Towards the end of 2023, WaterSafe celebrated its 10th anniversary, but many of our members have been on the tools for far longer.
This includes WaterSafe-approved plumber, and CIPHE member, Andy Steer from AM Steer Limited in Seaford, East Sussex who, with 45 years’ experience under his belt, is one of our longest-serving members.
We met up with Andy in December to find out more about his career so far. We also used the opportunity to take some snaps of Andy to update our photo library, so next time you visit the WaterSafe website or social media profiles, keep an eye out for photos of him!
Andy has been in the trade since he left school, having started work as a 15-year-old apprentice.
One of his strangest memories of work is hiding in his van after being confronted by a woman brandishing a whip with very little clothing on! Luckily for us, and Andy’s loyal customer base, it didn’t put him off as he’s still hard at work some 44 years later.
As you’d expect, a lot can change in four decades, and for Andy that includes the introduction of plastic pipes and press-fit fittings, more awareness of cross contamination and legionella, and of course, the introduction of the WaterSafe scheme in 2013.
The introduction of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations in 1999 and the start of Water Regs UK (formerly known as the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) a decade later also represent milestones in Andy’s career.
Andy says he often advises customers, and other plumbers, that while some products may be cheaper, you could end up paying twice if something goes wrong and needs fixing, whereas approved products will have been tested to demonstrate compliance with the water regulations.
It’s a cold and frosty morning when we meet, so our conversation soon turns to winter and the topic of avoiding frozen and burst pipes.
In Andy’s experience, surprisingly few customers think about preparing their home for winter, with commonly recommended tasks such as insulating water pipes and outside taps forgotten. And, he said it’s often fifty-fifty whether customers know where their stop tap is.
That’s why Andy says he’ll be recommending his customers follow a ‘weather hack’ being promoted by WaterSafe as part of the Met Office’s WeatherReady campaign.
The two organisations have joined forces this winter to encourage UK residents to write down the name and number of a WaterSafe-approved emergency plumber on a spare Christmas gift tag and attach it to their stop tap.
Knowing where your stop tap is and having the name and number of a WaterSafe-approved plumber to hand, can save the day in an emergency. So, if you dish out one piece of advice to customers this winter, tell them to ‘tag their tap’ and visit the Met Office and WaterSafe websites for further advice.