Newly appointed president of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), Alex Wildish, has pledged to spotlight the impact of rogue trading in a bid to raise awareness and drive quality across the industry.
Alex, a consultant forensic engineer at Engineering Forensics, was elected as CIPHE president in June 2023, following a longstanding involvement with the membership body. As a volunteer, Alex has reviewed member applications and has been the independent chair for the disciplinary committee that assesses complaints on a wide range of matters, from defective works to unprofessional conduct and behaviour.
Bringing 14 years’ experience investigating poor installations, improperly designed or manufactured parts, and post installation damage, Alex will hold the post for 12 months and will aim to quantify the scale of rogue trading during his tenure.
Alex said: “Professionalism, training and competency are some of the core values that underpin the CIPHE’s work, and all of these align with my own perspective on plumbing and heating works. Throughout my career I have very rarely seen defective products, which means most failures are a result of poor workmanship and incompetence. This poses a serious public safety issue so must be addressed.
“Rogue traders not only rob the public of their confidence, but their work is disruptive and extremely dangerous. This critical issue isn’t something that can be swept under the carpet. I’m keen to use my position to develop clear resources which illustrate the real-world threats and impacts of rogue trading to increase awareness in the industry and inspire necessary change.”
The CIPHE has long advocated for quality in the trade and warned of the rising risk of rogue traders. According to its True Value of a Professional campaign, the average cost of work needed to remedy deficient installations or maintenance is almost £2,000. Aside from the financial implications, Alex also wants to highlight the safety risks of poor-quality plumbing and heating work.
“When it comes to educating people on the damage caused by incompetency, finding examples to illustrate the severity is important. I recently saw biocontamination in a £2bn development that was caused by a rogue trader and led to a huge fire outbreak. I’ve also witnessed defective bathroom work which cost £18 million to fix. When you consider what rogue trading looks like in numbers, it’s pretty shocking.”
Alex becomes the CIPHE president having previously been elected to the post of vice president in 2022.
The CIPHE’s CEO, Kevin Wellman added: “Having collaborated with Alex for some years, it is truly a pleasure to welcome him as our new president. His background and experience give him a unique perspective and I look forward to seeing the positive impact he will undoubtedly have on the industry and the Institute over the next 12 months.”