With the local economy placing financial pressure on all South Africans, many of us opt for the cheaper route when having to call in plumbing services. Often unqualified plumbers are summoned to do the job at a reduced rate, or we even attempt to fix the problem ourselves.
However, in many cases, this initial saving will cost you markedly more in the long run, not only in monetary terms but in health terms as well.
Brendan Reynolds, Executive Director at the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) warns that the risks of making use of an unqualified plumber include poor repairs of the plumbing problem, which leads to “call-backs” and more costs, as well as exposure to a myriad of health and safety hazards.
“An unqualified plumber simply does not have the knowledge about water pressure and hydraulics or diseases that are caused by incorrect plumbing,” warns Reynolds, while adding that many such service providers are solely financially motivated, as opposed to being concerned with customer safety.
You get what you pay for
It is well worth your money to rather pay a higher fee, but have the peace of mind that the work being done for you is carried out according to official plumbing regulations that are compulsory for any Qualified Plumber.
“A plumber is a skilled craftsman with knowledge learned over three or four years under the guidance and direction of an experienced plumber. He/she is therefore entitled to ask a fair price for work done,” urges Reynolds.
These regulations ensure that Qualified Plumbers can offer work that is based on tried and tested methods, which are continually improving as materials become more sophisticated.
Avoid the unqualified
When seeking the services of a plumber, ensure that you visit the company website or ask via telephone or email to determine if their services are offered by qualified persons who abide by the required standards.
When the allocated plumber arrives at your premises, you can request that he/she show you his qualification by virtue of his/her proof of membership of a voluntary body such as IOPSA and/or the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB).
“However, some Qualified Plumbers choose not to belong to such voluntary bodies, which does not make them poor at their job. In such instances, customers must ask for another proof of qualification,” notes Reynolds.
Ultimately, he reiterates that customers must not skimp on their health and safety, “It is not just unblocking a drain but, moving away waste that if allowed to linger, will cause disease to spread. Even the incorrect installation of a geyser or hot water storage vessel can lead to it exploding and causing untold damage.”