Find out what the CIPHE's technical manager has been up to

Lecturer Jerry with student.

In Apprenticeships, Technical advice

“Blue Water”

The beginning of 2020 saw Defra announce it was content with a voluntary interim agreement proposed by the BMA and water companies regarding the backflow protection arrangements of newly installed WCs . The agreement came into force on the 1st of January 2020 for a period of six months with a review to be carried out in May 2020.

In Summary

The BMA’s proposed agreement advocates water companies not enforcing the 300mm dimensional requirements: however, It does set out the regulatory expectations:

compliance with the harmonised BS EN 997 and other appropriate standards, the 15mm dimension; and the inlet backflow requirements with an AG air gap. If an AG cannot be achieved an AC air gap should be used or, if in any doubt about the arrangements, a Double Check Valve (DCV).

Please see the link below for the full version.

Apprenticeships and colleges

I have travelled far and wide over the last 7 months, visiting many FE colleges. Some to visit and support the learning by way of presenting on behalf of the CIPHE to the next generation of Plumbers and Heating Engineers on just what being a professional is and how to become one. I update staff and students alike on industry changes and challenges as well as careers and opportunities.

I have also had the honour to be a judge with the ever-growing HIP Apprentice of the year competition. This allows me to meet many new, and some old, faces from FE. The competition now in its 11th year and is a brilliant way of engaging with young talent and for them to gain fantastic experience, regardless of winning or not. I always have a chat with each candidate in order to learn a little about their background. It amazes me when a candidate has only been at work or college for around 6 months, yet they perform fantastic work you’d be only too happy to have in your own home or workplace. The final takes place at ADEY HQ in Cheltenham over two days on April the 23rd and 24th. The standard is exceptionally high and those employers and colleges whose candidates have made it through are a credit to themselves and the learners they are responsible.

On my journey around the FE sector across the UK, I have also taken a look at the uptake of the new Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician level 3 apprenticeship pathway. Some centres have made a start but many haven’t yet. The Gas Engineering Apprenticeship has been very popular for those who completed their level 2 and transferred onto this. There is still a lot to do for some centres. Organising the EPA, the staff to deliver, understanding the curriculum and recruiting to deliver it are just some of the challenges.

If you would like to know more about a career in education, then look out for my upcoming piece on how to approach making the change and how to adapt from industry to education.

Technical Support

The technical help-line has been very busy this month, with a number of calls on legionella and the chlorination of systems to name a few. Answering the calls is great, because it is through members’ direct feedback that I get a sense of just how much they benefit from the service. I would encourage members to use this service as much as possible as we endeavour to ensure you have the right information quickly or even just provide that helpful ear to listen and verify your own thought process. It’s not easy getting correct information from a variety of sources and then deciding which is correct. The Technical helpline can be that single source and is available on 01708 463117


If you would like to make a booking for me to come along to your training centre/college, drop me a line. Or follow me on Linkedin or now Instagram!