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  • 01 Mar 2016 1:09 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) invites its members to celebrate World Plumbing Day (WPD) on 11 March 2016

    World Plumbing Day is an international event, initiated by the World Plumbing Council (WPC), and held on 11 March every year. This day recognises the important role the plumbing industry plays in sanitation, health and hygiene.

    Statistics from the World Health Organisation show that globally, more people have a mobile phone than a toilet. Furthermore, one in three individuals lack access to improved sanitation, one billion still practice open defecation and only 64% of the world's population has access to improved sanitation.

    South Africa’s water crisis and sanitation situation

    In South Africa, the situation is no less dire. According to Stats SA’s 2013 General Household Survey, 89,9% of South African households have access to piped water, while only 77,9% have access to improved sanitation.

    Currently 94.8% of South Africans have access to clean and safe drinking water. But approximately 1,4 million formal households require sanitation services and about 500 000 informal households are currently forced to make use of interim services.

    Bearing these statistics in mind, IOPSA and World Plumbing Day are dedicated to promoting the benefits of safe plumbing and creating awareness about the importance of proper sanitation, health and hygiene. It provides individuals with the opportunity to get involved with relieving the crisis and make a difference.

    The dire consequences of inadequate sanitation

    Due to the lack of sanitation and access in the country's rural communities the threat of water borne disease is steadily increasing. Getaway and tourist destinations such as the Vaal River are becoming increasingly contaminated with faecal material due to the lack of sanitation supplies. This results in fewer tourists visiting certain destinations, and wildlife is being affected by the raw sewage run-off.

    The role of plumbers

    Plumbers are contributing their part to protect the environment by providing safe fresh water and sanitation through proper management, care, reuse and conservation of natural resources. The plumbing industry recognises the questionable balance mankind must maintain to guarantee its very existence and embraces efforts to ensure we are preserving every drop possible.

    The role of the plumber

    You can make a difference by getting involved with non-profit organisations such as UNICEF, who sponsor a wide range of activities and work with many partners, including families, communities, and governments. Also, get involved with local schools by volunteering to give talks and educate pupils about the importance of washing hands and using proper clean water.

    IOPSA WPD initiatives

    In 2016, IOPSA regions will be focusing on key upliftment projects and water conservation at schools in their respective regions.

    IOPSA Gauteng will be involved in the Doug Whitehead Special School in Kensington. IOPSA members have donated and will be installing much-needed water and sanitation products.

    The Doug Whitehead School is a special school for 189 children between the ages of six and 19 years old. All of them are severely mentally challenged. Many have multiple disabilities. Some are in wheelchairs, and many are epileptic. The school also has autistic pupils as well as pupils with visual and hearing disabilities.

    The school strives to provide specialised teaching, training and therapy in a happy, nurturing environment so that each child can achieve his or her maximum potential in all areas of development. Children with disabilities have a right to learn how to become as self-sufficient as possible to enable them to integrate more easily into society.

    The school recognises and responds to the diverse needs of learners, and has a functional school governing body and parents’ support, as well as a dedicated staff. 


    Projects that you can get involved in

    • Community upliftment projects specific to regions
    • School and community education
    • IOPSA Video – water conservation
    • Board game advocating water conservation
  • 01 Mar 2016 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    In an effort to help the industry stay connected, the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) has organised roadshows in 2016

    In an effort to help plumbers across South Africa become more connected with each other, and to provide them with opportunities to better themselves through further learning and training, IOPSA will be hosting a series of roadshows across South Africa.

    Roadshows will be held in all of IOPSA’s regions, namely Gauteng, the North West, Free State, Border, Eastern Cape, Southern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape. Stops are scheduled for major cities in these regions.

    Each event will emphasise the achievements and benefits of the institute, will include continual professional development (CPD) activities and workshops, and highlight the institute’s current projects. Feedback will be provided regarding legislation, standards, building inspectors and products. New plumbing qualifications and trade testing will also be discussed.

    As per the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) requirements, Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) CPD activities will be compulsory from 1 March 2016.

    Plumbing industry registered plumbers are required to acquire new and updated levels of knowledge and skills that will not only add measurable benefits to the practice of plumbing compliant with mandatory national standards and regulations, but also enhance and promote professional integrity of the industry.

    Phase-in of CPD points system

    For the first year, an individual will be able to obtain CPD credits from any category and only 15 credits will be required over a 12-month cycle. Each roadshow is aimed at uplifting the skills and knowledge of plumbers, and creating awareness about the industry.

  • 02 Feb 2016 2:19 PM | Anonymous

    As the new year really gets going, the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) keeps you up-to-date with new developments

    As of March 2016, IOPSA members will be certified on an annual basis.

    From March 2016, IOPSA member registration will be annual. Members will be issued with a new certificate and sticker each year. These certificates and stickers will carry the new registration date, which gives consumers, customers or property owners the ability to identify that the member is current. Your certificate will be issued electronically, which means it is secure (unlike paper which can be lost or damaged). This new system will also allow IOPSA to keep you, the member, up-to-date and informed on all the goings-on at the Institute, including Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities, fun events and meetings.

    New members can join IOPSA at any time during the year, but membership runs from March to February. That means that if you join in July 2016, you will need to renew your membership in February the following year.

  • 14 Jan 2016 12:54 PM | Anonymous

    From the executive director

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)’s executive director, Gary Macnamara, walks you through winning the plumbing battle

    It all starts with you!

    We often complain about how difficult the plumbing industry is and how much better it would be doing something else. The saying that the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ is unfortunately not our exclusive right. The fact is that all industries and countries have their own difficulties and challenges, especially in the current political, economic and social turmoil we find ourselves in.

    So how do you decide on which battles to fight in your business? How are you getting yourself fit for the future?

    How much of your personal mindset creates stumbling blocks in solving challenges? Are you supporting and stimulating yourself with options? Exploring all possible opportunities to implement solutions to your business challenges or are you stuck and a little overwhelmed at this point?

    When last did you step back, reflect and brainstorm your options alone, with other entrepreneurs or with a mentor? How hungry are you to surround yourself with solution-seekers rather than people who will agree with how hard business is?

    Take the plunge; treat yourself to the gift of stepping back and looking at where you are and where you want to go.

    There is a simple concept referred to a ‘learned helplessness’ – where we are prevented from avoiding some repeatedly negative stimuli. We eventually reach a state in which it we become passive and depressed because we believe there is no action we can take to avoid the aversive stimulus. Essentially, we give up trying.

    Whilst this sounds extreme, even a little of this at a personal level can play with our motivation… So how about building on the gift to yourself? Shift from ‘give up’ exercises to ‘I’m building solutions that make sense’, especially if you choose to give yourself a fighting opportunity to be fit for the future.

    If you can shift your thinking even a little bit, you can shift from blaming yourself and others to learning from your past decisions. That old saying – ‘We can’t change our outcome if we keep doing the same thing’ – may start to make sense.

    Let’s go into a little more detail and, by way of example, show you that everyone has the opportunity to be successful:

    Round 1 – SIMPLE

    • FOCUS

    Focus on what you do best, think simple. It’s that simple; don’t complicate your business for the sake of things. Controls, processes, products and services must make a difference to your vision for the business and client experience, otherwise why have them? You’re looking for excellence without unnecessary stress, effective use of your resources, management of your overheads and delivering a quality service.


    Fighters keep their plans simple, so they can deliver – trying to implement many different techniques and moves can be tiring and often ineffective. A fighter knows his/her strengths and focusses on those to deliver the knockout blows.

    • TEAM

    Your team is part of your business, they need to understand what you expect and how you measure service and client satisfaction.

    • BASICS

    Get the basics right and build from there. Your unique offering must be a living experience for clients. Don’t focus on what people don’t use or want – ‘Focus on what you do best, think simple.’

    Remember – ‘No-one wins a world title fight by throwing the same punches... Each fighter plays to their unique strengths to deliver the unexpected and to gain victory when their opponent least expects it.’

    Coming soon to upcoming issues of Plumbing Africa:

    • Round 2: UNIQUE
    • Round 3: COMPETITIVE
    • Round 4: CONSISTENT

    What is the secret of success? ‘RIGHT DECISIONS’

    How do you make the right decisions? ‘EXPERIENCE’

    How do you get experience? ‘WRONG DECISIONS

    • Article contributors: Steve Brown, IOPSA operations manager; Debbie Donaldson, You are Worth It motivational speaker; Gary Macnamara, IOPSA executive director.
  • 03 Dec 2015 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) is paving the way for plumbers to become qualified solar water geyser and heat pump installers in terms of the new apprenticeship qualification.

    The plumbing environment is changing and the question is are you ready? The Department of Energy (DOE) is gearing up to roll out a new solar hot water rebate system, coupled with the legislative requirements to install min 50 % alternative hot water heating technologies in new buildings. This means that the plumbing industry needs solar geyser and heat pump installers.

    How can you, the plumber, upskill yourself and become a certified installer? There are two routes that you can follow to become qualified as a solar geyser or heat pump installer, which will allow you as an individual to be certified as a solar geyser or heat pump installer and issue a Certificate of compliance (CoC) as required by the National building Regulations.

    The first route applies to qualified plumbers that have not completed their solar geyser / heat pump qualified (those who do not have the solar geyser or heat pump PIRB designation). You will be required to go through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route at an accredited skills development provider (SDP) ‘training provider’. Once the training provider has established that you have met all the requirements through the Recognition of Prior learning process the Skills Development Provider (SDP) ‘training provider’ can apply to IOPSA for you to complete the final summative assessment.

    The second route as a new learner is that you must complete the training in order to be recommended for the summative assessment ‘Trade Test’ and receive your professional designation. Accredited solar geyser and heat pump SDPs can be found on the IOPSA website.

    The Quality Council for Trade and Occupation (QCTO) has appointed IOPSA as the Assessment Quality Partner (AQP) for the solar geyser and heat pump qualifications. To carry out the summative assessment all learners will have to go through the new solar geyser and heat pump training programme.

    IOPSA is rolling out a pilot project in January 2016, establishing test centres where summative assessments (Solar geyser /Heat pump ‘trade tests’) can take place according to IOPSA set standards and procedures. There will be two test centres, one in Johannesburg, and Cape Town to begin with.

    Anyone who meets the requirements as detailed above can apply for either of these assessments and must do so through their SDP i.e. training provider, college or school, to IOPSA.

    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory knowledge and practical skill modules, as well as work experience:

    1. Knowledge Modules – 14 credits required

    2. Practical Skills Modules – 23 credits required

    3. Work Experience Modules – 30 credits required

    4. Final Summative assessment (trade test) required to complete qualification

    The summative assessment will comprise of two sections being theory and practical components.

    Theory assessment will be carried out in a controlled environment at an accredited test centre. Candidates must successfully complete their theory assessment before they can progress to the practical assessment.

    Practical assessment will also be carried out at an accredited test centre for new learners.

    Qualified/licensed plumbers who have worked on solar or heat pump installation under adequate control and passed the solar geyser or heat pump theory summative assessment will be able to submit five CoCs as proof of practical and workplace experience of which two will be audited. If the audit report complies with regulations (i.e. no re-fix items are necessary), it will result in the awarding of the qualification.

    Alternatively a temporary solar geyser / heat pump designation within PIRB system can be allocated and five training CoCs will be issued to a licensed plumber. The five installations will need to be completed and logged for their practical and work place experience submission of which two will be audited.

    For more information, contact IOPSA on 0027 (0)11 454 0025.

  • 03 Dec 2015 9:50 AM | Anonymous

    Plumbers to be aware of the responsibility they take on when signing a PIRB Certificate of Compliance (CoC) for plumbing installation on the sale of a house

    Consumer’s or property owner’s expectation of a Certificate of Compliance is that all plumbing work within a building complies with regulation and is in working order.

    A PIRB Certificate of Compliance (CoC) certifies an installation is compliant in terms of regulation. In most cases this will most likely be on a specific installation and does not necessarily include all plumbing in a building and definitely does not certify that existing plumbing is in working order.

    If you have been requested to issue a CoC on a new building or sale of a house take note of the following:

    1. If an installation is not complaint do NOT issue a CoC. The consequences of issuing a CoC on a non-compliant plumbing work is the property owner will have legal recourse on the individual that issues and signs the certificate.

    2. Notify the property owner that the plumbing work does not comply with the National Building Regulations and specifically what needs to be rectified.

    3. Notify the property owner that a CoC is not a confirmation that products are in working order but specifically plumbing work has been installed in compliance with regulation.

    4. Notify the property owner that plumbing work that is hidden in walls, floors, ground and concrete roofs are excluded from certificate as they cannot be inspected, unless one has carried out such an inspection such as with a drain camera inspection.

    5. The PIRB CoC covers a specific installation and not the entire property plumbing work. We suggest that you download a comprehensive domestic property checklist (can be found under member information on IOPSA website) to guide you in what needs to be inspected and this can be given to a property owner as proof of what is non-complaint.

    This will require a plumber to inspect a property comprehensively and they should allow enough time accordingly.

  • 03 Dec 2015 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    IOPSA’s Gauteng plumbers’ evening was an enjoyable and educational experience for all

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)’s Gauteng plumbers’ evening, held at Three Oaks in Centurion on 28 October 2015, was a roaring success.

    The plumbers’ evenings, which are held on a regular basis by IOPSA around South Africa, provide plumbers with the opportunity to socialise with one another and, in this case, listen to those who ‘have been there’.

    Gary Macnamara, executive director of IOPSA,
    addresses attendees of the IOPSA Gauteng plumbers’ evening.
    Plumber Dale Simon shares his story.
    Debbie Donaldson, a motivational speaker,
    gets the attendees fired up.
    Theuns van Aardt, from Powerz-On Solar, won the raffle.

    Speakers at this event included Dale Simon, a plumber and business owner who talked about his experience in the industry; Debbie Donaldson, a motivational speaker and a consultant who talked to the attendees about what they need to do to take their business to the next level; and representatives from Nedbank, who presented attendees with the PocketPOS, a mobile payment system that will help small business owners deal more effectively with client payments on the go.

    The evening ended with a raffle and dinner, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

  • 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.

* Please note that all articles are dated and content was valid at the time of publication. 



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