As economic, environmental and industry trends drive the built environment, we’re shifting towards a new era of plumbing, but old habits die hard. Nigel Sanger, Divisional Technical Director, from RWC discusses what the plumbing and heating industry can learn from the electrical industry.
When an industry like plumbing and heating has been following the same processes and practices for decades, installers may be unaware of new technology, trends and methods available. This may be because the plumbing industry works on an apprentice-based system where experienced plumbers who sometimes aren’t exposed to the latest industry innovations are teaching the next generation techniques that work for them, passing down traditional ways of working.
One trade plumbing and heating workers can learn from is the electrical trade, which has been fast to adopt modern processes and practices.
Listen to demand
The electrical industry has always listened to the economic and environmental trends, with a constant ear out for what its customers want. Whether these are energy saving solutions or intelligent lighting controls, electricians have reacted quickly, capitalising on these trends. Plumbing and heating professionals must follow the same footsteps.
One tradition plumbers continue to favour is the use of copper pipes. However plastic pipes offer greater flexibility, particularly with the rising trend for hidden pipework. While copper still has a very prominent place in the plumbing industry, decisions should be based on what the customer needs, as well as safety, compliance, costs and ease of use.
Give consumers more control
Another trend electricians continue to embrace is the desire for greater control and transparency over energy usage. They’re installing energy-efficient lighting controlled by the internet of things (IoT) as part of their service.
This is something the plumbing and heating industry should also embrace. Indeed, we can’t imagine controlling all lights in a house from one switch, so why should consumers control the heating for the entire house from one thermostat. Installers should take the responsibility to educate homeowners about smart heating solutions, such as, JG Aura, that offer time and temperature control for individual rooms in a property and can be managed remotely from any smart device.
Look to enhance efficiency
Naturally, as the built environment evolves, so do the materials, fixtures, fittings and tools to help make installations easier, efficient and safer for the tradesmen, and solve some of the key challenges they are regularly faced with.
Like electricians are embracing new technologies to make installations quicker and safer, so should the plumbing installers look for ways to enhance efficiency. One example of this is push-fit fittings from brands such as JG Speedfit and SharkBite. Available both in plastic and metal options. Using the complementary push-fit solutions from JG Speedfit and SharkBite installers can complete installation from boiler to the point of use, with speed and ease. Eliminating the need for bulky tools and the risks associated with soldering.
Embrace change or get left behind
It’s time for plumbers to take a leaf out of the electrical industry’s books and step into change. Plumbing is one of the oldest professions, so to avoid getting left behind, installers need to embrace a smarter way of working, innovation and adapt to industry trends.