Written by Dave Viola 3:30 pm Chief Executive Officer

World Plumbing Council Charts Bold Course for 2024 and Beyond 

As IAPMO powers through the first quarter of 2024, I’m excited to update you on many newsworthy happenings around our organization and the industry. 

Specific to IAPMO, the new Board of Directors held its first meeting of new president Steve Panelli’s tenure and formally approved the association’s budget for 2024. I’m pleased to report IAPMO continues to be in a very strong financial position to further our mission and expand our industry leading services this year and beyond. 

I want to recognize two board members who rotated off in the last cycle — former President David Straub and Rex Crawford. IAPMO is indebted to both of these gentlemen for their years of service on committees, in education, and their stewardship of the association via the Board of Directors. I wish them both years of good health and prosperity and thank them from the bottom of my heart for their contributions to IAPMO’s mission. 

For more on the board meeting, I direct you to Steve Panelli’s column of this edition of Official

Another momentous board meeting occurred last December in Tokyo when the newly elected World Plumbing Council (WPC) Executive Board (on which I’m honored to serve as chair), met for the first time. At this meeting, the board refined strategies for the next three years, exploring the ways in which the WPC can leverage relationships with our myriad key organizational partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), WorldSkills International, and Messe Frankfurt. 

A recurring theme that emerged at this meeting is that plumbing has become a lot more complicated and the world a lot more stressed in terms of environmental and water quality issues. With each passing year, we learn more about the complications of stressed water — accessibility, quality, efficiency — and the potential negative impacts on plumbing systems in terms of such dangers as waterborne pathogens, scalding and more. 

Years ago, the WPC — with assistance from IAPMO — published two seminal documents that clearly laid out some of the under-appreciated work of the plumbing industry: Health Aspects of Plumbing and Environmental Aspects of Plumbing. Now, a great deal has changed in our space since their publication more than a decade ago — we see fuel gas being supplemented by renewable energy sources, water reuse technologies, water efficiency measures, and much more. These changes will be examined and updated as part of the WPC’s initiative to build on the success of those earlier publications in an age when connecting with all of the people involved in the plumbing industry has never been more important. 

The WPC Executive Board also discussed the success of last year’s Plumbing Champions program at the ISH show and how that model can be applied and enhanced at the WorldSkills International Skills Competition in Lyon, France, in September. This will be the first full-scale competition since the pandemic and IAPMO, IWSH and the WPC are working together closely to make the event and post-competition project something special. Like at previous competitions, our future plumbers from all over the world, the best and brightest, will come together not as competitors but as teammates to bring plumbing and sanitation to those in need in the local community. I look forward to sharing more details about this exciting project in Lyon in my next column. 

The WPC is also collaborating with WHO on a project in the Philippines, a nation that is no stranger to IAPMO — in fact in 2011 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Philippine Society of Sanitary Engineers (PSSE) to create the Uniform Plumbing Code of the Philippines. This June, the WPC, WHO, PSSE and IWSH will use the UPC Philippines as the basis for improvements to a healthcare facility in Manila — the first time WHO will be part of one of these demonstration projects. 

While the obvious direct benefit to the recipient community is central to a project such as this, highlighting the importance of plumbing and sanitation is also essential. Helping people understand the underlying benefits to health and wellbeing of sound plumbing infrastructure, how it delivers access to clean water and safe sanitation, is essential to the WPC’s non-governmental organization (NGO) status with WHO — demonstrating what our skill and expertise are doing to better the world and directly address United Nations Sustainable Goals. What better way to do that than improving the plumbing system at a healthcare facility in a village? Look for more on the project in future issues of Official

One other focus at this meeting was the WPC Scholarship and other ways the WPC can recognize those in our industry who are making truly notable contributions to our collective goals. The scholarship program is one of the tools the WPC uses to say, ‘Hey, this person is killing it, let’s give them the means and the chance to learn from other organizations, bring that knowledge back and build something meaningful in their own community.’ The WPC Executive Board intends to enhance the scholarship and develop new awards that will spotlight difference makers and amplify their efforts. 

Diversity, equity and inclusion are another focus for the WPC, which provides me the welcome opportunity to highlight how awesome it is that our own Gaby Davis serves as WPC secretariat. Women are, of course, becoming increasingly more visible and integral to our industry and having Gaby as part of the leadership group that manages the WPC is frankly incredible. It is hopefully a message to female plumbing professionals worldwide that there are no limits to what they can achieve in our industry, and we encourage them to pursue a career of distinction within our ranks. 

One other WPC related item I’m excited to share, in July I will serve as keynote speaker at the Summer Festival of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers in London. This venerable organization dates back to 1365 and advances a mission to “promote better plumbers, better plumbing, better health, and better lives, and we do this by supporting plumbing education, training and development, and the promotion of the ‘craft of plumbing’.” I’m looking forward to representing the WPC and IAPMO at this event and reporting back to you on the experience. 

One last bit of exciting IAPMO news: we’ll officially start the process of developing the 2027 Uniform Codes at the Technical Committee Meetings, May 6-10 in San Diego. Initial proposals for changes and additions to the Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code will be introduced. As with any IAPMO code development process, your voice and vote are encouraged. Make plans to attend and play a role in improving the best plumbing and mechanical codes in the world. 

Until my next column, I wish you all good health. 

Dave Viola
Chief Executive Officer at IAPMO

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 18, 2024