Here, WaterSafe communications consultant Stephanie Ellis sheds some light on a recent photo shoot with one of the scheme’s most experienced members, Andy Steer from AM Steer Ltd in Seaford, East Sussex.
When we meet, it’s 8am on a frosty Friday morning, when Andy would usually be starting his first of many jobs.
Thankfully, he has a quiet day ahead and is more than happy to spend a couple of hours at Heating Plumbing Supplies Newhaven, Andy’s go-to plumbing merchants who kindly agreed to let us use their beautiful bathroom showroom as the location for the photos, as well as their shop and vast warehouse.
Andy has been on the tools since he left school, having started work as a 15-year-old apprentice. One of his earliest memories of work is hiding in his van after being confronted by a woman brandishing a whip with very little clothing on!
Luckily for us, and Andy’s loyal customer base, it didn’t put him off as he’s still hard at work some 44 years later.
As you’d expect, a lot can change in four decades, and for Andy that includes the introduction of plastic pipes and press-fit fittings, more awareness of cross contamination and legionella, and of course, the introduction of the WaterSafe scheme in 2013.
First on the agenda for our photo shoot is Andy demonstrating how he goes about fixing common problems in the home – such as dripping taps, leaky loos and fitting new showers.
He’s a natural, and we soon move downstairs to the chilly warehouse where he shows us how to insulate water pipes with foam lagging and operate a stop tap – both timely reminders as the temperatures hover just above freezing.
We also see some of the fixtures and tools he uses, such as copper pipe and lead-free solder.
Crucially, WaterSafe plumbers are trained in the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations, which means they know how to protect the quality of drinking water within homes and businesses, avoid excess usage and will choose products which have been tested for compatibility with drinking water.
Andy remarks that while some products may be cheaper, you could end up paying twice if something goes wrong and needs fixing, whereas approved products will have been tested to demonstrate compliance with the water fittings regulations.
Finally, we take a couple of headshots and photos of Andy by his trusty van – which features the WaterSafe logo, as well as those of two of the six approved contactor schemes which make up WaterSafe. Andy is a proud member of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), as well as the Water Industry Approved Plumbing Scheme (WIAPS).
This demonstrates he has the relevant plumbing qualifications, is educated in the water regulations and has sufficient insurance – just in case.
Before we know it, our work is done and we head back to our day jobs, which for Andy includes fitting a new washing machine for an elderly customer.
I'm sure he was happy to be heading inside to a warm home, but if he minded the cold during our photo shoot, he certainly didn’t show it.
On behalf of everyone at WaterSafe, I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Andy and HPS Newhaven.
These photos will be used across the WaterSafe website and other communications to promote the use of WaterSafe approved contractors and bring our information and advice to life.