Plumbers - what you need to know
Plumbers are a crucial part of maintaining or building any sort of property. Most people know about one side of the job - unblocking drains and toilets - but it’s far more in-depth than that. If you’re getting a bathroom done you’ll need them to work with an architect or bathroom specialist to figure out the best position for your bath, shower, toilet and sink. They’ll then make sure all the pipes and plumbing are in the right place to fit them all, as well as to produce the best water flow through your home.
What a plumber can help with
- Installing and repairing bathrooms, radiators, appliances, taps and boilers.
- Removing blockages in toilets and drainage.
- Detecting and repairing leaks, in both water and gas systems.
- Replacing old plumbing.
- Repairing burst water pipes.
They install radiators and common appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, again, making sure that waste pipes and taps are exactly where they need to be.
Of course there’s also the little jobs like leaky taps and shower heads they can take care of too, but if you’re getting them round for a job like that, it might also be worth booking them in for a boiler check.
Boilers need to be serviced once a year by a qualified plumber - look out for the Gas Safe certificate on our tradespeople’s profile pages.
Boilers tend to break down during the winter months when they’re most in use, so it’s a good idea to book a plumber in at the end of summer before they get too busy. They tend to be in-demand once it gets cold, dealing with emergency jobs where heating and hot water need to be restored urgently. If you get ahead of the game with a pre-emptive boiler check you’re also likely to get a better rate.
Costs for common plumbing jobs
We surveyed our tradespeople about the costs of common plumbing jobs – here’s what you can expect to pay.
| Some typical jobs
|Water tank installation
The qualifications your plumber needs
If a tradesperson carries out gas work, they have to be Gas Safe registered. They’ll carry a personal ID card which you can ask to see, so check their licence number and expiry date. When tradespeople join us, we also check this, as only Gas Safe registered tradespeople are able to purchase these types of job.
What is Gas Safe?
Gas Safe is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires and all other gas appliances.
By law all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register. The Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI as the gas registration body in 2009.
Planning permission for plumbers
In general, internal works don’t require planning permission unless you’re in a listed building. This includes kitchens and bathrooms, except when they’re part of a house extension.
For more detail, go to Planning Portal.
Insurance for plumbers
Anyone who works on your home, including plumbers, should have valid public liability insurance, which protects both tradespeople and homeowners should anything go wrong while on the job.
Accidental damage insurance is also important, so that your house is safe in the event of any unexpected problems.
Questions you should ask a plumber
- How long have they been trading?
- What qualifications do they have?
- What experience do they have carrying out similar work?
- Will they supply all materials?
- Will they be using sub-contractors?
- Reasons the work could be delayed?
- Do they need to move furniture or clear a room?
- Will they tidy up each day?
- Is a skip required?
- Does the work require:
- Planning permission.
- Conservation officer.
- Building regs compliance.
See the latest questions that our community of homeowners have been asking about plumbing.
See how you can add an extra bathroom - perfect to stop those morning arguments when everyone wants a shower at the same time. An extra bathroom helps with growing families or for rental properties with multiple tenants.
You can also read about water efficiency in the home, how to keep your pipework healthy, and last but not least, a beginner’s guide to unblocking a sink.