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Discuss Public liability for unpaid work experience? in the Insurance for Plumbers area at

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  1. Jennie

    Jennie GSR

    Hi all,

    I'm halfway through an NVQ2 plumbing and heating course at my local college. I'm itching to get out there and do some real plumbing. I've already done quite a lot of unpaid work experience with experienced plumbers, and have learned loads.
    However, I'd like to take the next step and take on small tasks (tap changes, mending toilets, etc) for free, for friends and so on, just to build up my skills and confidence.
    Do I need insurance? Or could I first advise my friends that if anything should go wrong, I'm not working commercially, and they should take responsibility through their household insurance? It's otherwise really expensive to take out a policy for what might only be a day here or there of lone plumbing.
    I'd be grateful for advice,
  2. JCplumb

    JCplumb Plumber

    It's a bit of a grey area, you will get differing opinions but here's my take on it.
    A friend helping another friend wouldn't need PLI.
    A plumber (trainee or not) 'working' for experience would need it.
    If you can get a couple of little jobs per month to just cover the cost of your PLI then do it that way
  3. petercj

    petercj Guest

    Damage caused by a pipe bursting because it froze up, and damaged caused as a consequence of incompetent workmanship, are two different things.

    Your friends may find that their house insurance doesn't cover such eventualities, commercial or otherwise.

    Best get yourself covered.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Barry98

    Barry98 Guest

    you may find , there not your friends if something were to go wrong id get it then your covered
    • Like Like x 1
  5. petercj

    petercj Guest

    Yes, absolutely - when the ceilings lying on the dining-room table even the best of friendships can come under strain! :crazy: :angry_smile: So who's paying then Rodney?
    • Like Like x 1

    REDSAW Guest

    like car insurance,,,,the sooner you start the lower it gets, apparently?.

    its not compulsory though!.
  7. PlumbBobBob

    PlumbBobBob Guest

    although not compulsory it is however highly recommended
  8. Subby

    Subby Plumber GSR

    Don't bother lining the greedy insurance company's pockets.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  9. tamz

    tamz Guest

    Half the population are doing homers (foreingners, working on the side, whatever you want to call it) every night and weekend with no insurance. Does it bother them or their customers?
  10. Subby

    Subby Plumber GSR

    And their customers will usually find out that you get what you pay for, the cheapest usually ends up being the most expensive, etc etc.
  11. tamz

    tamz Guest

    Talking of greedy insurance co's.
    The young lad who works with me rang his to get a new windscreen to be told there is a £295 excess on it (Hastings) which is the most expensive windscreen excess rip off i ever heard of.
    I told him to tell them not to bother and i'd get it sorted for him as the wife used to do sales for a windscreen co. Windscreen (vecra) picked up for £86 fitted on Saturday for £50 by a guy with no insurance :lol:
    The insurance co would have pocketed over £100 on that one as they contract the screen companies at around £160 + vat per job!
  12. tamz

    tamz Guest

    Such is life where people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    I would never discourage any apprentice from doing homers. They learn from their mistakes at their customers expense not mine.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Subby

    Subby Plumber GSR

    That is just shocking, you could have three windscreens for the price of the "excess" the paper pushers are the real cowboys in this country.
  14. peteheat

    peteheat Plumber GSR


    My tuppence worth is "Start as you mean to go on"

    A real friend would not have you providing services free of charge, by all means charge a small fee on the basis that you want the experience but do charge something preferably when the job is finished because even the easiest looking job can have its surprises for the most experienced plumber so leave yourself some room for error.

    As for insurance there are many of us who hate paying it the reason we do is to protect both ourselves and our customers (though I don't volunteer insurance details to anyone) have a think about it, say a real friend is giving you half the rate to do a job and a mistake means a new ceiling, can you cover the cost?

    If not then look for a policy with low monthly payments, it might help you keep your friends.
  15. petercj

    petercj Guest

    Yes agree - what kind of a friend would it be that didn't offer something for expenses and a drink? To accept is going to raise the issue of whether it's a commercial transaction - especially as you will be doing it regularly.

    Unlikely as it might be, if you were unfortunate enough to do something that lead to a personal injury claim the money involved could be substantial.

    Also, a lot of people can actually be suspicious of getting something for nothing because they think it can't be worth much, i.e. "If he works for nothing he can't be much good!" So making some kind of charge may not hinder you in getting work at all. If you charge half the going rate I would think most people will jump at it.
  16. AWheating

    AWheating Trusted Plumber GSR

    make your "friends" turn the water back on so its then there fault! and plan your escape well :)

    or get insurance, but it will be expensive for a new tradesperson i guess.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. JamesJoseph

    JamesJoseph Guest

    It's strange I know but I think it has something to do with some liability issue .

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2012
  18. plumb

    plumb Guest

    As long as you're sensible I don't think you'll have any trouble. Just don't take big risks and ensure you can isolate the water supply quickly if needed. At some point I think we have all done a bit of plumbing for friends and the like without PL insurance. Just make sure your friend knows how to turn off the supply if anything goes pop!
  19. aplombier

    aplombier Member

    I would get insurance before doing anything,
    they may be friends when u start job , but if it goes pear shape and costs them thousands , they will soon sue you
  20. lame plumber

    lame plumber Guest

    my main reason for having insurance is so when it all goes wrong I can keep my House and apartments and someone else pays.
    • Like Like x 1
  21. plumb

    plumb Guest

    I would have to agree - if you stand to lose property then the risk would not be worth it. You wouldn't want the lawyers to get their grubby hands on your hard earned cash.

    Price to fix job where no lawyers involved: £1000

    Price to fix job when lawyers involved: £10,000 plus £100,000 legal fees.

  22. Philipweson

    Philipweson Guest

    if your doing work for your friend, you could contract out of liability but i would get it in writing first before starting any work, however you cannot contract out of an injury claim, it would be classed as an unfair term and you could be sued so my advice would be to charge for the jobs you do and purchase some liability insurance.
  23. Neil K

    Neil K Plumber GSR

    1) Don't work for nothing, say you'll do the job for half whatever the going rate is. As the wise man once said, if you're prepared to work for nothing then you'll never be out of work.
    2) Take your time, prepare and do the job properly, however easy or hard it looks. Make sure you know where to isolate and make safe in the event of a worst case scenario Have a roll of blue roll or plenty and bring a couple of containers with you to catch water. As the wise man said once said, the man who never made a mistake in his life never learned anything.

    Good luck, you'll be fine
    • Like Like x 1
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