Anglian Water has given its backing to a new, nationwide scheme aimed at helping people find a reputable plumber and dodge the cowboys.

WaterSafe is a national register, accreditation body and online directory designed to provide home and business owners with a trusted, credible source of approved plumbing businesses in their area.  

Its launch comes as a national survey revealed Brits spent a whopping £2.6 billion in the last year fixing botched plumbing jobs.  

The survey found that in East Anglia 68 per cent of those questioned chose their plumber on cost alone, not worrying if they were registered with an approved contractors’ scheme, or if the engineer has any professional credentials.  

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they have fallen victim to a rogue plumber, and a further 20 per cent knew somebody who had. With the average repair job coming in at £426, the result is a major financial outlay.  

WaterSafe should help pull the plug on rogue plumbers, and the disasters they leave behind.  

The scheme is supported by a number of water companies and plumbing trade associations to provide recognition for competent plumbers and assurance to customers seeking water supply plumbing work.  

John Wood, a plumbing and heating engineer of over 30 years experience and now working as a part of Anglian Water’s water fitting regulations team, recognises how important having a qualified tradesperson is. 

John said: “For homeowners, putting cost as the priority can come at a heavy price. Not only is fixing any mistakes costly, they can be dangerous too.  

“The water Anglian Water supplies to homes and businesses is extensively tested to make sure it’s of the highest quality. Dodgy plumbing can put this quality, and our health, at risk. In one extreme case we investigated solar panels were wrongly installed causing drinking water to run through the panels before coming out of the tap!  

“Helping to stop problems like this is exactly why Anglian Water is backing the new WaterSafe scheme and urging customers to always check a plumber’s credentials before any work begins.”  

Many problems are caused by people not taking enough care when choosing a plumber.  

In East Anglia more than 43 per cent of those polled said they trusted the opinion of friends or family members and more than a quarter followed a neighbour’s recommendation. Only 25 per cent went on to check if the person recommended was legitimate.  

Worse still, almost half admitted they would willingly ask an unqualified person to undertake plumbing work in their home if they thought it would help save time getting the job done. Yet nearly a fifth of those polled said they don’t always expect their plumber to do a good job.  

Kevin Wellman from WaterSafe, added: “Our survey results are truly shocking. Whilst it is fully understandable that, times as they are, UK homeowners may need to be extra frugal, the price of putting cost before credentials can be catastrophic.  

“Not using a properly qualified plumber is not only dangerous, it’s a false economy and could end up costing the homeowner thousands of pounds and a lot of hassle to put right. Furthermore, there are the safety implications. Water safety in the home is of paramount importance and by using a dodgy tradesman homeowners are not considering the risk that contaminated water poses.  

“For us, the motto is ’be safe, be Watersafe’.”  

TV presenter and consumer champion, Alice Beer, is supporting the campaign to get the nation clued up to only using trusted plumbers.  

She said: “WaterSafe’s website allows consumers to search for an approved plumbing business in their area, ensuring that they are getting a safe and competent tradesman to carry out work in their home.  

“By using a properly qualified professional with this scheme, we can work together as a nation to drive out unethical plumbers and raise safety standards.”  

Further information can be found at www.watersafe.org.uk