CIPHE Publish Manifesto for the Plumbing & Heating Industry
The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) have published a manifesto outlining the important role heating engineers will play in the future of the UK.
Their manifesto aims to make it clear to the new parliament that heating engineers have an important role to play in tackling a number of issues:
- Safety, health and welfare of the public
- Regulations and licensing
Speaking about the manifesto, Chief Executive at the CIPHE, Kevin Wellman said: "There are many challenges ahead and it is clear that we are entering a period of significant change. The CIPHE maintains long-standing accessible registers of specialists in plumbing, heating and renewables, and the UK is going to need identified skilled, qualified, and competent engineers, in all disciplines, to achieve its domestic and international aims.
"As the Professional Body for the plumbing and heating industry, and a registered educational charity dedicated to protecting the public, the Institute is uniquely placed to give a voice to the industry, while upholding the interest of the general public, on matters that affect the very safety, health and welfare of the nation. There is overwhelming evidence that the public, and especially the vulnerable, are at risk through badly installed and poorly maintained plumbing and heating systems.
"To this end, the CIPHE's manifesto outlines the main issues facing the industry and steps that should be taken by the government to implement meaningful change."
Safety, health and welfare of public
Safe water and sanitation is at the foundation of public health and plumbers are at the very heart.
With Legionnaires' disease on the rise, 20 people a year dying from scalding and 3 million households being water poor, there is a lot to be done to improve the safety, health and welfare of the public. CIPHE outline the facts to put the problem into perspective:
- 2.5 million households fuel poor
- 53% of people admitted to hospital for tap water scalds were either aged over 60 or under 9
- 68% increase in Legionnaires' disease between 2015 and 2018
To combat these rising numbers, CIPHE have made a number of recommendations:
- Reevaluate water regulations and bring them up to date
- Bring in further legislation that focuses on the installation of hot tubs and spas
- Introduce policies aimed at increasing the efficiency of properties in bands G-E
- Schemes to help those who are water poor, increase water efficiency and advise consumers on reducing waste water
The environment and climate change has been a hot topic in recent years with the government setting a target of the UK achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
To achieve this ambition, CIPHE have made the numbers very clear:
- Domestic water consumption will have to drop from 140 litres per person down to 100 litres
- 100,000 heating engineers will need to be retrained to install renewable heating systems
The fossil fuels currently used to heat homes across the UK will need to be replaced with renewable technologies and this means that heating engineers will need to be retrained to install the low carbon systems.
As well as consumers needing to lower their demand for water, there's a global water crisis with 29% of people not having access to safe drinking water. In order to achieve environmental targets, CIPHE recommend:
- Government must utilise the experience of manufacturers and industry bodies to aid the transition to low carbon heating
- Implement training and education programmes on low carbon heating within the industry
- Run a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of a low carbon heating system for the public
- Prioritise water conservation
- Water companies must dedicate themselves to fixing leaks and reducing water waste
- Increased support and investment from the government for projects aimed at achieving environmental targets.
Industry workers need an education system that will allow them to earn industry-recognised qualifications and hold the necessary skills
One of the leading concerns for CIPHE is that apprenticeship starts have dropped by a fifth since 2017 when the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced. As the aim is to gradually replace gas as a source of heat, the apprenticeship funding for gas is imbalanced when compared to other apprenticeships.
When it comes to education, CIPE make the following recommendations:
- Reform of the Apprenticeship Levy
- Fund apprenticeships that will help to fill future skills gap
- Increased financial and practical support for solar traders and small to medium sized businesses
- Give experienced workers an alternative route for recognition
Regulation and licensing
According to CIPHE, the plumbing and heating industry is widely unregulated and to combat this, CIPHE recommendations include:
- Enforce Water Regulations, Gas Safety Regulations and Building Regulations and include large penalties for those who aren't compliant
- Increase links between regulation enforcement and local engineers
- Introduce an evidence-based mandatory CPD requirement of 30 hours per year for plumbers and heating engineers
- Bring in a compliance health check for homeowners and landlords
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