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Latest: 14 September 2018

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14 September 2018

Trade associations win historic skills bid

Three trade bodies have joined forces to secure an historic agreement from the four UK governments to manage and develop apprenticeships, qualifications and National Occupational Standards for the building services engineering sector.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA); SELECT and SNIPEF have created a joint body called BSE Skills Ltd, which has now been appointed to oversee vocational training in electrical, plumbing and HVAC.

This sets an historic precedent as it is the first time that trade bodies have received a government commission to carry out this work.

The government sponsored sector skills council SummitSkills was the managing body until it ceased trading in 2017 due to insufficient funding. Now, following a four-nation tender process, the central and devolved governments have turned to the three organisations in order to ensure a secure future for vocational training in these crucial specialist sectors.

As member bodies, the trade associations were able to demonstrate close links with employers as well as UK-wide capacity as part of the bidding process. They are now poised to work with their respective memberships – comprising more than 43,000 businesses representing around 342,000 operatives – to manage the delivery of a training framework for the whole sector.

“This sets a wonderful precedent for the future of vocational training across the UK,” said BESA chief executive David Frise. “We are very grateful to the UK governments for having the foresight to recognise the value industry bodies can bring to the management and delivery of vocational training in vital technical sectors.

“It is also extremely heartening to see three complementary bodies working closely together in partnership to achieve a result that should go a long way to addressing the skills shortages being experienced by building engineering employers. Congratulations to my own staff at BESA and to their counterparts at SNIPEF and SELECT for putting together such an excellent joint bid.”

Fiona Harper, head of employment affairs at SELECT, said it was vital that the sector retained control over the development of its own National Occupational Standards.

“They are the starting point for all the work we do in developing the training undertaken by our workforce,” she added. “Securing the agreement was testament to the hard work put in by all of the trade bodies involved. It will be exciting to see how we can develop this work and shape the training needs of the sector as new technologies and working practices develop,” she added.

Fiona Hodgson, chief executive officer of SNIPEF, welcomed the agreement. She said the successful bid demonstrated the strength of trade associations “working together to ensure that the sector and its employers continue to have the occupational standards, qualifications and apprenticeship frameworks they need to maintain and develop a skilled workforce for the future”.

BSE Skills will now set about consulting with its combined memberships as well as relevant government departments and training providers to update National Occupational Standards for the sector right across the UK.

It has also undertaken to align and co-ordinate all end dates for UK qualifications and modern apprenticeship frameworks in line with the rapidly changing landscape for apprentice recruitment and funding.

The industry bodies have also identified a need to establish mutual recognition and transportability of all BSE qualifications across the UK and to recognise the specific needs of each industry and in all regions.


30 August 2018



ECA, BESA, SELECT and SNIPEF research shows steady growth in Q2 2018.

Over three in four engineering services organisations (77 per cent) say turnover increased or remained steady in Q2 2018, despite rising material and labour costs.

These are the findings of the latest BESA/ECA/SELECT/SNIPEF quarterly sector-wide Building Engineering Business Survey, sponsored by Scolmore.

Compared to Q1 2018, almost two thirds (62 per cent) of respondents reported an increase in material costs, and nearly half (45 per cent) reported an increase in labour costs in Q2. Retentions were held against 61 per cent of businesses, and late payment remains an issue for over half of respondents in commercial and public sector work.

The overall outlook for Q3 appears positive and optimistic: nearly nine out of ten (88 per cent) respondents predict their turnover will grow or remain steady for the quarter.

ECA Deputy Director of Business Policy and Practice Rob Driscoll said:

“As we move into the second half of 2018, the effects of Carillion’s January collapse are still surfacing but overall, the second quarter showed further steady growth, with a positive outlook for the next quarter.


“We will continue to push for industry improvements on payment and retentions and we anticipate that new Government requirements for transparent payment reporting will help the industry to address its ongoing poor payment performance.”

SNIPEF Chief Executive Fiona Hodgson said:

“After a challenging start to the year for many of our members, it is heartening to see signs of steady growth in the industry. The industry continues to show resilience. However, there are ongoing challenges that must be addressed to provide certainty for businesses.” 

BESA Public Affairs and Policy Manager Alexi Ozioro said:


“It is encouraging to see growth among members and a more optimistic outlook for the sector. For a long time however, members have been concerned about rising material costs. The announcements of government's preparations for a no-deal Brexit do not address these concerns, instead introducing further uncertainty into the market.


“We will be closely monitoring the situation, to see if enough has been done to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth and orderly exit in all scenarios.”

Darrell Matthews, Managing Director of SELECT, said:

“It is a tribute to the resilience of both small and large employers that they are generally more optimistic about future work despite rising costs and recurring late payment issues.”

The survey received 372 responses from companies across the multi-billion pound industry, mainly regarding their performance in Q2 (1 April to 30 June 2018), and expectations for Q3.


20 June 2018

SNIPEF skillPLUMB  2018 Winners announced


Apprentices from Tullos Training in Aberdeen who both work for Aberdeenshire firm Derek Scott Plumbing and Heating took home the top awards at the 44th Annual SNIPEF SkillPLUMB competition.

The event was hosted by West College Scotland at their Paisley Campus on Friday 15 June.  

The first prize in the copper competition was won by James McCall Smith of Tullos Training, employed by Derek Scott Plumbing and Heating. Second prize went to Kyle McGeoghie of Perth College, who works for William Combe & Son Ltd and third prize went to Alexander Clouston of Inverness College, who works for Pipedream Plumbing Ltd.

The first prize in the lead competition was won by Samuel Henderson of Tullos Training, employed by Derek Scott Plumbing and Heating. Second prize went to John Taylor who attends Glasgow Clyde College and who works for Evolve Plumbing Services Ltd and third prize went to Cameron Stewart of Moray College who works for DD Plumbing Services.

The prizes were presented by Jamie Hepburn, MSP, Minister for Employability and Training and SNIPEF Past President Gerry Woods.

In his Guest Address Mr Hepburn said:  “…[Scotland’s young people] are offered a fruitful and rewarding experience through apprenticeships and I need you to go out and tell others what a great opportunity an apprenticeship can be.”

Jamie Hepburn MSP, James McCall-Smith First Place (Copper) and Gerry Woods

:Jamie Hepburn MSP, Samuel Henderson First Place (Lead) and Gerry Woods

SEC Group Seminars


SEC Group Scotland, which represents engineering specialists working in the construction industry, is running two 1-day seminarson on the Commercial Management of Your Business, Problem Contract Clauses, Getting Paid and Protecting your Business.

For further information download the flyer or to book visit:

Apex Hotel Dundee, 16 May

Westerwood Hotel & Golf Course, 17 May

9 May 2018

SNIPEF TechDay 2 May


SNIPEF is pleased to bring you a fantastic FREE annual member event. We have secured a wide range of exhibitors from hand tool companies and job management software suppliers to wetroom, shower and boiler manufacturers as well as a host of new heating technology providers.

Our technical team will be there to meet you and answer any technical questions you may have, and our membership and industrial relations representatives will also be on hand.

We are also running a series of short business information sessions, which aim to bring you up-to-date with your obligations in terms of new data protection legislation and to help you negotiate contracts. Sessions will last 20 minutes and will cover:

  • Commercial and contracts:  understanding contracts and exploring ways of mitigating risks
  • GDPR: if you hold customer information you need to know how to prepare for the new General Data Protection Regulations coming in at the end of May
  • Employment status claims: amidst the evolution of the ‘gig economy’, we’ll explore issues related to employment status and how this is determined.
  • Approved certifier scheme: what is it and why should you consider joining?

 We have tailored this event specifically to SNIPEF members; we are bringing you everything you need to help you in your business life under one roof, on one day and it’s completely free to attend for you and your staff.  Did we mention that you get lunch too?!

To register for your free tickets visit https://snipeftechday18.eventbrite.co.uk or call 0131 556 0600.

29 March 2018



The SNIPEF offices will close at 2pm today because of the severe weather red alert issued by  the Met Office.

The office may reopen on Thursday 1 March depending on subsequent weather alerts. 

Please follow our Twitter feed @SNIPEFnews for updates.




Further to our email of 16th January.  Latest reports say that those working on public sector contracts will continue to be paid, however, this is not the case for private sector contractors. Please take advice if you are affected.

  • The official PWC liquidation website can be viewed here.  There is also a dedicated helpline 0800 063 9282.
  • Scottish companies affected by the Carillion insolvency can call Scottish Enterprise on 0300 013 3385 or register their details here.
  • The redundancy helpline operated by Skills Development Scotland is 0800 917 8000, with help also available here.

We have been asked by SEC Group whether any affected members would be prepared to speak to the press. If you are prepared to do this, please get in touch with Fiona Hodgson, Chief Executive.

18 January 2018



The announcement that Carillion has gone into liquidation unfortunately comes as no surprise. SNIPEF along with other construction sector bodies has warned of the potentially disastrous impact on subcontractors in the supply chain of such an event. 

Fiona Hodgson Chief Executive of SNIPEF said: “The collapse of Carillion demonstrates how precarious things can be in the construction sector and absolutely reinforces the need for project bank accounts to be mandatory in public sector contracting. The construction industry must change and provide a fairer and more secure trading environment for SMEs. SNIPEF hopes that the inevitable parliamentary scrutiny following this unfortunate event will drive forward the need for change and will put a stop to poor payment practices”.

Since the announcement was made, media reports have said indicated that:

  • Carillion are trying to get a refinancing deal (they are reported to need £300 million emergency funding by the end of the month).  Reports on progress are mixed.
  • Carillion have EY on standby to step in as administrator if they can’t put it together
  • Government ministers have had meetings with Carillion and government has contingency plans in place for their own projects being undertaken by Carillion
  • The Pension Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund have also met with Carillion

 There has been no reporting on the monies owed to subcontractors or the devastation this situation might cause to subcontractors. SNIPEF will monitor the situation with regard to its impact on member firms and we urge any members affected to contact us in order that we can direct them to advice on how to proceed. Also, in order that SNIPEF can lobby government for protections for subcontractors, we are collecting evidence of monies owed or payments outstanding.  Please complete this form if your business is affected in this way and send to ceo@snipef.org.

PWC has advised that all subcontractors should continue to work and provide services. They have issued  this information update for affected suppliers.

 Individual responses will be treated with the utmost confidence and collated into totals for the sector.

15 January 2018


SNIPEF Headquarters at Bellevue House will be closed from 2pm on Friday 22nd December to 9 am on Wednesday 3rd January.

We wish all our members and associates a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

22 December 2017


In partnership with a number of trade bodies and SEC Group SNIPEF is a signatory  on the following open letter, which was published in the Telegraph on 18 December 2017. The letter is reproduced below.


The Telegraph – Opinion Letters Monday 18 December 2017

End poor payment practices in construction

Sir – In the construction industry, clients and main contractors have traditionally withheld for a time part of the payment owed to specialist contractors and builders, ostensibly as security against defective work or risk of insolvency.

As trade associations and professional bodies representing many small and medium-sized businesses, we want to highlight the following facts about this practice, known as cash retentions.

Some £10.5 billion of the overall construction sector turnover of £220 billion is held in retentions by clients and main contractors from small and medium-sized businesses down the supply chain.
An estimated £7.8 billion in retentions has been unpaid in the construction sector over the last three years, and in the same period £700 million of retentions were lost due to upstream insolvencies.

Poor payment practices in construction affect productivity, innovation and investment, holding back the sector’s overall capacity to do business and invest in the workforce. With construction a cornerstone of enterprise in the United Kingdom and fundamental to enhancing the country’s built environment, the problem of retentions cannot go on, but needs tackling as a priority.

There is, though, a simple way to reform the system. Regulations should specify that retentions must be held in a statutory retention deposit scheme (rather than in clients’ own bank accounts), an approach which is already being used successfully in Australia.

The government consultation on retentions is still under way, but we believe that there is no longer any reason to stick with the status quo, or for this issue to be potentially kicked again into the long grass.

Reforming retentions would be a good way for the Government to show it is truly standing up for the interests of small and medium-sized businesses, and is willing to put them at the forefront of plans for an industrial strategy and the expansion of the UK economy.

Signatories (23)
• ECA - Electrotechnical and Engineering Services Trade Body - Paul Reeve, Director of Business
• Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) - Rob Driscoll, Director of Legal & Commercial
• SEC Group - Trevor Hursthouse OBE, Chairman
• British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) - Marion Rich, Director of Legal and Contractual
• Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA) - Nick Mellor, Managing Director
• SELECT - Alan Wilson, Director of Communications
• National Federation of Builders - Richard Beresford, Chief Executive
• Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) - John Thompson, CEO
• Scottish & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) - Fiona Hodgson, Chief Executive
• Contract Flooring Association - Richard Catt, CEO
• Structural Timber Association - Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive
• British Blind and Shutter Association - Andrew Chalk, Director of Operations
• Confederation of Construction Specialists - Gerald Kelly, General Manager
• Federation of Traditional Metal Roofing Contractors (FTMRC) - Nigel Johnston, General Manager
• Lead Contractors Association - Nigel Johnston, General Manager
• National Association of Shopfitters - Robert Hudson, Director
• National Federation of Demolition Contractors - Howard Button, CEO
• Chartered Association of Building Engineers - Tony Ginda, Membership Development Manager
• Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) - Russell Beattie, Chief Executive
• Scaffolding Association - Robert Candy, Founder
• Stone Federation Great Britain - Jane Buxey, Chief Executive
• Glass & Glazing Federation - Phil Pluck, Group Chief Executive
• Finishes & Interiors Sector (FIS) - David Frise, CEO


18 December 2017


Our Technical Manager, Martyn Raine explains why SNIPEF is supporting Quality Plumber Week 2017 and how you can bag yourself some goodies.


Click here to watch the video


4 October 2017



The Annual Angling Competition took place on 31 August at the Lake of Menteith.   A total of 17 boats took part and the participants enjoyed high tea at the Forth Inn, Aberfoyle afterwards. The winners were as detailed below:

1st Place - James Stuart from Team Ian Crighton (4 fish total weight 12lbs 6oz and the heaviest fish 4lb) 

2nd Place - Graham Fyfe from Potter Plumbing & Heating (GB) Ltd (4 fish total weight 11lb 8oz)

3rd Place - Roddy Potter from Potter Plumbing & Heating (GB) Ltd (4 fish total weight 10lb 12 oz)

Heaviest Fish

Sam Marshall from John Clarkson 4lb 10oz



1st Place winner James Stuart                 Heaviest fish prize winner – Sam Marshall





The SNIPEF Clay Pigeon Shooting took place on 23 August at County Clays, Dunkeld.   It was a successful day enjoyed by all. The shoot was followed by the presentation of prizes by Gerry Woods, SNIPEF President and a buffet lunch.




There were seven participating teams and the event involved a team competition and bird flush.  The team event winners were the Gary Coyle and Mike Davies and the Flush winners were Roddy Potter and Bob Hanuem. Gerry Woods received the Clay Preservation Award.






Contracts and cash flow: a workshop on commercial issues


Friday, 29 September 2017

 09:30-12.30 or 1.30-16:30 (BST)

Falkirk Stadium
4 Stadium Way
FK2 9EE Grangemouth
United Kingdom

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SNIPEF is pleased to bring you a workshop focussed on commercial and contractual issues and intended to assist business owners to protect their cash flow. SNIPEF members are offered places at a special discounted rate of £35.00 (including admin fee).

The workshop will cover:

  • amendments to standard contracts, what to look out for
  • payment mechanisms, how they operate, what is the due date and the final date for payment
  • recommendations in relation to your applications for payment, schedule of dates
  • what to do if you do not get paid  the amount due and on time
  • collecting retentions
  • termination clauses to look out for
  • how to deal with variations
  • problems associated with Contractor Design Portion contracts
  • getting your final accounts agreed
  • how the adjudication process operates and how to maximise your chances of success
  • what are Project Bank Accounts
  • problem case studies
  • interactive sessions - discuss issues that you have experienced recently

The workshop will run twice on Friday 29th September; beginning at 9.30 am or 1.30 pm. Lunch will be available for all participants from 12.30 pm.

Places are limited so please book early if you would like to attend.



Len acts as a contractual adviser to a number of contracting organisations and is also a very experienced adjudicator and arbitrator.

Angus Pearson FRICS FCIArb

Angus acts for a number of contractors and subcontractors throughout United Kingdom, providing contractual advice and also assists clients with the preparation and defence of claims in adjudication. The presenters will provide a PowerPoint presentation which will be made available to all delegates on conclusion.




The Annual SNIPEF Golf Match was held at Alyth Golf Club on 16 June. The organisers would like to extend their thanks to the team at Alyth for their hospitality, catering and the donation of two Four Ball vouchers as prizes. The course was in excellent condition and the weather was good. This year a total of 47 players and 12 teams entered as follows:

  • William Dent & Son Ltd
  • Malcolm McArthur & Son Ltd
  • S & D Plumbing & Heating
  • Nithsdale Plumbing & Heating Ltd
  • Almondvale Plumbing & Heating Services Ltd
  • Brown & Cordner Plumbing & Heating Engineer Ltd
  • William J Newton Plumbing & Heating
  • Pitkerro Plumbing & Heating Ltd
  • Worcester Bosch
  • Dundee & District Plumbing Employers' Association
  • John Queen & Son Plumbers Ltd
  • G D  Mills Plumbing & Heating



Individual prizes

Endeavour - Greg Scott, G D Mills Plumbing and Heating

Nearest the Hole (7) - J.Clelland, Malcolm McArthur & Sons  

Longest Drive (15) - S. Carberry, Brown & Cordner Plumbing and Heating    


Individual - Tommy Thomson Cup

First Place - J Baggley, Malcolm McArthur & Sons

Second Place J Power, Nithsdale Plumbing and Heating


Team Prizes

First Place and winner of the Scottish Federation Cup - Malcolm McArthur & Son

B Stevenson, J. Clelland, J. Baggley and S Boyd

Second Place - Brown & Cordner Plumbing & Heating Ltd

W. Cordner, C Docherty, M King and S Carberry

Third Place - Dundee & District Plumbing Employers’ Association

J.  Butter, N. McGill, A. Wallace and C.  Finchley



We’re looking for a Technical Inspector for the north of Scotland – see the Job Description and Person Specification below and apply through this link:




For the Job Description click here

For the Person Specification click here



It’s only a month until SNIPEF TechDay 2017 on 26 May.

We have a fantastic line up of exhibitors who are keen to meet up with SNIPEF members and talk you through their products, come along and speak to:


1st Supplies (Scotland) Ltd

Daikin UK Ltd

Kane International Ltd


Adey Professional Heating Solutions

Dobies Heat Centres

OSO Hot Water


Altecnic Ltd

Duradiamond Ltd

Parks Motor Group – Renault vans


Baxi Heating UK

Energy Saving Trust

RA Tech UK Ltd




Recoil Knee Pads

William Wilson Ltd

Building Standards Division

Firebird Products Ltd

Sanha Ltd

Wolseley UK Ltd

British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association

Grundfos Pumps

Scottish Water

Worcester Bosch

 Broadstone Risk & Healthcare


simPRO Software Ltd


Clark Thomson


SNIPEF Edinburgh & District Branch



Doors will open at 11.30am and the programme will include presentations and workshops from: Gas Safe, R A Tech (Hotun Dry Tap Tundish), Adey, BPEC & SNIPEF (industry training), BPEC (legionella risk assessment) , Kane Gas Flue Analysers, SNIPEF (CDM regulations) and Wolseley.

We’ll also have bathroom design software demonstrations as well as a series of tailored sessions aimed specifically at firms operating the industry pension scheme. These sessions will cover:

  • flexible apportionment arrangements
  • transfers
  • new employees
  • triggers
  • pension implications of buying and selling a business
  • succession planning.

We already have members signed up from across the country so please support this new initiative and come along on the day. 

27 April 2017


In view of the imminent closure of SummitSkills, the Plumbing Industry’s leading organisations APHC, BPEC and SNIPEF have worked together to establish the Plumbing and Heating Skills Partnership (PHSP). 

This new skills partnership will have a UK focus and be led by employers from the plumbing and heating industry; and will take over responsibility for the skills needs of the industry as from 01 April 2017. The PHSP will work closely with other industry and government organisations that have a keen interest in skills to help meet the needs of our industry.

Andrew Beaumont, Chairman of the APHC said:

“We are very much looking forward to the Plumbing and Heating Industry taking full responsibility for meeting the education and training needs of those who work in the industry”. 

George Thomson, Chairman of BPEC reiterated this by further saying:

“We see the new Skills Partnership as a unique opportunity for employers to be at the very heart of identifying and meeting the skills needs in a complex and rapidly changing world”.

And Brian Warrender, President of SNIPEF, concluded by saying:

 “We believe the PHSP represents an exciting new era for the Plumbing and Heating Industry and we are very much looking forward to the challenges ahead”.

The APHC, BPEC and SNIPEF on behalf of the plumbing industry would like to thank the staff at SummitSkills for leading on the development of the BSE sectors standards, qualifications and apprenticeships over many years.

More information on the Plumbing and Heating Skills Partnership will be available soon, in the meantime please contact any of the following if you would like further details:

APHC, John Thompson

E: info@aphc.co.uk 

BPEC, Paul Johnson

E: info@bpec.org.uk

SNIPEF, Duncan Wilson

E: phsp@snipef.org





SNIPEF’s technical event will to be held in Edinburgh in May.  Come along and:


  • learn about the very latest in technology from top manufacturers
  • explore the exhibition area
  • make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest statutory requirements
  • find out how you can make the most of your membership with SNIPEF’s excellent partner deals
  • network with friends and colleagues in the industry

Further details will be circulated shortly. Register to ensure your free priority delegate pass.



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