We’d like to include a link to the Bansang Hospital Appeal Winter newsletter, which features Millside’s own Mark Antrobus and Neil Colishaw representing BPEC in the Gambia.
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.
In support of Gas Safety Week (19-25 September 2016), local Gas Safe registered engineers from Millside in Holmfirth are helping to raise awareness of gas safety issues and urge local residents to support the most vulnerable in society in order to keep them safe.
Gas Safety Week aims to encourage people from the Huddersfield area to reach out to friends and family, be they elderly parents or a disabled neighbour, to ensure they get their gas appliances – along with their own – safety checked at least once a year. Poorly maintained gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. In the last year, at least 55,200 homes in the UK escaped deadly gas incidents such as these, thanks to engineers switching off dangerous appliances1.
By law, only Gas Safe registered engineers can work on gas appliances. There have been 22 deaths and nearly 1,000 gas-related injuries in the last three years3. An estimated quarter of a million illegal gas jobs are carried out every year by unregistered workers, who do not have the skills or the qualifications to do the job safely. It’s therefore vital you make sure your engineer is registered with the official gas authority, Gas Safe Register.
Mark, who owns Millside Heating Services Ltd said: “We regularly go to people’s homes and find unsafe gas appliances, which either haven’t been serviced in years or have been worked on by illegal fitters. In most cases residents are unaware of the danger they and their family are in. For this reason, we’re pledging our support for Gas Safety Week and doing our bit to raise awareness of gas safety issues among the public in Huddersfield, to let residents know what steps they can take to keep themselves safe.”
Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said: “We know from our own investigations that around one in six gas appliances in the UK are unsafe4, meaning far too many people are victims of preventable gas related incidents. It’s great to have the support of [insert name of organisation] this Gas Safety Week. By working together we can raise further awareness of gas safety, to help reduce the number of dangerous gas appliances that could be lurking in people’s homes.”
Reach out to those who need help keeping gas safe at home by following these top tips:
- Help them to sign up to a free annual gas safety check reminder service at staygassafe.co.uk. You could even sign up on their behalf, so the reminder is sent to you each year
- Make them aware of the signs that an unsafe gas appliance could cause:
- A lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame; soot or staining on or around the appliance; excess condensation in the room
- Carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, taste or colour. The symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness, which can easily be mistaken for something else
- Make sure they know to ‘Trust the Triangle’ by asking to see their engineer’s Gas Safe ID card and checking it to make sure the engineer is covered to check or fit the appliance in question.
If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24 hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
For more information and to find a local engineer in your area visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.
The Bansang Hospital Appeal Story (Anita Smith MBE/Northampton University)
Millside are proud and happy to support development works at the Bansang Hospital Appeal in the Gambia, our chosen charity.
The Bansang Hospital Appeal is an award winning charity dedicated to improving healthcare delivery in a remote region of The Gambia. Since 1992, its founder (Anita Smith, MBE MRG) has dedicated her life to reversing its once terminal decline.
Thanks to Anita’s efforts and public support, Bansang Hospital today is vibrant, cohesive and incredibly effective. It has near 100% staff retention – an unparalleled accomplishment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and an unthinkable one when considering the horrors that Anita first viewed in 1992. The BHA’s intervention has ensured that thousands of communities across the entire region have been saved from the destructive trauma of losing loved ones to preventable causes. Public support means 600,000 of the most vulnerable and caring people are now able to plan their futures with ever greater certainty.
Anita and the staff of Bansang Hospital want to continue building a brighter and more assured future for all those that depend on this incredibly important healthcare resource. Their development model, which focuses wholly on retaining and motivating staff, has already given unprecedented successes & garnered numerous awards (including an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen given to Anita in 2008 for services to healthcare).
With everyone’s support, Anita and the hospital’s staff can build on the solid foundations that have been laid down since 1992. With continued dedication, focus and funding, Bansang Hospital can become that most elusive thing; an affordable healthcare resource capable of delivering sustainable and effective healthcare to the chronically poor. This realistic and achievable aspiration will also serve as a blueprint for other African countries that are suffering so terribly with the social destruction that comes from having ineffective health facilities.
So if you believe every mother and child has the right to life, regardless of economic status or geographic location, please join the campaign.
You can find out more about the Bansang Hospital Appeal Here.
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.
A gas fitter has been sentenced to community payback after his incompetent installation of a new boiler system at a cottage near Montrose put the tenant’s lives in danger.
David Stott’s substandard work on the boiler in the rented cottage exposed a visiting family and the tenant’s family to potentially lethal carbon monoxide.
Forfar Sheriff Court heard as a result of the accused’s failings, the tenant was poisoned by carbon monoxide, endangering his life and leaving him with long term sleeping problems.
David Stott from Montrose went to Leys of Dun Cottage, a stone built farm cottage, situated between Brechin and Montrose, on 28 October 2013 to install a new boiler which was already at the property. It was decided the new boiler would be situated in the kitchen, where a previous boiler had once been located, with a flue exit for a boiler chimney to pass through.
When the work was finished, Stott provided paperwork and a demonstration of how the boiler worked to the owner of the cottage and the wife of the tenant, who had lived there for eight years previous.
The following week, the tenant was waking up with a severe headache and at one point collapsed when going to the toilet during the night. His wife also suffered headaches, dizziness, nausea and regular vomiting. Their pregnant daughter and her 20 month old son attended the property during that week, had also felt unwell.
On the evening of 1 November, the tenant was shaking and was unable to walk or stand by himself, which he believed to be related to painkillers for a work accident he had suffered.
However, on Tuesday 5 November after returning home the tenant’s wife found the couple’s two dogs had vomited in the house, with one lying on the floor, apparently fitting and unable to stand. The tenant was found unresponsive in his bed, foaming at the mouth, with his eyes rolling in his head and his arms contorted.
The tenant’s wide mentioned the boiler to the attending ambulance crew and when they reached hospital his blood was tested for carbon monoxide. His carbon monoxide level was found to be 33.6 percent. Ordinarily, this would be expected to be zero. Anything over 15 percent is considered serious poisoning.
A gas engineer who came out to look at the boiler noted the flue chimney had been four inches out of line with the boiler outlet and reported the matter to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The subsequent investigation showed various failings including the new boiler not been installed correctly in terms of the positioning, the connection of the flue chimney, and the necessary adjustments to take account of an LPG source at the cottage.
The way the boiler was fitted provided insufficient space to secure the flue chimney to the top of the boiler, causing excessively high levels of carbon monoxide to be emitted into the kitchen area and the void where it could escape into other parts of the cottage.
The court heard the tenants have since moved from the cottage into a flat due to psychological and sleeping problems. One of the couple’s dogs had to be put to sleep after the exposure.
HSE inspector Niall Miller said after the hearing: “The extent of Stott’s failure was significant.
“The levels of carbon monoxide were far in excess of permissible levels, and given the total failure to connect the flue chimney, this was able to escape into the property.
“The male tenant in this property could easily have died and other people in the cottage were exposed over a number of days, including a pregnant woman and 20 month old baby.”
David Stott of Waterside Road, Montrose pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(2) and 33(1)(a) to the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to 200 hours community payback to be completed within one year.
Millside is supporting Quality Plumber Week (28 September – 4 October) to celebrate the skilled work plumbing and heating engineer’s carry out everyday.
Organised by Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), the second Quality Plumber Week aims to recognise the diversity and range of skills plumbers have, which is often overlooked until an emergency leak or broken boiler requires attention. The week works to raise consumer awareness of using properly qualified, trained and accredited plumbers in a bid to reduce the number of rogue traders operating in the trade.
Plumbing and heating engineers work across a wide-range of specialisms from traditional pipework, boiler installations and seemingly simple plumbing work to increasingly popular new green technologies such as biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps. Yet whatever the job, quality plumbers have extensive training and experience behind them to ensure the latest regulations and safety measures are met. These legislations are constantly under review, with professional plumbing firms working hard to keep up-to-date to comply with these in order to protect their customers.
John Thompson, Chief Executive, APHC added: “We had a great response to the inaugural Quality Plumber Week last year, and the industry really got behind showcasing the ambassadors of the plumbing trade. Our ambition is to increase awareness of the campaign each year.
“There are thousands of excellent plumbers working throughout England and Wales; who provide exceptional service and advice to homes and business. Unfortunately for them rogue traders seem to grab the headlines, which tarnishes the entire industry. On behalf of not only our members, but also every hardworking plumber we want to recognise the skills and work they do.”
Finding a reputable plumber can be challenging and without a personal recommendation homeowners are putting a good deal of trust in their chosen tradesperson. By using a member of a trade association, consumers have the security that members have been vetted for relevant qualifications, experience, insurances and high standards of workmanship. Associations also operate complaints procedures should any disputes arise during or following a job.
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.