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Kennedy Announces NI Water’s Support of ‘WaterSafe’ Scheme

10 October 2013 11:01

L-R Michael McGreevy NI Water, Dymphna Gallagher NI Water, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy and interim Chief Executive Sara Venning
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has announced NI Water’s partnership with ‘WaterSafe’, a national register for Approved plumbing businesses aimed at ensuring the safety of plumbing work in customers’ properties. The WaterSafe Installers’ Scheme is a UK-wide umbrella organisation which aims to assist in the protection of health by addressing the risks to water supplies which can arise from poor plumbing practices in customer’s homes, public buildings and places of work.  

The scheme, which currently operates throughout the UK, is set to benefit customers by providing a dedicated online search facility bringing together thousands of qualified contractors employed by Approved plumbing businesses in Northern Ireland.

WaterSafe will help customers find the nearest qualified plumbing and heating professionals in their area and promote water safety in homes and business premises.

The scheme is backed by all UK water suppliers and is endorsed by Water UK and the Worshipful Company of Plumbers alongside the seven Approved Contractors’ Scheme partners operating under the scheme, including, The Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF).
To become a member of WaterSafe, a business needs to join an Approved Contractors’ Scheme, such as SNIPEF in NI and Scotland. Each business must employ a qualified individual who has successfully completed an industry recognised Water Fittings Regulations course and an NVQ 2/3 or equivalent in plumbing. The business must also have public and employers’ liability insurance in place in case something goes wrong. Once all the requirements have been met, the business can apply to their Approved Contractors’ Scheme to become WaterSafe Approved. Members will be audited regularly and with redress arrangements in place, customers can rest assured work which does not meet the required standard of the Water Fittings Regulations and Bylaws will be put right.

WaterSafe approval gives credibility to businesses and peace-of-mind to customers who can feel confident that they can choose from some of the best plumbing professional in the industry.

NI Water will support the WaterSafe initiative by helping to raise awareness of the scheme throughout Northern Ireland. Further information and leaflets are available at http://www.niwater.com/find-a-plumber/

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: “WaterSafe provides essential customer information on all approved Contractors’ schemes, including the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF). It is important for customers to have access to information on approved plumbing businesses who have the stamp of approval from water companies across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

“In launching the new WaterSafe initiative, Northern Ireland has a unique opportunity to promote innovation in water fittings, leading to improved water efficiency in customers’ homes, public buildings and places of work.

“This will assist us in improving our Environment and reduce the cost of drinking water production and waste water treatment.”

NI Water Head of Quality and Compliance Dymphna Gallagher added:

“Customers are not legally obliged to use an approved plumbing business; however, the WaterSafe initiative provides customers with a choice to use plumbers whose work is recognised for compliance with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws. Customers can rest assured that all plumbers listed on WaterSafe are competent and qualified.

“Across Northern Ireland, NI Water is determined to improve service delivery for customers seeking top quality professionals carrying out contracting work.

“NI Water continues to be positioned as a forward thinking organisation which has the needs of our customers at the forefront. WaterSafe will benefit all those involved with contract work carried out in Northern Ireland and we would like to thank SNIPEF, CCNI, and the Drinking Water Inspectorate for their support with this initiative.”

SNIPEF’s Chief Executive, Robert Burgon (who is a member of the WaterSafe Board) commented:

“SNIPEF is pleased be part of this new and exciting initiative. Customers who use a WaterSafe installer will benefit from an assurance that the work will be undertaken safely and in accordance with Regulations. In addition, WaterSafe Scheme operators, such as SNIPEF, provide valuable support to customers through complaints mechanisms in the event that something goes wrong. We look forward to the time when all consumers of plumbing services recognise the value of using a WaterSafe approved installer.”    

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