough College and Langley College. I got an apprenticeship at RG Evans Plumbing and Heating, where I learned the ethic of putting the customer first from my boss Ray Evans and never looked back.”

Mel Gumbs has been in the industry – and in the CIPHE – for over 40 years

Find out more Get more involved with the CIPHE and you can help shape the future of our industry. Our local CIPHE branches are a great place to start. To get involved email

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RECOVERY From leading webinars to sharing advice and engaging with Whitehall officials, the CIPHE team has being working hard to help members through the COVID-19 crisis

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he challenges for the industry going into the COVID-19 lockdown were complex enough but the work to achieve some sort of normality since has been just as difficult. The lockdown has kept the CIPHE team busy with the primary objectives of keeping members up to date and getting the right advice out as quickly as possible. The CIPHE has also made the most of video technology to reach out to members. As well as regular email updates, with support from Installer magazine and contributed to by our Industrial Associate member Purmo

Useful information Studying the form If you’re an apprentice or are training someone and want to get the latest on what’s changed, go to:

Safety first The CIPHE has created a full coronavirus information hub pulling together all of its work during the COVID-19 crisis. For the latest updates on workplace issues including health and safety, go to:


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Group, the CIPHE hosted a webinar on returning to work and potential legacy issues that may be faced. The recording can still be accessed via Not only that, the institute teamed up with BEAMA, CORGI, HHIC and the NHIC to produce an animation on safe working practice to help communicate that the plumbing and heating industry could be restarted and consumer confidence could be rebuilt. This was backed up by a workplace risk assessment detailing issues such as PPE standards which was emailed out to members. At the same time, the senior team has been responding to inquiries from Whitehall civil servants trying to set official guidance for the industry. Richard Soper, CIPHE development director, explains: “Those in government are not expected to know all of the key issues. They’re not as close to the coalface. So, I do believe that we have a role to play in terms of government involvement either at a local basis or in Westminster. We’ve got a very close working relationship with the government.” Proof of just how close came with a request to share the back-to-work guidance across Whitehall. “Our risk mitigation paper went to a number of government departments and was well received. As a result of our work,

we’re now part of the official ‘feedback loop,’” says Kevin Wellman, CIPHE chief executive officer. “As just another example, the Financial Conduct Authority asked us how members are doing and any problems they are experiencing. It’s been a good way of establishing relationships that we can call on in the future.” Requests for advice have also come from the All Party Parliamentary Water Group, insurance underwriters, the water industry and public health engineers. It’s not just the UK that has benefitted from the expertise of members. Hong Kong has had a very low number of cases, largely because public health measures from the SARS outbreak were reintroduced. The Hong Kong branch has created a technical paper and held a webinar on household drainage systems and crosscontamination (read a condensed version of the paper on page 23). The webinar attracted 900 requests and details of the drainage system design they recommend will come later in the year. The paper advises: “Drainage systems of a building must be equipped with appropriate traps, built with the specified depth of water seal [according to] regulations to stop the air from drainage system entering the apartments.” Free legal advice, a member benefit


Read more Our latest member survey with Eureka Research, The Road to Recovery, will be shared with you this month

PRACTICAL RESOURCES The CIPHE has created resources to help members tackle some of the issues highlighted in our manifesto – many more relevant than ever post-lockdown. Safe Working Practices

We’ve got a very close working relationship with the government provided by Legal Express, has also proved invaluable. Jilly Sainsbury-Bow, client director at Legal Express says: “Many small firms don’t have a HR department. We’ve been trying to get information out about furloughing and there’s been a good take-up.” Getting the industry back to work has been the other main concern. There was an early win after members in Wales contacted the CIPHE because they hadn’t been classified as essential workers and couldn’t work. The Welsh government accepted the CIPHE’s intervention and installers were able to resume business. Re-opening buildings across the country meant the CIPHE turning around advice for Public Health England on how to avoid the spread of legionella bacteria.

So what happens next? Wellman says: “Now that we are getting closer to normality, we are getting more enquiries asking for advice on how to

respond. There has been some support for self-employed people but we are telling the government they can go further.” During the early stages of the outbreak, demand for PPE brought back concerns over whether supplies actually met UK standards. The Institute will be returning to work on outlawing CE-marked products – equipment or products made outside the European Economic Area which is supposed to meet UK standards. A significant amount sourced during the lockdown has not been compliant. And with unemployment set to rise, another familiar issue of unqualified traders is also returning: poorly experienced people entering the industry using redundancy money to set up in business. Wellman says: “They have qualifications that aren’t recognised and limited experience. Homeowners who have been furloughed could be tempted to turn to them with disastrous consequences.” The challenges are far from over. He sums up: “Whilst I am delighted with the CIPHE’s recognised role with government, the support, the collaboration we’ve been involved in, we must make the most of the opportunity of talking to our MPs about good plumbing and heating. That will help make the industry a better place.”

Members should take steps to protect their health and that of their customers. A guidance document, a template risk assessment and a two-minute animation are all available at Mitigating the Risk of Building Water Systems This guidance leads members through procedures for the flushing and recommissioning of building water supply systems after disuse: mitigating-risk-buildingwater-systems/ Legionella risk assessing in domestic properties This comprehensive 64-page CIPHE insight guide will soon be available to members and nonmembers. It’s been created to run alongside CIPHE certified training to become competent in an assessment of the risks of legionella pneumophila and other water-borne health risks that will be launched later this year.

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Illustrations: Adam Gale

NEW POWER GENERATION The £18bn Sizewell C nuclear power station could generate jobs for the industry and energy for six million homes. But does it fit in with the renewable era?


uffolk’s scenic coastline is the last place you’d expect to find a battle crucial for the nation’s future. But that’s exactly what’s going on in Leiston, where the town council is caught in a row that involves geo-politics, energy security, thousands of jobs and disgruntled local residents.


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They are all battling over plans to build Sizewell C next to the town. It will house a twin nuclear reactor that is projected to cost up to £18bn. It’s on the agenda because EDF – the French energy company which is building it – is set to put forward its planning application for the site. The firm says there is a cost benefit: if work can begin in 2022 then plant equipment can be moved from the new Hinkley Point C reactor which is already underway in Somerset. At a time when thousands of jobs are at risk across the country, the announcement could be a massive boost for the construction industry. EDF’s spokesperson says: “Sizewell C will generate up to 25,000 jobs during construction and 1,000 apprenticeships. An estimated 2,500 businesses in the

supply chain would also benefit. It would provide 900 operational jobs during the 60 years it is expected to be in service.” So, what are the benefits and risks – especially when renewable energy is making headway?

A new start? Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, managing director of Sizewell C, says: “Sizewell C is a net-zero infrastructure project ready to kick-start the economy following the coronavirus crisis. “The project will play a key role in lowering emissions while helping the UK keep control of its low-carbon future. It will offer thousands of jobs and long-term employment for people living in Suffolk and it will strengthen the nuclear supply chain across the country.”


The buildings at the site are designed to withstand earthquakes and floods. The design team at contractor Atkins Global has been using virtual reality to predict and resolve technical issues. A 4D model has been created to aid design implementation. Although EDF is leading on the main construction, the specialist pipework installation work will be delivered by Bilfinger, the global engineering firm which is a Tier One supplier. The firm already has the £350m contract for the sister plant, Hinkley Point C. To resolve design issues in safetycritical areas, Atkins is using immersive 3D technology, laser scanning and drones for virtual reality site visits. Adam Bliss, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Atkins, explains: “We invite our clients to navigate scanned-in models of hazardous nuclear facilities from the safety of our meeting room.” The development will build two European pressurised reactor (EPR) units for use by 2030. They will be on the same site as Sizewell A which is being decommissioned (it shut down in 2006). The new generator could take over from Sizewell B which may stop in 2035. Among the supporters for the project is Unite, which says it will deliver jobs and low-carbon energy. General secretary Len McCluskey says: “As we come out of the coronavirus crisis, it is important that we focus on the importance of delivering projects that will give a boost to the UK economy and build for a full and sustainable recovery.” The main benefit is that the new generation of reactors are more efficient

Sizewell C is a netzero infrastructure project ready to kickstart the economy after COVID-19

and have come a long way since the 1950s. Plumbing is critical to making it all work. An EPR works by using water to remove the heat generated inside the reactor core during nuclear fission. Water also slows the neutrons needed to sustain the reaction. The heat is then transferred to the turbines through steam generators which create electricity. The reactor has a primary circuit for cooling and a secondary circuit to feed the turbine. No exchange of cooling water takes place. Feedwater entering the secondary side of the steam generators absorbs the heat transferred from the primary side and evaporates to produce saturated steam. The steam is dried in the steam generators and then delivered to the turbine. After exiting the turbine, the steam is condensed and returns as feedwater to the steam generators. Skilled HVAC professionals will be needed. An EDF spokesperson says: “It’s a 10-year construction project. There are different stages requiring different skillsets. We are working with colleges to make sure people are aware of the skills we’re going to require. Welding pipework, for example, is a specialist area where we have a shortage.” The need for plumbing and heating specialists will increase as the reactor moves towards becoming operational: “Following the peak of civil construction work, those roles will start to reduce and be replaced by Mechanical, Electrical and Heating (MEH) specialists. The peak of this work will happen during years seven and eight of the project and we estimate we will require up to 3,300 MEH roles on site at this time. From year eight onwards there is a steady increase in operational roles required to run the power station. Once Sizewell C is complete, 900 skilled operational roles will be required.”

Learning experience Apprentices are set to be among the winners and trainers are gearing up. Stuart Rimmer, principal of East Coast College, is anticipating a partnership as the scheme progresses. “The college has

POWER HOUSES Sizewell C in numbers 1) Total site capacity of approximately 3,340MW 2) Output per reactor: 1,670 megawatts (MW) 3) Will provide around 7% of UK energy 4) Requires 17% less fuel 5) Four pylons will connect it to the National Grid 6) 1.1 billion calculations involved in the design 7) A typical UK house uses 2,900 kW per month * Source: UK Power

DIAL-UP CONNECTION Interested in understanding our daily energy use? You can watch the GB Electricity National Grid demand live by output per production type as a control panel on the web. It’s absolutely not a distraction… Go to:

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FEATURE / SIZEWELL C Did you know? The 1982-85 public inquiry into Sizewell B set a record by using more than 16 million words of evidence

To make it work the nuclear industry needs highly skilled, competent professionals

begun to build capability and capacity in advance of potential investments at Sizewell C, including through our £11m Energy Skills Centre, which is creating benefit to adjacent supply chains such as in renewable offshore wind or local businesses in mechanical and electrical engineering,” he says. It’s likely that the new reactors will sound the end of King Coal from energy generation. Drax, the country’s biggest power plant, which generates 5% of supply, has already switched from coal to compressed wood pellets. There are three other coal stations and their days are numbered; they used to account for 9% of supply but during the COVID-19 crisis this has been reduced to zero. Renewables have made massive progress over the last decade, accounting for 24.5% in 2016, but Britain is still reliant on fossil fuels. Demand is met mainly by natural gas (42% in 2016, of which around half is imported) and 21% of our electricity comes from nuclear reactors. The rest is from other imported sources. And energy demand is going up. According to the Office for National Statistics, it has increased every year since 2010 – heating is the biggest factor.

What are the risks for Sizewell? The project has two problems and the first is money. Last year, EDF revealed the Hinkley project has a cost overrun of up


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It is hoped the new reactor will take over from Sizewell B, which will go out of use from 2035

to £2.9bn and could be more than a year late. This would impact on Sizewell C. The second is that the politics involved are complex: energy stability is critical for national security but local opposition is fierce and has led to decades of disputes. China is a partner with EDF which has brought out heavyweight opposition including The Times. The formidable local opposition, led by community group Together Against Sizewell C, is set to go to the High Court to protect local woodland. Public opposition stems, in part, from memories of disasters including Three Mile Island in the United States, Chernobyl in Russia and UK’s biggest accident at Windscale in October 1957. But there are supporters in the environment movement. Energy for Humanity warned the government in May that without nuclear the “action

on climate will be more difficult, more expensive, and more likely to fail”. The CIPHE has been tracking Sizewell since 2015. Chief executive officer Kevin Wellman says: “Nuclear energy is by no means perfect but as part of the supply, it helps us reduce emissions. To make it work, the nuclear industry needs skilled professionals. There is a need for our members to meet the challenges of securing our energy supply.”

Working at Sizewell Interested in working at Sizewell C? Register your interest at: nuclear-new-build-projects/ sizewell-c/jobs-and-training Find out more about careers with Bilfinger at:


TIME TO THINK SMART As our industry adjusts to the ‘new normal’, the TPI DC710 Smart Bluetooth FGA offers an intelligent way to reduce costs


aking use of technology, with your Flue Gas Analyser (FGA), can help you, as you get back to work and can assist with the challenges the “new normal” poses.

Cost Undoubtedly, overall costs of running a business are going to need to be re-evaluated and this is where the TPI DC710 Smart Bluetooth FGA comes to the fore. We’ve reduced the build costs by removing the components that cost the most money and utilised an existing, more powerful tool: your smartphone. These cost savings have been passed on to you to create a much lower list price. But we didn’t stop there – when designing the DC710 we’ve kept what we know works, such as the existing Flue Gas & Temperature Sampling Probe with Water Stop Technology that we’ve had in place for over eight years – after all, we’ve been manufacturing Flue Gas Analysers since 2001, so why reinvent the wheel. In 2011, we introduced fixed annual low-cost servicing to reduce running costs for engineers. This remains in place for the DC710 and is now enhanced: the return can be booked in through the free accompanying TPI View app.

Minimising contact Using this technology cuts down on human error by integrating the FGA

Contact-free reporting also helps with social distancing

readings directly into the Landlord Gas Safety record, either in the View app, with integration into the Expert Trades Office app, or directly into your existing system. This results in a reduction in revisits, which in turn helps with social distancing, not to mention saving time and money. Contact-free reporting and emails also help with social distancing as no physical paperwork needs to be handed over to the customer, tenant or contractor. This can all be done electronically. All of this, plus the useful alerts, warnings and notifications designed to keep the FGA running from one annual recertification to the next, reduces the need for human interaction by making sure the unit isn’t being returned unnecessarily.

gets, rather than with a traditional FGA where the unit would need to be returned to the factory for a firmware update. TPI DC710, and the accompanying TPI View app, have all of the following features: • Colour coded (green, amber, red) readings such as “In-Spec” Ratio, making it easier to identify a potential problem • GPS tagged reports for unequivocal proof of completed works • Informative notifications advising of next calibration due date and reminders to put the test cap back on at the end of the job • Detailed warnings of potential water or dust ingress using water stop technology and stopping the pump, thus protecting the instrument from unnecessary downtime • The ability to add results and/or tests from other sources such as let-by/ tightness tests, ambient CO2 tests or flow & return temperature readings • Email notifying of completed jobs to multiple recipients In short, TPI’s way of utilising technology can reduce costs, make an engineer’s workload lighter, keep the FGA running from day to day, streamline the annual recalibration procedure and provide security for the contractor/ organisation and the engineer, resulting in overall protection for the customer and greater assistance when working in the “new normal”.

Flexibility The TPI View app is in constant development meaning we can address any necessary changes to working practices quicker and more efficiently, by pushing out an app update that everyone

For more information: 01293 530196

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Technical and professional advice on best practice in drainage systems to reduce the risk of spreading viruses and bacteria The right choice and correct installation of fittings and parts is one factor in ensuring safety


Safe drainage systems The correct installation and maintenance of drainage is critical to prevent contamination from viruses (including COVID-19) and bacteria putting occupants at risk Consultant: William Cheung By Arthur Li, Sylvia Liu, Andrew Liu, Kelly Mak, Derek Chan, Ryan Tam and Frank Cheng


he topic of household drainage has come to the fore again as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In Hong Kong, a cluster of cases was linked to the drainage system in one apartment block. The Hong Kong CIPHE team has produced this guide to outline the potential defects or failures in existing systems, and some of the solutions.

The virus can be spread through air contamination when sewage-polluted air from a sanitary fitting gets into other apartments through the same shared draining system. Indeed, drainage systems of a building must be equipped with appropriate traps, built with a specified depth of water seal according to regulations to stop the air from the drainage system entering the apartments.

This protection can be broken by one or more of the following: 1. Water seal being broken by pressure in the drainage pipe 2. Water seal being removed from its position 3. Failed trap(s) 4. Loss of water due to evaporation 5. Negative pressure (high enough to overcome the water seal) existing inside the bathroom / kitchen This article offers a brief introduction to different drainage systems and their major components and the reasons why protection fails, along with some recommended remedies.

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One-pipe system

Soil water and waste water are discharged into a common stack with a ventilation stack teed off for all soil and waste fitments. This system has several advantages: it involves the least pipework and therefore the least space; fewer pipe joints, therefore reduced chance of leaks; and better hydraulic flow conditions, minimising the risk of pipe blockages.


V.P Basin



Two-pipe system (Figure 2) This system uses one stack for soil fitments and one for waste fitments. As well as using more pipework and therefore taking up more space, this system does not provide the ideal hydraulic flow conditions for soil drainage. This is because the inflow contains large amounts of solid content but minimal water volume. Flow velocity is slow. Sedimentation of sludge inside the pipe will lead to a risk of pipe blockages due to minimal water flow. However, this system provides a chance for waste water recycling. Therefore, it is suitable for areas where the water supply is restricted. In addition, this system can reduce the chance of cross contamination between the soil portion and waste portion.

Two-pipe (hopper) system (not recommended) Separate stacks are provided for

The one-pipe system is better as the large volume of waste water can deliver self-cleansing 24 P&H ENGINEERING

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Two-pipe system S.W.P V.P

W.P Basin



connections from soil fitments and waste fitments. Open hoppers are fitted at floor intervals along the waste stack where waste fitments are connected. This system poses a serious hygiene problem due to the high risk of water splashing from the hopper. In the UKÂ hoppers have been used for collecting rainwater rather than in drainage systems.

ONE-PIPE SYSTEM VS TWO-PIPE SYSTEM In Hong Kong and other developed countries, the one-pipe system has been widely used. The adoption of the two-pipe system can minimise the risk of

cross contamination between the soil stack and waste stack. However, in considering that both soil fitments and waste fitments are sharing the same vent pipe and are used by the same occupant, this risk of cross contamination is less concerning. Also, adequate self-cleansing may not be achieved at the horizontal portion of the soil stack, so that the risk of contamination is increased. With the additional vertical stack there will be more pipe joints where leakage problems could occur. This system is also more costly and more difficult to maintain. Technically, the one-pipe system is better as the large volume of waste


water from bathtubs, showers and basins can deliver self-cleansing to prevent the accumulation of the solid/ soil waste.

PIPE SIZING There is a misunderstanding that the risk of blockages can be reduced by enlarging the pipe diameter. Actually, pipe size is determined by the quantity of flow as well as the fall gradient. The design objective is to maintain an average flow velocity of at least 1m/s, which prevents stagnation of solid matter in the pipe. To achieve this, a flow condition above half full is essential. This flow enables faster velocity with most solid matters flowing through as suspended matter. Oversized pipes will result in a poor hydraulic radius (the ratio of area of flow to perimeter of a pipe) and solid sedimentation.

SANITARY FIXTURES Correct selection and installation of sanitary fixtures can minimise contamination to the environment. 1. WATER CLOSET All soil fitments should have a water seal not less than 50mm as stipulated in HK Legislation Cap. 123I Building Reg 24 [in the UK, Table 1 page 7 of Part H of the building regulations equivalent]. This water seal is to provide isolation to prevent foul gas spreading to the

Pipe size is determined by the quantity of flow as well as the fall gradient

surrounding environment. Low level cistern type – Widely used in HK public housing (eg Hong Mei House, Tsing Yi), and in some older properties and public toilets in the UK. Most pipes are exposed. A flushing pipe is connected between the cistern and the WC bowl which is of wash-down design. More water droplets will arise during flushing for this type of bowl so the WC pan must be covered prior to flushing. In addition, adequate water volume must be maintained in the cistern to ensure that the foul water as well as all solid waste is flushed away. Close couple type – The most commonly used type in commercial projects and private residential projects in Hong Kong, and the most commonly used in the UK. It consists of least exposed pipework. Bowl design is either wash-down type or siphonic type – the latter being more favourable because the cleansing effect is better and less water droplets will be created. In addition, the siphon effect to discharge water results in more complete discharge of foul water and solid waste. 2 FLUSH VALVE To avoid spread of foul water on the floor, care should be taken to regulate the valve outlet pressure so as not to create any water jump, splash, water hammer etc during flushing. Also, ensure that the WC bowl design matches with the flush valve operation. Similar comments apply to flush valves for urinals. 3. BATHTUB According to HK Legislation Cap 123I Building Regulations, traps of bathtubs should have a minimum 40mm water seal. If the bathtub waste pipe is connected to a soil


Typical trap

Plumbing fixture

Water in trap blocks gases

Vent pipe

Sanitary pipes

Smelly sewer gases going up

pipe, a minimum 80mm water seal is required.

Floor drains Floor drains are still common in Hong Kong bathrooms and kitchens, but their function is less significant as floor cleaning with a hose has given way to mopping. In the UK floor drains are used in wet rooms, as well as in some public buildings (eg leisure centre changing rooms and communal showers). Floor drains become a route for bacteria or virus transmission whenever the water seal is dried up. Lack of water seal provides free circulation of air between a highly contaminated sewer system and the surrounding environment (reference: outbreak of SARS in Amoy Gardens, 2003). Floor drains should be replenished on monthly basis to maintain the water seal. There are also design methods to automatically replenish the floor drain during the operation of the drainage system. If the drain is not to be in use for a long time, it is better plugged. However, if the floor drain will be used once in a while, a self-sealing floor drain can be considered. It has a one-way valve that was created with the use of strong silicon skirts or metallic plates. The floor drain will open to allow

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Find out more CIPHE HK Branch can be contacted by email on

Common problems relating to ventilating pipes

waste fitment will replenish the trap to full seal depth.

Counterfeit valve seat

ANTI-SIPHON TRAP – equipped with a one-way air valve which allows air to pass into the pipework to break the siphon when there is negative pressure inside the system. The valve will automatically close when the siphon is ceased.

Common problems related to the trap

Undersized pipe

drainage in-flow and close when there is no water flow. It prevents flood damage and insects from entering the drain pipe, while blocking harmful overflow and hazardous sewer gases from leaking up through the drain. Also, when the valve is closed, evaporation is much reduced, so the water seal can be maintained for a much longer period.

TRAPS FOR SANITARY FITMENTS According to HK Legislation Cap 123I Building Reg. 24 & 25, every waste fitment should be provided with a suitable trap immediately underneath. Traps should be adequately ventilated or constructed to prevent loss of water seal. The water seal is a barrier to prevent foul air and harmful bacteria passing through the drainage system back into the residential flat/surrounding area.

Sub-standard/counterfeit products are occasionally found consisting of the following defects. Quality assurance is required. The images above left show: - [Top] Air valve leakage, sub-standard air valve - [Bottom] Internal diameter smaller than requirement stipulated in HK Legislation Cap 123I Building Regulations.

VENTILATING PIPES The ventilating pipe is an essential component of a drainage system to provide balancing of air pressure inside stacks that avoids a vacuum being created in the pipe and back pressure forming to affect the proper operation of water seal in traps.

1. OMISSION OF VENTILATING PIPE Removal of ventilating pipe connection to soil/waste pipe during the course of renovation leads to direct foul smell spread from the drainage system. Drainage works should be carried out in accordance with building regulations and relevant practice notes 2. VENTILATED TRAP NOT EQUAL TO VENTILATING PIPE Although this complies with regulations. Provision of a ventilated trap can only overcome the problem of negative pressure (induced siphon) inside the drainage system, not the problem of positive pressure such as hydraulic jump or backpressure. 3. INCORRECT CONNECTION LEVEL TO SOIL/WASTE STACK Every such connection should be made at a point above the flood level of the highest fitment connected to the soil pipe. The above requirement is stipulated in


Induced siphonage Anti-siphon pipes would prevent loss of trap water seal

Typical traps (Figure 3) RESEALING TRAP – allows air to be drawn through the inlet of the trap, then through the bypass tube to break the siphon action. When there is negative pressure inside the drainage pipework, the remaining water will fall back to maintain a certain water seal. The next waste water inflow from the


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Fittings on upper floors discharging into stack

Full bore/partial full bore of discharge

Partial vacuum

Plug of water formed Induced siphonage taking place


HK Legislation Cap 123I Building Reg 30 (4b) [Part H of the Building Regulations in the UK]. 4. INAPPROPRIATE TERMINATION OF VENT PIPE According to HK Legislation Cap 123I Building Reg 31(1) [Part H of the Building Regulations in the UK], the vent pipe shall be terminated at a position and height to avoid the escape of foul air to any building. However, inappropriate terminations are occasionally found near the household area, under covered areas, or at the passage corridor at insufficient height.



Compression (back pressure)

Hydraulic jump

Discharging water

Air compressed

DRAINAGE BACKFLOW Drainage backflow is an unwanted flow of foul/waste water in the reverse direction to that intended. Foul water is being forced to flow out from soil and waste fitments. This poses a serious risk of contamination to occupants. Drainage backflow occurs


FLUSHING OUT THE PROBLEM While good plumbing clearly has a role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, simple changes in behaviour can also have an effect, as research recently published in the journal Physics of Fluids demonstrated. The research from China found that flushing a toilet can cause aerosol droplets to rise more than a metre above the bowl, potentially staying in the air until another user enters or landing on surfaces in the bathroom. These droplets can carry coronavirus particles already in the air or from a person’s stool. The researchers advise closing the toilet lid before flushing; cleaning it before use; and washing your hands well after flushing.

Back pressure surge ++ve

Hydraulic jump

Positive pressure

with large positive pressure induced due to sudden large in-flow at high speed at stack or hydraulic jump area. A siphon effect is usually created immediately after the large flow is passed. Backflow can also be created due to a pipe blockage, or undersized piping. It can push contaminants back into the water closet, floor drain, bath tub, wash basin etc.

Ways to prevent drainage backflow/ hydraulic jump 1. SEPARATE STACKS FOR HIGH/ LOW ZONE DISCHARGE Zoning of the drain stack is important for effective and safe high-rise building discharge. Hydraulic jump usually takes place in the stack at the lowest few floors depending on the building height, quantity of flow, mode of the horizontal turn and fall gradient. 2. CORRECT VENT PIPE SIZING An undersized vent pipe will not be able to handle air balance within the drainage system. Air cannot be released in time to cope

with the large in-flow water volume, resulting in air compression. Follow the vent pipe size requirements as stipulated in HK Legislation Cap 123I Building Reg 30 & 31 [Part H of the Building Regulations in the UK]. Enlarge the pipe one commercial size when necessary if concentrated high peak flow is anticipated. 3. MISUSE OF WATER CLOSET Paper towels, hair, toothbrushes and other rubbish is sometimes disposed of in water closets, causing serious blockages of drain pipes. This is a behaviour rather than a technical issue. Education and reminders to the public on the correct use of fitments is important to maintain an effective drainage system.

CONCLUSION A well designed, installed and maintained drainage system will not cause any source of contamination to the household.

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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

Annual General Meeting


Tim looks after the growing CIPHE membership, enhancing services for members and improving communications +44 (0)1708 463102

Our AGM was a global event and a first by being held online due to the COVID-19 lockdown


he CIPHE AGM, on 19 June, was held via Zoom and had 93 people logging in from across the world including Hong Kong, Australia, Abu Dhabi, the Philippines and Ireland. We’d have loved to have held the event as planned in London but the risk to members was too high. That said, the CIPHE team worked hard to prepare and were pleased by how well it went. There will be some learning from this, not least how we can make more use of technology like video conferencing in future. A benefit was that our members in Hong Kong and elsewhere were able to join in directly for the first time. Proposers and seconders for motions were sought by ‘a raised hands’ button and questions were logged using the chat function. Issues like approval of the trustees’ report were decided by online polls among those present.

We have reduced the average age of our memberships 28 P&H ENGINEERING

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STEPPING DOWN Retiring president Chris Northey, CEng FCGI FCIPHE RP, shared a review of his contribution over the last year and some of the Institute’s achievements. He said: “The CIPHE’s current membership comprises over 7,000 individuals, including consultants, specifiers, designers, public health engineers, lecturers, trainers, trainees and practitioners, covering the full breadth and depth of the plumbing and heating industry. Any

“I believe that CIPHE regional branches remain vital to strengthening the future of the Institute. With this in mind, it is a pleasure to speak today with representatives of Hong Kong branch in attendance – a fantastic model that all our branches should look to for inspiration. Relationships established via branches are a key element of what makes the CIPHE the Professional Body it is.”


Contact Tim Sainty via his details, above, if you have any enquiries regarding your CIPHE member benefits

New CIPHE president Melville Gumbs EngTech MCIPHE RP set out his priorities at the virtual AGM


The CIPHE’s current membership comprises over 7,000 individuals Looking to the future, he also stressed the importance of training and apprenticeships: “We must continue to encourage young people into our great industry and give them opportunities for career progression that will secure the industry’s future.”

STEPPING UP Taking over from Chris Northey, our president for 2020-21 will be Melville Gumbs EngTech MCIPHE RP, who has been a member for 44 years. He set out his priorities in his acceptance speech. He said: “The main goal I would like to attain is to see the membership grow so that the guys you see at the merchants are also members.” He said it was vital that the CIPHE continued to be on the frontline of the COVID-19 response: “In the space of four months, life across the world has changed and we have all had to adapt to a different way of living. Plumbers are looking for leadership and I am delighted that the CIPHE has taken a lead. I will use my experiences on the job to help guide CIPHE priorities as we continue to adapt to this new world.” He also wants members to prepare for a very different future and be ready for the low-carbon agenda. “Change is coming with the end of fossil fuels and greener solutions. Future homes are going to need a dedicated plant room to house cylinders, buffer tanks, plate heat exchangers, mains fed pumps to boost pressure and all the different pipework required,” he said. “This means a rethink about our knowledge and skill levels. We must be prepared to access training through

manufacturers, training companies, and bodies such as the Institute.” He also thanked his local branch for their support: “I would like to thank the committee of the Surrey Branch and especially Rodney Cartwright for all the personal support they have given me and all the members who voted for me.”

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT Our chief executive office, Kevin Wellman, was unable to attend so I shared his update, highlighting our key 2019 activities We’ve been working hard across a range of safety issues including scalding and legionella. We don’t shirk in acting against those members who don’t uphold our values. We dealt with 17 complaints and as a result four individuals were removed from the CIPHE for failing to meet standards. Work to professionalise the industry has been boosted with 36 Engineering Technicians added to the register and four master plumbers appointed.

EDUCATION The technical team has been busy, with 43 CPD tools created and 254 technical support calls responded to. We visited more than 40 colleges and training centres and promoted bursaries to help new entrants to the industry. A big part of our year was promoting the Trailblazer apprenticeship and we’re also working with the Welsh government to support the development of technology in the industry.

LOW CARBON We have a technical strategy group, working with government, which led the CIPHE’s review of our low-carbon strategy. It is now developing training guidance to support members through the transition to low-carbon heating and hot water systems.


key part of our post-Grenfell activity and will continue as we come out of the COVID-19 crisis. The emergence of poorly-trained traders has happened in recessions before and we are raising this issue with government and the industry.

BREXIT The CIPHE could not hide from this and received support from the government to deal with issues like changing regulations and managing disputes.

MEMBERSHIP We have made significant progress to enhance the offer to existing members and recruit new people. We have reduced the average age of our memberships and developed direct benefits such as the legal support service. We are overhauling our online offering to bring us right up to date.

HONG KONG We were delighted our members in Hong Kong could join us – they have had a stellar year with an 11% growth in membership, frequent events and activities and high quality CPD.

A BIG, BIG THANK YOU We are making huge gains – the CIPHE team has worked incredibly hard. But we also owe a big thank you to our trustees and volunteers: your commitment and enthusiasm has challenged, motivated and inspired us to progress. We thank you all for your membership and commitment to our shared goals. We might have been ‘virtual’ for the AGM but some things don’t change: we are a membership organisation and we couldn’t do it without you.

FIND OUT MORE If you couldn’t be around on the day, you can still see the AGM in full at:

Our focus on competency has been a

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Member benefit



ver the last few months we have all endured what will be a significant piece of history. The aftermath is likely to be just as headline grabbing as we start seeing significant redundancies and business closures. Those of us hoping for a fast bounce back may be disappointed as GDP, unemployment and borrowing are at levels not seen for some time. So, that’s the gloomy bit. On a more positive note, there are opportunities that will rise from these ashes for those involved in the construction industry: • Increased digitisation and smarter, more efficient ways of working • More collaborative working practices replacing the usual combative approach But to get there, the priority is that our businesses have all got to survive. So, we start cutting costs, letting people go, stop spending money on marketing and so on. The last point is arguably the most dangerous action to take. Now is precisely the time that you need to be letting your customers know that you are still going and still ready and able to work. Copronet has been working hard to make adjustments to our platform that will help you let customers know that you are open for business and it won’t cost you a penny! For 12 months we are giving CIPHE members the opportunity to submit an advertising banner or logo at no cost whatsoever. Members can upload banners of different sizes within the platform. You can link your advert to your web page or to your profile on Copronet. We think that this is a great way to help your business stand out and to get you in front of new customers. Copronet is growing rapidly and has thousands of visitors already. And, with a growing number of main contractors and specifiers


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adopting Copronet as their “go to” resource, this opportunity could be just what your business needs to get through these challenging times. What will it cost at the end of 12 months? We will be honest and say that we don’t know yet – we have built this functionality to respond to these difficult times. But with no obligation, and the ability for potential customers to search on a highly granular level – area, specialism, size of projects undertaken, qualifications, professional memberships, qualifications and much more – Copronet is designed to give your business the competitive edge that it needs. COVID-19 has changed the game and made productive partnerships more important than ever which is why we are delighted to be able to continue to support our partnership with CIPHE and its membership.

CIPHE members can trial Copronet and reach new customers over the course of a year

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Under pressure: Drug and alcohol use Getting through tough times by self-medicating can be the start of a downward spiral of abuse


e’re a nation of drinkers, whether it’s on social occasions or as part of the after-work culture. The lockdown has also led to an increase in alcohol consumption at home as well as reports of mental health issues. Substance use has also been part of the coping mechanisms for some people. Prescription drugs, such as painkillers, or illegal substances can easily lead to a dependency issue that ends up having long-term impacts on physical and mental health. If you work for a major contractor, it also brings added risk to your job, as mental health charity Lighthouse Club knows only too well. Chief executive officer Bill Hill Using illegal drugs or alcohol to explains: “A lot of big firms have escape problems is risky compulsory testing and if you fail, you are marched off site immediately. You won’t be allowed to work on any abuse treatment is to take small steps other sites run by that company or any to tackle the issues that cause the that have a banned list.” triggers leading to self-medicating. He adds: “For someone who is selfAcknowledging that what was the medicating to deal with a problem, odd pint, or a weekend of using illegal that means they are then spiralling substances as a release, has become a into a very dark place with debt issues problem is the start of a way out. and more.” Help is at hand through your GP, The advice from Lighthouse Club support groups and online resources and those involved in substance (see right) including the Lighthouse Club’s app which you can download onto your phone. Bill Hill says: “The app helps you learn about the problem you’ve got and how it’s affecting you. If that doesn’t work, we have a list of 3,500

GETTING HELP Finding new coping mechanisms is key to beating substance issues. • Think small: Making small adjustments every day can make a big difference to wellbeing. Getting a good night’s sleep, a healthy meal, spending less time on social media and talking to a friend can break a low mood. • Get out more: Physical activity is a major contributing factor to our physical health and it also helps our emotional development and wellbeing. Our lifestyle choices play a huge part in avoiding preventable diseases as well as balancing mind, body and spirit. • Tell someone: Talking to a friend helps you feel less isolated and lessens the burden.

organisations that can help. No-one should be alone in a crisis.”

Resources to help Find more on dealing with mental health issues at Construction Industry Helpline 24/7 telephone number 0345 605 1956

No-one should be alone in a crisis

JUL / AUG 2020



Martyn O’Connor MCIPHE RP Managing director, Heatshine The award-winner from Wales has been involved in energy conservation since 1970 – and racing cars since the 80s



Have you got a standout moment?

What do you love about your job?

I like meeting people and I like the variety of work that I get. I’m 71 and I’m still working in the office 7am to 6pm every week. It’s a great industry to be in.



How did you get into your current role?

I started in 1990. I got an apprentice a few years later and he’s still with me now. We did our first ground source heat pump in 2004. They had come along and I thought ‘okay, we can do this’. There are 12


When you have a Christmas party and you see a bunch of guys jumping up and down and singing to karaoke and think, ‘It’s really good that they’re here and they like me’.

How did you get into the industry?

I married a plumber’s daughter. My then father-in-law thought the college boy needed some education. I’ve been involved in the heating and building industry all my life. I studied engineering so I’m not afraid of doing sums. I’ve always been into alternative technology and I did my first solar thermal system in the late 70s. I built my house in 1984 and installed underfloor heating. I had one of the first combination boilers in the country.



Martyn likes to get ahead - both on the track and in industry innovations

of us in the business now; it’s really been organic progress.


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned?


Be wary of bankers. I’ve run this business without any overdraft or borrowing right the way along because

Tell us something people don’t know about you

I’ve driven rally and race cars for many years and competed. Most of my rally days were in Vauxhall Astras. I’ve done a lot of track days in an Aston Martin Vantage S and I have a Lotus Esprit (right). I’ve planted 450 trees in my garden so my conscience is clear…


JUL / AUG 2020

I’ve had bad experiences in the past with the banks. There are opportunities all the time and sometimes you’ve just got to take them. But you also need a certain amount of confidence that you are working within your capabilities.


What are the benefits of a CIPHE membership?


Would you do it all over again?


It gives you credibility. It’s an organisation that demonstrates that you have to have a certain amount of competence. You get sensible feedback on what’s going on in the industry – it isn’t ramped up for effect.


Yes, I think I would. I might not do it in exactly the same way though.

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P&H Engineering – July/August 2020  

P&H Engineering – July/August 2020  

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