Written by Eamonn Ryan
- Original research is vital to improving the plumbing industry
- IOPSA auditors are to also check the level of compliance at homes of non-geyser installations (the geysers of course being their primary activity)
- There is already a good picture from previous research that 50-60% of all materials used in plumbing throughout South Africa are non-compliant going back as far as 2008
One of IOPSA’s regular activities is original research that advances the plumbing industry.
“We’re in the process of asking our auditors that whenever they are on site checking a geyser on behalf of PIRB, to simultaneously note down other non-compliant issues they observe. This may be, for instance, whether the drainage system, water supply or hot water systems are compliant or not,” says executive director of IOPSA, Brendan Reynolds.
“We already have a good picture from previous research that 50-60% of all materials used in plumbing throughout South Africa are non-compliant going back as far as 2008. These materials are being widely sold throughout the plumbing retail and wholesale supply chain. This is irrationally because although it is illegal to install them, it is not illegal to manufacture, import or sell such products – even though they are obviously going to be installed somewhere.
“While we have a clear picture of the compliance levels of materials from previous research, and from our audits we have a fair idea of the compliance levels of installed geysers – what we don’t know is what is the compliance level of all non-geyser installations. So, we are asking our auditors to report not just on non-compliance of geysers but actual compliance levels of all plumbing installations. This will give us a clearer picture of what is actually going on, because at present we don’t have a picture other than anecdotally.
“Another IOPSA project is that with funding and support from PIRB, we have commissioned a laboratory to start investigating whether the SANS standard 10254: The Requirement for Safety Valve Piping, makes practical sense. This is in response to questions that have been raised by various plumbers for some time. The lab is going to physically test safety valves, pipes and components used on safety valves. It’s an important study to settle the minds of our plumbers as to whether the SANS standard physically makes sense. If it doesn’t, then we need to recommend it be adjusted by reducing the requirement a little to make it more cost effective and easier for the plumber to do an installation. These lab results will thereafter be given to SABS to motivate changes, if necessary.
“In the near future we are also going to start performing testing of various geyser platforms, which have also been a challenge for plumbers through misalignment. The requirement in the roofing standard differs from those in the plumbing standard. We want to get an engineering firm to test and resolve this present disconnect between the two,” says Reynolds.