Plumbers Have Had A Record-Breaking Year. What’s Up With Britain’s Supply?


While many businesses have experienced a downturn over the past 18 months, plumbers have found themselves in a spot of luck. This Is Money has highlighted the impressive year that Pimlico Plumbers had in 2020-21, and how this has been indicative of a wider market boom. The boom, partly due to a greater number of emergency plumbing jobs in strained homes, also points to a wider malaise in the British water network – and work to be done.

Water safety concerns

Britain is well-known for the safety of its drinking waters; Europe as a whole has extremely high standards on what is considered safe to drink. This doesn’t mean that the average home has safe water, however, and increasing numbers of homes are turning to filtration systems to filter out harmful bacteria and poor quality taste – especially in the more mineral-laden waters in the south. There’s good reason for this: a recent Guardian report noted how current water testing standards are not up to par, with potentially harmful chemicals being completely missed in the screening process.

A worsening system

Higher amounts of time spent at home have exacerbated the plumbing issue. More time in the home means more time spent in the kitchen, and, as the Manchester Evening News highlights, that means more waste being put into the already delicate water systems of the country. This has a reflexive impact on plumbing systems and fresh water. With the water systems of the country being put under fresh strain, analysts have called for investment in the sector.

Positive signs

That investment may be forthcoming with the news of new international interest in Britain’s plumbing industry. American private equity has moved into the market, with supply chain experts Ferguson recently selling its plumbing arm for £308m. With new investment and new pressures, the plumbing industry can arguably experience a renaissance that should, hopefully, put British homes back into a positive state with regards to the quality of the plumbing at home and the water homeowners are using. This is good news, both in terms of cleanliness of water and the straightforward running of the home.

This has bigger impacts on the wider UK commercial and residential network. Good quality water systems are an imperative for public health and sanitation. Finding new ways to tackle the pressures of modern living on those systems should be a key policy objective for planners in the future.


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