An increasing number of plumbers are finding themselves relying on their smartphones or tablets to help them to get the job done, according to new research.
The study - conducted by the UK's primary plumbing assurance organisation WaterSafe - found the technology is making a real difference in improving efficiency and making tradesmen's lives easier.
Of those questioned, 93 per cent said they now use smart devices in their day-to-day work, with the majority (86 per cent) sourcing technical instructions in this way. Other popular functions included locating specification advice, ordering spare parts and other products, and researching legislation that may affect the jobs they are carrying out.
This improved accessibility has resulted in the role of the plumber changing dramatically in recent years, with three-quarters (75 per cent) of respondents agreeing that this was the case. Part of this transition involved them being expected to offer advice on products they may have previously been less-than-familiar with.
The survey highlighted how reliant the industry now is on modern gadgets, with over two-fifths (42 per cent) admitting they would be "lost" without their smartphone, tablet or laptop. The majority of plumbers recognised the technology had helped to make them more efficient and professional, while it had also made it easier to maintain contact with customers.
Julie Spinks, from WaterSafe, noted that professionals were under pressure to keep their costs down and stick to tight deadlines, and the use of such devices had now surpassed that of purely personal use for plumbers, resulting in a "profoundly positive effect" on the sector.
She said: "It is fantastic to see that the use of smart technology, enabling plumbers to do everything from keeping in contact with customers to specifying products on-the-go, is helping plumbers work more efficiently."