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Going down under for the World Plumbing Conference

If you are a plumber and ever needed an excuse to visit Melbourne, Australia, this is it. Registrations for the 12th World Plumbing Conference are open and you are invited to join in down under!

The World Plumbing Conference is brought to you by the World Plumbing Council (WPC) as part of their commitment to achieving the best possible plumbing for the world: through growth and development of the world’s plumbing industries.

The triennial conference offers opportunities to share knowledge and expertise without borders. It offers a strategic focus and in-depth exploration of its theme of the ‘Four Pillars of Plumbing’, which make up the frameworks of the modern plumbing industry.

The four pillars of plumbing are:

 

Participation:the training requirements to work in the industry

If plumbing is going to be at the forefront of humanity’s capacity to adapt to climate change, we need more plumbers.  If plumbing is going to be the catalyst for liberating millions of people from a state of “water poverty”, we need more plumbers who are trained and skilled in the latest techniques, products and installations.  If we are going to maintain the health of big city water supplies and keep buildings, hospitals and schools free from things like legionella, we simply need more plumbing professionals.

A key focus of the WPC is to identify and implement strategies that foster industry participation. The Council will present case studies from around the globe to identify the best way to attract, train and retain plumbing practitioners.  From gathering information from stakeholders, governments, and industry, the World Plumbing Council aims to identify the key training requirements and the best training methods. 

Growing industry participation rates is important, but making sure only properly trained people work on plumbing is the real key to success.  Plumbing work, by definition, is high risk.  Every connection gives rise to a new risk, and the risk of inadequately trained people doing plumbing works are too great to ever compromise on training. This will be discussed in depth during the session on Participation at WPC 2019.

 

Practices: standards and accountability in day-to-day work in the industry

Ensuring only trained people enter the industry is key to the success of the industry, but setting and enforcing quality standards is equally important.  Included in the questions the WPC is setting out to answer is how do we ensure work practices meet minimum quality/safety standards and what should those standards be?  

There are many examples of industries doing a very effective job of managing quality and safety including plenty of information about how risks can be managed well. However, in other instances, the regulations and/or how they are being enforced are less successful.  It is essential to understand why there is a gap between the risk posed by plumbing and related works and the regulatory effort directed towards it.  to the World Plumbing Conference will explore how to develop a solid set of standards and regulations and how to back them up with meaningful audit, testing, inspection and enforcement.  To realise good plumbing outcomes, a robust regulatory framework that is properly enforced is crucial.

 

Products: features and quality of the materials, fittings and appliances used in plumbing work

The world market for plumbing products has never been as big, diverse, fluid, or dynamic.  With an estimated value of more than $80B and growing year on year, product expansion, combined with lower trade barriers and rapid demand growth from large economies such as China and India, means there are enormous economic and development opportunities within both emerging and established markets.  There are also more risks.  A booming market can attract sub-standard products, made from inferior and unsuitable materials.

How do industries put systems and processes in place that allow only properly certified products to enter the market, without stifling innovation?  This is very important in developing economies, where the ability to access new and innovative products, such as contemporary backflow devices, is key to improving health and economic outcomes.

 

Protection: measures to minimise risks and provide redress when failures occur.

The fourth pillar of a successful, stable plumbing industry is protection – for consumers, for practitioners and for the community as a whole.  The first three pillars are about avoiding negative outcomes for consumers or the public as a result of poor quality or inadequate plumbing work.

However, invariably, and in even the most well designed, regulated and policed industry, some failures occur.  Where they do, the industry needs to have in place the systems, processes, and laws that adequately protect consumers, the community and practitioners.  There must be a system of just redress for consumers disaffected or damaged in some way by poor quality plumbing.  There must also be a system of just redress for practitioners that are affected by issues such as inadequate workplace safety measures, non-payment and the like. This needs to be swift, accessible and fair.

The triennial World Plumbing Conference offers a unique opportunity for the global plumbing community to come together for knowledge sharing, networking and professional development. It will be held in Melbourne from 11-13 September 2019 and will include keynote speeches, sessions on the four pillars, a trade show, networking time, panel sessions and a gala dinner featuring industry awards. 

Outside of conference sessions, spend some time in the city centre and you’ll discover it’s neatly divided into little pockets for you to explore. Find art, bars and restaurants up and down in the laneways, retail therapy for any budget in Bourke and Collins streets, and creative outlets on show in Flinders Quarter. St Kilda Road means galleries and gardens, while neighbouring Yarra Precinct and Docklands deliver waterside views by the boatload. Take your beach towel to bayside St Kilda, Port Melbourne and South Melbourne, and go west for more fabulous food and beaches.

To view the conference programme visit https://www.worldplumbingconference.com/program/#

For more information visit https://www.worldplumbingconference.com