So much has changed since CONTRACTOR came on the plumbing industry scene.
Some of the most recent issues in the industry, affecting all contractors, are education and training, residential fire sprinklers, green building, and lead free piping.
In the past five years education and training have been huge talking points at industry trade shows, conventions, etc. Contractors and manufacturers are very concerned about how to recruit people into the plumbing field with so many current plumbers nearing retirement age. Who can we recruit into the plumbing and hydronics trades when, unfortunately, the trades are still stereotyped as a less desirable career path? How can we educate the masses, so they understand careers in plumbing and hydronics are as lucrative as or more lucrative than careers that are associated with having a four-year college degree? If we don’t come up with a plan to promote the plumbing and hydronics trades to high school students, college students and people interested in changing careers, who will?
Lead free is another change in the industry, which happened just this year. The lead-free brass law took effect on Jan. 4, 2014. This law makes it illegal to sell or install pipes, fittings and fixtures in applications that convey water for human consumption that have a weighted average lead content exceeding 0.25%. The previous national standard was 8.0% lead maximum.
Green building, which translates to conserving energy and water, is not a trend, but is here to stay. Not only is green building environmentally friendly, but it also saves the green that is in your wallet! These days, contractors are in a great place to promote water-saving technology and practices to their customers. If you are not doing this yet, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon and become involved in water and energy conservation.
Residential fire sprinklers still remain a hot topic. There is still resistance from builders on this, but more contractors, and manufacturers too, are promoting the life-saving value of fire sprinklers in residential construction and retrofits.
Last but not least, as part of CONTRACTOR’s 60th celebration, we are honoring plumbing and hydronic heating manufacturers who have similar staying power. Featured here are many of the plumbing and hydronic heating manufacturers that have been around for more than 50 years.