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  • 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 

  • 15 Jun 2015 1:43 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) organised a series of plumbing roadshows that emphasised the achievements and benefits of the industry.

    The institute national executive director Gary Macnamara and operations manager Steve Brown attended regional events in East London, Port Elizabeth, George and Mossel Bay from the 1 to the 5 June.

    The objective of the institute road show is to communicate a common message specific to the direction that IOPSA is heading and the value that the institute has obtained and continues to achieve. In addition the institute gathered insight through meetings held with industry role players. This included engagement with local authority building and water inspectors, construction plumbers and IOPSA regional committees.

    The importance of building trust within the industry was emphasised and is paramount to growing the institute and members benefitting directly. Furthermore communication of key areas of value in terms of industry representation indicates that the institute is strong and building even stronger support structures. Brown gave feedback on specific examples where IOPSA members have directly benefited through their institute membership which opened member’s eyes as to ‘what does IOPSA do for us’. 

    Macnamara highlighted IOPSA’s recent achievements and the importance of industry compliance, Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) awareness, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities, institute forums, current IOPSA projects and the 2016 World Plumbing Conference in Cape Town.

    Consumer communication will be a focus in educating building owners on the value of plumbers and the benefits of using an IOPSA member. This will achieve confidence as consumer’s awareness that they can have recourse through IOPSA. 

    The need for effective occupation training and supportive informal training must be a focus to reduce the skills gap created in recent years. In addition engagement with building industry professionals will be a priority in creating awareness of industry concerns and challenges.

    A highlight of the trip was delivering training on plumbing standards to the Mossel Bay building inspectors which also gave the inspectors an opportunity to engage with the local PIRB inspectors.

    Member feedback from the first regional events was extremely positive with some key concerns highlighted that IOPSA will address in its overall objective to continue being the leading body for plumbing in South Africa.

    Huge thanks must be given to regional committees for organising these successful events and the association believes that through the commitment of these volunteers IOPSA will grow from strength to strength. 

    IOPSA looks forward to the next road shows happening in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Durban and Cape Town over the next month.

    The association will be having at least two roadshows a year to engage and communicate with members and the plumbing industry.

    Thanks to sponsors of these past events which included: Apex Valves, Benzomatic, Copper Development Association Africa, Grohe-Dawn Water technology, Hansgrohe, On tap, PIRB, and Plumblink.

  • 19 May 2015 10:41 AM | Anonymous

    Join the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) for a series of plumbing roadshows that will emphasise the achievements and benefits of the industry

    IOPSA is planning its roadshows for 2015 and would like you to be a part of this incredible experience. Stops are scheduled for all major cities around South Africa.

    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. 

    It is important for licensed Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) plumbers to attend CPD workshops. Such workshops will provide insights into the cost of being in business, updated skills and knowledge, and offer a solution for the best plumbing and business sustainability practices. 

    Each roadshow is aimed at uplifting the skills and knowledge of plumbers, and creating awareness about the industry. 

    Find out more at any of our plumber events taking place across South Africa in 2015:

    • East London, 1 June;
    • Port Elizabeth, 2 June;
    • Mossel Bay, 4 June;
    • Bloemfontein, 18 June;
    • Johannesburg, 24 June;
    • Rustenburg, 25 June;
    • Durban, 1 July; and
    • Cape Town, 8 July.

    The roadshows are free events and will earn you two CPD points, so come and enjoy a relaxing and informative evening with IOPSA.

    For more information about getting involved with a roadshow near you, contact IOPSA on 08610 PLUMBER or go to to register. 

  • 19 May 2015 10:24 AM | Anonymous

    By: Gary Macnamara – IOPSA CEO 

    What are the benefits of continuing professional development (CPD) and the cost of being in the plumbing industry today?

    Continual professional development (CPD) refers to systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of one’s knowledge and skills. It is also regarded as the development of personal qualities that are necessary for execution of professional and technical duties throughout one’s plumbing career. CPD is important for plumbers to acquire new and updated level of knowledge and skills. CPD does not only add measureable benefits to the practice of plumbing but also to the plumbing industry as a whole. 

    There are many benefits associated with CPD for the plumbing industry. It creates awareness, understanding, the advantages, disadvantages and any possible pitfalls that may arise from new technology. CPD emphasises any new and changing legislations that may affects one’s business and trade. It improves the skills of employers and employees within the plumbing industry. CPD offers professional business and technical development. It also offers solutions for the best plumbing practise. 

    The cost of being in business
    Are you unsure of how to calculate a plumbing rate? Are you a tradesman or a businessman struggling to pay the bills; your clients are not willing to pay for your services; feeling stressed and unhappy about your business? Then perhaps your plumbing rates are in the competitive market. Joining IOPSA can help you overcome such setbacks. IOPSA offers business guidance and emphasises the cost of being in business. 

    Consequences of not charging the correct rates 
    The consequences of not charging the correct rates may result in an unsustainable and unprofessional business practice. Employers will not be able to employ qualified plumbers. Poor quality installations, non-South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)-approved products will be used, resulting in possible further problems for clients. This will lead to unsatisfied clients that will not return to your business. Employers will not be able to market their business as they do not meet the minimum legislations and standards for the plumbing industry, which may result in legal action.

    Other consequences of inaccurate rates is a lack of administrative and financial support for the business. Both the employer and employees will not be entitled to business insurance cover, medical aid, pension fund, and income protection. All of these put your business at risk. 

    Did you know that if you have not catered for proper business costs, travelling time, sick and annual leave days, public holidays, non-working months, non-billable hours, and profiting your business, it may not survive or will become insolvent?


    If you know how, it’s that hard. Find out more at any of IOPSA’s CPD workshops available nationwide:

    • East London, 1 June 2015;
    • Port Elizabeth, 2 June 2015;
    • Mossel Bay, 4 June 2015;
    • Bloemfontein, 18 June 2015;
    • Johannesburg, 24 June 2015;
    • Rustenburg, 25 June 2015;
    • Durban, 1 July 2015; and
    • Cape Town, 8 July 2015.

    Book now or miss out! The cost per workshop is R150 for IOPSA members and Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB)-registered plumbers; or R900 for non-members.

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



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