Installer spoke to Kevin Wellman, CEO of the CIPHE who worked on the winning bid for the event, about what to expect:
The World Plumbing Council Conference
The World Plumbing Council is an international organisation, with members across the globe, which aims to ensure delivery of the best possible heating and hot water services through growth and development of the world’s plumbing industries. The organisation hosts its World Plumbing Conference every three years, bringing delegates together to network, foster partnerships and discuss the topics that affect the industry.
“It’s fantastic that the UK will host the World Plumbing Council Conference,” Kevin said. “A lot of work went into the bid, and we were up against other countries including India who had a fantastic presentation. Scotland hosted the conference in 2011, and 2026 will be the first time it will be held in England since 1990.
“Mike Costain, MD of Lyrical Communications which organises the InstallerSHOW, and I first started discussing potential WPC involvement in InstallerSHOW four years ago, but it ended up being put on the back burner for a while as the whole world focused on the management of Covid. Since then, InstallerSHOW has gone from strength to strength, scaling up from the CBS Arena to the NEC, and it really is a premium event. There are lots of quality discussions going on, a highly engaged audience base and a huge range of products on display, so it’s the perfect partner for the conference.
“Hosting the World Plumbing Council Conference alongside InstallerSHOW will make it the biggest in the history of the WPC. To put a bit of context to it, there is traditionally an exhibition of around 20 to 30 stands that sits alongside the Conference – which is great. However, at InstallerSHOW in 2024, there’s expected to be over 600 exhibitors, and that will continue to grow in 2025 and 2026, so it will be a seriously impressive event.”
Worldwide Problems, Global Solutions
There are a lot of challenges that the UK heating and plumbing industry faces: Net Zero targets; training new entrants; and sustainability to name just a few. These aren’t unique to these shores, with many other countries facing similar issues. The World Plumbing Council Conference will look to address these.
“The theme for the conference in 2026 will be Worldwide Problems, Global Solutions," Kevin explained. “I think we were successful in our bid because countries around the world are facing similar challenges and opportunities.
“As part of my role at the CIPHE, we have been focusing on addressing the three Ss – Skills, Sustainability and Supply Chain. That resonates with members from other countries, from China to Brazil, or Australia to India.
“We’ve also been campaigning for mandatory CPD and a plumbing licence, which is of much international interest, including in countries that are already on this pathway or ones that are considering the issue for the first time.
“By getting in a room, discussing these topics, taking feedback on board and learning from each other, we will all be in a better position to deliver the solutions that work for us both nationally and internationally.”
What will be on offer?
A comprehensive three days of talks, discussions and networking sessions will be available for delegates of the World Plumbing Conference in 2026. Alongside the packed three days, visitors will have access to InstallerSHOW, where they can explore the latest plumbing and installation innovations and technologies, network with a diverse range of industry stakeholders and foster partnerships and business growth.
“This really is a fantastic opportunity for the worldwide industry,” Kevin said. “We will shortly be working on the programme, networking events, and how we can add a further ‘wow factor’ to the Conference. I would encourage all installers, manufacturers, and trade associations to join us, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response so far. Roll on 2026, I can’t wait to see you there.”