• 01 Sep 2017 10:54 AM | Anonymous

    IOPSA’s Western Cape region has had a tough time of it lately. There are rumblings on the ground and murmurings in the air that suggest that IOPSA as an organisation is failing in its mandate. Speaking of which, just what is its mandate? Why does it exist? What does it do for the plumber, and why should he/she part with hard-earned cash to be part of it? Well I’m not here to give a lengthy nuts-and-bolts dissemination of every detail of IOPSA’s role in the plumbing industry. What I can tell you though is that at the WC regional level (driven down from National), one thing has started to come sharply into focus as a non-negotiable: Service. Service to the plumber and the industry. There needs to be value for the plumber. There needs to be a perception of “getting something out”, and it needs to start with the EXCO members. One thing’s for sure- the people in the organisation, from National down to regional EXCO volunteers- are rock solid, we all collectively have the same goals and passions to see the INDUSTRY grow. Without a successful and thriving plumbing sector everything else falls apart. Now we can sit and debate just how this is to be achieved, and we will- but for now we need you to know that certainly at WC EXCO level, (And I’m sure I speak for all others) there will be a concerted drive to start to serve you, the plumber.

    It’s early days, and there are many ideas on the table but here are some to whet your appetite:

    • 1)      More events, and in more locations- In the past there may have been 3-4 plumbers evenings in the Western Cape per year. And most if not all of those would have taken place in and around Cape Town. Guys and girls from Paarl, Worcester, Hermanus, Stellies...all of the outlying areas have had to travel extensively to get to these events. And they have been! We want to try our best to change that, to move the events around and hopefully have plumbers evenings and other events outside of Cape Town.
    • 2)      More info at plumbers evenings- Although there has always been valuable information and material available at these events, we would like to up the ante a bit. I, as the technical representative of the WC EXCO would like to introduce a technical session at each plumbers evening. The content of these will vary, but I would like to start to unpack the SANS requirements and have discussions around those. Also, we are hoping to set up more interesting events such as factory tours and in-depth product knowledge. These are always fascinating and welcomed by most technically-minded people I know.
    • 3)      Promotion of members- We hope to find ways of driving home the message that to use properly trained plumbers is non-negotiable, and the advantages of using plumbers that are registered with the industry bodies such as IOPSA and PIRB.
    • 4)      Bridging gaps- As mentioned earlier, there are a great many plumbers that feel like they have been let down by IOPSA, or that IOPSA is self-serving, or that IOPSA is only in it for the money, or that…or…or….. Well we hope to change that. We believe that all roleplayers in the plumbing sector want the same thing- for it to be thriving and sustainable. Is there a sure-fire way to get everyone singing off the same hymn sheet? No, but it starts with reaching out, cooperation, discussion and HEARING one another. The guys and gals that are passionately dead-set against the notion of an IOPSA or similar body are EXACTLY the ones we want in our corner. Their passion is already clearly evident, and that is gold.

  • 31 Aug 2017 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    On the 24th of August 2017 IOPSA border region hosted the very first Annual Plumbing Games. This was held instead of having a regular plumbers event for a little fun.

    The event was hosted at the Plumblink showroom where snacks and drinks were served to keep the players hydrated and fed.

    There was a total of 5 games that were played:

    • 1.       The Geyser Relay – where teams were made to carry a geyser using only a rope.
    • 2.       IOPSA Pipe Puzzle – Teams had to spell out the word IOPSA using nothing but 40mm piping and fittings (Images attached)

    • 3.       Toilet Basketball – Teams had 60 seconds to dunk as many balls into a toilet pan within the time limit.

    • 4.       Polycop tug of war – teams were asked to play the good old game of tug of war which seeded out the men from the boys.

    • 5.       Tap reassemble – Teams had to reassemble a tap as fast as possible while blind folded!

    There were four teams who took part in the event and they were able to select their own team names.

    The winner of the event was the Misfits receiving Rothernberger tools and the Golden Plunger Trophy

    The event was a great success and the teams had great fun. 

  • 28 Jul 2017 12:46 PM | Anonymous

    IOPSA KZN was fortunate to Host Mr Domenico DiGregorio at the Grohe Dawn Lifestyle Design Centre in Durban on 29 June. 

    Domenico recently returned from Durban, South Africa, as a participant of the International Workshop on Community-Scale

    Resource-Oriented Sanitation Treatment Systems, a program managed by ANSI with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help facilitate advancements in non-sewered sanitation products. With over 80 participants submitting reviews, comments, and recommendations, this workshop will prove instrumental in furthering development of new technology and solutions to improve access to hygienic sanitation for the 2.5 billion people living without this basic human right.

    While in Durban, Domenico was also a guest speaker at the local meeting of IOPSA (Institute of Plumbing South Africa).

    IOPSA members have been some of the most enthusiastic supporters of PWB since our inception, and their passion to serve their communities is abundantly evident.

    PWB looks forward to further collaborating with IOPSA members, especially in support of their sustaining interest in forming a “Team” of local South African/PWB volunteers, who are actively involved in improving their communities’

    plumbing and sanitary needs.  Thank you to Steve Brown, IOPSA Operations Manager, and the entire membership for their warm reception, amazing hospitality and long-standing support of the PWB mission!

  • 27 Jul 2017 9:07 AM | Anonymous

    Over the past two years Gary Macnamara has been the executive director for The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA). Within his role at the organisation, he has achieved and conquered any challenge put before him and this is a trait of his that will be dearly missed.

    Pictured: Chris Burgess, Craig Preston, Steve Brown, Lea Smith and Gary Macnamara

    Every beginning has an end. And every end is a new beginning. Macnamara leaves the IOPSA team to relocate his family to New Zealand and tackle new adventures that may lay ahead.

    At a small farewell gathering, Macnamara was given a multitude of gifts from the organisation to help him on his new adventure to New Zealand.

    Gary Macnamara pictured at his farewell dressed in his gifts

    IOPSA would like to wish Macnamara and his family best of luck for their new chapter and every success in their future.

    For the IOPSA offices, it is still business as usual. 

  • 26 Jul 2017 11:09 AM | Anonymous

    The IOPSA KZN committee Travelled up to Richards Bay to hold a Plumbers evening on 19 July and were met with some old and new faces. The evening was informative and as always, Gopal Bissessur of Aqua-Tap Plumbing Richards Bay was a phenomenal host and sponsor. One of the highlights of the Evening was the story of a keen plumber who, along with his assistants, travelled a round trip of approximately seven hundred kilometres to join in on the evening. Some commendable commitment from Simphiwe Cele of Plupacati Plumbers. The evening was an informative session, followed by Questions and Answers from the Plumbers pertaining to industry.

    Pictured; IOPSA Representatives, Gopal Bissessur of AquaTap and Plumbers enjoying their Prizes. 

  • 12 Jul 2017 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    IOPSA KZN was fortunate to Host Mr Domenico DiGregorio at the Grohe Dawn Lifestyle Design Centre in Durban on 29 June. Patrick Gordon of Grohe Dawn lead with an Informative talk, thereafter Plumbers were treated to shared experiences and insight into the Plumbers Without Borders journey along with some of the interaction on Local matters. Mr DiGregorio and the team at Plumbers without Borders have been growing from strength to strength, being instrumental leaders in the upliftment and reestablishment of many disaster and rural areas. To join Plumbers without Borders from any type of participatory level, visit their website;

  • 04 Jul 2017 9:25 AM | Anonymous

    IOPSA (Institute of Plumbing South Africa) has compiled a short document explaining the fundamental differences between UG (underground) piping and SV (soil-vent system - above ground) piping, and why the two should be used absolutely correctly. Many plumbers don’t understand how different the two are, and installation requirements are often neglected. It is imperative that the pipes meet the SANS requirements before installation occurs.

    Below are just a few key points explaining the differences, as well as why UG piping systems cannot be used above ground:

    • 1.       The basic difference between the pipes and the fittings is the colour and thickness. UG piping is manufactured in a cream/beige colour and SV piping is white. The SV piping also may have a wider inner wall to that of a UG pipe.
    • 2.       As per the requirements of the relevant SANS standards, the pipe and its fittings are tested as a complete system and will be required to operate as such. So, although you can connect a beige UG pipe with the white SV fitting and the system may work, it doesn’t comply with the required standards. Thus, the installation will not be compliant.
    • 3.       Fittings and angles required on the installation:
    • a.       UG piping and fittings are manufactured for below-ground use only, as the fittings are calculated for the correct slope as required in an underground installation.
    • b.      SV piping and fittings are manufactured for a system above ground, and the fittings are cast for horizontal and vertical installations to provide the correct gradient on the slope as required from SANS 10252-2.

    UG Bend at 92.5˚

    SV Bend at 95.0˚

    • 1.       As per SANS 10252-2 the correct piping is required to be used in above-ground installations. Only PVC piping that is SANS approved for above ground use is the white SV piping and fittings.
      • 2.       UG piping is not UV resistant and becomes very brittle in sunlight. Plumbers make the mistake of thinking it can be used in an above-ground duct or stack; this is incorrect as per point 1. The pipes and fittings are tested as a system and if you use the incorrect piping with the SV fittings, the installations will not be compliant to SANS installation standards. It is clear in SANS 10252-2 that the above-ground piping needs to be used for duct work.

      The below table has been taken from SANS 10252-2 further explaining the requirements for the installation in a duct, it makes clear reference in point 2 as to the pipe required in an installation.


  • 03 Jul 2017 8:23 AM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) has facilitated with industry-leaders and geyser manufacturers, the development of a guideline to alleviate confusion in the industry relating to fixed electrical water heating (geyser) cylinder failures. The confusion & frustration has been created due to a very high percentage of non-compliant installations verse actual product failure and whether poor installation has resulted in the product failure.   

    To avoid such confusion, industry has collaboratively created a document that aims to support plumbing installers and manufacturers, clarifying critical areas that determine where incorrect installation can be used as technical reason to void a warranty claim.

    Geyser manufacturers are within their right to void a warranty claim based on an installation not been compliant, however also have the responsibility to support their product in the industry if failure is determined to be a manufacturing fault.

    This guideline will provide critical standards that, if followed correctly by the plumber, will help to prevent product failure from happening. On the other hand, this the document will provide information that supports technical reasons as to why a manufacturer may void a warranty due to a non-compliant installation.

    It is important to note that this guideline is an ongoing document, and will be updated as necessary as and when IOPSA and industry reconvene. It is also critical for installers to understand that compliance to all regulations & standards applicable to a fixed electrical water heating system are to be adhered to.

    The following table advises those areas that are critical to the fixed electrical water heating (geyser) cylinder failure. All points of reference are to be verified with the relevant manufacturer in terms of warranty conditions to alleviate confusion/ liability or uncertainty.

    Installation items that may lead to failure of water heating cylinder in an electrical geyser. (15 items extracted from SANS 10252 & 10254 Standards discussed as points relating to water heater cylinder failure)


    Description of fault cause

    Cylinder failure

    Critical safety


    Temperature Pressure Valve (TP valve) rating is higher than water heating cylinder installed




    Installation of reconditioned valves.

    NOTE: Some manufacturers do not allow for the installation of a reconditioned valve onto the cylinders so warranty will be void. Confirm with the Relevant manufacturer if this point is applicable to the Manufacturer.

    No, if compliant



    Un-balanced pressure of water system

    No, may lead to failure of PCV expansion valve



    Safety valve is restricted (blocked or damaged)




    T&P overflow piping is incorrect size or smaller than the minimum requirement of 22mm




    Isolating or non-return valve is installed between hot water cylinder and the pressure control valve (PCV), expansion relief (ERV) valve or vacuum breaker.




    Where no T&P valve is installed




    Where no pressure control valve is installed




    Back-siphonage of hot water into the cold-water supply  - tank warranty intact – element void

    Note: This may however effect copper tanks and tanks that have a PEX lining.             

    No, may lead to failure of element



    Vacuum breakers are installed incorrectly or not above the top of the water heater (the anti-siphon loop) tank warranty intact – element void

    Vacuum breaker should be installed 300mm above the cylinder, if it is not possible it can be installed more than 700mm of hot water supply directly on the line.

    No, may lead to failure of element



    Discharge pipes that are obstructed and not open to the atmosphere




    Limited or no access to hot water heating system installation



    Guideline to manufacturers items that may lead to product warranty void

    • 1.      Indoor hot water cylinder installed outside (must be identified on the cylinder)
    • 2.      Electrical element burnt in air – element warranty only
    • 3.      Limited or no access to hot water cylinder installation (maintenance and replacement purposes) – replacement product provided but installation labour for customers account. Manufacturer will only provide the cylinder.
    • 4.      Required isolating valves not installed – Cylinder will be provided and customer must install the cylinder using his own plumbing contractor.
    • 5.      Water heater cylinder has been tampered with
    • 6.      Water heater cylinder serial plate has been tampered with or missing
    • 7.      Water heater cylinder has been removed from installation
    • 8.      All components installed in conjunction with the hot water cylinder must be approved components as per manufacturer specifications, if grey product components are used; the warranty will be void.
    • 9.      If the incorrect support structure is in place, the manufacturer will only provide a cylinder replacement. The installation cost will be for the consumers own account using his own plumbing contractor. The same goes for cylinders mounted on incorrect wall support.


    • 1.      This is a guideline to industry and users must always refer to current regulations and standards.
    • 2.      This guideline does not exclude the supply chain from liability of compliance in any manner. Installers must issue Notice of Non-compliance to property owners as required by regulation.
    • 3.      Solar geyser and heat pump installations have been excluded from this guideline at this point.
    • 4.      This guideline is subject to the manufacturers (water heater cylinder and valves) installation instructions.


    • 1.      Compliance of an electrical water heater system installation should be included in manufacturer warranty conditions going forward. Change behaviour of entire supply chain to ensure requirements of regulation are met, therefore ensuring the protection of the public and the environment.
    • 2.      Clear guideline to industry of how to bring an existing electrical water heater system installation to be compliant.
    • 3.      Understanding installations where specific conditions may affect voiding a warranty claim:
    • a.      Amendments of regulation / standards related to installation date.
    • b.      Water heater cylinder not been SANS 151 accredited (SABS approved) at time of installation.
    • c.       Solar Water heater system not being SANS 1307 accredited (SABS approved) at time of installation.
    • d.      Requirements of all solar system panel and cylinder configurations being SANS accredited (SABS approved).

    For more information, please visit the IOPSA website at Or contact 08610 PLUMBER

  • 03 Jul 2017 8:19 AM | Anonymous

    IOPSA (the Institute of Plumbing South Africa) has noticed an increase in confusion, due to the number of different plumbing Certificate of Compliance (CoC) issued within South Africa. The local municipalities are responsible for the enforcement of the national Building & Water Regulations. Individual local authorities have their own form of a CoC if their bylaws require one to be issued by a plumber.

    For the purpose of this article, IOPSA will focus on the City of Cape Town CoC and the Plumbing Industries Registration Board (PIRB) CoC to give an understanding of why there are different CoCs and what the differences are.

    The City of Cape Town have implemented that a Certificate of Compliance is to be issued on the sale of a property in the same vein as the Borer and Electrical Certificate of Compliance. However, in terms of the requirements of the document, there are only specific points raised and required for the plumber to check:

    • ·         The Hot Water Cylinder installation complies with SANS 10252 and SANS 10254
    • ·         The water pipes in the plumbing installation (especially within the roof space) are properly saddled as per SANS 10252
    • ·         The water meter records the flow when water is drawn, and does not register when consumption stops.
    • ·         The private isolating valve as per subsection 23(2) (a) or (b) is in place and functioning.
    • ·         None of the terminal water fittings leak and they are correctly fixed in position.
    • ·         No storm water is discharged into the sewerage system.
    • ·         There is no cross connection between the potable supply and any alternate supply.

    The document has been amended since inception. A concern relating to the City of Cape Town CoC is that new property owners are under the impression that the entire plumbing system is compliant. As you can see by the points indicated; the plumber does not check all points of a Plumbing System relevant to the Regulations & Standards of plumbing. Complaints arise when service calls initiated for repairs and issues of non-compliance become apparent by the responding plumber. This reverts to Western Cape however in other regions; Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Southern Cape, a CoC is now being requested by the buyer.

    Due to the lack of registration and poor quality plumbing installation, IOPSA initiated the Plumbing Industry Registration Board not only to register all plumbers but to proactively check quality of installations by means of the issuing of PIRB CoC’s.

    This was initially a voluntary industry driven solution that is now been included in plumbing regulations since the PIRB has become a Professional Body. The value of the PIRB CoC is explained below:

    The PIRB registered plumber is required to log CoC within five days of the installation, which, through the automated services, may result in an audit carried out on the installation. In the event of a failed audit, the plumber would be required to carry out rectification. It’s a controlled, measured system and process. Should the plumber not wish to rectify the issue, they will be removed from the PIRB register. It is important to understand the difference between a local CoC and PIRB CoC.

    The PIRB CoC is seen as credible because it is:

    • a)      independently audited
    • b)      a pro-active approach rather than a reactive; they don’t wait for the consumer to complain
    • c)       linked to a register that is maintained on a regular basis which, if you aren’t compliant, you will be removed from

    The local certificate is still a requirement in specific local authorities.  This is a local government requirement so it’s compulsory. The PIRB is a voluntary requirement, except for solar geysers, heat pump and soon, fixed electrical geysers. If you install a solar geyser or heat pump, you must issue a PIRB certificate in addition to the local government certificate.

    The consumer is looking for credibility and support, which they can get through the industry-driven solution that is the PIRB CoC. It has been implemented to assist the municipality.

    A PIRB CoC is brought in and implemented for the self-certification of plumbing works carried out by the registered plumber. The various categories in terms of the CoC are denoted on the Certificate, and the plumber will define the specific work carried out on site e.g.: A new build:

    •          all categories of work done and then specified what was done, or
    •          in the event of a Repair/ Replacement/ Solar Installation, plumber will issue solely on work carried out.

    The PIRB Certificate was not designed for usage on the sale of property; the issuing plumber may be held liable for any areas of non-compliance not noted. There have been instances where a registered plumber has certified, and not listed the areas of non-compliance, and was therefore held liable. The standards are very specific in terms of the responsibility of the plumber; they must advise the owner of any non-compliance in writing. With the inclusion of the checklist, this will alleviate uncertainty in terms of non-compliance and defective areas. It is to be noted that only a registered PIRB plumber may issue a PIRB Certificate of Compliance.

    For more information, please visit the IOPSA website at Or contact 08610 PLUMBER

  • 27 Jun 2017 11:16 AM | Anonymous

    We are finding that in all the new upmarket developments the bathroom design does not allow for the bath access panels, this is due to the aesthetics of the bathroom and the property owner not wanting to see an access panel that stands out.

    But as plumbers we need to assist our clients to understand that the access panel is required as per the SANS standard. We also need to look at the best possible solution to ensure the aesthetics of the bathroom can comply to the standards and keep the client happy with the end product.

    Below are some ideas of how you can create an access panel for the bathroom that complies to the standards and is still easy on the eye.

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