I’m pleased to report on some exciting new initiatives The IAPMO Group is launching in 2023. As I’ve stated numerous times in the past, we are deeply committed to progress, expansion and exploring every avenue to better serve our industry and the people and communities it benefits worldwide.
As you’ll read about here, IAPMO is extremely excited to announce our partnership with a real celebrity in our industry, Judaline Cassidy, a mighty force in the plumbing world. It’s been difficult not to get caught up in the excitement of this unique new venture for IAPMO, our first time producing a children’s coloring book.
Anybody invested in growing our industry knows how crucial it is to shine a spotlight on the importance of plumbers and the opportunity for everybody, from every walk of life, to be part of the life-improving work of our industry. In that pursuit, “My Mom Is a Plumbing Superhero” addresses two important demographics: women and young prospective plumbers.
Supporting the entry of more women into the plumbing industry is a long-stated objective of IAPMO. Through her involvement with this project, Judaline has helped us put a focus on the unique strengths that women bring to the trades. (Look through the coloring book to see exactly what I mean!)
IAPMO wants to send the message to young people that the trades are an excellent career choice for people who have the ability to design, create, enjoy working with their hands, and want to do work that directly benefits people. The earlier in life we can reach young people with this message, the better chance they grow up understanding if a career as a plumber might be right for them.
We are so honored Judaline chose to partner with us on this project and hope you’ll join in our excitement.
Of no less importance and excitement is another new IAPMO initiative — March4Water. Each week in March, IAPMO will highlight industry events that bring our industry together in celebration and advancement of our shared objectives. It has been an uphill battle over the years convincing folks to combine all the noteworthy industry events in March and make it a whole month of celebration. It took IAPMO, a true industry leader, to realize the opportunity to really dedicate an entire month to promoting the important work of our industry.
Please watch our social media feeds for frequent updates on all March4Water events!
One of the biggest of those events is the return of ISH, the world’s largest tradeshow for plumbing and mechanical, March 13-17, in Frankfurt, Germany. One significant outcome of the shutdown of this huge annual event by the pandemic is that it enabled IAPMO to reevaluate how we participate and benefit from ISH. Our involvement over the years has mostly been limited to supporting our customers on the research and testing side of things. The downtime during the pandemic allowed us to approach ISH with myriad new ideas, to reimagine the plumbing industry’s involvement at ISH, with IAPMO playing the leading role.
Chief among those goals is to highlight and provide a greater presence for the World Plumbing Council (WPC) at the event. ISH’s organizers were very receptive to the idea and, as a result, the WPC general membership meeting will be held during the show. Another element of this collaboration will be a skills-demonstration showcase, leading into a service project (a collaboration of WPC and IWSH) that allows the participation of the international plumbing industry to directly impact the local community. We are excited to take this first opportunity to do this all at one time and hopefully create a template with ISH and for other similar events in the future. (Read more about this here.)
Through these events, we’re not only showing the latest plumbing products but we’re also demonstrating the importance of our industry and the significance of getting new people engaged to bring the best emerging technologies – technologies that are revealed for the first time at ISH – to our communities. Can you think of a better convergence of activities than this? We will showcase the future of our industry with people from both mature and emerging markets, give them exposure to new technologies they can bring back to their countries to make a difference there, and showcase these new leaders in a meaningful way that rewards them for the work they’ve done previously, engages the local industry outside of plumbing to repurpose excess and sample products and put them into communities that need it. This is all a connected tapestry of activities that are powerful enough separate, but together can spearhead a way to lead our industry forward. I can’t wait to see it all unfold and look forward to sharing my impressions in my next column.
In terms of The IAPMO Group’s expansion, I want to highlight the growth of our testing laboratory presence worldwide. Recently we’ve experienced staff growth, capability growth, capacity growth, and we’ve added a new country to the mix; it’s an awesome demonstration of how much better equipped we continue to be to serve our industry. Here are some highlights:
- In Australia we’ve acquired a new lot and we’re constructing a new building to expand our capacity and capabilities, including traditional plumbing product testing and water quality testing. We’ve expanded our water heater testing capabilities, added testing to new lead laws coming online, and will be adding capacity in the new lab to address hydrogen research and testing.
- Our business in India is growing so quickly we already need to look for a new facility! Our work there includes drinking water treatment; infectious disease, microbiology and hygiene, and toxicology; digital capabilities; innovation, science/technology and sustainability thought leadership.
- Elsewhere in the world, we’ve recently acquired a new facility in Mexico to better support our traditional areas of capability, secured grants to expand our capabilities regarding plastic piping in Indonesia, and we continue our service to Asian manufacturers with our labs in China. Here at home, we are expanding capabilities in California as well, which I will report on later this year.
Last but never least is our bread and butter. By the time this article is published, the 2024 editions of the Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) and Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) will be available. This past code cycle involved industry participation at a level that IAPMO has not seen before. During the final membership Technical Meeting Convention for this cycle, held in Charlotte, North Carolina, last September, registration totaled around 700 — the most attendees at an IAPMO conference in association history. Why the interest? Code development, of course.
As you’ve all read in previous articles over the years, IAPMO is proud of its consensus process, accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Through this process, the codes are developed in an open, transparent way, inviting participation from all those affected by our codes. Over a three-year period, the technical committees review proposed code changes and invite input from the public. This past cycle included some passionate debate. In the end, I am proud to say that IAPMO’s 2024 UMC and UPC were developed fairly, pursuant to our Regulations, and continue to be the best codes available. Reflecting on this past code cycle, I’m reminded how important it is to be involved early, stay involved, and contribute by sharing data with IAPMO’s technical committees. Your ongoing participation enables the development process to produce the best outcomes for the codes.
Until my next column, enjoy March4Water and the role you play every day in making our industry great.
Dave Viola is the CEO of The IAPMO Group, a global non-profit membership-based organization focused on the development of codes that govern plumbing quality standards. He has more than 25 years of senior management experience within the plumbing and mechanical industry. He joined IAPMO in 2007 and, served as IAPMO’s chief operating officer with strategic and operational responsibility for the comprehensive array of IAPMO Group programs and services. Dave also serves as Deputy Chairman of the World Plumbing Council. Dave previously worked as Technical Director for the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI) from 1998 until 2007. He serves or has served on many industry committees and boards in the United States and Canada, including AWE, ASME, ANSI and ASHRAE.
Last modified: March 1, 2023