FROM THE CHAIRMAN - SHAYNE LA COMBRE
In the seven months since the prior General Meeting, the Executive Board has focused on improving the performance of the World Plumbing Council (WPC) and addressing fundamental questions about the Council’s mission and its focus on outcomes.
I am pleased to report we have taken important steps in identifying and pursuing worthwhile contributions to the global plumbing industry and the broader community, including:
- the WPC’s new drive to gain more effective operating frameworks for plumbing industries – the Four Pillars of Plumbing initiative
- an upgrade in the WPC’s longstanding commitment to developing a better community awareness of the beneficial impacts of the plumbing industry – i.e. an enhancement of the Council’s support for World Plumbing Day celebrations globally
- a stronger and better designed WPC scholarships program commencing in 2018 along with plans for larger scale contributions to plumber training and education
- ongoing progress in WPC adding value as a communications hub for the plumbing industry at a global level
- giving financial and in-kind support to plumbing-related community development projects – in particular the Community Plumbing Challenge program managed by the International Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Foundation
- working to improve the Council’s support for plumbing industry research and innovation
- developing plans aimed at the WPC becoming the global level body recognising outstanding contributions in the world of plumbing.
A further pleasing and very recent development is the 26 November appointment of Mr BSA Narayan to the WPC Executive Board, representing the Indian Plumbing Association - see the newsletter article below.
I am glad to be able to report to World Plumbing Council Members and stakeholders that the WPC meetings and events held in October this year in Abu Dhabi were both constructive and informative. As described in more detail in separate articles and summaries contained within this newsletter, the Abu Dhabi events included an Executive Board meeting, a General Meeting and a series of very impressive and informative presentations for the first Four Pillars of Plumbing event.
At the General Meeting I provided an overview of the WPC’s activities and initiatives since the prior General Meeting in March. I also raised several of the key administrative and resourcing challenges the Council is facing. The Council continues to have a strong balance sheet and the 2017 operating profit has improved substantially compared to 2016 (because operating costs formerly paid by WPC are now being borne by Directors’ organizations) but longer term the WPC’s current financial model is unlikely to be sustainable. Over the next year the WPC will need to either gain more funding or reduce its activities.
That is why over the period to the next General Meeting in May next year (in Los Angeles) the WPC will have a new focus on improving its revenue. Executive Board members have been asked to help develop sponsorship and grant prospects within their home countries and any advice or other support from Members on this issue will be very welcome. Please do not hesitate to contact me or the WPC Secretariat.
The successful inaugural forum for the Four Pillars of Plumbing initiative in Abu Dhabi included seven outstanding presentations covering the approach taken to training requirements for plumbing industries in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada, USA, India and Australia.
In addition to the content of the presentations and details of the expert presenters being accessible via this newsletter and on the WPC website, we are investigating using webinars to have a more engaging record of the presentations and to communicate them to a global audience.
The General Meeting and Four Pillars events took place alongside the 2017 WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi and a highlight during my trip was presenting WPC medallions to the WorldSkills Competitors and their accompanying Experts (coaches) in the Plumbing & Heating event.
Medallions have been presented at past WorldSkills Competitions but this year we expanded our recognition to include honorary WPC memberships for the Competitors, Experts, the corporate sponsors of the event, the Competitors’ employers and the Competitors’ training providers. We were keen to give due recognition to all those supporting the development of plumbing excellence, including those behind the event as well as the direct participants.
The articles in this Newsletter include the October Executive Board Meeting and General Meeting, the first Four Pillars of Plumbing Forum, the expanded program of support for World Plumbing Day celebrations, the upgraded 2018 WPC scholarships program and further development of WPC as a global level communications hub.
A further article describes my recent meeting with former Australian Prime Minister The Honourable Kevin Rudd in his role as Chair of Sanitation and Water For All (SWA), a UN body working through a network of over 200 national governments and non-government organisations to raise the priority and funding of sanitation and water supply services. I have been invited to address an SWA Ministerial Meeting in March 2018 in Mumbai, and WPC has applied to join the SWA partnership.
This edition of the Newsletter has news about the prize winners in the Plumbing & Heating event at the 2017 WorldSkills Competition and the highly successful Community Plumbing Challenge completed recently in Jakarta Indonesia.
Our general interest articles include a description of both the huge challenge faced by India in trying to upgrade the country’s sanitation and water services and the huge effort being made to meet this challenge, led by Prime Minister Modi. Upgrading plumbing skills is a vital part of this effort, and the Indian Plumbing Association and the Indian Plumbing Skills Council are leading a drive to improve plumbing skills and plumbing industry standards overall.
Other general interest articles range from congratulations to the former WPC Chairman Robert Burgon for becoming Master of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers to a report on a major seminar in China addressing water supply and drainage issues. The China seminar was arranged by the Plumbing Facilities Committee of the China Construction Metal Structures Association, an active Full Member of the WPC chaired by WPC Director Liu Jian.
We also take the opportunity to notify Members about upcoming Four Pillars of Plumbing and General Meeting events on 17 May 2018 in Los Angeles and 25 to 27 October 2018 in Mumbai, along with other plumbing industry events being held around the world.
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
On 18 October 2017 the Executive Board held a meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The meeting was very productive, with important decisions being made in relation to the operations of the World Plumbing Council in key portfolios and programs.
The Chair and other Directors reported on activities and initiatives - both underway and in the planning phase - relating to Four Pillars of Plumbing, World Plumbing Day, WPC scholarships for plumbing trainers, communications, Community Plumbing Challenge, membership administration, alliances with related organizations and more. Subsequent newsletter articles covering the General Meeting and specific WPC portfolios give details about current operations and planning for the World Plumbing Council.
Several days prior to the Executive Board meeting Mr John Joseph resigned as a WPC Director, as he is no longer a member of the National Executive Committee of the Indian Plumbing Association. At both the Executive Board meeting and at the General Meeting, the Chair expressed thanks to John Joseph for his valuable contribution the Executive Board, the World Plumbing Council and the plumbing industry more broadly.
The World Plumbing Council held a General Meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in the morning of 19 October 2017. The Chair and Directors reported on WPC activities over the seven months since the prior General Meeting and canvassed present and future challenges and priorities for the Council.
Most of the agenda for the meeting was addressed through reports from the Chair and other Executive Board members for their individual portfolios of responsibility. The reports and other discussion in the meeting are summarised below, and several portfolios are discussed in more detail in newsletter articles which follow.
The following is a summary of the WPC General Meeting held in the morning of 19th October 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Welcome & Acknowledgments
- The Chair welcomed new WPC Director Liu Jian, representing the Plumbing Facilities Committee of the China Construction Metal Structures Association to his first World Plumbing Council (WPC) General Meeting. He further welcomed Li Kai (Lily), Director Foreign Affairs for the Plumbing Facilities Committee, assisting Liu Jian
- The Chair noted Liu Jian was appointed after the resignation of Dr Henry Hung due to family health issues. The Chair commented that Dr Henry Hung had been awarded the WPC’s highest honour, the Distinguished Service Award, and he expressed thanks to Henry Hung on behalf of the WPC for his more recent period of valuable service. The WPC will issue a certificate recognising Dr Hung’s contribution on the Executive Board over the past year. Dr Hung has kindly offered to continue an active involvement with WPC whenever possible
- The Chair gave a further special welcome to two representatives of SuperPipe Middle East, Mr Mehdi Yousefi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, and Mr Vahid Zavar, Sales and Marketing Director. SuperPipe Middle East generously supported the Plumbing & Heating event in the 2017 WorldSkills Competition and Mr Yousefi and Mr Zavar kindly accepted an invitation to attend the General Meeting
- The Chair presented an honorary Affiliate WPC Membership to SuperPipe Middle East as a gesture of appreciation. Mr Zavar responded by thanking the WPC and expressing interest in the Four Pillars of Plumbing Forum and other activities of the Council
Finance and Governance Portfolio
- The meeting approved the 2016 WPC reviewed financial statements and a financial report up to 30 September 2017 was presented
- The Secretariat noted the WPC balance sheet remained strong (cash assets increased by 9.3% over 2017 to date) and net profit had improved substantially compared to 2016
World Plumbing Day Portfolio
- Director Alberto Fossa reported the Executive Board had decided on an upgraded program of WPC support for 2018 WPD celebrations, centred around more pre-event communications, recognition of innovative approaches, and post-event communications.
- The Chair stated the Board’s intention to incorporate WPC recognition awards in the global celebrations of World Plumbing Day.
Marketing and Communications Portfolio
- Work in the Marketing and Communication portfolio to date has largely been focused on improving and coordinating the communication channels, but we are now initiating the development of a robust marketing strategy. A small working group has been formed to develop the marketing strategy; it is anticipated marketing recommendations will be proposed at the next WPC General Meeting
- WPC agreed to develop a marketing strategy to make best use of social media (Linkedin and Facebook) to communicate with stakeholders and disseminate content (WPC generated content where possible). Strategy and actions to be further discussed at meeting of May 2018
- The Chair discussed the clear need for a major upgrade of the WPC’s website, noting the design and content of the site does not reflect the new initiatives and revamped activities being pursued by WPC; and that much of the information on the site needs updating.
Education and Training Portfolio
- Deputy Chair Tom Bigley delivered a report on his Education and Training portfolio, including a summary of the activities undertaken by recent scholarship recipients and the status of current applications. This information is set out in more detail in the article on the Scholarship Program in this Newsletter
- In relation to the actual study/training undertaken by scholarship recipients the WPC agreed to encourage recipients to attend a regularly scheduled plumber training program in another country (such as the training provided by United Association in Ann Arbor) as opposed to a personally designed, customised study trip. It also agreed to consider making a Four Pillars of Plumbing case study a required component of the scholarships
Planning, Organisation, Membership and Resources Portfolio
- The number of Affiliate and Individual memberships has increased substantially, bringing the total membership to 258
- WPC needs to significantly add to its resource base if it is to undertake activities towards the achievement of its long term objectives.
- The Chair challenged all Members to identify prospective sponsors, possible sources of grants and prospective members.
- The meeting also considered several matters relating to recognition of outstanding contributions to the plumbing industry at a global level. - The Chair stated his aim of WPC becoming known as the awards/recognition organization for the global plumbing industry and incorporating honorary memberships and medallions into this broader recognition process.
WPC Highlight Report: Community Plumbing Challenge
- Seán Kearney and Grant Stewart, both International Project Managers with the International Water Sanitation & Hygiene Foundation (IWSH), gave a joint presentation on the Community Plumbing Challenge (CPC) program conducted by IWSH. The presentation interestingly showed the thoughtful evolution in the IWSH approach, resulting in an increasingly well designed and sophisticated CPC program. A copy of the presentation is available on the WPC website.
- An excellent video of Construction Week and other aspects of the latest CPC in Indonesia can be accessed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFWUXyOoI4w. A following article gives more detail. Further information on IWSH activities is available at www.iwsh.org/.
Four Pillars of Plumbing Forum
- Having completed the agenda for the General Meeting, the inaugural Four Pillars of Plumbing Forum was introduced by the Chair. Members will be aware that the intent behind the initiative is to develop, over time, a valuable storehouse of facts, opinions, best practices and expertise on the operating frameworks of plumbing industries globally.
- The presentations in Abu Dhabi were the first contributions to the planned Four Pillars case studies knowledge base, and they were excellent. The Four Pillars information will be built up over at least the next two years, with the first phase culminating in the World Plumbing Conference in Melbourne Australia in September 2019.
- The Abu Dhabi forum was focused on the first of the Four Pillars, ‘Participation’, which is the industry entry dimension of plumbing industry frameworks, in particular the training requirements. Each of the seven presenters addressed the training requirements for plumbers along with discussion of the related industry contexts, issues and initiatives in their respective countries.
ABU DHABI FOUR PILLARS OF PLUMBING PRESENTATIONS
The World Plumbing Council wants strong industry frameworks for plumbing industries, and the Council believes plumbing industries can achieve better frameworks by learning from each other.
The Four Pillars event in Abu Dhabi consisted of presentations from the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada, India, the USA and Australia. Click on Read More for a summary of the presentations and links to the presentation materials.
The Four Pillars of Plumbing initiative will take place over at least the next two years and will primarily focus on gaining descriptions of the many and varied current frameworks for plumbing industries in jurisdictions globally. The WPC will ask local plumbing industry networks to generate case studies, supported by forums and guidelines. Participants in the program will also have the opportunity to propose changed frameworks. In other words, the knowledge gathered will encompass both what is and what participants think industry frameworks should be.
The October 2017 Forum in Abu Dhabi was the first event in the Four Pillars program. The first phase of the Four Pillars of Plumbing initiative will culminate in the World Plumbing Conference in September 2019 in Australia, with ‘How do you create a successful plumbing industry?’ as its core theme.
1. United Kingdom
Presented by George Thomson, Chairman, British Plumbing Employers Council : “UK Plumbing Framework and Training Requirements”
- No industry licence system in the UK
- Industry regulated by combination of building, water, gas and OH&S regulations
- UK requires 3000 new qualified plumbers every year
- Industry led apprentices (4 years) key pathway
- integrity of apprentice training and driving consistency across 4 UK countries are key challenges going forward.
UK Plumbing Framework and Training Requirements (PDF)
Career Pathways for Plumbing Engineers (PDF)
Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician (PDF)
BPEC Life Award Development Projects (PDF)
Presented by Hans-Peter Kaufmann, Director, suissetec: “How Switzerland reassesses the profession’s training requirements. Case study – apprenticeships”
- suissetec is an industry and employers' association which includes organisations from across all the steps in the value-added chain, i.e. manufacturers, suppliers, planners and builders.
- Provides an overview of Swiss education and training system, with particular focus on industry apprenticeships and industry training.
- Identifies a need to redesign the system to better align the skills being demanded by industry with the skills being delivered by the training and apprenticeship system.
Switzerland Assessment of Training Requirements (PDF)
Presented by Alberto Fossa, Director, ABRINSTAL: “Training Requirements for Plumbing Industries – Brazil 2017”
- ABRINSTAL is an entity created with the purpose of planning, organizing, promoting and carrying out actions aimed at the conformity and efficiency of electrical, hydraulic, sanitary, gas, fire prevention installations, solar heating, building automotive, security electronics and telecommunications
- Presentation provides an overview of the industry in Brazil, with detail of the specific requirements for qualification (entry) for Hydraulic and Gas installers.
- Also includes summary level information about plumbing and related industry standards and market regulation in Brazil.
Brazil Training Requirements for Plumbing Industries (PDF)
Presented by Mike Gordon, Training Specialist, UA Canada: “The Plumbing Trade in Canada”
- UA has approx. 57,000 members in Canada (330,000 plus in North America).
- Presentation provides an overview of the industry in Canada including details of the typical apprentice pathway and post trade training. It includes overview of strengths and challenges of the Canadian system and identifies key challenges ahead including products and technology, harmonisation of regulations and standards and enforcement of qualifications and works.
Canada Presentation Summary (PDF)
Training Requirements & Industry Framework (PDF)
Plumber National Occupational Analysis 2010 (PDF)
Plumber Interprovincial Program Guide 2010 (PDF)
Plumber Apprenticeship Training Program (PDF)
Plumber Red Seal Occupational Standard 2016 (PDF)
Presented by Chintan Daiya, Director, D'Plumbing Consultants and Varun Tandon, Vice President, Indian Plumbing Skills Council: “Plumbing Training in India”
- Indian Plumbing Skills Council is the apex Sector Skill Council for the Indian Plumbing Industry. Operating under the aegis of National Skills Development Corporation, an initiative of the Government of India Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to transform India as a hub for skilled manpower as envisioned by Prime Minister Modi
- In India there is a massive gap between availability of skilled plumbers and demand for skilled plumbers
- India has an emerging and enormous pool of young workers. By 2020 it will have the youngest workforce in the world (median age 20, compared to 37 years in China)
- Presentation provides a summary of the key challenges for the industry including language diversity, low social standing of plumbing, variable regulations across municipalities, limited licensing, different standards across municipalities, etc.
- The framework of plumbing qualifications and their relationship to other educational frameworks is described.
India Plumber Training & Industry Context (PDF)
Presented by Tom Bigley, Director Plumbing, United Association, “2017 Plumbing Training Requirements in the United States”
- Provides an overview of industry training in the United States
- Presentation covers registered apprenticeship programs, which provide a comprehensive approach to plumbing training
- Apprenticeship programs are administrated jointly by employers, employer associations and labor unions
- Outlines typical training requirements for union plumbers, including a case study on the apprenticeship curriculum, licensing and enforcement, continuing education credits and the cost associated with the training.
USA Training Requirements (PDF)
Presented by Noel Abercromby, Director, MPA Skills Plumbing: “Training Plumbers and Gasfitters in Australia”
- Presentation provides an overview of industry training in Australia, broken down by state jurisdiction
- Includes a detailed breakdown of Apprentice training course units
- MPA Skills is a Registered Training Organisation, training more than 1,200 students through apprenticeship programs including between 40% and 45% of plumbing apprentices in Western Australia.
Australia_Training Requirements (PDF)
UPCOMING FOUR PILLARS OF PLUMBING EVENTS
Two major Four Pillars of Plumbing events have already been planned for 2018.
The first is at the Double Tree Hilton in Ontario California on 17 May 2018. This event will focus on the Products dimension of the Four Pillars framework.
A brief (8.00am to 10.00am) General Meeting of the World Plumbing Council will also be held on 17 May, immediately prior to the Forum. In addition, during the week beginning 14 May the Double Tree Hilton will also host the Emerging Water Technology Symposium (15-16 May), IAPMO Hearings for the Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code (15-18 May) and a meeting of the Plumbing Industry Leadership Council (17 May).
The second event is a two day Indian Plumbing Conference with a Four Pillars of Plumbing theme being held by the Indian Plumbing Association, with support from the World Plumbing Council, at the Nehru Science Centre during 26 and 27 October 2018 in Mumbai. The Mumbai conference will have four streams covering all four ‘Pillars’ - Participation, Practices, Products and Protection. Conference organisers will target Asia, Oceania and Middle East participation as well as inviting international speakers presenting best practice models.
The Indian Plumbing Association is intending a major event, with more than 1,000 participants and large number of exhibitors. The IPA will arrange a partner program and is considering making arrangements for post-conference trips to the nearby beautiful city of Goa.
The Mumbai Four Pillars Conference will be preceded by an Executive Board meeting and a WPC General Meeting in the morning and afternoon of 25 October respectively.
APPOINTMENT OF BSA NARAYAN TO THE WPC EXECUTIVE BOARD
The WPC Chair and other members of the Executive Board have congratulated Mr BSA Narayan on his appointment as a WPC Director. Mr Narayan is a founding Member and current Vice President of the Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) and was nominated for the position by the President of the IPA Mr Gurmit Singh. The nomination period closed 25 November 2017 and, as the only nominee, Mr Narayan was immediately appointed.
BSA Narayan brings a wealth of technical expertise, plumbing industry knowledge and plumbing association experience to the Director position. He is Managing Director of Maple-Engg Design Services in Bengaluru and holds Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Civil Engineering degrees. He is a Life Member of the Association of Consulting Civil Engineers, a Member of the Institute of Engineers and a Fellow of the UK Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineers. Mr Narayan was nominated to the Bureau Of Indian Standards in 2012 to carry out a revision of the National Building Code-India and successfully completed the revision in 2016. He heads the Technical committee of the Indian Plumbing Association.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF JOHN JOSEPH SERVICE
As noted above in the report of the 18 October meeting of the WPC Executive Board, Mr John Joseph resigned as a WPC Director several days prior to the Executive Board meeting.
At both the Executive Board meeting and the General Meeting, on behalf of the World Plumbing Council as a whole, the Chair Shayne La Combre expressed sincere thanks to John Joseph for his long involvement with the Council and his valuable service on the Executive Board. The Chair will write to Mr Joseph and the Council will issue a certificate of service in appreciation of his important contribution to the WPC and the plumbing industry more broadly.
WORLDSKILLS PLUMBING AND HEATING COMPETITORS AND SUPPORTERS
WorldSkills International held another outstanding WorldSkills Competition, in Abu Dhabi from October 14 to 18 2017. The event showcased the talents and training of 1,300 young people from 59 WorldSkills Member countries across 51 skills competitions. This was the first time the WorldSkills Competition has been held in the Middle East region.
In the Plumbing and Heating event, two Gold Medals, four Bronze Medals and nine Medallions for Excellence were awarded.
The Gold Medal winners were Armin Taxer of Austria and Marcel Wyss of Switzerland. The Bronze Medal winners were Nima Hosseinpoursaloukolaei (Iran), Hyeongwook Kim (Korea), Björn Landin (Sweden) and Daniel Martins (United Kingdom).
The World Plumbing Council congratulates all those who competed in the Plumbing & Heating event.
See https://worldskillsabudhabi2017.com/en/news/results/ for all of the Competition results.
The next WorldSkills Competition will be held in Kazan Russia in 2019 and the WPC urges plumbing industries worldwide to enter a Competitor.
The WorldSkills event in Abu Dhabi was an outstanding success. At the Closing Ceremony in the du Arena, the Competitors, their support teams, 10,000 international visitors and an online global audience discovered who had won the coveted gold, silver, and bronze WorldSkills medals.
Leading WPC Member, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) made a major contribution to the success of the 2017 Competition by becoming one of the major sponsors – a Global Partner – of WorldSkills International.
The WPC thanks WorldSkills, IAPMO and a range of other sponsors and supporters for staging an international event that is growing in scale and industry significance year on year. The vitally important role of WorldSkills was summed up by the Chief Executive Officer of The IAPMO Group, former WPC Chair, Russ Chaney who said: “Our partnership with WorldSkills is a conduit to connecting leading talents and new ideas – from international vocational education and training sectors – with critical water and sanitation-related issues, across the world."
Simon Bartley, President of WorldSkills, said to the competitors “Whether you are leaving here with a medal or not you all leave here as champions; individuals who have reached higher than you could ever have imagined when you started your journey three years ago. I salute you, everybody in this arena salutes you, the world salutes you”.
WPC RECOGNITION OF PLUMBING AND HEATING COMPETITORS AND SUPPORTERS
At the October WorldSkills event in Abu Dhabi, WPC Chair Shayne La Combre presented WPC medallions and honorary WPC Individual memberships to all Competitors and Experts in the Plumbing & Heating event category.
The WPC also recognises that the WorldSkills events would not be the success they are without the individuals and organisations that support, sponsor and encourage competitors to achieve their best. Accordingly this year the WPC extended its recognition program for the WorldSkills Competition to include the competitors’ employers, the competitors’ training providers and the corporate sponsors of the event. These organizations were awarded honorary WPC Affiliate memberships.
There were 29 Competitors and 32 Experts participating in the Abu Dhabi Plumbing and Heating category. There is keen competition between countries, but also a willingness to share knowledge and expertise with one another.
The value the Experts bring to the WorldSkills event cannot be overstated and the WPC thanks these dedicated plumbing industry professionals, in particular the outstanding work of the Chief Expert for Plumbing & Heating, Markus Niederer from suissetec in Switzerland.
The WPC awarded two year honorary Individual memberships to the Experts, and intends repeating this recognition at subsequent WorldSkills Competitions, ensuring that Plumbing & Heating Experts will continue as honorary Members as long as they continue to participate in the two-yearly Competitions.
COMMUNITY PLUMBING CHALLENGE IN INDONESIA AND FUTURE PROJECTS
The international Community Plumbing Challenge (CPC) is an annual event held by the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) The IWSH Foundation was established by the IAPMO Group and is actively supported by the World Plumbing Council along with other supporters and sponsors.
CPC 2017 took place in Cicau Village, Cikarang, Bekasi, West Java Indonesia. This CPC had two stages, beginning with the Design Week in August and culminating with the Construction Week 9 to 15 November. CPC 2017 was a great success, significantly improving water supply, sanitation and hygiene provision for a school with 300 students that has lacked adequate facilities.
See the outstanding video of Construction Week at https://youtu.be/ZFWUXyOoI4w. The video was produced by a team from the School of Science & Technology in Singapore, who have also been responsible for the videos at prior CPCs. Further information on IWSH activities is available at www.iwsh.org/.
The project was a unique learning and skills exchange opportunity for plumbing professionals from the host nation Indonesia and the visitors from India, the United States and Australia. The project included extensive involvement with the local community and a subsequent upgrade phase will be carried out by teams from Indonesian technical colleges building on knowledge gained during the Design and Construction Weeks.
Interestingly, an involvement in the project by local contractors and other stakeholders has resulted in steps toward the first ever plumbing industry association in Indonesia.
More broadly the IWSH Community Plumbing Challenge program aims to contribute to improvements to public health in regions where communities are still threatened by a lack of basic sanitation and safe drinking water systems. The program was established to achieve the following objectives:
- Work with communities to design, produce and install sustainable solutions to problems of water quality and supply and sanitation
- Provide education and training opportunities for community members and CPC teams and facilitate formal recognition of knowledge and skills gained
- Promote the role of plumbing skills in solving problems of water quality and supply and sanitation; and disseminate project outcomes to stakeholders and the general public
- Advocate for quality education and training based on real-life problem solving by multi-disciplinary teams
- Review and evaluate projects in consultation with communities and apply feedback to the continuous improvement of project processes and outcomes
- Produce and disseminate reports, stories, analyses and resources to support new projects and engage new organisations and individuals.
CPC2017 delivered a sustainable upgrade solution for water supply and wastewater at Sekolah Dasar Negeri (SDN) Cicau 02 School. During Design Week, an International Team comprising young plumbers, plumbing engineers and architects from Indonesia, India, Australia and the United States completed a surveying and design process over four days in full consultation with school management and with further input from teachers and schoolchildren.
Prior to the CPC the village school had four toilets for 300 students and 12 staff with a very limited hand-washing stations. The CPC 2017 greatly improved the existing facilities by adding four new toilets and two hand-wash stations with three sets of outlets each. The international team also upgraded the water distribution system which is fed by gravity from an elevated tank and also added a septic tank and drainfield.
Completing the project was a great achievement for all involved, and will add considerably to the health and well-being of the local community. Randy Lorge, one of the coaches for the CPC team, posted a daily blog on Facebook as the CPC was undertaken. He summed up the sense of satisfaction all the team members no doubt felt on completing the project:
“The children were in class as well and the sounds of them learning, laughing and singing filled the air. I can’t even describe the amount of satisfaction that the team was feeling from the thought of accomplishing such a steep task.”
Randy also noted that on the last day of the construction phase, and with coordination support from PT IAPMO Group Indonesia, area contractors, engineers, plumbing product manufacturers and standards officials undertook a joint tour the site. Many of the materials that were used to construct the plumbing system were donated from the various groups gathered.
Reflecting the value of the CPC to local industry as well as the local community, the group that gathered pledged to form the first-ever plumbing association in Indonesia. For the first time in this country’s history, an effort will be made to bring these groups together to work toward standardizing the various aspects of plumbing, which will significantly lead to better plumbing conditions for all of Indonesia in the coming years. The group gathered for a press conference on site as well and posed for pictures in front of a plaque that was donated in commemoration of the work that our team did and for this historic day in Indonesian plumbing history.
Congratulations to all involved in the very successful CPC2017.
The International Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Foundation will now review options for a host site for the CPC2018, with hurricane affected regions being prominent in considerations, as well as the potential to return to Nashik, India, the location of the 2015 Challenge.
WPC ROLE IN COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
WPC MEETING WITH SANITATION AND WATER FOR ALL
Improvements in water and sanitation services, particularly in less developed countries, are being pursued by a large number of global, national and local bodies, ranging from the United Nations to Rotary Clubs.
What is the World Plumbing Council’s role in plumbing-related community and economic development?
The unique way the WPC can contribute is by being a global level voice for plumbing within the myriad efforts to improve access to clean water and good sanitation.
A well informed plumbing industry representative can advise plumbing-related community development efforts about matters ranging from technical practicalities to developing the needed plumbing industry capabilities. More specifically, drawing on the Community Plumbing Challenge experience, the WPC can advocate for water and sanitation development activities based on a ‘plumbing industry to plumbing industry’ strategy.
For example, the WPC Chair Shayne La Combre recently met with the Chair of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), the Honourable Mr Kevin Rudd, a former Australian Prime Minister. SWA is a United Nations body that operates through a network of about 200 partners, comprised of over 60 national governments, non-government organisations (including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and private sector businesses. It is focused on governments raising the priority and funding of sanitation and water supply services in less developed countries. The Chair discussed the Four Pillars of Plumbing program and other WPC initiatives with Mr Rudd and he has been invited to address an SWA Ministerial Meeting (a gathering of approximately 60 government Ministers) in March 2018 in Mumbai India. For more information about SWA, visit http://sanitationandwaterforall.org.
In addition, the WPC can contribute by directly supporting development projects and encouraging the global plumbing industry to similarly support these types of efforts.
The Community Plumbing Challenge, managed by the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation, established by The IAPMO Group, is the focus of WPC’s direct support for development projects and the WPC will aim at expanding this support over time. The WPC will also aim at playing a coordinating and channeling role to better harness the huge resources of the global plumbing industry in the cause of community and economic development.
NEW SUPPORT FOR WORLD PLUMBING DAY CELEBRATIONS
When the WPC Executive Board met in Abu Dhabi in October, the Directors confirmed their intention to refresh the Council’s approach to World Plumbing Day celebrations. For the 2018 World Plumbing Day, the WPC will hold two new competitions:
- best video of World Plumbing Day celebrations by a WPC Member
- most innovative promotion of the plumbing industry’s vital contribution to well-being and health by a WPC Member.
The prize for best video is US$2,500 and the prize for most innovative promotion of the plumbing industry’s contribution is US$1,000. The WPC will also issue award certificates and give recognition to the winners. We are redesigning and producing new WPC support materials for World Plumbing Day celebrations, including car stickers, brochures and a poster. These materials and a Chair’s Message for the 2018 World Plumbing Day will be available no later than the end of January.
We ask Members to forward videos and reports of innovative promotions as soon as possible after the World Plumbing Day date of 11 March. We have set 11 April as the deadline for entries for the competitions.
Directors agreed the WPC’s support for World Plumbing Day should focus on increasing involvement by the plumbing industry itself, in particular the industry’s associations, and that production of videos, versus the past practice of a poster competition, is more effective in an era of social media.
Innovation is difficult, but some long-standing Members of WPC have fond memories of the Plumbing Song produced by Chai Wai Chon of the Singapore Plumbing Society in 2012 and we are hoping to prompt new ideas. An unusual approach is more likely to gain media coverage and the aim of World Plumbing Day is to raise the community’s appreciation of the plumbing industry.
As a result of this shift, the poster competition for primary/elementary schools will not be held for the 2018 World Plumbing Day.
The Board also decided that WPC support for recognition of the plumbing industry’s role and celebration of World Plumbing Day will be more effective if it operates on a regional basis.
As an initial step in this direction, Director Liu Jian will have responsibility for supporting World Plumbing Day celebrations in China and Director Kevin Wellman to have responsibility for Europe, while Director Alberto Fossa in Brazil retains overall responsibility for the portfolio and a regional responsibility for South America.
Over coming months the Executive Board will explore avenues for further regionalisation arrangements, for Africa, North America, Middle East, India, other parts of Asia and Oceania. We ask Members to consider volunteering to assist World Plumbing Day celebrations at a regional level.
Please contact the WPC Director responsible for the World Plumbing Day portfolio, Alberto Fossa, on firstname.lastname@example.org or the WPC Secretariat on email@example.com if you are able to assist.
The World Plumbing Council offers two scholarship opportunities, one for applicants from Developed Countries (Education and Training Scholarship) and another for Developing or Least Developed Countries, which is generously sponsored by the United Association (UA).
All members of the plumbing industry are invited to apply for these scholarship programs. Each of the scholarships provides up to US$10,000 in funding to cover approved expenses. The 2016 Scholarship winners (who undertook their international studies in 2017), both made excellent use of their opportunity.
The WPC Scholarships are intended to provide for an educational exchange between countries focusing on plumbing industry training, while at the same time exposing the participants to new technologies and innovations in training systems. They provide an opportunity to increase awareness of the contribution that plumbing has made to global health and the environment. Participants have an opportunity to gain knowledge of the Industry, technology, training and systems which can be applied to improve standards in their own countries. The program also enables participants to experience the culture, language and work practices of other countries and provides a platform for networking and relationship building.
In 2017, the recipient of the Education and Training Scholarship was Ryan Marsh from South Africa. Ryan used the scholarship funds to undertake a study tour of Australia and Ryan is now applying his knowledge and experience to plumbing training in South Africa, at Northlink College in Cape Town. Ryan was appointed as a WorldSkills Expert to assist the South African Competitor in Abu Dhabi.
Dr Nitin Mohite from Maharashtra State in India received the Developing or Least Developed Countries Scholarship and has completed a study trip to Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic along with producing an interim report. He has not yet finalised his planned scholarship activities, but the interim report suggests that he has made very productive use of the scholarship opportunity.
Dr Mohite has undertaken, amongst other things, a detailed comparative analysis between the plumbing systems in India and European countries like Switzerland and Germany (which will be fed into the Four Pillars of Plumbing knowledge bank being developed by the WPC), and a series of informative site visits. Dr Mohite is now seeking opportunities to incorporate his newly acquired knowledge in his role in the Plumbing Training School at the College of Engineering Pune.
Applications have closed for the 2018 Scholarships and announcement of the winners is imminent.
The WPC Board is currently considering several ideas aimed at most efficiently using the Scholarships Program resources. For example, the WPC is considering modifying the program to encourage recipients to attend a regularly scheduled plumber training program in another country (such as the training provided by the United Association in Ann Arbor) in addition to the current option of a personally designed, customised study trip. It is also considering ways of ensuring that scholarship recipients make case study contributions to the Four Pillars of Plumbing program.
The WPC is exploring ways to better harness and expand its communication network, so that it can more effectively promote the work of the Council and the role of plumbing in human and environmental health more broadly.
One of the great strengths of the WPC, and one which the Executive Board wants to make greater use of, is its extensive network of industry and community connections. When taken together, the significant networks of the individual WPC Executive Board and Members, form a vast web of stakeholder connections.
As well as promotion and public awareness raising, the WPC envisages a growing role for itself as an international communications hub with respect to all things to do with plumbing and sanitation. To this end, the WPC has been, and will continue to throughout this Executive Board term, focus considerable effort on refreshing and updating its communication practices and systems.
Through initiatives like the Four Pillars of Plumbing program, the Council will gradually build on its bank of international plumbing industry knowledge. As well as receiving and collating information provided to it, the WPC will increasingly look for opportunities to disseminate articles and information of interest to its members and stakeholders and, over time, develop more of its own content and promote it widely on social media and other platforms.
The intent of the Executive Board is that over the coming months and years, and by receiving, storing, curating, distributing and promoting articles and materials of interest, the WPC’s status as a definitive point of plumbing industry reference will form and grow.
WPC Director Dave Viola, who leads the WPC’s Marketing & Communications portfolio, has been driving the WPC’s upgraded contribution as a communications hub. As part of that process, the WPC has adopted an improved format and coverage of the Newsletter, initiated and reinvigorated social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) and revised and updated its branding and website.
These efforts are starting to have an impact, with higher levels of engagement being noted by several Executive Board members. However, to realise its goal of becoming the international focal point for information about the global plumbing industry(s), a higher level of engagement from all the WPC Members and stakeholders is required.
We ask all WPC Members to support this effort, and the worldwide plumbing industry, by contributing information; “liking”, sharing, tweeting and re-tweeting posts and doing all they can to disseminate communications received from the WPC.
Please contact the WPC Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries or contributions you wish to make, such as topical articles or industry events.
THE DRIVE TO UPGRADE PLUMBING SKILLS IN INDIA
India’s massive population continues to increase and its economy is growing rapidly, resulting in huge challenges for its already over-stretched – and in some areas non-existent – sanitation and water supply systems. Growing the skills base of the Indian plumbing industry workforce and the consequent ability to install and maintain sanitation and water services are crucial for India’s national development. The industry is aiming at increasing plumbing apprenticeships from 500,000 in 2016-17 to 1,500,000 in 2018-19.
It is no wonder the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is so focussed on improving India’s water and sanitation facilities. India’s demographics are staggering, driving an urgent need to rapidly grow the quantity and quality of the country’s water supply and sanitation services.
By 2020 India is expected to have 900 million people of working age, with tens of millions entering the workforce each year. The average age of its citizens is falling and will be below 30 (the youngest in the world) within three years. Forecasts suggest India will surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by 2022.
The need to train workers up -- and quickly -- is paramount. Currently only 2% of India's workers have received formal skills training, according to a report by Ernst & Young (Reaping India’s Promised Demographic Dividend – Industry in Driver’s Seat 2013), compared with 68% in the United Kingdom, 75% in Germany and 96% in South Korea.
Prime Minister Modi is racing to provide workers with training. His government is recruiting skills instructors, and turning old schools into learning centers. Programs spread across various government agencies are being consolidated. Companies in the private sector are pitching in to help provide training.
Plumbing industry organizations including the Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) and the Indian Plumbing Skills Council (IPSC), both active Members of the WPC, are leading the development of plumbing skills in India. The IPSC is a Sector Skill Council operating within the ambit of the National Skills Development Corporation, an initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship aimed at India becoming a major exporter of skills.
In their presentation as part of the Four Pillars of Plumbing forum in Abu Dhabi, Chintan Daiya (Director, D’Plumbing Consultants) and Varun Tandon (Vice President, ISPC) identify the skill development challenges facing the plumbing industry and how the industry’s stakeholders are tackling these. The IPA and IPSC are determined to create a robust plumbing industry equipped with the skills needed by the Indian community and its economy.
The challenges identified are a mix of cultural, structural and practical. Cultural taboos about plumbing have discouraged new entrants to the plumbing industry and stakeholders are working to change this perception and promote plumbing as a skilled and highly valuable career. Language challenges unique to India (two official languages, 23 recognized languages, 37 local languages) and highly complex variability in regulations, standards and occupational licensing across the large number of State, Territory and local jurisdictions within the country are further major hurdles that the plumbing industry is striving to overcome.
While the Indian plumbing training goals are ambitious and face major challenges, a very impressive and exciting effort to meet the goals is underway, with strong leadership being shown by India’s plumbing industry associations and stakeholders.
SHANGHAI SEMINAR ON WATER SUPPLY AND DRAINAGE
On 6 September 2017, the Military and Civilian Integration’s Water Supply & Drainage Seminar was held in Shanghai. The event was organized by the Plumbing Facilities Committee of the China Construction Metal Structure Association, an active Full Member of the World Plumbing Council.
The event featured a series of presentations from industry experts and sponsoring organizations. Mr. Liu Jian, Chairman of the Plumbing Facilities Committee and a Director on the World Plumbing Council Executive Board gave the opening speech at the Seminar. The seminar was attended by many prominent figures in the water supply and drainage sector in China.
Multiple experts made presentations at the seminar on a range of topics, including:
- Water supply
- Pipes and Pumps
- Rainwater capture and storage
- Civil air defence engineering
- Building water supply and drainage.
Sponsors also made presentations covering technological advances in water saving, second water supply, stainless water cabins, PSP stainless pipe and other innovations.
During the event, the Plumbing Facilities Committee held a prize giving ceremony for ‘National Building Water Supply and Drainage Trade Famous Trademark 2015-2016’ awards. Mr. Hua Mingjiu also renewed the membership of the PFC experts committee.
Leading figures in the industry attending the seminar included:
- Mr Liu Zhe, Secretary General, China Construction Metal Structure Association (CCMSA)
- Mr Zhao Li, Vice Director, China Building Design Institute Co. Ltd
- Mr Chen Baoxu, President, National Defence System Mechanical Design Committee of the CCMSA.
The professional designers, plumbing experts, engineers and representatives of plumbing industry businesses at the event were very pleased to have an opportunity to join together to share experiences of plumbing.
Several other meetings were held coinciding with the seminar. These included the 2017 BWT exhibition, the 2017 Steel and Plastic Pipe Annual Meeting, and the Urban Water Supply Safety and High-Quality Drinking Water Technology BBS.
Mr. Hua Mingjiu, on behalf of the Plumbing Facilities Committee, expressed sincere thanks to the sponsors, speakers and other participants.
This series of events was supported by the following enterprises (in random order):
- Chengdu Gongtong Pipe Group, Co. Ltd
- Shanghai Kaiqian Pump(Group)Co. Ltd
- Shandong Laide Mechanical Co. Ltd
- Shanghai Wanlang Pipe Co. Ltd
- Beijing Xinyuantong Environment Technology Co. Ltd
- Jiangsu Zhongxin Green Pipe Technology Co. Ltd
- Xinxing Casting Pipe Co. Ltd.
WORLD TOILET DAY SUMMIT, MELBOURNE 20-21 NOVEMBER 2017
The World Toilet Organization and the Australian Water Association held the 16th World Toilet Day Summit in Melbourne Australia over November 21st and 22nd 2017. The Chair and Secretariat of the World Plumbing Council attended the event and other participants included a wide range of experts and key stakeholders in the global water and sanitation services sector.
The outstanding set of speakers at the Summit included representatives from: WaterAid Australia; Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health unit, World Health Organization; Monash Sustainable Development Institute; Urban Development Department, State of Maharashtra, India; Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade; UNICEF; Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group and Sydney Water.
The presentations are available at https://awa.sharefile.com/app/#/share/view/sb7b7609f8b74bd2b?.
World Toilet Day, an official UN day observed on 19 November, was established in 2013 to draw attention to the fact that 4.5 billion people, or over half of the world’s population, lack access to safe sanitation. World Toilet Day seeks to raise awareness of the global sanitation challenge, including the disturbing fact that 892 million people still practice open defecation. The World Toilet Organization, based in Singapore, was founded and is still led by Mr Jack Sim. The World Toilet Day Summit is an annual event held at a different global location each year. The Principal Global Sponsor for the event was Reckitt Benckiser.
The major presentations at the 2017 World Toilet Day Summit included:
- What Does the WaterAid 2017 ‘State of the World’s Toilets’ Report Reveal?, Rosie Wheen, CEO WaterAid Australia
- Let’s Talk: Movement to Meet Sustainable Development Goal #6 on Water and Sanitation, John Thwaites, Chair Melbourne Water and Monash Sustainable Development Institute
- WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program SDG Baseline Report: Implications for Policy & Practice, Bruce Gordon, Coordinator, WASH, WHO
- Seeing Breakthroughs in Innovative Approaches that Help Cities Deliver Cost-Effective Universal Urban Sanitation, Tony Slatyer, Special Adviser on Water, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
WATERAID REPORT ON THE GLOBAL STATUS OF SANITATION SERVICES
WaterAid recently released a new report, Out of Order. The State of the World’s Toilets 2017, describing the status of sanitation services globally – see www.wateraid.org. The report draws on the powerful information collected by the World Health Organization-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (see www.washdata.org) and an impressive range of other sources to highlight the challenges and successes of countries working to improve sanitation services.
The effort needed to achieve adequate sanitation services in all countries is huge. Nearly 900 million people still practice open defecation. Sixty-one per cent of the world’s population, about 4.6 billion people, do not yet have access to a ‘safely managed’ sanitation service, defined as a hygienic household toilet where human waste is treated and disposed of safely – the type of sanitation service taken for granted in developed countries.
On the other hand, some countries – such as India - are making extraordinary gains in the availability of at least basic sanitation services. India has made great progress made under the Swachh Bharat Mission, which aims to eradicate open defecation from the country by October 2019. Moreover the United Nations has given greater recognition and priority to the importance of sanitation services in its Sustainable Development Goals and the activities of UN agencies.
SAFETY CULTURE AND ITS BENEFITS – AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE PLUMBING INDUSTRY
Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) is a trade association of plumbing product manufacturers. Its member companies produce most of the plumbing products in the United States. It functions as a sounding board for its members, a source for industry and market information, and as a coordinating and decision-making body for dealing with industry issues. It is active in many arenas as it helps develop and maintain standards and codes, and it works closely with US government agencies at all levels – federal, state and local.
As outlined in an excellent article contributed by Ray Valek, of the PMI’s communications team, the PMI has an increasingly important role to play in fostering and driving a ‘safety culture’ for plumbing products and systems. This is especially true in light of the Flint Michigan water crisis, where, like in virtually all post-industrial societies, access to safe drinking water had been taken for granted.
A member of the Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) communications team for about three years, I have come to realize the tremendous potential the plumbing industry has to be a leading voice on the topic of ‘safety culture’ – which represents everything the industry does to assure safe plumbing systems.
The idea of ‘safe, responsible plumbing – always’ is nothing new to PMI – this phrase serves as PMI’s mission statement. However, this phrase – and PMI’s mission – has taken on new meaning in the aftermath of the Flint water crisis and similar situations in which unsafe water was discovered throughout the world. In virtually all post-industrial societies, clean drinkable water had been taken for granted. But now that premise has begun to be questioned.
PMI did a Google survey a little over a year ago that showed that about two-thirds of Americans are now concerned about drinking water safety. On top of that, we live in a time when distrust in general is running rampant. According to the 2017 Trust Barometer published by the Edelman public relations firm, most people distrust business, government and media. The report states that most people feel that ‘the system is rigged’ against regular people in favor of the rich and powerful.
As stewards of plumbing systems, the plumbing industry must do whatever is necessary to assure a safety culture throughout the entire water supply system – from water source to the end-point devices – toilets, faucets, showerheads and more – that PMI members manufacture. To be successful in this endeavor, the industry must build relationships with organizations representing each part of the system and work together to solve challenges affecting them all.
The safety culture concept was originally developed in the nuclear energy and aviation industries, which have successfully implemented strategies to mitigate risk and avoid accidents. In a safety culture, making systems as safe as possible is job number one for everyone at every level of an organization. When errors or mistakes happen, fixing the system is emphasized, rather than blaming an individual. Proponents of safety culture understand that flaws exist within every system and all processes can fail simply because humans make mistakes.
Organizational culture author James Reason compared these flaws – latent hazards and weaknesses – to holes in Swiss cheese. To prevent errors causing harm, these vulnerabilities must be identified, and solutions found. These hazards and weaknesses can include poor design, inadequate supervision, and manufacturing or maintenance defects. Safety culture has been adopted by many other industries, including manufacturing and health care. I became knowledgeable about the safety culture concept through my work for The Joint Commission, a health care accreditation organization that has been promoting the benefits of safety culture within the health care industry.
If you begin to explore how safety culture is implemented – or not – within various industries, you will find horrible examples of failure – such as the Flint, Chernobyl, Deepwater Horizon and Space Shuttle incidents – as well as inspiring examples of success. On the inspiring side, think about the potential perils of launching and landing aircraft on a carrier moving within a turbulent sea during an active military operation. The landing area on the carrier’s deck is near bombs, bullets and fuel. Adherence to safety culture has enabled the military to achieve an exemplary safety record within this high-risk environment.
Now I’m sure the principles and traits of safety culture will ring true with many of you as reflective of what is currently happening in your facilities. The questions in my mind, however, are: one - do regulators, industry allies and potential allies, and consumers realize and appreciate the emphasis and value we place on safety? And, two, should safety culture be a more prominent aspect of our story?
I would say maintaining and developing safety culture within the plumbing industry is essential to maintaining and developing trust. To push back against that general feeling of distrust, we must clearly prove ourselves as trustworthy – meaning that we care for employees, shareholders, customers and communities. Or better yet, that we care for all stakeholders.
Public health experts have acknowledged that modern sanitation and plumbing has protected more lives and extended life expectancy more than any medical advancement. That’s an outstanding track record that is under threat right now. What better way to mitigate that threat than to adhere to safety culture and communicate its benefits? Because when you think about it, safety is the one thread that runs through just about everything the plumbing industry does. Let’s demonstrate that as clearly and as often as we can.
UNDERSTANDING BACKFLOW – EDUCATION AND TRAINING IS THE KEY
The concept of backflow prevention is quite simple, yet to truly understand it in the context of cross connection control, and have the knowledge and skill to test and repair backflow devices, requires a high level of ongoing training, writes Peter McLennan, President of the Backflow Prevention Association of Australia. Peter McLennan, an Individual Member of the World Plumbing Council, has been involved with backflow prevention since the late 1980’s. See www.bpaa.org.au
Understanding Backflow Prevention – Further education is the key!
Michel Legrand, the well-known French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist once said “The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize the less I know.”
Not a day goes by when I don’t have to explain how a backflow preventer works and how it prevents the contamination of the drinking water supply. Many in the plumbing fraternity understand this, but still many don’t have the training to equip them when it comes to backflow preventers.
Backflow prevention devices are mechanical devices which meet stringent standards where the materials of manufacture and the performance are audited so that the product can attain the relevant approval certification. They are a safety device for use in the drinking water supply to prevent backflow where a potential exists.
It is a requirement across most of the world where backflow prevention is concerned, that a plumber takes extra study over and above the apprenticeship to become an accredited backflow tester. It is not something every plumber is trained to do, due to the sophistication of the devices and the level of safety the device provides.
In the State of Queensland, where I live, a backflow prevention license holder must pass a “refresher” course every 5 years to be re-licensed. Queensland is the only jurisdiction in Australia that presently requires this re-certification and I believe this strong Queensland standard should be made uniform nationally, to prevent a general decline in standards.
The concept of backflow prevention is a very simple concept, but to truly understand it in the context of cross connection control and have the knowledge and skill to test a device, maintain and repair it needs a high level of ongoing training.
In the past, the ’backflow tester course’ in Australia covered aspects of hazard levels, risk awareness, standards, testing, maintenance, repair, troubleshooting as well as touching on auditing and surveying a premise for risk of backflow.
However, the reduction of hours in Australia available for training has resulted in the emphasis being on the testing of the device for operational effectiveness and little else. This leaves troubleshooting, device repair, understanding of hazard ratings etc. all untouched resulting in an accredited person without adequate and incomplete knowledge and skill.
It is well known that plumbers save more lives than doctors but if as an industry we continue to resist Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and further education, we will risk losing currency in terms of our collective industry skill set.
That is why, we at the Backflow Prevention Association of Australia provide conferences, technical workshops and seminars in an effort to keep the plumber’s skills fresh. We are currently developing a Continuous Professional Development curriculum that specifically covers backflow prevention and the aspects related to it.
We see the backflow plumber as a professional, responsible for maintaining the integrity and public safety just as a specialist doctor who needs ongoing training to maintain their license. This is no different!
Only through further ongoing education will the backflow plumber keep abreast of the ongoing changes and developments in the industry.
EUROPEAN BATHROOM FORUM
The European Bathroom Forum (EBF) was established in 2017 to promote the creation of an environmental Water Label for the bathroom space. The aim of this label is ensuring end users have reliable and updated information about the performance of bathroom products in matters such as water and energy consumption. The EBF is comprised of 57 European manufacturers and nine trade bodies and associations from the bathroom industry.
This initiative by the bathroom industry has been conceived with the aim of contributing to the global goals of the European Commission in the field of sustainability and efficiency related to water and energy consumption. The EBF took a major step forward during the CERSAIE Ceramic Fair in Bologna, Italy in September 2018.
The European Bathroom Forum (EBF) chose the CERSAIE Fair as the ideal platform to inform manufacturers, merchants, designers and politicians of this new forum, bringing all facets of the Industry together as one voice to promote the importance of water and energy efficiency within the bathroom environment.
The EBF brings the whole water using bathroom products sector together. It acts as the conduit to politicians, on the important role that voluntary initiatives play on the delivery of efficiency measures, through good design, practice and education tools, providing consumers with easy to understand information, enabling an informed choice.
Pietro Mariotti, Geberit Group and newly elected Chair of the European Bathroom Forum, commenced the presentation with a video on the importance of Industry taking a lead role in using water and energy wisely in the bathroom environment, thus ensuring natural resources for future generations. He presented the road map that will see the well-established European Water Label in full transition mode moving seamlessly to the recently launched Water Label. He extended an invitation to the Italian Bathroom Industry, the trailblazers for great design, to embrace the efficiency message and pledge their support to the Industry initiative, join the Forum and register their products on the Water Label.
For further information contact email@example.com.
ROBERT BURGON ANNOUNCED AS MASTER OF WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF PLUMBERS
The World Plumbing Council congratulates Robert Burgon, on being appointed Master of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers for 2017-18. The Worshipful Company of Plumbers is one of the most ancient of the Livery Companies of the City of London, having served the City and the craft of plumbing continuously for over 650 years. Robert served as Chair of the World Plumbing Council for the 2008 to 2011 period, following six years of service as a member of the Executive Board. Robert was Chief Executive of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation for 28 years, as well as making other major contributions to the United Kingdom plumbing industry.
DATES FOR DIARY
ISH India Powered by IPA, 22-24 February 2018, Bangalore International Exhibition Centre India
ISH India Powered by IPA is a collaborative venture between Messe Frankfurt and the Indian Plumbing Association, India's national body representing the plumbing industry.
The second edition of ISH India powered by IPA will be held 22 to 24 February 2018 at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, alongside leading existing exhibition organizers and industry bodies such as Acrex India and Fire & Safety India Expo in collaboration with ISHRAE (Indian Society of Heating and Refrigeration Engineers), Fire & Safety Association of India and NürnbergMesse coming together with a vision to create ‘Build Fair Alliance’ in accordance with Indian government’s development vision for smart cities.
World Plumbing Day Celebration, 9 March 2018, PICAC, Melbourne Australia
The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) will again host a large event celebrating World Plumbing Day at its 306 Albert Street Brunswick premises on Friday 9 March 2018.
World Plumbing Day Breakfast, 9 March 2018, Master Plumbers Queensland, Brisbane Australia
Master Plumbers Queensland will host its fourth breakfast event celebrating World Plumbing Day from 6.30am to 8.30am on Friday 9 March 2018, with an expected attendance of more than 300 people. Further details will be available on www.mpaq.com.au closer to the date of the event.
Emerging Water Technology Symposium, 15-16 May 2018, Ontario California
The American Society of Plumbing Engineers, the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials and Plumbing Manufacturers International, in cooperation with the World Plumbing Council, will convene the sixth biennial Emerging Water Technology Symposium at the Double Tree Hilton in Ontario, California, on 15-16 May 2018.
World Plumbing Council General Meeting and Four Pillars of Plumbing Forum, 17 May 2018, Ontario California
On Thursday 17 May 2018 at the Double Tree Hilton in Ontario California, the World Plumbing Council will first hold a brief General Meeting (8.00am-10.00am) and then conduct a Four Pillars of Plumbing Forum until 5.00pm, focused on the products dimension of plumbing industry frameworks.
World Plumbing Council General Meeting, 25 October 2018, Mumbai India
The World Plumbing Council will hold a General Meeting in Mumbai India from 1.00pm to 5.00pm on 25 October 2018.
Indian Plumbing Association 25th Indian Plumbing Conference, 26–27 October 2018, Mumbai India
The Indian Plumbing Association, with support from the World Plumbing Council, will hold a two day Indian Plumbing Conference with a Four Pillars of Plumbing theme at the Nehru Science Centre during 26 and 27 October 2018 in Mumbai. The Mumbai conference will have four streams covering all four ‘Pillars’ - Participation, Practices, Products and Protection. More than 1,000 participants and large number of exhibitors are expected. The IPA will arrange accommodation packages and a partner program.
World Plumbing Council 12th Triennial World Plumbing Conference, 11-13 September 2019, Melbourne Australia
This three day conference will be based on the WPC’s Four Pillars of Plumbing program. The theme will be ‘How to build a successful plumbing industry’.
ISH Frankfurt, 11-15 March 2019, Frankfurt Germany
The next ISH, the world’s leading trade fair for the combination of water and energy, will be held from 11 to 15 March 2019. ISH will begin on Monday, instead of Tuesday as in the past. The fair will be open to private visitors on the last day, Friday.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to provide an event report or request listing of an upcoming event.