Despite recent wet weather, parts of the Anglian region have been officially in a state of drought since early in the month. Areas in the South West, South East, and Midlands are experiencing near-drought conditions following the driest spring on record in South East and Central Southern England, and the driest right across England and Wales since 1990.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “Drought has hit parts of East Anglia, with other areas in England and Wales also giving grounds for concern. Water companies are confident that supplies are high enough so that widespread restrictions to the public are unlikely. We’re doing all we can to reduce the impact on agriculture and wildlife, but everyone can play their part.
“Households know how to use less water and everyone can do their bit to use water more wisely, not only through the summer, but throughout the year.”
Although some areas across the country have benefited from recent rainfall, this has done little to improve the situation in the driest areas. It is important to follow some of these simple tips to conserve water:
- Check your plumbing and drains for leaks
- Turn off your tap when you are brushing your teeth
- Take showers rather than baths
- Repair any dripping taps
- Only use what water you need when filling the kettle to make tea or coffee
- Only use the washing machine when you can put a full load into it
- Keep water in the fridge to chill so that you don’t need to run the tap to get cool water each time
- Place a brick or a ‘hippo’ in the toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water flushed
- Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose pipe if you are using it in the garden or to wash the car
- Use a mulch on beds and vegetable plots to retain moisture in the soil to reduce the amount of watering
- Use a water butt to collect rainwater to use on the garden
Trust Drain Doctor to solve any plumbing problems.
Never ignore the findings in your building survey when you buy a house. Even the smallest details, if ignored, could end up costing £1,000s.
One thing that surveys highlight is the importance of keeping your drains and gutters cleared and repaired. Leaking gutters can cause all sorts of internal damp problems upstairs, making the internal environment unpleasant at best and a hazard to health at worst. Damp walls are a breeding ground for moulds which can cause respiratory problems.
Leaking drains that carry grey water and rainwater away from the house can cause fundamental structural problems if left. A cracked pipe that leaks water into the soil around the foundations of a home can soften the soil and undermine the foundation of the property leading to subsidence. This can lead to uneven floors and cracks in the structure.
All this was highlighted recently in a Channel 4 programme presented by Sarah Beenie. A couple had been living in a property for 15 years and had noticed subsidence and internal damp problems. They had assumed – wrongly – that the house was teetering over a disused mine shaft. They ignored the problem because of fears over expensive repairs.
The reality was that the drains and gutters were broken, leading to structural problems that we have already mentioned. These things were noted in the property survey but were overlooked. Had they been picked up early on the couple could have saved themselves a lot of cash and a lot of worry.
So, it pays to check drains and gutters regularly and get blockages removed and repairs carried out by a reputable drainage repair company like Drain Doctor as soon as possible to avoid problems later.
Drain Doctor Anglia’s fleet at the firm’s base near Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath.
At Anglia Drain Doctor – which provides plumbing and drainage repair services in Cambridge, Colchester, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Southend – we are targeting large commercial contracts in order to help drive our turnover. The aim is to double turnover to more than £2 million over the next five years.
Currently turning over more than £1 million, our franchise has increased the number of jobs it tackles by 15 per cent over the past year. In order to sustain and build on this growth we are targeting large-scale maintenance contracts in the commercial sector. In order to achieve that we are increasing our marketing activity to create more brand awareness and visibility. As part of our marketing campaign we are tendering for larger commercial and civil contracts.
The move into targeting the commercial sector came when we relocated the business to new premises in converted Royal Air Force barracks at Martlesham Heath just outside Ipswich. The move gave us the scope we needed to run the whole regional operation from a single location. We identified opportunities to tender for planned preventative maintenance (PPM) work on Adastral Park and other commercial estates in the area.
Since the move we have talked regularly with the estate manager who has a budget for planned PPM of the common areas on the estate. We asked if we could submit a tender for the PPM works and secured the contract for this year. It involves jetting and clearing foul and surface water drains in certain communal areas of the estate using a vacuum tanker. We also look after the reactive works throughout the year.
Following on from this the franchise has been awarded the contract for similar works at a smaller estate in Bury St Edmunds which is owned by the same management company.
We have also started working for Inviron, which looks after a number of large shopping centres in the region. In addition, we soon hope to be registered to work at Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station and we are working hard to identify further opportunities.
The London South East franchise business is expanding and in order to manage increasing demand a new franchise management role has been created.
As the business manager Paul Budgen, a plumber with over 20 years experience under his belt, is taking on the day-to-day running of the franchise, leaving director Krishna Moorthy and business partner Paul Fleetham to concentrate on the strategic management of the business.
Paul started as an apprentice plumber with his father when he left school. For the past 20 years he has run his own plumbing and maintenance businesses.
Following a move to East Sussex Paul wanted a position in the area he lived in rather than having to commute. He said: “I wanted a role where I could use my experience as a plumber but with a young family it was important to be able to have some time with them and not waste it commuting.
“When the role of manager at my local Drain Doctor franchise came up I jumped at the chance.”
Krishna Moorthy added: “As we have rapidly expanded we have found the need to create a new role to assist us in managing the continued and growing operations of the franchise business. I am delighted to welcome Paul to the business as our new franchise manager.
“With his wealth of experience in the plumbing trade and property maintenance business Paul will help us to ensure that we continue to deliver ‘dazzling’ levels of service to businesses and householders in London South East, Tonbridge Wells, Bromley and Bexley and the surrounding areas.
“I would eventually like to expand the business into other niche areas by extending the scope of the Drain Doctor business into civil engineering. I would like to explore expansion into these areas with Drain Doctor backing. Paul’s appointment as a new manager will help us to concentrate on achieving this.”
As well as being an experienced plumber Paul is also a retained fire-fighter. Among his more unusual call-outs was a fire at a local turkey farm. Paul said: “We were called out to deal with a fire in some hay bales that had been put together in the shape of a giant turkey to advertise the farm.”
Luckily Paul and his colleagues dealt with the fire and local people were able to get their Christmas turkey.
A CCTV inspection
As universities elect to raise their tuition fees to the maximum £9,000 per year, learning a trade like plumbing is becoming an increasingly attractive option for some school-leavers – as this article in The Telegraph points out.
Drain Doctor offers a range of opportunities for qualified technicians within its network. Training offers young people the opportunity to build a career – and who knows, even a thriving business of their own as a Drain Doctor franchisee – in a challenging industry.
As a national franchise business, Drain Doctor uniquely combines plumbing and entrepreneurial skills. You don’t need to be a plumber to run a Drain Doctor franchise but several of our best franchise owners did start out as plumbers – and still turn out to tackle plumbing and drainage emergencies themselves when they need to.
Drain Doctor franchisees in the North West have pooled resources to purchase vacant franchise areas adjoining their own. Kevin Preston, who runs the Preston and Blackburn franchises and Nick and Lisa Birtles, who run the Lancaster and Cumbria franchise businesses, are expanding into a number of vacant franchise areas around Greater Manchester.
The partnership has purchased the Bolton, Manchester Central, Wigan and Warrington franchise areas, creating the largest emergency plumbing firm in the North West of England.
Expansion has created more opportunities for growth. Lisa said: “Pooling our resources has created new challenges but we are working well together. Historically, franchises have had clearly marked areas of operation. We have blurred the edges a bit to provide a better quality service. Each technician runs their area independently but operates from one central regional office to reduce overheads.
“Kevin has a big commercial side to his business which provides opportunities to improve the potential of some areas which were previously not doing as well as they might. Our different areas of expertise complement each other.”
Drain Doctor technicians at work on the guttering at Dens Park, home of Dundee FC.
Trevor Muir and the team at the Dundee franchise of Drain Doctor Plumbing have completed the wholesale replacement of the guttering at Dundee FC’s Dens Park stadium.
Life-long Dees supporter and local Trevor was delighted to win the contract.
“The job has been our largest contract of this kind to date. Much of the guttering around the stands was brought down during heavy snow in February. Drain Doctor was called in to replace it. So much of it had come down that we had to renew the whole guttering system,” said Trevor.
Jim Thomson, operations director at Dundee FC, told us: “Drain Doctor is our contractor of choice for plumbing works at the stadium so we approached Trevor about the guttering. He convinced me that he could manage the whole contract from start to finish, which he has done very successfully.
“The job needed to be completed in two phases. The first phase required the guttering to be made safe for everyone who uses the stadium and Drain Doctor needed to be flexible and versatile to achieve that goal.”
The second phase was completed at the end of the football league season.
Drain Doctor is a national company but is very much part of the local community in each of the franchise areas that it serves. Each franchise is an independent local business.
The club is important to the community in Dundee, so we were delighted that Trevor was able to help the Dundee FC Supporters Society to ensure that the facilities at the stadium are kept in tip-top condition.