Most people think that plumbing is dirty work or a non-skilled profession. This is false. To be a plumber you need to possess many different skills and competencies. Without plumbing, modern life would not exist. Even Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds in history said: “If I had my life to live over again, I would be a plumber.”
One of the advantages of becoming a plumber is the reliability of this career choice. Regardless of the economic situation in the country there will always be a need for plumbers. By working your way up the designation tier, you control the ability to advance your career in a single field. There is massive scope for growth within the industry as specializing in different fields from part of the career ladder in plumbing.
Generally, plumbers are good at problem solving, possess the ability to follow technical plans, and understand the importance of health and safety. People skills are also important as dealing with consumers, municipalities and various other professionals are required daily. Plumbing will never be a mundane office job and the opportunity to up-skill or study further in the field always exists.
Plumbers do not need to have a university degree but industry-recognised training is required to become a qualified practitioner. A common entry into the plumbing industry is through an apprenticeship with a licensed plumber or plumbing company. During training you will learn how to install water supplies, find faults, fix domestic appliances and attend to emergency call-outs, among other things.
There are a variety of plumber apprenticeships and courses available in South Africa. It is just a matter of searching for opportunities available on Google.
Once you have joined a plumber or plumbing company, you can earn while you study, therefore student finance may not be a burden. Many families do not possess the funds to study once their children leave high school and this makes the plumbing industry the perfect gateway into the working world.
The Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) and the Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO) are responsible for evaluating and accrediting all suitable training courses for use by prospective plumbers. You will need to complete CETA or QCTO accredited training in order to become a licensed plumber.
Once you have the required skills you will be in demand and own the ability to earn a decent wage as a plumber in South Africa.
The best way to start your career is as an assistant or learner plumber where you will work alongside an experienced and qualified plumber while servicing residences. As you gain experience you will be able to explore opportunities within the industry.
There are many opportunities for plumbers in South Africa. Some plumbers work for companies in the construction industry, as well as for plumbing companies, while others are independent contractors working on a self-employed basis.
Plumbing also has specialisations which would require proper training and accreditation. Plumbing is not just working with pipes and taps in bathrooms and kitchens, it is so much more! Plumbing is a huge industry with many different aspects involved.
Fortunately, in South Africa there are organisations that support the plumbing industry and plumbers such as the Plumbing Industry Registration Board/PIRB and The Institute of Plumbing South Africa/IOPSA and the Joint Acceptance Scheme for Water Services Installation Components/JASWIC. With these organisations supporting and encouraging the upliftment of plumbers and the industry as a whole, being a plumber is not only a rewarding job but one which is recognized as a valuable pillar of society.
Original article can be found on the PIRB website here
This week we’re exploring the characteristics of a sought-after plumber, to not only get the job, but pump the referrals. PIRB represents the best of the best, whether you’re starting your career or looking for the right guy for the job, look no further as we draw out a list of attributes that are essential to keeping your plumbing in good shape.
Increasingly more municipalities, local authorities and insurance companies require that any
person working on plumbing works within their jurisdiction must be registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB). These authorities require PIRB Plumbing certificates (CoC’s) when installing, repairing or doing plumbing works. A licensed PIRB plumber is also guaranteed to have the right certification and qualifications necessary.
As with anything, the more you work at it the better you will become. Experienced plumbers will have seen and solved a vast array of problems over the years and are more likely to know the right thing to do. While younger plumbers can still offer a great service, look out for those that have completed apprenticeships.
3. Communication Skills
Strong communication skills are important when listening and understanding a client’s problem and explaining the best way to solve it. A calm and easy manner of communication is essential to ease the client’s concerns and avoid chances of misunderstandings and potential conflicts.
Great plumbers are always on time. Punctuality is associated with good customer service and a great work etiquette. It will contribute to earning you a level of respect within the community.
5. Coordination Skills
Coordination skills come in handy when working in small spaces with many tools. Often, plumbers will find themselves negotiating tight, unfamiliar spaces and in order to do the job most efficiently, coordination can be the best tool of all.
6. Safety First
It is essential that plumbers have a strong regard for safety in their practice. Problems need to be tackled in a skillful way while still following safety procedures accurately.
A great plumber is a dedicated plumber. Plumbers that are dedicated to their customers and maintaining a level of quality will always outshine ones that do not. Dedicated plumbers are enthusiastic, ready to solve a problem and willing to put their best foot forward, no matter the hour. Real dedication to work and dependability is the fast track to success.
8. Mechanically Inclined
There are many mechanical and technical aspects to the plumbing trade. Plumbers need not only be good with their hands, but with their analytical and mechanical sides too. Knowing what type of tubing is most efficient, or how the water valve works are essential components to ensuring a job well done. Great plumbers are mechanically inclined, naturally navigating the minefield of plumbing troubleshooting.
9. Good shape
Being in good physical form is essential when navigating some of the tight spaces plumbers might find themselves in. A job may lead you to a rooftop, or a tight space under a sink, and in order to reduce injury it’s important to be in good shape so that exerting yourself physically is not the biggest problem you have to fix that week.
10. Problem Solving
Problem solving is important to any industry, but plumbers that are naturally problem solvers make for great ones. Often a job will call for a quick evaluation, great plumbers are able to navigate the options efficiently and find the best course of action to follow.
If you’re looking for a plumber, keep an eye out on our website as we have a section specifically designed for that purpose coming soon. If you are a plumber and you are not registered yet, do the right thing for your career and register now. Here is everything you need to know. We hope these top 10 characteristics of a great plumber helped you put your best foot forward today.
You’ve found your calling, you’ve got the certification and you’ve registered with the PIRB. You’re ready to go, but you’ve found yourself at the crossroads of plumber and entrepreneur, and you’re only the expert of one of these. It’s one thing to be a great plumber, it’s a whole other thing to start a plumbing business. Don’t worry, we’re going to help you through this by giving you some helpful tricks on how to start a plumbing business, with as minimal expenditure as possible.
#1 Decide What Kind Of Plumbing Company You Want To Be
The first question you need to ask yourself is do you want to build things or do you want to fix things? Are you interested in building new constructions, or do you want to do service and repair work? Do you want to work in residential or commercial plumbing? Figure out what you like most, and pursue that.
#2 Establish Your Business’ Core Values
First thing every new business owner should do is decide what is going to set them apart. So you’re a great plumber, are you always on time? Are you personable? Are you reliable and trustworthy? Establish your core values, and write them down so that you never waver. These are the things that get you referred for your next job, and the next…
#3 Never Stop Learning (Continuous Professional Development)
Ensure that you know plumbing better than your competitors. Study more, learn more, develop more and do more. Build your knowledge by spending just 30 minutes a day learning something new, whether it’s about tools, local laws or a new technique, continuing to grow and develop is what will put you ahead of your competitors.
#4 Build A Network
By word of mouth, social media or advertising in your local supermarket, get the word out there that you are a reputable plumber. Let people know who you are and what you’re doing. You don’t need to hire a billboard, just set up a Facebook page. Ask one or two previous clients to write a review. This establishes you’re real, you’re reliable, and you’re professional.
#5 Build A Bigger Network
Look at networking with other business owners. Building trusted relationships with companies operating in the same area can lead to referrals, for both them and you. Look out for people that you’d like to work with, or who you’d be interested in sharing business with. From estate agents, to carpenters, to mechanics, build a wider network in your area.
If you can set aside a small budget, look for small-scale marketing companies that can help get your name out there. If not, don’t worry, there are several tools available to start a plumbing business without investing in a marketing company: social media. As mentioned before, set up a Facebook page. Get friends and family to like and follow you, create a community. If you have a knack for it, look into other avenues like LinkedIn and Youtube. Just make sure you have one reliable place that potential customers can refer to when deciding whether to hire you.
Armed with these 6 tips on how to start a plumbing business, your plumbing certification and your PIRB Registration – you’re all set to go! Get out there and good luck.
The original article can be found on the PIRB website here
Various charity ‘boxers’ recently handed over their cheques to their chosen charities after stepping out of the Champions 4 Charity boxing ring.
One of these champions includes Lea Smith from the Plumbing Industry and Registration Board (PIRB). He recently handed his donation over to the Sutherland High School’s charity of choice, Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng in Olievenhoutbosch, Centurion.
Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng is a home that is mainly focused on the welfare and development of underprivileged women, youth, and children of the local community. Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng mainly cares for children referred to them by social workers until they are grown-up and independent.
The donation comes after Smith took part in the Champions 4 Charity white-collar boxing that formed part of the plumbing industry’s commitment to Mandela Day earlier in July. The event which was organized by the plumbing industry through the auspices of The Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) and The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA), ultimately raised over R90 000 for charity.
All funds raised by the fighters was put forward for ‘prize money’ for the particular boxing bout. In the end, 80% of the ‘prize money’ went to the winning fighter’s charity while 20% went to the losing fighter’s nominated charity. Any remaining funds coming out of the event were divided equally among the fighter’s charities.
“Thank you so much for supporting us,” said Shalate Ngobeni, Managing Director at Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng. “The donation will contribute to the renovations needed for our tuckshop which is one of our income revenues.”
Shalate said that they have a lot of renovations to do at the center and this donation allows them to start. They also have a pre-school and a children’s church at the center to maintain as well.
“We are further committed to creating a safe space for children and also provide skills development programs to help upskill the community.”
Photo: Lea Smith from the PIRB donating money to Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng.
Another contender of the night, Robert Schoeman also donated almost R10 000 to AfriForum’s Wilmien Potgieter fund which ultimately aims to financially support children whose lives have been affected by farm attacks.
Schoeman said he wanted to do something for victims of farm attacks and murders. He and his wife, Wendy, also personally know people who have been victims of these gruesome attacks.
“We did not know who to contact at first, and then called AfriForum who told us about the Wilmien Potgieter fund. We are glad to contribute to this cause.”
Photo: Robert Schoeman handing over his donation to the Wilmien Potgieter fund.
Nico Jooste also recently handed over his cheque to the Woodrock Animal Rescue center in Johannesburg which assists homeless, abused, neglected, stray, injured, ill, geriatric and unwanted animals that would otherwise have miserable lives and premature deaths.
Photo: Nico Jooste donating money to the Woodrock Animal Rescue center in Johannesburg.
IOPSA has established a community of experts (CEP) in plumbing training to assist the QCTO to develop training programmes for entry level plumbing learners.
This CEP met on the 19th and 25th of February at the IOPSA National office and compiled two programmes for submission to the QCTO.
The one programme is called “Domestic water and drain repairer” at NFQ Level 2 and should be completed within two months. The second programme is called “The plumber’s hand” at NFQ level 3 and could be completed within 4-6 months.
Although the defined policy guiding these developments has not been approved. This ground-breaking work has been completed to the highest standard and with the industries best interests at heart.
Once through the internal processes the details will be shared with IOPSA members for input and comment.
Watch this space and participate actively in the new developments for our industry and encourage quality plumbing for all.
Skills development is central to the sustainability of plumbing as a relevant trade.
For more information on this project, please contact Nick Joubert on firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Nick Joubert - IOPSA National Training Manager
We would like to draw your attention that the latest version of SANS 10252-1 2018 Edition 3.2 is now available.
Unfortunately we cannot distribute any copies due to copyrights and therefore request that you purchase your own copy via www.sabsstore.co.za
The new version of SANS 10252-1 mentions a few important changes and updates that you need to be aware of.
We do however feel it important to bring a few of these important changes to your attention.
All SANS standards for plastic polymer piping systems for hot and cold water supplies are approved for use inside buildings only. All plastics pipes used in hot and cold water installations near external doorways and windows, shall be protected from sunlight. Unlike metal pipes (steel and copper) that have generic pipe and fitting standards, thermoplastic pipe systems are required to be installed using the fittings and tools that are tested and approved as a complete system, The use of pipes, fittings and tools from other manufacturers or suppliers, that are not the same as the approved system, shall not be acceptable.
Showers shall be of a type that can operate effectively at the internal water pressure recommended by the manufacturer. The maximum discharge flow rate shall be 10 L/min.
184.108.40.206 No flow control fitting of any sort other than a draining valve shall be installed direct in the pipeline between any fixed water heater and its associated expansion control valve or vacuum breaker.
7.1.2 Water supply quality — Human consumption
Conditions unfavorable for the development of the bacterium Legionella pneumophila shall be maintained as far as possible in installations where cold water is stored for drinking purposes, or where hot water could be used for drinking purposes. For this reason,
f) the stored hot water shall be maintained at a temperature of at least 55 °C, but shall reach 60 °C for at least 1 h a day,
* Effectively this means that the minimum water set temp is now 60 and no longer 55
220.127.116.11 Piping to be insulated includes all flow and return piping, cold water supply piping within 1 m of the connection to the heating or cooling system and pressure relief piping within 1 m of the connection to the heating or cooling system. Where possible lengths of pipe runs shall be minimized.
7 Design 18.104.22.168 An approved competent person shall accept the responsibility for the design of a) a structure that supports a water heater or storage tank of which the nominal capacity exceeds 250 L, or
22.214.171.124.2 Maximum supply temperature Unless otherwise required, the temperature of water that discharges from any terminal water fitting supplied from a hot water installation shall not exceed 60 °C, however thermostatic mixers may be required to achieve a lower supply temperature.
7.7 Hot Water piping
126.96.36.199 Only water heaters or storage tanks of capacity ≤ 200 L shall be attached by means of brackets or hangers to a load-bearing masonry or concrete wall or to any other vertical structural element. Tanks and water heaters larger than 200 L shall not be wall mounted.
188.8.131.52 All pipework connected to, and all protective valves associated with, water heaters shall be connected by means of flush unions or similar connectors (such as caps and linings), to facilitate the replacement of such fittings. If compression fittings are used for this connection, sufficient provision shall be made for the pipework to be sprung, it shall not be between rigid fixed points. It shall not be required to cut the pipe to affect repair or removal or replacement of the component.
184.108.40.206 Pipes installed within a cavity dry wall shall be securely fixed. No pipe shall pass through concrete expansion or concrete joints, unless acceptable provisions have been made to the pipework for movement.
220.127.116.11 To prevent unwanted heat transfer, hot and cold water pipes shall not be laid against each other. Pipes chased and fixed in solid walls shall be at least 100 mm apart.
Please note that this doesn’t include all the changes and therefore we strongly recommend that you purchase your own copy and familiarise yourself with the contents therein .
Deadline: 31 March 2019
This survey is meant for plumbing business owners. Even if you are not a member of IOPSA or are PIRB registered, you are invited to complete the survey.
The survey will assist IOPSA and PIRB to better understand the context that plumbing businesses operate in. The results of this survey will be used to improve the service and support to the plumbing industry.
We value your privacy and comply with all laws and regulations on data collection and will not use the information you provide to create any unfair advantage to any party. We acknowledge the funding support of the GIZ Skills for Green Economy project in this survey.
There have been many technological advancements in the last century, but few as widely available and revolutionary as the mobile phone. Cell phones, and more recently smartphones, have become a truly integral part of our private and business lives.
The small screen that holds hundreds of applications and resources for work and play assists us in almost every aspect of our lives. Today a mobile phone is an indispensable productivity tool and essential component of any tradesman’s toolkit.
Few would disagree that good tools, fit for purpose and built to last, are an important investment. While almost any mainstream mobile device ticks all the boxes, they fall hopelessly short in the toolbox. Ever faster processors, increasing memory size and higher definition screens are all lost in a single drop to the floor – or worse, into water. It is this critical distinction that separates Cat phones from the rest.
Have you ever come across a water-, drop- or dust-proof smartphone?
The Cat phones range is all three – waterproof up to 3 metres, drop-proof from up to 1.8 metres and dust-proof too – certified IP68 and Mil Std 810G.
Packed inside a rugged exterior, these smartphones run Android without compromising on processing power and storage.
High definition Corning® Gorilla® Glass and sunlight readable screens, wet finger tracking and glove-on screen optimisation are standard, as are large batteries throughout the range.
Cat phones are as smart as they are tough
Led by the award-winning Cat S61, and packed with innovation, Cat phones are made for the construction sector and plumbing in particular.
The Cat S61 elevates your business to the next level, unmatched in its ability to increase your service offering and earning potential.
Thermal imaging camera
The integrated FLIR thermal imaging camera in the Cat S61 introduces powerful new revenue earning opportunities with thermal leak detection in full HD.
Through the MyFLIR app on the Cat S61, you can take temperature measurements up to 400 degrees using any of the nine different viewing filters. The FLIR Tools Mobile app allows you to generate reports on site to share with clients or colleagues.
Need to see water levels in a tank, or pipes in a wall or drains under the floor without chasing into the structure? It’s all taken care of – and so much more.
The Cat S61 is IP68 & IP69K rated, so can withstand the blast of a high-pressure hose – a dip in the toilet cistern or geyser tray are no sweat for this workhorse.
Laser assisted distance measure
The Cat S61 also boasts a laser assisted distance measurement tool for estimating materials on the job – from piping to guttering, tiles to paint, you’ll measure surface areas or point to point distances while capturing photographs of the job at hand.
Indoor air quality monitor
The built-in indoor air quality monitor will assist by measuring the level of indoor air pollutants, VOC’s – alerting you to unhealthy air quality and keeping you aware of your work environment while keeping tabs on both temperature and humidity on site.
The Cat S61 elevates your business to the next level, unmatched in its ability to increase your service offering and earning potential. When you’re next due for a mobile phone upgrade, consider upgrading your toolbox at the same time.
Cat phones are available from all SA Mobile operators and supported with a 2-year warranty, free screen replacement throughout the warranty period and a free pick up and repair service nationwide.
Customers have every right to do their research before hiring a plumber for their next project, and why not? It is their hard-earned money that is leaving their pockets after all.
So, Plumbers hear questions like: Are you PIRB licensed? Is your company registered with IOPSA? Qualified? insured? Can you charge less for this? Do you quote free? Please clean up before leaving. The list goes on and on.
Unfortunately for plumbers in South Africa, checking a consumer’s reliability is not so simple. Most of the time plumbers rely on their gut feeling and hope that the consumer won’t be too difficult or pay late.
So how can plumbers avoid difficult customers early on so that they don’t end up pulling out their hair doing the job or grinding their teeth as they chase after money owed once the job is complete?
We have put together a few tips to help plumbers avoid these situations.
1. Charge a call out fee
This is probably the best way to check if the customer calling for a quote respects your time or not. Quoting is a lengthy process. It takes time and money to travel all the way, inspect the job and settle over a quote. It’s only fair for a plumber to charge a call out fee. If a customer is not willing to pay a call out fee then they may not be serious about having the work done. For help calculating your call out fee, download the App Plumbers specifically designed to assist plumbers in calculating an accurate and fair call out fee. Download the app here.
2. Listen closely to what they say about the previous plumbers
Of course if the work is not to standard and is incorrectly installed, consumers have every right to complain, but if someone is bad-mouthing the previous plumber and is speaking ill of them for no apparent reason, they will probably try to find faults in your work too.
3. Watch out for late payers
If your customer is too eager to get a discount or keeps on trying to negotiate a lower rate, this should ring a warning bell. You may need to insist on a deposit prior to commencing the job. You don’t want to get caught with someone who values price over quality and hard work. If you have done work for a client before and you had to wait for payment, the odds are good that they will do it to you again. Sometimes it is good to lose a customer who pays poorly.
4. Follow your intuition
When you have been in the industry long enough, you develop a sixth sense. While trusting your gut feeling can be risky, it can be very necessary. Most of the time, a first meeting is all you will need to decide to work for the customer or not. The trick is to be very observant.
Start with a checklist for yourself: Do they have a clear idea of what they need to get done? Are they realistic enough to know what timeframes are unrealistic? Are they complaining that the cost is too much? Watch out for those looking for continuous discounts.
5. Ask them for their budget and time frame
Your time is precious so use it wisely. Instead of spending an hour discussing high end finishes and extensive renovation plans only to later find out that their budget is for a basic installation, ask them about their budget first.
Most of the time, the discussion will end there.
6. Do some reference calling
Customers have the advantage of looking at their Plumbers licenses, certificates, work experience and so on, but Plumbers can do the same! Ask customers about the plumbers they have worked with before and call them to do a reference check, more than a few bad testimonials should be enough to ring an alarm.
7. Have everything written and signed
From the initial quotation where it is best to be as detailed as possible. Document when and how they are going to pay for the work done, who buys the material and how will the costing of extra work will be charged, get them to agree to all the terms in writing and have it signed by them before the work starts. If they disagree or try and negotiate too much, they will probably continue to do so throughout the job.
8. Ask them what aspect of work are they most focused on?
If a customer doesn’t have realistic expectations, giving them charge of the project can prove to be a disaster.
Let them tell you what they want but set the agenda yourself and walk them through the project scope, completion timeline, variations, materials and payment process. Ask them what matters the most to them. Quality, time or cost and you will be able to make an educated decision on the project going forward.
9. How many quotes have they requested already from other plumbers?
If the customer has approached multiple other plumbers before getting a quote from you too, it can possibly show their priority is the price and not the quality of the job.
10. Look for the right attitude
If a customer has called for a job, the plumber is under the impression that they want to get the job done. Respect for a plumber’s time is the number one rule for business. Are they calling for an emergency job that should have been done a long time ago? This may indicate a concern when it is time to pay for the job. Are they trying to suggest what the job should cost? They may understand the value of your skills.
If you are new in the industry and have just started running your own business, you might bump into the wrong customers more often than you would like.
But not all small businesses have the luxury to say no just because your gut tells you to. If time is on your side, be accommodating and patient. Take a few minutes to chat and laugh with them to see things from their eyes. But do your homework, before saying yes to your next job.
On the 6th of November 2018, IOPSA's operations manager Steve Brown went to Just Domestic T/A Domestic Industries to offer some on site training and assistance on SANS 10254 and the logging of CoC's on the PIRB system.
This is what they had to say about their experience:
"Dear Mr Steve Brown
RE: Thank you
Team Domestic place on record our sincere appreciation and gratitude to you and IOPSA, for offering your valued service by empowering our team with the inter-active meeting session held this morning at the Domestic office.
This was not only beneficial to the field team, but also to our administration team as well, as it assisted us to further understand the certificate of compliance logging and certificate of compliance installation.
We pledge, as always, to work with you and deliver to our client’s optimum quality installations and service and to further our relationship with clients and IOPSA as ambassadors in the plumbing industry.
Once again, we thank you for sharing your knowledge and look forward to more similar learning sessions.
Mr I. Govender"
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