Today, we hear from Tom Reynolds, chief executive at the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, who outlines the measures that would end the damage from rogue plumbers and installers.

To achieve innovative bathroom design, the expertise and professionalism of plumbers and installers play a pivotal role. Designers understand that the seamless integration of terminal fittings into a broader system is essential, and the overall performance hinges on the configuration by a skilled professional. Regrettably, instances abound where dissatisfaction with products can be traced back to subpar installation.

In identifying the root cause, a glaring issue comes to light. Over the years, the industry has witnessed a steady trickle of individuals, regardless of skill level or standards, transforming overnight into self-proclaimed plumbers or installers. These rogue operators compromise not only the safety and quality of installations but also cast a shadow on the reputation of our specialised sector.

At the forefront of our challenges lies the absence of mandatory licensing for plumbing and bathroom installation professionals. Unlike other countries, the UK lacks the requirements for training, qualifications, or experience to establish a plumbing business or assume the title of a bathroom installer. This regulatory gap erodes the industry’s credibility and poses substantial risks to public confidence and safety.

To address this, the government should take seriously the introduction of statutory licensing, reserving the title of ‘plumber’ exclusively for fully qualified professionals. For instance, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) maintains lists of qualified installers. The British Institute for KBB Installation (BiKBBI) plays a pivotal role by recognising and distinguishing qualified ‘bathroom installers’ registered with them. By adopting such measures through government statutory licensing, we can be assured that legitimate and proficient tradespeople deliver for designers and consumers.

Furthermore, we should aim for evidence-based, continuous professional development within the plumbing and heating industry, extending to registered bathroom installers. This commitment to ongoing education ensures that professionals stay abreast of the latest industry standards and technologies, resulting in safer installations and enhanced product performance.

In essence, stringent regulations and continuous training are indispensable to champion safety and professionalism in bathroom design and installation. These measures not only shield consumers but also elevate the standing of the entire industry. Moreover, they encourage professionals to aspire to excellence, knowing their skills and qualifications are officially acknowledged.

The commitment of the BMA on these matters aligns with collaborative efforts involving government bodies, BiKBBI, and other stakeholders. Together, we aim to transform these proposals into concrete reforms, safeguarding the integrity of bathroom design and installation.

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