SNIPEF’s Business Priorities

May 28, 2021

SNIPEF's Annual Report was released at AGM

In December 2020, SNIPEF surveyed its membership to identify what were the key priorities for the business in 2021 and beyond. The four priorities our Members identified are at the heart of our Business Plan for 2021-2025 and are the foundations, in our key asks of Government in the SNIPEF Manifesto.

Green Agenda

The UK and devolved governments have set ambitious net zero targets to reach over the next 30 years and our sector will be instrumental in achieving them. While decarbonisation of heat is only one part of this ambition, it is a crucial part, and the plumbing industry will have a major part to play.

SNIPEF believes that plumbers hold the fundamental, theoretical and practical skill sets so are best placed to undertake this work. We recognise that there is a need to upskill the current workforce and attract new talent ensuring that only those suitably qualified are able to undertake the work.

But there is also a need to incentivise customers, businesses and stakeholders to invest in low carbon technologies, thus ensuring a prosperous pipeline of work to provide the sector with the confidence to make the investment.

We will continue to work with government and key stakeholders to support employers to upskill their existing workforce and stimulate marketplace demand. We will apply pressure on government to commit to long-term incentives for net zero including long-term programmes for retrofit of energy efficiency measures in existing building stock as well as campaigning for a reduction in VAT and/or rebate scheme for energy improvement measures.

Competency & Compliance

For too long our industry has suffered from an uneven playing field with rogue traders setting up in business purporting to be plumbers without holding the necessary qualifications. In a sector which is safety critical it seems unthinkable that there is so little regulation and this works to the detriment of our Members.

SNIPEF believes that qualified plumbers should hold a Level 3 plumbing qualification and that protection of title and/or regulation is required to ensure that only those qualified to do so can be recognised as qualified plumbers.

We will piggy back on the work already undertaken by the electrical sector to lobby government to regulate and/or protect the title “Plumber” to improve the safety of consumers and create an even playing field for businesses.

Commercial Recovery & BREXIT

Poor payment practices continue to plague the industry, and this encourages poor standards of quality as well as affecting the mental health of business owners who worry about not being paid. Post pandemic concerns include issues relating to the progress of projects and disputes this may lead to between employers and contractors across the supply chain.

Procurement practices are outdated and there is too much focus on the lowest cost rather than ensuring procurement is sustainable. Sustainable procurement would not only provide value for money to clients but also the society, the economy, and the environment. SNIPEF will continue to lobby government for fair payment and sustainable procurement in the industry as well as identify funding opportunities for businesses to grow.

The pandemic and Brexit have and are likely to continue to have an effect on product and workforce availability as well as product prices and perhaps even quality. As we move from EU to UK standards, we are likely to face further challenges and we will work with stakeholders and government to keep Members informed.

Employment, Skills & Safety

The pandemic has taken its toll on many businesses in our sector and many still face uncertainty about future workloads. This has had a negative impact on apprentice recruitment and in an industry which is already facing a skills shortage and with the government targets for a green economy and increased housing stock, there is an immediate need to build and develop the workforce by investing in skills.

While it is important to ensure that the workforce meets the demands of the future, it is also important that it is seen to be a good place to work and is diverse and inclusive. Furthermore, in an industry where mental health is already a major issue, we must ensure a culture of prevention and early intervention to reduce poor mental health and suicide rates.

SNIPEF will promote our sector as a good place to work and drive apprentice recruitment. We will work with government and key stakeholders to ensure upskilling is relevant and affordable as well as looking at ways we can bring in people from other sectors in decline where skillsets may be similar.

To read the full Annual Report, click here.

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