A plumber is a plumber, right? Not quite. There are domestic and commercial plumbers, offering different services to their customers. It’s important to recognise what you need when looking for a plumber to do the work you need completed.
Plumbers offer highly skilled services and both domestic and commercial plumbers can fit bathrooms, install central heating systems and much more.
The main difference between the two is scale. Commercial plumbers may often take larger jobs, particularly for hospitals, office buildings, apartment blocks, schools and so on. Larger buildings with more storeys invariably have more complex plumbing requirements and this is the key difference.
Analysis of plumbing undertaken in 2010 (http://www.yourspaceonline.net/pdf/Plumbing_-_Jun_2010.pdf) showed that there were 22,000 plumbing business in the UK employing 62,000 people. 90% of plumbing businesses employ fewer than ten people and so the majority of the companies are small.
If you own a home, you are probably most familiar with your local domestic plumber, whether that be in Clifton or Fishponds, who services the boiler, installs a central heating system, checks the safety of your gas, deals with a leak and is on hand when you want a new bathroom suite.
Often, we don’t appreciate the skill involved in plumbing. It’s a science, dealing with the safe installation and maintenance of gas and water supplies in your home, as well as completing aesthetic works involved in your dream bathroom or ensuring that the new state of the art gas oven and hob is safe to use in your kitchen.
As a commercial plumber in Bristol, we place a lot of importance on our Gas Safe recognition, ensuring that our teams can give you peace of mind that you and your family are safe.
Commercial plumbing is usually on a larger scale, and these are often the plumbing businesses that make up the 10% who employ more than ten people. However, commercial plumbers make up about 20% of the workforce.
If you are seeking a commercial plumber, you should look out for the Federation of Master Builders accreditation as well as Gas Safe. This is a mark that is important for the larger jobs that commercial plumbers tend to take on.
Commercial plumbers are most likely the people delivering the hygiene and safety in the schools your children go to or in the new developments going up in areas around Bristol. Apartments and shopping centres, for example, will have an intricate network of pipes carrying gas and water and will require experienced engineers to work with the architect, developer, electricians and others in order to deliver the modern conveniences we all expect, both in our homes and in the public spaces we use.
Regional research in 2010 showed that there were fewer than 6,500 plumbers in the south west of England. Considering the huge area, going out to Land’s End, and the large urban areas such as Bristol, Bath and Exeter, you can imagine how much demand is put on the profession, both domestically and commercially.
Commercial plumbing is more complex, due to scale of job, size of items installed and maintained, and the sheer number of various professionals involved in a large development programme. Clearly, your average domestic plumber, employing fewer than ten people, would struggle to deliver all the plumbing requirements for a new housing development of 1,000 homes or a block of 100+ flats. There are additional qualifications and training required for commercial plumbers and, while both domestic and commercial plumbers go through rigorous testing to ensure customer service and safety, a commercial plumber needs additional skills.
In summary, the main difference between commercial and domestic plumbers is the size of the job that they typically undertake. A commercial plumber can equally deal with domestic jobs but if you are an office or facilities manager, you probably need the specific expertise of a commercial plumbing company.