Plumbing Regulations in the United Kingdom

In 2010, The Guardian ran an article talking about fast track plumbing courses and how companies were trying to sign up thousands of people to take these courses and become plumbers. Unfortunately, the companies made a fortune while thousands of new “plumbers” could not find work. When you think about it, a plumber who has been properly trained and has a wealth of experience is going to be used more times than someone who recently graduated a fast paced course on plumbing.

The United Kingdom requires plumbers to complete City and Guilds National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 and 3 in Mechanical Engineering Services for Plumbing. This is not something that you can just walk in off the street and pass. Training as an apprentice is highly recommended. In fact, the UK government offers apprenticeships for those under the age of 24 and it is recommended that someone in schooling attempt to seek apprenticeship immediately due to the limited number of spots available.

Certification is through the City and Guilds of London Institute. According to the Institute, those seeking to pass certification must demonstrate the following skills:

  • Practical systems installation, commissioning & maintenance skills – the material and tool skills required to measure – cut – bend – join – prefabricate – install the systems materials and components, commission and maintain systems within the range of the qualification units.
  • Underpinning or supporting knowledge – the essential knowledge required to work safely in plumbing activities – work with and install systems materials and components – install systems in compliance with current legislation and the industry standards for good practice.
  • The Technical Certificates also cover the knowledge required to work with other people

Training facilities are also required to provide installation facilities that have realistic work conditions. They must also ensure that each student can carry out the practical task assessments that they will encounter with the Level 2 and 3 qualification exams.

With a slowing economy over the last decade, there are now more plumbers in the United Kingdom than there are available jobs. Many would believe that this has created a buyer’s market, but it has actually created issues. It can now be difficult to find a reputable plumber in the U.K. due to all of the available plumbers trying to earn your business. This is why it has become more important over the years to contract with an experienced plumber who has been in the industry for a number of years. You can find them at the top of the search engines or through referrals from friends.

Posted 12th of November 2012