Heat and Energy News
In his inaugural speech as the president of the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), Mark Antrobus, outlined his key priorities for improving the quality of new entrants and changes in how the gas registration body operates.
In his speech, Mark explained how the closure of SummitSkills had led to APHC, BPEC and SNPEF to set-up a new body, The Plumbing and Domestic Heating Skills Partnership, to oversee the development of plumbing and heating qualifications and apprenticeships.
However, Mark voiced his long-term concerns over the financing of training and apprenticeships. He said: “A strong message needs to go to the government because as an industry that is made up of largely micro businesses, we cannot be expected to fund all the necessary apprenticeship and qualification design, development and quality assurance work. We need some level of government support to fund this vital work.”
Mark also outlined how he believed the industry needs to put an end to full-time college based training, how the demand for training needs to be led by the number of placements available from employers, and how the government needs to properly incentivise employers to train apprentices.
Mark went on to voice his concerns over how the industry’s gas registration body operates. “There is a need for greater enforcement action in penalising those responsible for dangerous gas work and further legislation banning these individuals from re-registering.
“I also believe that further work is necessary around the way in which those aspiring to develop a gas installation and maintenance career can prove competence. Time and time again we see the outcomes in the form of dangerous gas work resulting from the various fast track training solutions. ACS was not meant as a vehicle for training new entrants, its purpose is for use with experienced operatives.”
Mark concluded his speech by saying that if these points are not addressed then he believes gas registrants are likely to react in much the same way as they did when the CGSC Scheme was launched.
Mark made his speech at APHC’s president’s dinner which was held at the Priest House Hotel in Donington on June 17.
Source – HPM Magazine
Now in its third year, Quality Plumber Week will be once again celebrating the UK’s dedicated and hard-working plumbing and heating engineers from 03 – 09 October 2016. The nations plumbers are a highly skilled and dedicated workforce who deliver safe water and heating to our homes and workspaces, yet most of us take these services for granted.
Organised by Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), the week will be building on the success of previous years to unite the entire industry in shining a spotlight on the vital role plumbers play in our communities. Doing the jobs most people would rather leave, plumbers often come to the rescue with burst pipes and broken boilers yet they also provide consumers with the latest advice on heating technologies, energy saving tips and water safety.
The week also stresses the importance of using properly qualified, trained and accredited plumbers in a bid to reduce the numbers of rogue traders operating in the industry. Homeowners are encouraged to check if their tradesperson has professional qualifications and accreditation to a professional trade body to avoid being a victim of sub-standard work.
By raising the profile of plumbing as a respected profession, it’s hoped that more young people will be encouraged to consider an apprenticeship in the sector. Recent research from APHC found that attitudes towards apprenticeships appear to have shifted in recent years – 86% of people polled agree that school leavers should be encouraged to consider an apprenticeship rather than being pushed into the Higher Education route, with only 2% disagreeing.
With apprenticeships once again becoming an accepted option post-16 education, the trade needs to promote the benefits and positives of becoming a plumber or heating engineer to create a new generation of professional tradespeople. On a positive note, plumbing apprenticeships remain the most sought after with around 5,500 plumbing apprentices enrolling on a course in England and Wales in 2015.
The week will also highlight work within the industry to tighten up Building Regulations enforcement, to protect consumers and ensure a level playing field for the many professional tradesmen who comply with the UK’s rigorous construction standards. Research carried out by APHC found that 74% of heating businesses believe that stricter enforcement would be beneficial to their businesses as competitors undercut their prices by bypassing regulations and 69% agree that customers are willing to breach building regulations to save time or money – despite these being in place to protect them. A worrying high 69% had also discovered areas of non-compliance when visiting sites.
John Thompson, Chief Executive, APHC added: “Quality Plumber Week is once again uniting plumbers to showcase the world-class professionals we have working to keep up with our demand for fresh, clean water on tap and instant heat at our fingertips. The perception of plumbers and plumbing, as well as trades in general, appear to be making positive strides and we’re encouraged by the numbers of young people recognising the benefits of a career in the industry.
“We hope that everyone will come together to celebrate our industry and raise awareness to homeowners that there are many highly qualified professionals out there – who are proud of their trade and work they do each day. “
Plumbers are also being encouraged to get involved and win the ‘Mega’ prize at the conclusion of the week, donated by various suppliers across the industry. Quality plumbers can support the campaign using the #QPW16 to be entered into the prize draw. Working with partner trade suppliers the total prize value now stands at £2,200.
For more information on Quality Plumber Week and to learn how you can get involved visit www.aphc.co.uk/quality-plumber-week. You can also join the conversation and thank your plumber on social media at #QPW16.
To find a local quality plumber visit www.findaqualityplumber.co.uk. More advice and consumer focused plumbing and heating news from APHC can be found on their Facebook page www.Facebook.com/FindAQualityPlumber.
March 11, Every year, everywhere!
The World Plumbing Council’s Mission statement says it all – “To promote the role of plumbing in improving public health and safeguarding the environment, by uniting the World Plumbing Industry for the benefit of All.
It is now widely recognised that plumbing has made a significant contribution to the well being of human society, and has done for many generations, providing fresh water, effective sanitation and yes, at the same time safeguarding the environment.
There is no doubt that the widespread establishment of sanitation systems and indoor plumbing was the most significant development over the past 150 years or so, as a result the average lifespan of mankind across many regions of the World virtually doubled. Deadly diseases such as typhoid and cholera rapidly declined as a healthier, more comfortable living environment was created.
However, if we as a human society needed to be reminded of the link between plumbing and public health we only need to consider the so-called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in 2003. At the time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that inadequate plumbing may have contributed to the spread of SARS.
Perhaps an even a more dramatic and tragic reminder of this link between plumbing and health is to be seen in those parts of the world that do not yet have ready access to fresh water and sanitation and the millions who continue to die each year, particularly children, from diarrheal diseases, cholera and typhoid.
The World Plumbing Council invites every body either directly involved or just associated with the industry to join in World Plumbing Day activities, and spread the word in their local communities and through their industry organizations.
There are lots of activities that individuals and member organizations can do on World Plumbing Day, such as:
· Presentations at schools on water and plumbing, to assist a power point demonstration can be downloaded at www.worldplumbingday.org.
· Organise your local school to participate in the International Poster Competition with a US$1000 prize to be awarded for the best poster from a primary/elementary school, Cub Scout Group or other community organizations with a focus on children in grades 1- 5 or aged under 10 years.
· Participate in the twitter challenge @WPlumbingDay
· Industry days. trade shows, breakfasts and BBQs
· Letters to the editor of local papers, articles in trade magazines and industry journals.
· Motions of support in state & national Parliaments.
For further ideas go to www.worldplumbingday.org
Source: World Plumbing Day newsletter
We’re very proud of Millside’s achievements on the DIY SOS Big Build in Holmfirth, aired on BBC ONE on the 17th December 2015.
Here’s a link to BBC’s iPlayer in case you missed it (*Link now closed).
This link will be valid for another 24 days, that’s until 16th January.
Earlier this year BPEC contributed £1569.46 worth of plumbing & heating materials to assist the modernisation of a property featured in the BBC One series ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build’ (as a reminder please visit the full story on http://bpec.org.uk/life-changing-transformation/ ).
Richard & Jude Ford from Holmfirth were the family that benefited and it was great that Richard could join us at this year’s life awards event in October. Mark Antrobus of Millside Heating also helped this project and provided free labour to refurbish all the plumbing and heating work. A short video provides some more information about the Ford’s story and their journey to recovery:
This story will be screened on the BBC tomorrow (Thursday 17th Dec on BBC1 at 9pm). If you get chance please watch out for it – it’s a great example of how funding and support from BPEC can make a difference to people’s lives.
British Gas has updated its Hive Active Heating app after a Which? investigation revealed it was sending out user details unencrypted.
The Which? probe into smart thermostat systems revealed that the Hive app was sending data that included what times heating was set to go on and off, along with labels such as ‘awake’ and ‘away’, unencrypted – so someone who had tapped into your wi-fi would be able to see what was sent.
It also showed the distance their user needed to be from her home before she was messaged to ask if she wanted her heating on.
Hive Active Heating thermostat
Smart thermostat systems such as Hive and Nest are revolutionising how people heat their homes by connecting their heating systems to the internet. However, like any internet-connected ‘smart’ product, there are data risks. For example, your heating schedule can indicate whether you’re home or not, and access to this information could be a burglar’s dream.
While many wi-fi routers now come with encryption as standard and you can protect yourself further using strong passwords, Which? don’t think it’s reasonable that the Hive app assumed you have these.
Hive said that while it did not believe there were security risks, it has now encrypted this information. It said data that could pinpoint where someone is in relation to their home was never sent by the app and that information, such as the phone model, is freely sent via commercial browsers.
However, it acknowledged it wasn’t best practice to expect people to have encrypted wi-fi. As a result of these findings, British Gas said it had immediately changed its app to make it more secure.
Nest and Honeywell smart thermostats
Which? also looked at the data the Nest thermostat and the Honeywell Evohome were sending and found that the Nest sent the user’s postcode unencrypted, despite publicly saying that the data was encrypted.
Nest told Which?: ‘At Nest we are continually testing our systems against the latest standards and encourage our users and third parties to report such issues to us (through our VRP). In this instance, the Nest App currently checks the weather the exact same way the consumer would if they visited the website directly – providing only a post code. This request does not contain any user identifiable information.’
It has since update the app so that the postcode is encrypted.
Which? uncovered no problems with the Honeywell’s use of data.
The Renewable Heat Incentive is really beginning to hit home after recent figures showed that close to 22,000 UK households have now had green heating measures fitted via the scheme.
A total of 21,932 accredited RHI installations have been concluded according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) including renewable heat technologies such as heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal systems.
Air source heat pumps have proved to be the most popular choice of renewable source, accounting for 36% of domestic installations conducted through domestic and non-domestic schemes, closely followed by biomass systems which attracted 28% of the overall total. Solar thermal technologies and ground source heat pumps also enjoyed a generous share of installations, 21% and 15% respectively.
Head of Policy at the Renewable Energy Association, Paul Thompson, was delighted with the domestic RHI numbers saying:
“It shows that there is huge demand for affordable and low-carbon heating in UK households.
“It is encouraging to see that not only has the 20,000-accreditations milestone been reached but the rate of uptake is rapidly increasing. This is hopefully a trend that will continue.”
7,675 businesses have also endorsed RHI under the non-domestic scheme since its launch in November 2012, equating to the delivery of over 1.9GW of renewable heat installed.
Small biomass boilers of less than 200kW capacity have been the favoured form of renewable energy measure for businesses, fitted in 87% of all installations. Add the figures for medium and large biomass boilers to that total and the overall score sits at 94% of installations.
2% of installations were of solar thermal and heat pumps with a tiny integration of other remaining renewable heat technologies. Though five preliminary applications have been made for Combined Heat and Power (CHP), no full applications for CHP have yet been formalised, nor have they been for deep geothermal.
Source: Easy MCS
Scotland has met its 50% renewable electricity target a year ahead of schedule after a surge of 11.7% in 2014.
Figures published today by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that 49.6% of gross electricity consumption came from renewable sources in Scotland last year – an increase from 44.4% in 2013.
The figures show that renewables generated 32% more electricity than any other single source of power in Scotland.
In total, the renewables sector generated a record 10.3TWh, compared to 7.8TWh2 from nuclear generation – previously Scotland’s main source of electricity. The figures also show that coal and gas-fired electricity generation produced 5.6TWh and 1.4TWh respectively over the same six-month period.
Source: Easy MCS
Energy Efficiency is on the minds of the nation, the government-backed Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) has reported that UK households signed up for £2.25m of energy efficiency improvements last week (week ending April 18th).
With Green Deal applications from more than 650 households since the scheme was established in 2013, it’s clear the Green Deal is here to stay and is a huge benefit to UK homeowners.
The GDFC estimates that the most popular improvement carried out under the deal is the installation of solar equipment, with energy efficient boilers and solid wall installations still remaining high on the list.
Even with the Green Deals turbulent start the scheme has gone from strength to strength and it’s clear it’s making a real different to homeowners in the UK.
With the success of the scheme continuing to grow, it’s important that there are dedicated and trained installers to carry out the installations of the whole range of Green Deal approved home improvements.
At Easy Green Deal we can help you get green deal accredited while offering you outstanding support and training courses. Helping you to access this industry, expand your skill set and develop your business.
Source: Easy Green Deal