“The plumbing and heating industry within Ireland will see some major changes over the coming years and we need to ensure that we and our members have a rm grip on what it will mean to us, whether we are employed, self-employed or part of a large organisation,” he said. According to Richie, SR50 is to go out to public consultation in the coming months. This will see Ireland’s first ever plumbing and heating technical guidance document covering every aspect of the trade, from solid fuel to solar and unvented cylinders to general plumbing.
“SR50 is a welcome regulatory document as it will show just how complex and technical our trade really is. It will offer best practice guidance for those who need it and provide a welcomed improvement to the industry.” Another major and welcome change to the industry and, in particular, to the gas industry, is the introduction of regulation of the non-domestic gas industry. Criostoir McCormack, HAPAI’s Secretary, said, “On January 1, 2019, it will become a criminal offence for anybody working on non-domestic gas installation and who is not registered with the Register of Gas Installers of Ireland (RGII) to do so.”
Another sector change is the announcement of the introduction of The Building Control (Construction Industry Registration of Ireland) Bill 2017. Known as CIRI, it is creating major concern among those involved in the trades. “Once this Act becomes law, everybody working in the commercial construction industry, with the exception of electricians and gas fitters, will have to register with CIRI to connect water pipes,” said Shane Henderson, HAPAI Director. “The majority of trades people within the industry have served a recognised Level 6 apprenticeship. To allow them to continue to do so, we need just one register and controlling body for all sectors of the industry, similar to RECI and independent of CIRI, thus simplifying and streamlining the process and, most importantly, avoiding unnecessary duplication and expense.”
A plumber who works on gas, oil, solar, solid fuel and heat pumps may well have registrations for RGII, OFTEC, HETAS, etc and the annual costs and criteria that are attached
to each of these may prove too exhaustive, says Shane. “HAPAI is in discussions with our friends in the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors of Ireland (APHCI) so we can work together to ensure what is best for our industry is achieved. We are also very concerned that most plumbers do not seem to be aware of the amount of regulation that’s coming down the line in.” HAPAI is also developing a recognised Continuous Professional Development (CPD) system for members to improve their skills on an on-going basis. The Association is currently developing this to be accessed not only from countrywide centres but also from the comfort of members’ homes. To reach every member of the plumbing and heating trade, HAPAI is currently offering free membership for a limited period only.
For more information, visit the website www.hapai.ie