Written by Tricia Megee 6:14 pm IAPMO Membership

Increasing Chapter Participation

This issue, I wanted to return to a theme that has been part of what makes IAPMO great — our chapters. 

One of our members reminded me of why chapter meetings are so important. In his words: we all need it from time to time. Mostly we ask for it from our family or neighbors. Come help me move the chair. Give me some help with this car trouble I’m having. Sure, we all ask for and receive help in our daily lives. 

But where do you go for help on a technical question when you are a plumbing or mechanical inspector with a problem to solve? Why, of course, you just take it to your local IAPMO chapter meeting and, bingo, you have your answer. That’s been the experience of our members. Here’s one’s story: 

“On an inspection of a health club shower room water system, I found five flushometer valve toilets on a 1-1/2 inch branch line with eight stall showers downstream from the flushometer valves. This system had been designed by a mechanical engineer using Appendix A as a design criteria. 

“The problem is, of course, the probability of fixture use. In other types of service, such as apartments or hotels, there may have been no problem. But in a health club we can expect to find 100% use of showers and a high-level use of toilets on a regular basis. 

“Now, it’s one thing to know something is wrong and an entirely different thing to explain why. That’s where I needed help. At my next IAPMO chapter meeting, I asked a well-known consulting mechanical engineer how I could explain why it was wrong. He took all of 30 seconds to supply the answer and tell me where to look for the data to support the opinion. 

“It was all right there in Sizing of Water Supply Piping for Flushometer Valves by W.R. Parker, engineer for Sloan Valve Co. Essentially, what Mr. Parker does is give separate flow rates based on the type of service a flushometer valve is in. That was all I needed to convince the engineer who had designed the system in question to make the changes necessary to give us a system that would work.” 

The moral of the story: Attend your chapter meetings. And when you need it, ask for help Former IAPMO President Denvert Boney wrote in his January/February 1998 president’s message: 

“I would like to speak again of communication in the chapters. I am including the members who are attending, and also those brothers and sisters who are not there, but who you know are true IAPMO supporters. You must not treat them as second-class citizens. The reasons they’re not attending meetings may be due to illness, undue pressure from their boss (the building official), scheduling problems, or lack of funds from their city. Those former chapter members are still our supporters. We must call them and let them know we miss their ideas and support. We accomplish our strength and respect in the industry from their outstanding help. When we started our fight, they were with us. We must remember that we are all part of the same organization and industry. We must work together as one if this organization is to survive. Remember that 42 plumbing inspectors banded together to create this organization 70 years ago and to write the best plumbing code. 

“IAPMO must tackle its challenges head on with our great offense and defense (the UPC and UMC). We are not the only code body under attack, but we have an advantage over our competition. We have the experts on our side who know more about plumbing and mechanical — the IAPMO membership. Let’s all set a goal to call at least two former attendees/ members to see how they are doing and talk them into coming to a chapter meeting and continuing to support this organization. The more we are heard in the political arena, the more influence we will have in the political process. The key to our success is our strength. We must convince our old members to attend, and also recruit new members to add to our strength.” 

IAPMO Membership staff cannot do it alone. Just like Denvert said, our chapters are our greatest asset only when you and your fellow experts are involved. 

I look forward to seeing many of you at what could be called our largest chapter meeting — the annual Education and Business Conference this year in San Antonio. Bring your ideas, bring your expertise and bring questions, as we are sure there is someone among your peers who has already come up with an answer. 

Tricia Megee
Vice President of Membership at IAPMO

Last modified: May 8, 2024