In the now seemingly distant days before the Covid-19 curbs were enacted across the nation, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering’s (CIPHE) ‘Dinner with the President’ was held on World Plumbing Day, the 11 March. Some 43 guests joined National President, Christopher Northey, at the Innholders' Hall, London, for a special dinner celebrating his year in the Institute’s most coveted position.
Industry collaboration, public health and the CIPHE’s Manifesto were the central themes of this year’s dinner, which was attended by prominent figures from organisations serving the plumbing and heating industry. Handshakes were swapped for elbow taps, as Alasdair Coates, Chief Executive Officer of The Engineering Council stepped into the role of guest speaker.
Christopher opened his speech by touching on the strength brought to the industry through working in collaboration, before tackling the key issues he’s championed through his presidency.
With a background in the design of public health engineering services, Christopher highlighted the issues surrounding Legionella. Warning of a ‘ticking time bomb’ if people do not recognise the risk associated with both hot and cold systems:
“Often the perception associated with Legionella is that this will not affect me. The seriousness of this issue is not fully understood, as often the symptoms of Legionella are attributed to something else.”
“In essence, the good design, installation and maintenance of hot and cold water systems is essential in order to manage and maintain the risk to an acceptable level. We within the plumbing industry need to continue to raise the profile of this potential ‘ticking time bomb’ scenario.”
On the CIPHE’s Manifesto, Christopher said, “The CIPHE has set out its own Manifesto, identifying key strategies and commitments for the organisation now and in the future. It reinforces a large number of key policy areas of this new Government, these being health, housing, energy, education and the environment.”
He continued, “Our industry faces many challenges and it is clear that we are all entering a phase of significant change ahead of us. As a result of this, the UK will need even more skilled, qualified and competent engineers in all of the disciplines, in order to meet with its domestic and international objectives.”
Before finishing his speech, Christopher discussed the importance of education, learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD), before turning his sights onto Grenfell and the importance of setting benchmarks in the industry, “The tragedy of Grenfell showed us all of the importance of good standards within building, particularly relating to fire safety issues and the requirement for domestic sprinkler systems as part of a fire safety plan.
“Therefore, it is satisfying to know that the CIPHE has been playing a vital role in adding our industry’s professional input, through the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), as part of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which is being lead by Dame Judith Hackitt.”
Christopher finished his speech by emphasising the need to be of one voice at a time of big change. He encouraged everyone to help strengthen the industry by becoming a CIPHE member.