Why plumbing is the UK’s most admired household skill

According to a new nationwide study, plumbing is the household skill residents of the UK admire above all others. 

Researchers at property maintenance firm Aspect asked 2,000 adults to rate a wide range of common household maintenance tasks, from fixing a leak to putting up a shelf. Participants gave each skill a score out of ten, with ten being the highest. 

And according to recent news reports, high esteem for plumbers is a global phenomenon; actor and philanthropist George Clooney had an emergency plumbing situation at his Italian villa and needed the rapid assistance of a local plumber. Clooney and family were expecting special guests - the Obama family - so it’s no wonder the star was so relieved when local plumber Dante Pennè fixed the leak in quick time.

According to the research, tasks that involved plumbing skills got the highest scores and fixing a leak was the most admired skill of them all. 68% of UK residents gave it a score of seven out of ten or higher and 37% rated it as a ten. Installing a washing machine was the fourth most admired household skill. Assembling flat-pack furniture was the second most admired skill, followed by putting up a shelf.

Other skills highly rated in the study were hanging blinds, changing a lock, fixing a faulty Internet connection, hanging wallpaper, programming a smart TV and finding discounts and bargains online.

Perceptions of different skills varied by age and sex. Younger respondents were more likely to admire traditional DIY skills like assembling flatpack furniture or putting up a shelf, while older participants showed higher levels of admiration for more modern tasks, such as restoring a lost Internet connection and backing up data to the cloud.

Women were significantly more likely than men to show admiration for most skills, but were particularly impressed by plumbing and general handyman skills. For example, 42% of women gave ‘fixing a leak’ the top score out of ten, compared to 32% of men.

Nick Bizley, Aspect’s director of operations, believes skills that come in handy during an emergency tend to be viewed most positively when compared to other, non-urgent skills.

“We know from firsthand experience how relieved people are to see a qualified and experienced tradesperson at their door, especially during an emergency situation such as a leak. The same sentiment seems to apply when asking people about the skills they admire around the house. It’s easy to be impressed by a skilled handyman who can put together flat-pack furniture or put up a shelf, but when it comes to emergency tasks, the stakes are that little bit higher.

“While we’d always advise people to call on a professional when they have an emergency problem at home, it’s handy to know some basics, such as how to shut off a water supply via the mains to stem a water leak. This can often be the difference between a maintenance problem and a maintenance emergency.”

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