Meet WaterSafe approved water supply pipe installer Iain Carter, of Hydrosure, who shares what got him started in the industry and why there’s no such thing as a typical working day.
What got you started as a water supply pipe installer?
I was working as a labourer for Northumbrian Water, which led me to work for a company contracted to them, working on water supply pipes.
Please tell us about your business / what you do.
My company Hydrosure repairs water supply pipes for anyone with a water supply, from domestic households, to hospitals, factories, prisons and schools. We also install new water pipes.
What is the difference between an Approved Plumber and an Approved Water Supply Pipe Installer?
Plumbers usually work on internal copper pipework and water supply pipe installers work on the pipes that run under the garden as a general rule.
When might someone need to hire a water supply pipe installer?
For all sorts of reasons, from problems with water pressure, to removal of lead pipes and burst pipes.
What are the advantages of hiring a water supply pipe installer instead of a plumber?
Plumbers don’t usually dig holes, and if they do, they can charge more for it! We’re more specialised – and cheaper!
Please describe a typical day in your working life.
There’s no such thing as a typical day! Today, I’ve an 8am start in Barnard Castle, County Durham to deal with a service leak for Northumbrian Water. Recently, I’ve installed a new barrier pipe due to an oil spill in North Allerton, which contaminated the ground and water pipe. I’ve also put in a temporary water supply pipe at Hull railway station, to replace the original pipe, which resides underneath track that needs replacing. Every day is different.
What’s the best bit of the job for you?
Happy customers. The satisfaction of doing something that others can’t do – it gives me a sense of achievement.
How has Covid-19 affected your work?
At the beginning, we still had plenty of work but weren’t able to get hold of supplies. I furloughed two people out of my team of 10, and had to hire extra vans, so my team didn’t travel together. We kept going though and picked up more customers in the end – we’re now busier than ever.
What’s the job you’re most proud of?
A six-hour round-trip to Glasgow to identify a burst pipe in an insurance company that no one else could find. It felt great to solve the problem and I was rewarded with a glass of whiskey that unfortunately I had to turn down as I drove home the same day!
Can you bust a popular plumbing myth?
If you do a job that gets you dirty, some people assume that you’re stupid. The technical demands of my job means this is far from the truth however.
Do you have any advice for young people entering the industry?
Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way. You’ll need to be resilient, as this is not an easy career – but there’s good money to be made. I’d like to see more apprenticeships available in the utilities sector.
What does being a member of WaterSafe mean to you?
It means having prestige and proof that you know what you’re doing and what you’re talking about. It also reassures customers that if something goes wrong, you’ll be able to help.
What are your plans for the future?
Finding some office space and a secretary to help with my paperwork. I’ve got enough potential work to expand my team, but prefer to keep it small – that way I can protect my reputation and keep the quality of my business high.
Name three qualities that make a great water supply pipe installer: Determination, trustworthiness and problem-solving.
Best way to unwind after a hard day’s work? A well-earned pint of lager.
Tea or coffee? Tea.
Fish and chips or curry? Curry.
Plastic pipe or copper pipe? Plastic pipe.
Early bird or night owl? Both!
Twitter or Facebook? Facebook.
Self-employed or part of a team? Part of a team.
Pipework or paperwork? Pipework!
Pipe wrench vs spanner? Spanner.
For more information on joining WaterSafe as a water supply pipe installer click here.