Finding a plumber

If you are considering employing a plumber to carry out work in your home, it is important to make sure that whoever you choose is reliable, trustworthy and professional. For example, plumbers who are members of recognised trade bodies such as SNIPEF and CIPHE have been approved by those bodies


The Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) is the only trade body representing plumbing and heating companies in Northern Ireland.

SNIPEF members are licensed, employ properly qualified operatives and maintain appropriate insurance. In addition all SNIPEF members operate under a warranty scheme. NI Water only recommends use of SNIPEF members.

Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), which is the professional body for the plumbing industry, recommends that when finding a plumber you should:

  • ask friends/relatives/neighbours who they use
  • use a member of the Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering - members have to hold recognised qualifications in plumbing and/or extensive experience
  • get at least three quotes and when asking for quotes find out if there is a call out fee, how many people will be doing the job and if the price per hour includes all the workmen/women or if more is charged per plumber and ask for a written quote - unless there are any unforeseen costs, the final bill should not deviate too far from this initial written quote
  • clearly explain all of the work you need doing (write it all down) and, if possible, ask how long the job will take
  • when you have found a plumber and the job is completed, ask for a full breakdown of the bill so you know where your money has gone

The Trustmark scheme, backed by the government, ensures that traders who sign up are fully qualified to do plumbing work and provides a complaints procedure.

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