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A big day for plumbing

29 February 2016

With World Plumbing Day on Friday 11 March, we thought it was a great opportunity to find out a bit more about the big issues driving the plumbing industry right now.

We sat down with Shayne La Combre – CEO of the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) and the Deputy Chair of the World Plumbing Council to discuss what the future holds.

What’s the idea behind World Plumbing Day?

World Plumbing Day is a concept put together by the World Plumbing Council to recognise the vital contribution plumbers make to our everyday lives.

Essentially, there are two parts to World Plumbing Day. In Australia, where we have advanced systems and safe drinking water, we like to raise awareness of the contribution plumbers make by providing us with sanitary waste, piping gas, drinking water. We enjoy these things because plumbers do their job really well.

In terms of the global outlook, we also like to remind people that the services we take for granted, are not what others in the world have. There are millions of deaths each year caused by lack of water sanitation and clean drinking water – especially of children under the age of five. This day is about shining light on these issues around the world.

How can the plumbers get involved?

On Friday 11 March there’ll be plenty of events happening around the country for plumbers to get involved in. Here at PICAC we see this as a great opportunity to highlight the importance of plumbing to politicians, training organisations and consumers. We get key speakers in, put on a lunch and bring industry people together to celebrate plumbers.

What do you see as the big trends driving the plumbing industry in the next few years?

We’re definitely seeing more integration of sustainability principles into buildings such as airtight buildings and better thermal performance. This is a great example of how plumbing and HVAC-R need to work together.

We’re also seeing the growth of interconnected systems such as rainwater tanks with home plumbing. These systems are vitally important to the sustainable future of Australia, however plumbers need to be properly trained in these systems to ensure the water is safe for drinking.

In politics, governments are talking a lot about possible deregulation of the plumbing industry. This is concerning as people who aren't aware of the inherent risks involved in plumbing, don’t understand the consequences of having untrained plumbers.

Another big trend is how plumbing products are changing to suit our ageing population. People want to stay at home for longer and bathroom products are integrating new functionality (e.g. slip hazards, step hazards) into their design. 

Are there any new technologies emerging that look set to change the way plumbers work?

Plumbing is always evolving and those in the industry need to be flexible and find ways to stay current. Computer technology gives us access to powerful information so plumbers can assist their consumers even more. No need to truck around a whole lot of manuals and brochures, you can carry around resources on your smart phone and stay up-to-date.

How are energy and environmental concerns shaping the plumbing industry today?

In a country as dry and populated as ours, it’s important that we implement best practice when it comes to conserving water. While we have adopted processes that work during drought conditions, we must continue to look at ways to save water year round.

Reece Plumbing stores around the country will be holding a variety of activities on World Plumbing Day, simply visit your local branch or plumbing association for more information. In addition, PICAC is running a series of events to mark this important day in Victoria. For more information please click here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/world-plumbing-day-2016-tickets-21246915095 

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