July 2020



Dear WPC members,

I hope this finds the plumbing community well. While many of you are still experiencing the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic, hopefully life is getting somewhat back to normal for others. Here in the United States we are beginning to experience another spike in COVID-19 cases, prompting closures of the hospitality and travel industries again. Construction and plumbing service has been deemed essential, which is a blessing for the plumbing industry.
Like any other business in the world, the way we conduct our business has changed. Contractors must adjust productivity formulas to account for unproductive time due to cleaning of hands, tools, wearing more PPE equipment and hours of work. In cities where jobsites are mostly vertical, starting times are staggered to allow for fewer workers on the elevators that take them to their workstations.
Jobsites are requiring more hand-washing stations and bathrooms. Architects and engineers are designing new buildings to accommodate temporary facilities for the workforce.
Training for our workforces has changed as well. Distant learning on computerized blackboards has substituted for classroom work. School schedules had to be adjusted so that proper social distancing can be achieved.
All of these new changes come as additional costs to the construction and service industry. Obviously, this is not a welcome change to an already fragile economy that has been devasted in most countries.
The WPC has been grounded since March, when most countries banned international travel. We are conducting business as usual by internet. The 2020 scholarship winners had to cancel their trips abroad this year, but their scholarships will be honored for 2021. We allocated the money that we did not spend on the 2020 scholarships for various hand-washing station projects through our affiliation with IWSH.
Please continue to update us on the status of the plumbing industry in your country and any new developments in regard to new products, installation practices, codes, standards or anything that can help improve safe water and proper sanitation. Plumbers protect the health of the nation.

Be safe,

Tom Bigley
WPC Chairman



The WPC has created a page to share resources, experiences and updates from its members regarding the global pandemic. The page may be viewed here: www.worldplumbing.org/covid-19-plumbing-reports-from-around-the-world/

If you have information to share, please submit via email to secretariat@worldplumbing.org.

Below are the most recent updates:

COVID-19 Precautions in the Australian Plumbing Industry

Submitted June 24 by Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre’s (PICAC)

Over 5,000 COVID-19 tests for construction workers have been completed on worksites across Victoria and Tasmania.

Social distancing measures on worksites have been assisted by having staggered start and end times throughout the day.


Social distancing measures in a construction site lunchroom.

Social distancing measures during daily toolbox talks and meetings.


Industry association seminars and meetings that would usually be held in person are being conducted online.

Industry associations share information about the industry risks as COVID-19 restrictions ease.


Measures at PICAC’s campuses include reduced student numbers in classes; online learning where possible; classes postponed when social distancing is not possible; and constant reminders to sanitize and keep good hygiene around campus.  Pictured: pre-apprenticeship class at PICAC Narre Warren. 

CHINA LESSO Group Assists in Pandemic Response

Submitted June 25 by Mr. Yongxin, WPC EB member

CHINA LESSO pipeline is loaded in batches and ready to be delivered to the construction site of the Leishenshan Hospital in January.

Being a member of the Plumbing Facilities Committee of China Construction Metal Structure Association, as well as an Affiliate member of World Plumbing Council, CHINA LESSO Group had the responsibility of responding during the first NCP outbreak. The response required quick decisions on actions and allocation of resources, and quickly assisting with the construction of the Leishenshan hospital in the Jiangxia District of Wuhan. This meant providing large quantities of PVC, PPR pipes and other products required for the construction of the Leishenshan hospital. Additional responsibilities called for investing in the construction of water supply and drainage works of the project and providing more support for the prevention and control of the epidemic situation in Wuhan.

We should work together to overcome difficulties. When the Leishenshan hospital is completed one minute earlier, the epidemic can be stopped one minute earlier. To race against time is to seize the hope of patients’ health and recovery. CHINA LESSO Group continues to pay attention to the epidemic situation in Wuhan, gathering its strength to provide all kinds of help within its capacity for prevention and control, and jointly fighting against the epidemic situation.

CHINA LESSO pipeline arrives at the construction site of the Leishenshan hospital in batches in January.


IWSH and Rwanda Plumbing Organization Promote Hand-Washing in Local Schools

Submitted by Jean Claude Twagirimana, RPO Coordinator

As a solution to the community in areas where there is no access to a plumbing system, the Rwanda Plumbers Organization (RPO) has designed and built a mobile hand-washing station that meets sanitation and hygienic standards that can be used in public.

RPO’s portable hand-washing station has two storage tanks: one keeps clean water and another safely keeps waste water to be drained out at proper place. It is operated by a foot pillar tap and includes liquid soap that is touchless to avoid any contamination risks. It saves water because we use time delay taps and it only opens when the pedal is pressed.

The RPO has organized a community outreach program to respond to COVID-19 and other waterborne diseases, as health experts recommend frequent hand-washing to contribute to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. As time goes on the number of infections here increases — as now we have 820 infections with two deaths — protective measures are to be reinforced by everyone. The RPO has prepared this event to bring awareness to plumbers’ role in protecting the public’s health.

Theme of the project: “Plumbing for Health”

The mobile hand-washing station project demonstrates the role that plumbing plays in daily life and is also increasing public awareness about the RPO as a newly formed and unique plumbing institution across the country.

The RPO was been launched in the Musanze District at the Nkotsi head office June 17, 2020. Different partners and government officials were on hand.

The RPO recognizes the role of World Plumbing Council (WPC) Chairman Thomas Bigley and IAPMO CEO GP Russ Chaney to connect the RPO with the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) to promote this project in local schools in the Musanze District. Hopefully, IWSH and RPO will continue to collaborate to promote the plumbing industry here.

IPRC Musanze facilitated RPO access to the plumbing workshop to use tools and equipment to build the hand-washing station structure and install the system.

IWSH Managing Director Seán Kearney worked closely with RPO Coordinator Jean Claude Twagirimana to coordinate all of the activities.

The RPO team has volunteered to assist in the construction of the hand-washing system.



Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) delivered important insights to its members on federal infrastructure legislation and critical housing and trade issues during the PMI Virtual Legislative Forum on June 24.

“Our members gained access to valuable information from experts with remarkable knowledge and insights into issues affecting our industry,” said Kerry Stackpole, PMI CEO/executive director. “PMI members who could not attend will still have access to the forum’s recording and presentations, as well as to materials they can use to advocate on behalf of their companies to members of Congress.”

The two-hour forum was divided into four sessions. The first session, “Eye on Housing,” provided an economic analysis and forecast of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on home and apartment building from Robert Dietz, chief economist and senior vice president for economics and housing policy, National Association of Home Builders. He discussed the current construction and housing industry outlook and how housing will be a leading element for the nation’s overall recovery.

Ed Mortimer, vice president of transportation and infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, provided an update during the second session on various transportation and water infrastructure legislation designed to retain or create jobs, repair old systems, and stimulate consumer spending. He covered some of the key elements necessary to pass this vital legislation, including bipartisan solutions and the need for organizations such as PMI to continue their advocacy efforts.

During her presentation on the “Future of Trade in the Wake of COVID-19” during the forum’s third session, trade lawyer Nicole Bivens Collinson reviewed the dynamics of the United States-China tariff negotiations, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) effective on July 1, and the impact the pandemic is having on supply chains. Bivens is president of the international trade, customs and export law practice at Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.

Collinson discussed the short windows that PMI member companies have to ask the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for extensions to some previously approved China tariff exclusions. Depending on the plumbing product or component, the deadlines to request an extension range from July 7 to July 31, 2020. The extensions would last for one year and are being offered in an apparent bow to concerns about the tariffs’ impact on companies struggling with the coronavirus pandemic. The move would apply to some products excluded from the 25 percent tariffs that the Trump administration imposed on Chinese goods.

The final session, “Outreach to Congress: Take Action and Urge Lawmakers to Support Robust Infrastructure Package,” provided tools and information to assist PMI members in their advocacy efforts for the plumbing manufacturing industry. The tools include a customizable letter that members can use to urge local lawmakers to pass important infrastructure legislation and a directory of Congressional members.

The forum was hosted by Stackpole, as well as by the co-chairs of PMI’s Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee: Troy Benavidez, vice president of public affairs for LIXIL; Lowell Lampen, engineering director, K&B NA sanitary products, Kohler Co.; and Stephanie Salmon, PMI’s government affairs consultant.



The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) is the latest plumbing industry organization to join the World Plumbing Council (WPC). The WPC is an international membership association that aims to achieve the best possible plumbing for the world through the growth and development of the world’s plumbing industries.

Established in 2000, the WPC has at least one organizational (Full or Affiliate) member in 41 countries. Full members are mainly national level plumbing industry associations and unions, while Affiliate members include contractors, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, service providers and academic institutions. IWSH joins the WPC as an Affiliate member, following a variety of community plumbing and corporate social responsibility-based collaborations with WPC members around the world over the past five years. A list of countries and organizations represented by the WPC may be found here.

“The World Plumbing Council is pleased to welcome IWSH as a member, as it complements the WPC’s mission of humanizing the health benefits of plumbing,” said WPC Chair/UA Director of Plumbing Services Thomas Bigley.
The potential for these collaborations has come into sharper focus against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic through the first half of 2020, when the WPC Executive Board connected IWSH with member organizations in Zambia, Rwanda, and South Africa with the goal of facilitating and supporting local plumbing industry responses to disease prevention in their communities, primarily through the design and development of new hand-washing facilities and public health and hygiene awareness activities.

In Zambia, IWSH and the Plumbers Association of Zambia (PAZA) collaborated on a pilot program to provide more than 50 hand-washing stands to the SOS Children’s Village in the capital city of Lusaka.

In Rwanda, IWSH worked with the Rwanda Plumbers Organization (RPO) to support community hand-washing and public health awareness activities. Building on the design and donation of new mobile hand-washing stations via a World Plumbing Day 2020 workshop at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC) in the Huye district, RPO members delivered additional stations to three primary schools, two high schools and five vulnerable households in the Musanze district.

In South Africa, IWSH, the Institute of Plumbing, South Africa (IOPSA) and the British Plumbers Employment Council (BPEC) are supporting a Water Amenities and Sanitation Services Upgrading Program (WASSUP) Diepsloot initiative to repair 2,000 communal taps in 50 days.

“For the last few years, IWSH and WPC have collaborated closely around our ongoing international Community Plumbing Challenge program,” said Seán Kearney, IWSH Managing Director. “Today WPC represents a unique network of plumbing industry representatives — expertise all over the world — so it is an excellent platform for IWSH to continue building partnerships within. We hope that from our new position as an Affiliate member we can continue to grow and develop more new and creative plumbing initiatives that will provide improved water, sanitation and hygiene in more locations, and in partnership with more industry groups and sector organizations.”



By Laura Ceja, National Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator for the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry (UA) Education and Training Department

The Riddle:
A father and son were in a car accident in which the father was killed. The ambulance brought the son to the hospital. He needed immediate surgery. In the operating room, a doctor came in, looked at the little boy and said, “I can't operate on him; he is my son!”

How is this possible? Who is the doctor?

The answer is: The little boy’s mother is the doctor.
Some of you may be familiar with this riddle, but for those of you who are not and found yourselves struggling to solve the mystery, rest assured, you are not alone. 
Replace doctor with plumber and you will find the same bias that exists for women in the medical profession is tenfold in the plumbing industry. These days we have come to readily accept women doctors but the same does not hold true for women plumbers. Years of social bias and the push to make everyone attend a four-year college, especially women, have resulted in perpetually low numbers of women plumbers. The construction trades have developed a sense of learned helplessness when it comes to the recruitment of women. Despite continued outreach, I still hear trade industry professionals say, “What can I do? Women just don’t want to do this type of work!” I’m sure, not too long ago, when women were typecast as nurses you would hear people in the medical industry say, “Women don’t want to be doctors; they’d rather be nurses.” It is within this bias that the problem lies.

But what steps can we take, both individually and collectively, to encourage more women to enter the plumbing trade? Changing society won’t be easy, but we can start by changing the way the world sees women plumbers. We need to interact with and engage young people and sow the idea of women plumbers in their minds as early as possible, so the concept is fully grown and second nature to them by the time they are adults. We need to find ways of mainstreaming the idea of women plumbers through television, movies and other media. We need to let women see themselves as plumbers, so they know it is possible and as acceptable a profession for women as a doctor. We need to make sure women know about the benefits of being a plumber and the pride that comes with being a part of this critical sector of the workforce that helps keep our country strong, safe and healthy. We need to create a new paradigm where women plumbers are as ubiquitous as women teachers, nurses, doctors or lawyers.

Read more: www.worldplumbing.org/attracting-more-women-to-plumbing/



John Lansing, the U.S. recipient of the WPC 2018 Education and Training Scholarship, has submitted his comprehensive report, A Comparison of British and American Plumbing Engineering Standards and Practices. The WPC scholarship gave Lansing the opportunity to engage with engineering societies in the United Kingdom during June 2019, including the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) and the Society of Public Health Engineers (SoPHE), as well as consulting engineers, plumbers, and researchers at Heriot-Watt University studying water supply and drainage systems in buildings.

From the report:
Widespread adoption of sanitation technologies in the United Kingdom and United States in the 19th and early 20th century led to some of the first drafting of standards regarding the design and installation of plumbing systems. British and American plumbing methodologies have played an influential role in the development of plumbing standards and practices internationally, with many aspects developed in isolation, enabling contrasting comparisons to be made between the two systems. These comparisons may prove useful as plumbing design standards in both the US and UK face challenges revising traditional guidance to reflect modern building drainage system theory, water conservation measures, as well as other factors that impact the adaptability of plumbing systems to climate change mitigation measures. The specific comparisons made between national approaches are selective and focus on water supply and drainage systems while giving technical insight from past and present research. Key variations and similarities between the national and regional methodologies are featured to highlight how the discipline of plumbing engineering remains shaped by empirically derived practices from the last century.

Read the full report here: A Comparison of British and American Plumbing Engineering Standards and Practices (Lansing).



The WPC, an international organization that aims to achieve the best possible plumbing for the world through growth and development of the world’s plumbing industries, has connected the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) and the Plumbers Association of Zambia (PAZA) for a pilot program that will provide more than 50 hand-washing stands to the SOS Children’s Village in the Zambian capital.

The collaboration is the latest example of IWSH’s support for industry partners fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through community-led water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives.

SOS Children’s Village Lusaka started its operations in August 1999. Caring for 147 children and 76 youths, there are 15 family houses, four youth homes, and a kindergarten, primary school, high school and vocational training center.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the globe, millions of people have been heeding the advice of health experts to wash their hands regularly, with soap, to help prevent virus spread,” said PAZA CEO and President Moses Chongo. “But millions more people around the globe are vulnerable, because they do not have access to clean water and soap. The washing of hands is a small action but remains out of reach for so many.

“Hand washing in public places and residential care settings is going to become the ‘new normal’ when it comes to preventing infections,” Chongo added. “PAZA has decided to play our part in our local communities, highlighting these new public health guidelines, and helping equip people of all ages with correct and accurate information about the importance of washing hands regularly.”

PAZA was founded in Lusaka in June 2019, with the intention of uniting Zambian plumbing and mechanical services professionals to support and educate communities on skills related to water, sanitation, sludge management, public health, and safety. The association has more than 80 members registered from a variety of backgrounds, including plumbing, water operation and supply, HVAC, mechanical plumbing services, pipefitting, and water pump maintenance.

“From a World Plumbing Council perspective, we are excited to witness the ongoing development of PAZA, as a collaborative platform for the plumbing industry across Zambia,” said WPC Chair/UA Director of Plumbing Services Thomas Bigley. “PAZA has been a proactive member of the WPC since it was established last year, and this latest initiative is another example of PAZA’s drive to raise awareness of the role of plumbing in its local communities.” 

Installation for the mobile hand-washing stations began at the SOS Children’s Village Lusaka on June 10. The guest of honor, Adern Nkandela — National Director of the SOS Children's Village Zambia — will be on hand to witness these activities.

Photos of the event are available at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmNnHRu1.



The WPC, in association with The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH), is excited to support an ambitious new initiative from WASSUP Diepsloot — the Water Amenities and Sanitation Services Upgrading Program — which will target repairs to 2,000 communal taps across the township in 50 days, through June and July 2020.

“Tackle a Tap” is a nine-week program that brings together a unique group of plumbing industry partners, local and international, in the fight against COVID-19. Local community host WASSUP Diepsloot will welcome volunteer plumbers from the Institute of Plumbing, South Africa (IOPSA) and further technical support and resources from leading South African plumbing merchant Plumblink. These efforts are being further supported by fellow WPC Member organizations BPEC (British Plumbers Employment Council) and the IWSH Foundation.

“IOPSA has a passion for plumbing and firmly believes that everyone should have access to proper water and sanitation,” said IOPSA Executive Director Brendan Reynolds. “WASSUP has proven to be a very honest, reliable and hardworking organization. We have similar values and a “can do” attitude. In short it is a good match between two organizations with a common purpose — decent water and sanitation for the people of Diepsloot.”

Despite the presence of a water supply in most informal settlements across Johannesburg, local authorities are often unable to keep pace with repairing communal taps as they break quickly due to a high demand on infrastructure and a shortage of outlets. Lack of access to reliable water supply is an issue, even more so in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the requirement for regular handwashing and cleaning to prevent infections and virus spread.

There are 642 communal taps in Extension 1 alone, which is the largest of the 13 Extensions (neighborhoods) that make up the township of Diepsloot. In some areas, 39 households share one tap between them. Starting at WASSUP headquarters — which is also based in Extension 1 — a team will branch out to conduct audits of tap conditions and prepare lists of materials that will be required to repair them. The team will then prepare material and equipment packs and transport them via hand-pulled cart or truck.

This far-reaching program has a further educational aspect, as a group of five young and aspiring plumbers will be joining with WASSUP to mark South African Youth Day, on Tuesday.

“We have identified five young people, who are from our community and appreciate what we are doing, for the upcoming program of repairing taps,” said WASSUP member Princess Zondi. “I myself was introduced to WASSUP by a youth program, Project Vuthela; I went to a plumbing school in Pretoria, and then I was bought to WASSUP to do my practical work. After some months, I became employed with them!”

“The WPC is honored to be part of such a worthwhile and ambitious effort to make sure as many households as possible have access to clean, safe water, and it’s even better that we’re involving young community members in the program,” said WPC Chair/UA Director of Plumbing Services Thomas Bigley.

The WPC is an international organization that promotes the vital role the plumbing industry has to play by enhancing health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity through good quality plumbing practices, worldwide.
Sticky Situations has facilitated the inception, training and growth of the community-led cooperative WASSUP Diepsloot since Global Studio initiated the program, in collaboration with local government officials, in Johannesburg in 2007.

Accompanying images are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmNMpP6T.


2020 ASSE International Annual Meeting
October 19-22, 2020

World Health Summit 2020
October 25-27, 2020
Berlin, Germany

27th Indian Plumbing Conference & Exhibition
December 4-5, 2020
Deccan College Grounds, Pune, India

Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS)
February 9-11, 2021
Orlando, FL, USA

Montreal Fall Home Expo
February 11-14, 2021
Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada

Kitchen & Bathroom Indonesia
March 18-21, 2021
Jakarta International Expo, Jakarta, Indonesia

May 11-13, 2021
Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia

7th Emerging Water Technology Symposium
May 11-12, 2021
San Antonio, Texas

2021 Trades Industry Conference
September 1-2, 2021
Royal International Convention Centre – Brisbane, Australia

IAPMO 92nd Annual Education and Business Conference
September 26-30, 2021
San Antonio, TX

Contact secretariat@worldplumbing.org to provide an event report or request listing of an upcoming event.

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