Research into issues of compliance with Building Regulations is being carried out by The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC), as part of its efforts to improve improve the current state of Building Regulations enforcement within the plumbing and heating industry.

The research, which is being undertaken by DJS Research on behalf of APHC, is comprised of three main strands and relates specifically to combustion appliances and hot and cold water provision.

Information is being gathered from 325 local authorities across England and Wales under the Freedom of Information Act, with three questions being posed around numbers of breaches reported, numbers of enforcement actions and numbers of prosecutions.

The second part of the research process involves conducting interviews with both APHC members and non-members, asking for their views on issues of compliance in certification, with a view to explaining the current situation to government. The results of the questionnaires are being used to inform a telephone questionnaire, composed of 200 APHC members and non-members, which again seeks to understand and quantify installers' attitudes towards issues of compliance and non-compliance.

Once the research is complete, the results will be analysed and pulled together into a single evidence-based document, which will be used to provide government with an overall picture of the enforcement of certification and compliance in the plumbing and heating sector.

John Thompson, chief executive at APHC, said: "The research we are currently undertaking is vital to helping government understand the scale of the problem around the non-enforcement of Building Regulations in the plumbing and heating industry. We are hopeful that we will be able to use this information to significantly improve trading conditions for bona fide plumbing and heating installers, making it harder for cowboy operators."