Survey reveals the impact of cost-of-living on plumbing industry


New research has revealed that 65% of plumbers have noticed an increase in callouts due to customers not turning their heating on during cost-of-living crisis.

The new research, carried out as part of Wavin’s annual ‘State of the Nation’ survey, shows that plumbers have seen an increasing number of issues as a direct result of customers not turning their heating on.

The survey also found that 60% of respondents are already having to turn work away because their workload is too high, with 65% saying jobs regularly overrun

Although there is set to be temporary respite for consumers in the form of changes to the energy price cap in April, a statement said, a year of uncertainty and global supply chain challenges means that plumbers will continue to be under significant pressure in the year ahead.

There are also concerns about the long-term impact on the industry as a whole, it noted. A combination of busy workloads and frequently overrunning jobs is reducing the amount of time being spent training the next generation.

The survey found that 45% of those asked said they had an apprentice, at a time when skills shortages are plaguing the sector’s ability to react to the cost-of-living crisis.

Steve Harris, technical support engineer at Wavin UK, said: “This research lays bare the situation we are now in. Plumbers are under more pressure than ever before to accept work that they can’t realistically handle to ease the strain on their customers. This could have serious repercussions on work / life balance, risking a skills exodus from plumbers who cannot keep pace with the demands being placed on them.

“At the same time, there is already a skills deficit that needs to be addressed. We need more plumbers entering the industry, not less, which makes the lack of time that can be given to training apprentices even more worrying.

“That’s what makes this research so crucial in raising awareness of the challenges we face. Plumbers pride themselves on hard graft and it’s better to be busy than have no work on at all – but unless plumbers are supported in addressing the skills shortage and tackling issues associated with the cost-of-living crisis, the industry is at risk of sleepwalking into a situation that will be difficult to come back from.”

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