December 2019



I would like to begin by thanking the WPC membership for giving me this opportunity to serve as the chair of the World Plumbing Council (WPC). It is a great honor, and I will strive my best to continue to advance the goals of this organization.

On behalf of the WPC, I would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to Shayne LaCombre for his dedication and leadership over the past three years. Through his direction, the WPC’s reputation and influence rose globally to new heights, and the WPC is stronger than ever. We also thank the 2016-2019 board of directors for their hard work and efforts, with a special thanks to retiring Director Ken Gardner. Please join me in welcoming two new members, Yongxin Qin (China) and Jean Claude Twagirimana (Rwanda).

In this edition of the WPC Review, we have a recap of the World Plumbing Conference. Be sure to read about this exciting and highly successful event.

The 2019 scholarship recipients have been chosen, and the announcement may be read below — congratulations to the recipients! We also have two previous winners’ reports to share – their reports highlight how successful and beneficial this program continues to be. There is also a recap of the recent WorldSkills Competition, and articles from our members — thank you to all who contributed.

We are grateful for the support of our members over the past year. As 2019 draws to a close, we hope we can count on your continued support and membership in the future. We wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

I encourage you to contact us at with any information, questions or comments you may have.



More than 500 international plumbing industry representatives gathered in Melbourne, Australia, in September for the 12th triennial World Plumbing Conference presented by Caroma Smart Command.

The conference began Sept. 11 with a General Meeting for WPC members. The 2016-2019 Executive Board reviewed the accomplishments of the past three years before the Executive Board members for the 2019-2022 term were introduced.

Following the GM, the formalities of WPC 2019 started with Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK AC(Mil) CVO MC (Retd) who welcomed delegates to the event and spoke about how his own experiences abroad showed him the importance of water and sanitation infrastructure to less-developed countries and communities.

Futurist Mark Pesce then took to the stage, setting the scene for the three days with the first keynote presentation focused on the digital revolution and its impact on skills that lead into the first of the Four Pillars of Plumbing to be explored: Products. Presentations during the Products Pillar session included the use of smart technologies in plumbing installations, the importance of regulation in the products market and diagnosing product failure before a deep dive into hydrogen and the opportunities it presents to the plumbing industry.

A social event concluded the day, with the Welcome Reception held in the afternoon sun on the Yarra River.

Day two, Sept. 12, kicked off with a rousing keynote presentation from Mark McManus, General President of the United Association (UA), which represents more than 350,000 union plumbers, pipefitters, sprinkler fitters, welders and HVAC service technicians across the U.S. and Canada. Mark discussed the importance of formalized training and the certification and registration of licensed tradespeople, and the importance of the industry working together across international borders.

The Participation Pillar then started with a panel session on how skills and training can improve the world, and how the WorldSkills competitions assist in raising the standards of skills training around the world. Swiss training models and the methods used to attract instructors were covered, as was the Singaporean experience of introducing industry licensing and the training required to do that successfully.

Serious harm and even deadly situations are very real consequences of poor plumbing, inadequate training or ineffective regulation. The Thursday afternoon session started on a sober note with a keynote presentation from Vanessa Robinson of The Chase and Tyler Foundation. Vanessa shared her story, which demonstrates the real and tragic consequences that can follow when gas appliance servicing is neglected. Further presentations covered the importance of, and challenges involved in, regulation and compliance, how engineering can be used to fight the instances of legionella, backflow prevention, and the dangers of hot water scalding.

Sept. 13 was the final day and covered the Practices Pillar. The audience listened to presentations about current research in areas such as water efficiency and wastewater management. Three speakers then focused on the World Health Organization’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This included master of ceremonies Rob Gell, who wrapped up the conference with a keynote speech drawing on all of the information covered during the course of WPC 2019 and contextualizing it in terms of how it relates to SDG 6. 

After the day’s final presentation, Shayne La Combre officially passed the baton to Tom Bigley to chair the World Plumbing Council for the next term. WPC 2022 was then introduced by Mr Qin Yongxin, Chairman of the Plumbing Facilities Committee of China Construction Metal Structure Association, who invited all delegates to attend the 2022 Conference in Shanghai, China.

That evening was an opportunity for the delegates to get dressed up and have some fun at the Gala Dinner event. More than 750 guests attended the dinner, which was held as a joint event with the local industry’s annual Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards. The highlight was the presentation of WPC Distinguished Service Awards to some special people who were instrumental in making the WPC what it is today.

Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Stuart Henry (Chair 2002-2005 and Secretariat 2011-2017), Robert Burgon (Chair 2008-2011), GP Russ Chaney (Chair 2011-2013), Sudhakaran Nair (Chair 2013-2016), and George Bliss (Chair 2005-2008).



Each year the WPC grants three scholarships to individuals actively involved in their local plumbing industry, particularly in education and training, to travel to another country for the purpose of developing and contributing further plumbing industry knowledge. The goal is to promote and assist plumbing industry education and facilitate international recognition of plumbing competencies and standards.

After reviewing the applications, the WPC Executive Board chose the following recipients:

Education and Training Scholarship Winner: Daniel Rademacher
Dan Rademacher, from Montana, USA, is an instructor for the UA and IAPMO. He hopes to use the scholarship to go to Rwanda and give a 20- or 40- hour plumbing seminar similar to the class being presented at the Plumbing Code Application class at UA ITP week. The main goal of the class would be to focus on supporting the efforts of the Rwanda Plumbers Organization (RPO) and its new plumbing classes. Rademacher said he had the pleasure of meeting Jean Claude Twagirimana at the 2018 UA ITP week and was impressed by Twagirimana’s vision and goals of bringing safe and sanitary plumbing to the country.

“Now that they have received the books and training materials donated from the UA, it may be a great opportunity to support the Rwanda plumbing industry with training ideas from our Plumbing Code Application Class to help them get started with their training curriculum,” Rademacher said.

Scholarship for Least- Developed and Developing Countries: Keval Vijaybhai Vejani
Keval Vijaybhai Vejani, from Ahmedabad, India, is a design and public health engineer for VMS Engineering And Design Services PVT LTD. He plans to attend a 20-day course on decentralized water supply and sanitation offered by the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, formerly known as UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, which is based in Delft, Netherlands, and is the world’s largest international graduate water education facility.

“I have this willingness to contribute to UN's sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) ‘clean water and sanitation’ and this will help to take my step forward towards this,” Vejani said. “I dream to be able to make an impact, a dent in the field of water, be it conservation, harvesting, its management, functional use or quality assessment.”

United Association Institutor Training Scholarship: Moses Chongo Mutumpa
Moses Chongo Mutumpa, from Zambia, Africa, is a trainer and instructor at the Lusaka Vocationala Training Centre. Mutumpa will travel to the United States to take part in the annual UA Instructor Training Program (ITP). The ITP is held each August in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mutumpa hopes to attend courses on water treatment methods, plumbing fittings and pipe moldings, wastewater treatment, rainwater harvesting, and teaching methods.

Congratulations to all of the scholarship recipients!



World Plumbing Council (WPC) scholarship winner Sudip Das, a plumbing engineer and trainer from Kolkata, India, recently completed a three-week educational trip to the United States to learn more about teaching methods that he can use in his home country.

Das, a manager in planning and project coordination, is involved in a number of prestigious residential and commercial projects in eastern India, ranging from hospitality to health care. Das also teaches at various colleges, trains competitors and serves as a judge for WorldSkills and the Indian Plumbing Professionals League.

“This really meant a lot to me,” Das said of winning the 2018 WPC United Association Instructor Training Program Scholarship. “When there is one scholarship [in my category] per year, it has a huge impact on anybody’s life.”

WPC Deputy Chairman Thomas Bigley, the Director of Plumbing Services for the UA and an IAPMO Board of Directors member, accompanied Das on much of the trip.

Read Das’ report here.


A Rwandan plumber who received the inaugural scholarship from the World Plumbing Council and United Association for training instructors in developing nations is setting an example for future beneficiaries to follow.

Jean Claude Twagirimana, the recipient of the World Plumbing Council United Association Instructor Training Program Scholarship for Trainers from Developing Countries, took what he learned from his two-week visit to the United States last summer and helped start the Rwanda Plumbers Organization.

Now a confirmed member of the WPC, the RPO’s goals are to promote advanced education and training in plumbing through the development of a plumbing code, training curriculum and capacity building for plumbers and water users on water use efficiency.

Read Twagirimana’s report here (PDF).

Twagirimana has already started sharing what he learned with instructors in his home country. Pictured below is Twagirimana sharing his knowledge with instructors and assisting in teaching hot water usage using the UPC.



Champions and Experts from more than 30 countries and regions joined efforts to deliver three new toilets and washrooms to the Derbyshkinskiy Orphanage. Reusing some of the materials from the Plumbing and Heating Test Projects, including the steel frames, pipes, and ceramics, they assembled the toilet and washrooms at Kazan Expo in a special Team Project on the final day of competition, ready for transportation to the orphanage where they were installed in the days following WorldSkills Kazan 2019.

The new sanitary facilities were officially handed over to the Ministry of Building, Architecture and Housing Municipal Services of the Republic of Tatarstan, which was responsible for the selection of the Orphanage, following completion of the installation project Aug. 29. Derbyshkinskiy Orphanage, which opened in 1976, today cares for 176 special- needs children and teenagers between the ages of 4 and 23. There are 171 staff who work at the orphanage, providing rehabilitation to residents including social adaptation, education, medical care, and work experience.

The Plumbing and Heating Champions project was a collaborative effort between several organizations including the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) — a non profit standards and certification industry body — WorldSkills, TECE, the Russian HVAC Expert association, and the Ministry of Building, Architecture and Housing Municipal Services.

International Programme Director with IAPMO — and its charitable arm, the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWSH) Foundation — Seán Kearney, together with colleague Grant Stewart, helped to spearhead this initiative, explained the structure of the project and its focus on sustainability. Both Kearney and Stewart have personal connections with WorldSkills, having started out as competitors in 2005 and 1997, respectively.

“The Plumbing and Heating skill competition this year was three days, and then that was the end of the assessment. On day four we ran a Team Project where all Competitors and Experts worked together to assemble these new toilet and wash facilities for the children of Derbyshkinskiy Orphanage,” Kearney explained.

Read more here.



Contributed by Greg Smith, Executive Officer  - Training & Education, National Fire Industry Association, Australia

As buildings get more complex, so does the interaction between active and passive fire protection systems. Education continues to be a vital component of fire protection. To view fire protection as just the aggregation of the individual compartments is to be unaware of how their interplay actually works and is not an appropriate construct in the fire protection context. Fire protection systems are a series of interlocking and overlapping components and connections, each dependent on the other for the system to be effective.

At the absolute core of any quality fire protection system is a strong training and qualifications program underpinned by apprenticeships that focus on developing highly skilled professional tradespeople. Fire protection apprentice numbers are going through the roof in Australia as contractors vote with their feet by taking on more and more apprentices to sustain the long-term future of professional fire protection. Ongoing professional development is a must for sprinkler fitters to stay in touch with emerging technologies, new products and the myriad regulatory, policy and Australian standards changes. Our industry’s best training provider, Fire Industry Training (FIT), is leading the way with training courses designed for a lifelong career in fire protection.

Not all fire protection systems are the same. Every system, like a fingerprint, is unique. Why? Every building is slightly different, building materials vary, main water pressures vary, and so on. An open plan office building with 50 stories is different than a 50-story residential tower, which is different than a mixed-use 50-story tower, and vastly different than a tunnel carrying vehicular traffic and a health care or education facility.



The 2019 member conference of the Plumbing Facilities Committee of CCMSA, as well as the Water Supply and Drainage Application Technology and Management Seminar, were held in Shanghai from Sept. 18-20. Professional chief engineers from major national design institutes attended the conference, and more than 200 representatives from all over the country attended the conference.
Qin Yongxin, Chairman of the Plumbing Facilities Committee, addressed the conference. In his speech, he said: “Since the branch was officially established in 1993 with the approval of the  ministry of construction and the ministry of civil affairs, in accordance with the constitution of China Building Metal Structure Association, while strengthening its own construction, it has done a lot of work for the water supply and drainage industry, made certain achievements, and has been recognized and praised by the industry. In the course of the development and expansion of the branch, it has been unanimously supported by the member enterprises and greatly assisted by the insiders from the beginning to the end. These support and help are the foundation for the growth and development of the branch. Take this opportunity to express sincere thanks to the members and the leaders, experts and people from all walks of life who have supported and helped the branch!”

The grand awarding ceremony of the 2017-2018 National Famous Brand of Water Supply and Drainage Industry and the 2017-2018 National Outstanding Contribution of Water Supply and Drainage Industry was also held. During the meeting, they provided a platform for enterprises to show new products and technologies on site.

The seminar was actively supported by member enterprises, and the atmosphere was warm. The functions of government are changing from department management, micro management and direct management to industry management, macro management and indirect management. Therefore, the position and role of industry associations will become increasingly prominent. In the process of work, on the one hand, we should undertake some functions of the government; on the other hand, we should quickly grasp and understand the market demand of enterprises, and supervise the macro-control of the government. Supervisor provide basis. Therefore, as an industry association, it is responsible for promoting the development of enterprises, enabling more new products and technologies to serve the society, and promoting the growth and progress of the industry. The purpose of this meeting is to comply with national policy requirements, so that new products and technologies developed by enterprises can be well applied in the industry as soon as possible. It is to push the design, product application, energy saving and other work of water supply and drainage industry to a new height.

Qin also stressed that since joining the World Water Association, the branch has been representing China's water supply and drainage industry. Since joining the World Water Association, the branch has been actively and actively participating in various activities organized by the World Water Association on behalf of China's water supply and drainage industry, showing a good image and playing a positive role. He is responsible for holding a series of celebrations of World Building Water Supply and Drainage Day in China on March 11 every year, winning a good reputation in the World Water Association, playing an active role in the international water family, and making outstanding contributions to the global water industry. At the beginning of September, the branch organized a delegation to Australia to participate in the 12th World Water Conference and retrieved the right to hold the 13th World Water Conference, which will be held in Shanghai. Now, the branch has started the preparatory work of the conference.

It is hoped that the member units can actively participate and show their style at the 13th World Plumbing Conference in 2022 in Shanghai!



UNICEF Press Release

Ensuring equitable access must be central to efforts to realize the basic human rights to water and sanitation. However, despite significant progress in the provision of water and sanitation in the pan-European region, the latest data of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) shows that 31 million people do not have access to basic sanitation and 314,000 people still practise open defecation, majority of whom live in small rural settings. Furthermore, between 2000 and 2017, over 16 million people have yet to enjoy access to basic drinking water and over 48 million people do not have piped water at home. Countries of the region therefore still have a long way to go to meet equitable access targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (on clean water and sanitation for all) of the 2030 Agenda.

On the occasion of its 5th session of the Meeting of the Parties currently on-going in Belgrade (Serbia), the Protocol on Water and Health launched today its new publication “The Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in Practice: Findings and lessons learned from the work on equitable access to water and sanitation under the Protocol on Water and Health in the pan-European region” which capitalizes on  countries’ experiences in improving equitable access to water and sanitation.

Read more:



Contributed by the Institue of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)

Over the past few months, South Africa has lurched from crisis to crisis in the water space, from the water crisis in Cape Town to the dire situation in Nelson Mandela Bay and Beaufort West running out of water, as well as the continuing pollution of the Vaal river system with raw sewage. We seem to be unable to come to grips with water management. Most people tend to point the finger squarely at the government, but the reality is that each and every one of us has an important role to play. There is no way the government can solve these issues on its own, and we, as plumbers, are in a position to make a huge difference.

The first and most important step is for all of us to realize that our natural resources, especially fresh water, are finite – they will not last forever unless we change the way we use them. There is a huge body of evidence to confirm this. The great thing about water is that it generally does not get destroyed by use. This means that we can manage our use and, if we get it right, we could potentially have fresh water available to use forever. We just need to ensure that we start using it wisely. Fresh water is by far the most precious resource in the world, more important than gold, oil, diamonds or any other “precious” resource. Without fresh water we die, all of us, without exception … think about that for a few seconds.

The next step is for plumbers to recognize that they are important professionals who have a major role to play in the way we use and manage fresh water resources, both in South Africa and globally. Every single day, thousands of plumbers work on water systems in South Africa. The decisions you make on a daily basis have a direct impact on the system and by implication indirectly on every human being in the country. Do you choose to make a positive impact? Do you choose to follow the law, which is there to protect everyone, or do you just do what is most expedient? Do you choose to do what the architect/engineer/homeowner wants, even when you know it is wrong? Do you choose to save water or waste it, pollute it or protect it? When you recognize that, as a plumber, you are a professional and must act like one, you will start making the right choices. Your choices matter!!

The last step is for professional plumbers to act. You need to do something to make a difference. Make no mistake, the professional plumber is a role model and thought leader in his/her community. The way you act and the things you choose to do are seen by your colleagues, clients, neighbors, friends, family and the community as a whole. They will watch you for guidance; if the professional plumber can waste water, so can I. If the professional plumber can break the law, so can I. What you do says far more about you than any words ever could. Get involved and be active in your community, IOPSA, your children’s school or anywhere else where you can use your influence to ensure good water practices. Choose to use quality approved and environmentally friendly products. Use the latest water- saving devices and tools. Educate yourself. Thoughts and words can’t change anything; ultimately, only your actions will make a difference.

Water scarcity is the new normal for South Africa. We may have some good rains this season and maybe even next year, but eventually the drought will return, more frequently and progressively more widespread. We must get used to this new normal and if we are succeeding and growing, we must find ways to deal with it. We simply cannot keep doing things the way we have always done them; now is the time to change. I hope you, the professional plumber, will choose to be a part of the solution. Water is the life blood of our industry and we, as professional plumbers, are in the best position to make a positive impact on how it is used. Without fresh water we have no industry, and millions of lives will be put at risk. BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE AND MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON SOUTH AFRICA’S WATER RESOURCES!


Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2020
January 21-23, 2020
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Emerging Water Technology Symposium
May 12–13, 2020
San Antonio, Texas, USA

IAPMO's 91st Annual Education and Business Conference
September 13 - 17, 2020
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

2020 ASSE International Annual Meeting Meeting
October 19-22, 2020
San Diego, California, USA

Contact to provide an event report or request listing of an upcoming event.


Facebook twitter linkedin
World Plumbing Council

6/306 Albert St
Brunswick, VIC 3056