• 27 Nov 2015 11:58 AM | Anonymous

    Download the first South African plumbing app - linked to the PIRB registration and COC, as well as access to installation guide, rates, on site data collection and plumbers tools.

    The app is available to download for all Samsung, Nokia, Sony phones and tablets.

  • 20 Oct 2015 2:08 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)’s Steve Brown looks at all the ways that plumbing installations can go wrong.

    What you mean the legs can move? Do I really have to put a pipe on the expansion relief?

    What do you mean I must put another pipe on this geyser?

    Do you think I've used enough flux?

    I really nailed this job.

    It seems spelling is of no concern to some plumbers.

    This is not the way to discharge a pipe.

    What do you mean I have to support this pipe?

    How not to discharge the expansion relief valve.

    Someone obviously can't measure correctly.

  • 20 Oct 2015 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    This is the first of a new series of articles, entitled ‘The Plumbing Battle’, which will help you succeed in your business.

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) has highlighted business acumen as one of the challenges facing plumbing businesses.

    IOPSA is therefore working constructively to educate existing plumbing companies on good business practice, in order to create a sustainable plumbing environment.

    The Institute is not only developing content related to best plumbing business practise, but is also looking at different ways to communicate this content to the industry.

    The key to fighting the plumbing battle is knowing the forces that you are fighting against. Some of the key challenges facing today’s plumbers are

    • Manufacturers, importers and merchants selling poor quality products;
    • Poor salaries and wages;
    • Bad plumbing businesses (i.e. unqualified plumbers) giving the industry a bad name;
    • Poor business practices;
    • Lack of skills and access to skilled resources;
    • Deceitful consumers who expect the best but are unwilling to pay for it;
    • Greed above need, profit above people;
    • A highly competitive industry;
    • Corruption and dishonesty;
    • A culture of no maintenance. and waste; and
    • Clients who don’t pay.

    We often complain about how difficult the plumbing industry is and how much better it would be doing something else. But, the idea that the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ is not only the perception in the plumbing industry; the fact is that all industries have their own difficulties and challenges, especially in the current political, economic and social climate in South Africa.

    IOPSA often get calls from lawyers and professionals wanting be plumbers. Their perception is that that plumbers make lots of easy money. On the other hand, plumbers often think that lawyers are making easy money.

    So, how do you make a plumbing business successful? And which battles do you fight?

    Firstly, the key may be to overcome your own personal interferences, which can create stumbling blocks in solving challenges. These challenges you face can be overcome if you focus your energy on the solution instead of the problem. Take a step back, and look at where you are and want to go.

    Secondly, make the right decisions for the right reasons, and never give up. When you look for solutions, don't look to blame the person next to you. Change your thinking and learn from your mistakes. We live in a non-compliant society, a society that looks for the loop holes instead of being part of the solution.

    Sometimes, we deceive ourselves. We convince ourselves we are making the right choice when we know it is actually the wrong choice. For example, we get upset with others when they drive through a stop street. We get upset with the taxis when they go through red robots, but we ourselves drive through stop streets and red robots.

    What is the secret of success? Making the RIGHT DECISIONS.

    How do you make the right decisions? EXPERIENCE.

    How do you get experience? By making the WRONG DECISIONS and learning from them.

    So, now that we are positive and ready to create solutions and battle the odds, here is a seven step guide to wining and building a successful plumbing business. We will cover each topic in the following issues of Plumbing Africa:

    1. S is for Simple – Keep your business simple focus on what you do best.
    2. U is for Unique – Don’t try be everything to everyone. Find your niche and put your energy into your unique offering.
    3. C is for Competitive – Create opportunities to be different. Know your competitors and ensure your pricing is relative to the market.
    4. C is for Consistent – Have faith that your business will succeed and persevere as there will be many obstacles and frustrations, which can always be overcome.
    5. E is for Evolve – Know your client’s needs, understand your industry and continually adapt your business. No short cuts, learn from your mistakes.
    6. S is for Service – Give clients what they want and the best service you can achieve. Deliver what you promise, don’t over promise and under deliver.
    7. S is for Support – Employ the right staff and support them. Create financial support and find a business mentor.
  • 15 Oct 2015 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) lays out how the consumer complaint process works and what value it provides Institute members

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)’s consumer complaint process is sometimes viewed in a negative light by members but Gary Macnamara, executive director of IOPSA, explained that the fact that consumers have an option for recourse should something go wrong with a plumbing installation etc., is merely another benefit that IOPSA members enjoy.

    “A consumer can feel comfortable using an IOPSA member because there is recourse,” Macnamara said. The consumer complaint process that the Institute has put into place provides consumers and plumbers with an impartial adjudicator when problems arise.

    The intention is not to usurp the plumber’s authority in anyway. If the consumer has a problem with the plumber, and they contact IOPSA for advice. The Institute’s first suggestion is always that the consumer talks to the plumber. It is only when every option has been exhausted and no solution can be reached that IOPSA will step in.

    Not only does this provide the consumer with support, should something go awry, but this process is also intended to support the plumber, should the consumer’s claims be unfounded. “We can very quickly assess if the complaint is legitimate,” said Macnamara.

    About 80% of the complaints that IOPSA receives are made about non-members.

    “If you’re delivering quality, there’s value in that,” said Macnamara.

    It is important to note that any complaints made to IOPSA must be made in writing. If a consumer phones in a complaint, they will be asked to put it in writing. The reason for this is to weed out spurious complaints, and to enable IOPSA to establish the accuracy of the facts of the case.

    How it works for members

    1. IOPSA will confirm that the contractor/plumber is a member and in good standing with the Institute.
    2. A compliant form is to be sent out to the complainant with the instruction that it must be fully completed with all supporting documentation submitted.
    3. Once complaint form has been received from the consumer and is fully completed, the complaint is allocated to the respective regional chairman to process.
    4. The chairman will assess the complaint and send it to the member for an official response.
    5. When the member’s response has been received, an inspection at the complainant’s property can be carried out and a ruling given if required.
    6. Site inspections or meetings must be conducted in a professional manner at all times.
    7. The ruling and written report must be given to the national administrator to close the complaint and give formal feedback to member and complainant within two weeks.

    If the member is found to be at fault, disciplinary measures will be instituted. But only as a last resort – the member will be given every opportunity to correct whatever mistakes have occurred.

  • 06 Oct 2015 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    Gary Macnamara, executive director of the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA), began his career in architecture after receiving a National Diploma in Architectural Technology. The first ten years of his working life were spent at an architectural firm, where he was involved in the design of buildings of every shape and size. 

    In 2003, he joined Interact Media Defined (IMD) a business-to-business publication company based in Bedfordview. During his tenure at IMD, Macnamara involved himself in every facet of the business. He left IMD in 2012 to develop his passion for digital media.

    In 2014, Macnamara was approached by IOPSA to be part of their strategic plan to become a more effective plumbing body and to better serve the industry. “I jumped at the opportunity as it presented many challenges to overcome, making the career direction even more exciting and fulfilling,” Macnamara said. Macnamara’s experience in the building industry and plumbing trade media allowed him to become familiar with specialised trade industries and trade bodies, particularly IOPSA. This, coupled with his experience as a director and business owner, gave Macnamara the added skills and experience required to really make a difference. “Working for IOPSA has given me the opportunity to make a difference in the industry I started in and that I am so passionate about.”

    Hands-on approach

    Macnamara’s duties as executive director of IOPSA entails the implementation and management of the Institute’s constitution and strategic objectives. His main responsibilities include: 

    a. Developing and implementing the national executive vision and strategic plan of the Institute; 

    b. Developing an operational plan which incorporates goals and objectives that work towards the strategic direction of the Institute;

    c. Managing the planning, implementation and evaluation of the Institute’s programmes and services;

    d. Managing the implementation of human resources policies, procedures and best practices;

    e. Administering the funds of the Institute according to the approved budget and monitoring the Institute’s monthly cash flow;

    f. Communicating with stakeholders to keep them informed of the work of the Institute and to identify changes in the community served by the Institute; and

    g. Identifying and evaluating the risks to the Institute's people (clients, staff, management, volunteers etc.), property, finances, goodwill, and image, and implementing measures to control risks.

    Macnamara’s favourite part of the job is creating solutions to the many challenges the plumbing industry faces and dealing with individuals within the plumbing sector who are so passionate about their industry.

    In the future

    “What I have learnt over the past 12 months is that the plumbing industry cannot be changed overnight,” Macnamara said. “There is a hugely negative culture of plumbers within an untrusting environment between all role players of the plumbing supply chain, so it’s a long road with many goals to achieve.”

    One of Macnamara’s main goals for IOPSA is changing the mind sets of plumbers to create a positive environment in which change can be facilitated.

    Macnamara’s work philosophy is to keep it simple. “Do things the right way and for the right reasons, persevere and have faith that you can achieve what you want to no matter what the obstacles, as long as you know what you want.”

  • 17 Sep 2015 1:24 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) offers up thoughts on what needs to be done to close the skills gap in South Africa.

    After travelling across South Africa, and talking to plumbers as well as manufacturers and suppliers, it is clear to see that there is an obvious skills shortage in South Africa. This is not news, but the shortage has negatively impacted the construction sector, and consequences are now being seen with even more devastating implications. 

    Poor quality installations and non-compliance to industry standards is resulting in failure of products, failing infrastructure, growing non-compliant industry, and poor health and safety for all.

    What is perhaps the scariest reality is that companies within the business sector are attempting to solve the skills shortage individually to minimise the impact on their businesses. Although this is a positive thing, the challenge that this creates is that it is a short-term fix and not a long-term solution. ‘If a farmer sees an unhealthy tree, they don’t look at the branches to diagnose it; they look at the root.’

     Gary Macnamara, executive director of IOPSA.

    Gary Macnamara, executive director of IOPSA. 

    We need to understand what the industry is doing to resolve this crisis and then align with these solutions, to achieve a common goal: ‘Skilled artisans’.

    The industry has been working hard to develop the new apprenticeship qualification under the new Qualifications Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) framework which will solve the formal education from top down.

    The Institute will also be focussing on the following areas which will reduce the skills gap in the industry

    • Coordinating the training efforts of all;
    • An overall plan to deliver projects which include the ‘on the job’ aspect is critical to the creation of skills. The output quality of artisans is dependent on increasing the quality of ‘on the job’ part of our training system;
    • Uplifting training colleges (facilities, facilitators and training material) and the alignment of public and private training providers;
    • Continued funding for training, which is critical and must be addressed; and
    • An apprentice programme to close the gap between employment market and skills required in the plumbing industry, including quality assurance of training and skills.

    Industry members need to come together to solve the skills shortages that are sustainable. IOPSA will strive to support manufacturers’ initiatives to train installers relating to specific products and new technologies within the correct framework.

  • 18 Aug 2015 1:45 PM | Anonymous

    The many ways in which members of the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) have benefitted from their membership.

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) is often asked: “What value do I as a plumbing company gain from being a member?”

    IOPSA engages with members and consumers daily on a variety of topics which in essence add a great deal of value. These include training, technical assistance, pricing guidance, contractual support and dispute resolution. 

    You may not believe it but IOPSA also engages in counselling with members who are going through tough times. In many cases a complaint is resolved without the plumber being aware specifically where a consumer is at fault. Providing technical expertise when a problem arises saves the member time and money and educates industry as well as consumers.

    Case one

    A member was asked to price a high-rise building which entailed new cold water reticulation system, including a break pressure tank and booster pumps. The contractor was not entirely up to speed in terms of how the system operated and was unsure as to how to proceed. 

    The company contacted IOPSA, who arranged a site visit and inspection. With no lifts the IOPSA representative walked up 17 flights of stairs to conduct the inspection and provided the member with suggested solutions to the problems he was experiencing. In addition, IOPSA met with the member’s client and carried out further inspections until the project was handed over.

    Case two

    A supplier and plumbing contractor were involved in a project worth around R650 000. The scope of work was to install over thirty heat pumps at a bed and breakfast.

    The project commenced and was problematic in terms of functionality. Numerous attempts were made to resolve the problems experienced on site. The client was receiving complaints from residents and, reaching the end of his tether, he requested that all heat pumps be removed and the installation be returned to the original hot water system. 

    Meetings were held between the client and the contractors to resolve the dispute, but no outcome was achieved. It must be noted that there were no payments made and a huge amount of money was outstanding.

    As a member, the company requested assistance from IOPSA and a meeting was scheduled with the client in order to resolve the issues.

    With the assistance of IOPSA, it was agreed that the project be broken up into sections and that, once these blocks of units were fully functional, payment would be made.

    IOPSA then provided a programme with technical support and solutions to the problems. As each section was rectified, tested and deemed fully functional, payment was made.

    The project was systematically completed over a period of three months, with regular payments being made on completion in terms of the programme.

    This resulted in a happy client and both supplier and plumbing company paid in full. 

  • 24 Jul 2015 1:18 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)’s events in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg set the benchmark for all future regional events

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) has hosted a number of events over the past two months which saw plumbers and industry members from all over the country come out and show their support. 

    The regional events in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, on 18 and 24 June respectively, set the benchmark for all future regional events. Both events were very well attended. 

    Tian Pienaar, Hansgrohe’s national training manager, talks electronic mixers at the first ever CPD workshop. 

    The Johannesburg event saw presentations by various members of IOPSA’s committee, including Steve Brown, IOPSA’s technical manager who said, “You are not alone in what you do.” 

    IOPSA’s purpose is to create an environment in which plumbers from all walks of life can seek guidance, assistance and support from the body.

    IOPSA is the only body for plumbing companies in South Africa and is very involved in different levels of the industry. The organisation focuses on the value of the plumber, which even plumbers themselves sometimes don’t understand. Training and education are key to creating an equal playing field across the industry.

    The regional event in Bloemfontein included a motivational talk by Christo Spies. Spies is a motivational speaker and performance coach whose presentation focused on enhancing one’s business by developing one’s own potential and managing interference.

    IOPSA is also proud to have facilitated the first Continual Professional Development (CPD) workshop, held at Huddle Park golf club, in Johannesburg, on 24 June. 

    The workshop’s topic was Hansgrohe electronic mixers and related standards, and was delivered by Tian Pienaar, Hansgrohe’s national training manager, and IOPSA’s technical manager, Steve Brown.

    IOPSA would like to extend its warmest thanks to the sponsors of these events, which include: Apex Valves, Berlesell, Benzomatic, Builders Warehouse, Comap, Copper Development Association Africa, Dry Force, Heattech, Geberit, Grohe-Dawn Water technology, Hansgrohe, On Tap, Marley, Ridgid, the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) and Plumblink.

  • 23 Jun 2015 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)’s Steve Brown looks at all the ways that plumbing installations can go wrong

     The vacuum breaker has been positioned incorrectly.
    A strainer has been positioned incorrectly next to a heat pump. 
    Another strainer, which has also been incorrectly positioned next to a heat pump. 
    A plastic bag has been used to repair a joint on a geyser tray overflow pipe. 
    The pipework installed in this roof space is not supported. 

  • 23 Jun 2015 1:16 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) is looking for a new technical manager

    IOPSA is looking for an energetic, honest and reliable person to take up a position of technical manager.

    Under the direction of the national technical officer, the candidate will be responsible for all Gauteng plumbing inspections and the administration of national technical complaints and queries, liaising with regional chairman, operations manager and regional inspectors to resolve.


    1. Minimum 5-8 years plumbing experience.

    2. Qualified plumber.

    3. Construction plumbing experience.

    4. Maintenance plumbing experience.

    5. Contractual knowledge and experience.

    6. Knowledge of all SANS standards and regulations.

    7. Excellent administration and organisational skills.

    8. Good communication skills.

    9. Must be able to initiate action.

    10. Problem solver.

    11. Good negotiation skills.

    12. Computer literate is essential.

    Salary will be based on experience. This is a full-time position and the successful candidate will be based at the national office in Edenvale.

    Send CV to 

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