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SNIPEF Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation

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SNIPEF (Scottish & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation) is the trade association for plumbing and heating businesses based in Scotland and Northern Ireland. SNIPEF has just over 750 member firms employing over 3500 plumbers and 700 plumbing apprentices.

SNIPEF was established in 1923 but long before it was formed there were local associations of master plumbers in various parts of the country.  The oldest of these seems to be the Glasgow and West of Scotland Association founded in 1856. Today there are 11 Local Associations covering all areas throughout Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Local Associations were formed to protect the interests of their members and the plumbing trade generally and they dealt with a wide range of problems.  Gradually Local Associations began to realise that many of the matters which they were dealing with were of national and not just local interest and the idea emerged that there should be some kind of formal liaison between Associations - hence the formation of the Federation.

Since its establishment SNIPEF has been providing professional and practical assistance to plumbing and heating businesses in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our success over the years has been based on providing professional and practical assistance to members and we continue to meet member needs by developing relevant and practical services.

Experience and expertise isn't everything. In equal measure we think we are approachable and supportive. We never lose sight that SNIPEF has a key role to play in keeping members ahead of the competition and apace of change. Our high standards of professional advice and service are designed to help our members improve and develop their business performance.


                                            SNIPEF ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

To find out more about the work in which we are currently involved, please click here to read the SNIPEF Annual Report 2018/19.


                                          SNIPEF MEMBER SCHEMES

Approved Certifier of Construction Scheme

SNIPEF operates an “Approved Certifier of Construction” scheme for drainage, heating and plumbing works which are subject to a Building Warrant. Over 50 Approved Certifiers are now members of the scheme and are self-certifying work without waiting for Local Authority Building Control inspection thus saving them time and money. For more information click here.

Scottish Water and Business Stream

SNIPEF has teamed up with Business Stream (a company owned by Scottish Water) which supplies water and waste water services to over 96,000 businesses in Scotland. This arrangement sees Business Stream recommend the use of SNIPEF members to their customers who require plumbing services. A similar arrangement is in place with Scottish Water. According to our website analysis nearly 2000 customers were directed to our “need a plumber” website in 2011 via the 2 organisations.


Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)

SNIPEF worked with the Construction Licensing Executive (CLE) to set up a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) for those firms who wish to install micro renewable technologies (solar thermal, ground and air source heat pumps and biomass). Click here for more information.

Apprentice Training (Scotland)

If you are a SNIPEF member and you recruit an apprentice via SNIPEF Training Services you will automatically benefit from a higher rate of bonus when your apprentice completes their apprenticeship. SNIPEF Training paid out just under £400,000 in grant to employers in 2011. In addition, the SNIPEF Training Trust paid over £6000 in adoption grants to firms who recruited unemployed plumbing apprentices.

Other Services

Members can speak to our professional staff who can deal with a vast range of issues including employment, health and safety, technical etc. We offer exceptional rates for our member only Public and Employers’ Liability Insurance Scheme. Members are also listed in our customer-focused website www.needaplumber.org and in our Yearbook/Member Directory which is circulated to domestic and commercial customers.

We keep members up to date with what’s happening in the industry with our members’ magazine ”Plumb Heat” and via our members’ only website. Members can also access pension, holiday credit and sick pay schemes and private medical insurance schemes amongst others.

SNIPEF Timeline

1923 -      Federation established. Title "The Scottish Federation of Plumbers and Domestic Engineers (Employers) Associations".

1956 -      SNIPEF appointed its first full-time employee, Todd Soutar.  He became Director  & Secretary and retired in 1988 after 38 years of service

                to the Industry.

1970 -      Constitution of the Joint Industry Board and the introduction of the Industry Grading Scheme.

1973 -      SNIPEF, in conjunction with other industry bodies, set up an industry-wide pension scheme for employees.

1975 -      Northern Ireland joined the Federation.  Title was changed to "The Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers' Federation".

1988 -      Robert Burgon appointed Director & Secretary.

1990 -      BPEC (British Plumbing Employers Council) established.

2002 -      Plumbing Industry Licensing Scheme established.

2010 -      Move to new premises at Bellevue House, 22 Hopetoun Street, Edinburgh.

2010 -      Appointed by Scottish Government to operate an Approved Certifier of Construction Scheme which allows members to “self certify”

               work carried out under a building warrant.

2011 -      Acted as hosts for the 9th World Plumbing Conference.



• To anticipate and keep abreast of changes happening within or impacting on the Industry;
• To develop and maintain a high quality of service for members;
• To be pro-active in attracting new members and retaining existing members;


SNIPEF & APHC Joint Manifesto

SNIPEF and APHC have issued a joint election manifesto to the incoming government highlighting four key changes needed to create a fairer competitive landscape. Read full manifesto here.


Review of plumbing & Heating Apprenticeship Framework in Northern Ireland

SNIPEF has been contracted to lead a project to review and update the current Plumbing & Heating Apprenticeship Framework in Northern Ireland.Click here to fill in a survey.