Why Join CIPHE?

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers aims to educate and provide high-quality training for trades and installers. Tim Sainty explains how installers can take advantage of its offering.

As membership director at the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, Tim Sainty understands the need for an institution that provides training and social opportunities, but also pushes the boundaries when it comes to innovation, professional accountability and smart thinking.

Can you explain what CIPHE is about and how you can become a member?

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering is the UK’s only professional body for trades. We promote our membership based on an individual’s qualifications, competence and expertise. We exist to ensure the public is protected by trained, skilled trades who are competent in all aspects of installation, commissioning and the maintenance of plumbing and heating systems.

Members are distinguished from other trades by having letters after their name, namely: ACIPHE, MCIPHE or FCIPHE. We also operate under licence to the Engineering Council and can provide cross-engineering discipline recognition at Engineering Technician (EngTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng) level.

Membership is welcomed from individuals at all stages of their careers. Expressions of interest can be submitted online at ciphe.org.uk, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 01708 463 102.

How important is it to keep up to date with training? Why is it important to use a reputable organisation such as CIPHE?

As an educational charity, it will come as no surprise that we believe it is of the utmost importance to keep up to date with relevant training. We are fortunate to operate within a sector that embraces innovation and technical developments, which does mean we as trades need to keep up with these changes as much as we can.

We require members to commit to ongoing professional development and they are asked to evidence this each year by the institute. By ensuring a baseline of quality, we can confidently reassure the public that our members are trustworthy and carry a certain excellence standard in everything they do.

Are there specific introductory events that you would recommend for anyone who has recently joined the CIPHE as a new member?

We have regional branches across the UK that run regular local meetings, which is a great way of getting involved with the CIPHE. We are also pulling together a digital welcome pack, which will highlight other social events that members can join. This is a great way of making contacts and ensuring that you promote your business to other members, who may be able to recommend work or training courses.

For plumbers/installers who are looking to branch out into new sectors, such as cooling, are you able to help with retraining?

CIPHE members are widely recognised as being professional by non-members and the public. There are over 150 manufacturers who are Industrial Associate members of the CIPHE and therefore offer access to their training exclusively to CIPHE members. Businesses are savvier than ever and realise that, by training members on how to install and service their products, they can share in the kudos that the institute brings to the sector.

What advice are you able to give about insurance for plumbers/installers?

The institute highly recommends having insurance for both the trades themselves and their customers. Having insurance alongside the CIPHE memberships helps to reassure and protect customers should anything untoward happen. All our members must have a minimum indemnity of £2 million.

We would always recommend that our members look for insurance that covers all aspects of their job, and don’t just focus on the price of the quote. As CIPHE members, we can offer advice and cover through our partner United Insurance Brokers.

Can you help or can you signpost anyone looking for help with other aspects of their business, such as grants and loans, legal help, etc?

There are a variety of organisations that can help anyone looking to start a business. The most obvious is the Prince’s Trust. The government is also working towards a strategy that encourages entrepreneurism and, as such, the Start Up Loans scheme is worth looking at too.

What about Continuing Professional Development?

If you wish to join the CIPHE, under the current Code of Professional Standards, which all members of the CIPHE must adhere to, all our members are required to take part in Continuing Professional Development (CPD). As of January 2019, members of the Engineering Council as EngTech, IEng or CEng must submit their record of CPD assessment when asked.

Training courses and workshops

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Training courses that are specific to developing your plumbing and heating knowledge and skills are eligible for CPD. Distance learning training is also acceptable.

Evidence required: A copy of a signed certificate

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 30 hours

Conferences and seminars/lectures

  • Conferences and seminars organised by the CIPHE
  • Conferences and seminars organised by other plumbing and heating engineering-related organisations

CIPHE members who are involved in the delivery of seminars and lectures can also claim CPD hours for both the preparation and delivery of the presentations.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 14 hours

Attending exhibitions

Proof of attendance to industry-related exhibitions counts towards an individual’s development and attending such exhibitions qualifies as CPD. Proof of attendance will need to be demonstrated via booking confirmation or a copy of a name badge.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 8 hours

Technical writing

The writing of published technical articles, papers, journals and books related to plumbing and heating engineering can qualify as CPD. Copies of all materials will need to be provided as evidence.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 15 hours or 30 hours for books


  • Mentoring apprentices/trainees in a plumbing and heating engineering discipline
  • Part-time teaching/lecturing by non-academics

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 20 hours

Private study

The CIPHE defines private study as learning new skills and/or improving plumbing and heating engineering knowledge. The following qualify as CPD:

  • Online research
  • Learning new job-related skills
  • Reading plumbing and heating engineering-related publications
  • Completion of CPD articles in P&H Engineering magazine. A certificate is issued for completion of CPD articles (30 minutes per completed article or three hours where all six are completed and submitted)

Where applicable, evidence can be provided by noting the source, date and documentation of the relevance of the information obtained.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 8 hours

Qualification studies

All industry-related and recognised qualifications qualify as CPD. A copy of your qualification certificate or a letter of attendance signed by your tutor will be required as evidence.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 30 hours