The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has warned there is a shortage of skilled leadwork conservation craftsmen in the UK capable of carrying out appropriate repairs to historic buildings.
It added that this skills gap could get considerably worse as colleges no longer teach lead plumbing.
The Worshipful Company of Plumbers (WCP) and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings share this belief and the three organisations have come together to create the Leadwork Conservation Network Group.
The official launch of the Group took place on May 15 at the House of Lords, where Kevin Wellman, chief executive of CIPHE, spoke about the need for training the next generation of lead specialists.
Dr Peter Rumley gave a presentation on historical buildings and showed examples of leadwork that was in need of repair.
Kevin said: “It is very worrying that leadwork has been dropped from the curriculum for plumbing students. This was one way of encouraging youngsters to learn traditional skills that could progress to a career as a lead specialist.
“We will be working closely with the WCP to provide a CPD training programme for architects, surveyors, conservation officers, specifiers and practitioners engaged with the plumbing and leadworking industry.”
The Leadwork Conservation Network Group will liaise with recognised conservation groups, industry organisations and government departments, with the aim to set a professional conservation standard.