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The CIPHE’s Complaints Procedure

The CIPHE has a Code of Professional Standards, which each member commits to abide by when signing up to membership. If a member of the Chartered Institute contravenes any of the six points of the Code of Professional Standards, he or she can make themselves liable for a complaint to be made against them.

Most complaints are due to a breakdown in communication or unrealistic expectations (see our blog Why plumbing jobs go wrong) and can be rectified without both parties undergoing a formal complaints procedure. However, the Chartered Institute will take action against members who break its Code, the procedure for this is outlined below.

1) A member of the public, contacts the CIPHE to make a complaint. Once it is established that the plumber/heating engineer is a member of the CIPHE, then a complaint form is sent to the consumer to complete. Once this is returned to Head Office, a copy is then sent to the member concerned for their comments.

2) When all the relevant paperwork from both parties is returned to Head Office, the complaint is then referred to the Chartered Institute’s Investigation Committee who will investigate the complaint. The Investigation Committee is made up of technical experts, an independent Barrister and an independent senior Trading Standards Officer. In some instances, the Professional Standards Administrator may contact the member in question to see if the complaint can be resolved without any further intervention from the CIPHE. Normally, this is as far as most complaints get, as many are due to bad communication between the parties.

3) However, in some cases, the Investigation Committee will need to investigate further. If needed, a Professional Standards Inspector will be sent along to make a report on the work completed by the member. This report may help the Investigation Committee to reach a decision whether to refer the complaint on to the Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee does have the power to remove a Member from membership. The Disciplinary Committee is made up of voluntary members throughout the plumbing industry, CIPHE Head Office Staff, a QC and a senior Trading Standards Officer.

If you would like to know more about the Chartered Institute’s complaints procedure, or have a complaint to make about a member of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (we can only accept complaints about members of the CIPHE, as the Investigation/Disciplinary Committees have no jurisdiction over non-members), please contact Maxine Rouse, the Professional Standards Administrator on 01708-463111 or email