About Ford Plumbing ...
And Why We Really Know Our Stuff!
I'm Mark and plumbing has been in the Ford Family for four generations!
My grandfather was a plumber, my father was a plumber, my Uncle was a plumber and my son Jordan and I are also plumbers!
It was only natural I would run with the family tradition! When I was a kid, I used to love going out on jobs with Dad, and he would teach me many of the skills not being used and no longer taught to younger plumbers these days.
35 years later ... I'm still doing it! Why? I love it! Especially seeing the look on clients faces when I've solved a problem other plumbers walk away from!
Many Of Our Skills Come From Over 130 Years Of Family Plumbing!
With knowledge passed down from generation to generation there isn't much about plumbing we don't know.
Like everything else, plumbing has changed so much over the years especially with technology and regulations
About My Dad, Ian
Here's a photo I found of Dad's van when he was plumbing in Taupo over 60 years ago!
If you talk to my Dad (now 86 years old and still involved with Ford Plumbing), he will tell you that plumbing today is very different from when he learnt the trade from his Dad (Walter Ford) ...
"We used to beat sheet lead into waste pipes and then solder them up, use galvanised pipe for water - cutting our own threads on lengths of pipe to make connections, repair hot water cylinders with a gas torch and even make our own wetbacks and Stanley mixers - all skills I taught Mark.
After galvanised pipe we saw the arrival of copper pipe - we did whole houselots in copper pipe including copper header tanks - everything back in the day was low pressure - water main in from the street through a pressure reducing valve (Ajax valve we used to call it) to a copper header tank in the ceiling with a ballcock and gravity fed water to the house - back then there were no high pressure cylinders. Pipe sizing and fall were extremely critical.
I can remember teaching Mark to braze copper pipe at a very early age - even that has changed - we now have PEX water pipes including multilayer pipe, valves to do just about anything needed on a building. The skills needed by today's plumbers are very technical - I honestly don't know how they do it."
The Craftsman Skills Are Being Lost!
I too have noticed the changes over the years. Back in the day pipework was all copper - everything was brazed - I can still remember being under houses brazing up copper pipe hoping like heck I didn't set fire to the customers house with my oxy/acetylene torch. Now very little copper piping is used - PEX pipework is in - and now we are seeing the move to stainless steel piping. Part of the challenge today is keeping up with technology, legislation and compliance.
Back when I was learning, roofing was not a separate trade. Plumbers used to do all roof work, flashings and penetrations. I can still remember carrying wooden boxes of lead head roofing nails up on to roofs for my Dad. Now roofing is a separate specialised trade although we still do quite a lot of roof repairs and flashing work.
I also learnt a lot about low pressure water and gravity fed systems - if you got the pipe sizing wrong and didn't fall your pipes the correct way you ended up with the dreaded airlock :)
Wetbacks and solid fuel heating were also a big part of our job back then - even this has changed with the arrival of heat pumps and gas heating.
Skills dealing with such things as low pressure water and gravity feed systems, water pumps and filtration equipment on non-reticulated water supply, ring mains and hot water recirculating mains are not being taught to todays apprentices and trainees ... these skills are being lost.
We Make Sure Our Guys Are Taught Well
We however, teach some of these old skills to our guys ... and they really enjoy learning them!
We train our apprentices the same way which I was taught, to think outside the square and to find the best solution possible for the client. We encourage them to take ownership of each and every job which they are given from the start of the job to it's completion.
So, How Does This Benefit You?
At Ford Plumbing our enormous range of skills will often result in saving you time and money and if for any reason you are not happy with the quality of our work we'll do what it takes to put it right ... and if that doesn't work, the job is on us!