An ever growing and expanding industry with both technology and generation having a hand in the process, I can still recall my grandfather saying, “become a plumber, you’ll never go out of business or be without work”, true, but being an industry with continuous development, being a plumber is not rocket science, but being the best in the field by means of inter-personal skills, professionalism, quality workmanship, knowing the regulations and integrity is what broadens the “fine line” between plumber and plumber.
There are regulations put in place that have been passed down from generation to generation and have been in the SANS books since the start of days. I can still recall starting college and for the first 2 months we only did regulations, standards, health and safety, this was printed from a SANS book published in September of 1985. I was still eager to get to the practical’s and cutting pipes, but this boring part was the fundamentals and most important part of this journey I was yet to call my industry.
The manufacturers have very strict installation specifications that work hand in hand with the health and safety of the consumer, and knowing the “boring” part, the fundamentals and regulations, gives you as the plumber the confidence to know what you are doing and how to complete your work with the health and safety of the consumers in mind. Working directly with the consumers, you as the plumber have their safety in your hands.
The PIRB and the IOPSA is there for both consumer and plumber, and I for one have been audited a bunch of times and it’s like sitting in the principal’s office, you have a say, but listening is the best way out. As said these guys are completely 3rd party, fly on the wall and there for both parties with one main objective, to ensure the safety of the installation. Regulations and manufacturers specifications need to be met, and the audit is not to catch out the plumber nor to take the plumbers favor over the consumer (customer), but more for the manufacturer’s warranties and workmanship guarantee that has to comply. Remember, the risk is not the warranty or guaranty being voided, the risk is the consumers health and safety.
Besides the “risk management” the audits and auditors are there to uphold standards in this ever-growing industry. These guys and girls are “boek slim” but they are plumbers as well and can view a story from both plumber and consumer point of views. There are unfortunately so many so called “fly by nights” that gives a negative name to the industry, and I for one salute these above mentioned bodies for their efforts to eliminate, minimize and/or educate these individuals by means of audits. Taking into consideration the list of non-compliances form on every auditor’s clip board, you as a plumber in the field do not memorize this list, but its like riding a bike for the first time, the more you get to do it the better you become, this list consists of health, safety, manufacturers installation specifications, energy efficiency and risk management, all to cover you as the plumber and/or as the consumer. Audits for me is like the tests at school, just checking if you understand, because if you understand you can implement.
To conclude, as a plumber putting themselves in the shoes of the consumer, a second opinion just makes me feel safe. It’s not that I do not trust the plumber, his / her workmanship or experience, but it’s in us as humans to feel more comfortable knowing that an audit was conducted, the audit is the comforting signature at the bottom.
Written by article competition winner, Hendrik Muller