Most of us only think about hiring a plumber when we find ourselves in trouble, be it a leak in the house, a runny tap, frozen pipes, a broken shower, a washing machine that doesn’t work, or if we are doing a renovation, new build or a bathroom makeover.

As an interior designer, I always ensure I have a good certified plumber at hand to help with my projects. I believe a plumber should be punctual if they are working on a project. Being on time is associated with their work attitude and affects customer service. After all, time is money.

The main responsibilities of a professional plumber are to:

  • Install, repair and maintain pipes, valve fitting, drainage system and fixtures in a property.
  • If on a new build/renovation, collaborate with contractors, electricians, and other construction trades.
  • Follow plans and listen to the client and their needs. (Likewise, the client needs to listen to the plumber’s advice also).
  • Getting a quote

    One bit of advice I give to my clients when hiring a certified plumber is to get a quote in writing before you start a project and build this into budget. This way there are no surprises.

    Don’t accept a quote over the phone. A good plumber will want to see the problem area and advise how best to repair it before submitting a quote. Make sure the quote includes both parts and labour costs, and ask the plumber how long the job will take.

    Cork-based interior designer Maura Mackey

    If you are doing a bathroom makeover, get your plumber involved at the start. Ask him/her what they need to do their job on the project. Are there any particular valves/fixtures needed, eg if you are changing from a pedestal sink to a wall-hung sink, different pipes and valves would be required. A good plumber will give you a list of what they need in order to avoid last-minute runs to the local DIY/plumbing store. This also avoids other trades being delayed.

    If the plumber sounds too cheap, then it means they are too cheap. Warning bells should go off in your head to run and hire a professional.

    Questions to ask

    Here are my top questions to ask when it comes to hiring a plumber:

  • 1) Are they certified? Their certifications will determine the work they are able to carry out. You will see this certification advertised on their website or social media pages or indeed their vans.
  • 2) Are they a registered tradesperson or are they an employee of a large plumbing firm? This is extremely important if you are doing a large job in your property. There are a lot of handymen out there, but if you are doing a renovation/new build then you need an expert.
  • 3) Are they insured? This is very important. If your plumber is insured and if the project runs into difficulty and the worst were to happen, you can rest knowing the damages would be covered.
  • 4) Do they offer a call-out service? If a pipe burst in your home and you needed immediate assistance, can you rely on them to call? Unfortunately burst pipes can cause major damage in a property if left unattended
  • 5) Do they have good customer service? Have you heard of them before? Has a friend or family member used them? Customer service is key in this industry. You can also check online to see if they have positive reviews.
  • 6) Are they a local company? If the company/plumber is local, then he/she knows the area and will probably get to you faster. On the other hand, national agencies have vans on the road and service key regions.
  • I hope this article has helped you realise how important a good registered plumber is and what to avoid when looking for one.

    Maura Mackey is an interior designer and home staging specialist based in Co Cork. For further information,

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