Monday, August 19, 2019

World Plumbing Council Four Pillars of Plumbing Initiative

Shayne La Combre, Chair, World Plumbing Council

The World Plumbing Council (WPC) wants strong industry frameworks for plumbing industries, and we think better frameworks will result from plumbing industries learning from each other.

Will you help us in this effort?

The frameworks of plumbing industries can be categorised into four dimensions:

  • Participation: primarily the training requirements to work in the industry
  • Practices: standards and accountability in day-to-day work in the industry
  • Products: features and quality of the materials, fittings and appliances used in plumbing work
  • Protection: measures to minimise risks and provide redress when failures occur.

The WPC describes these four dimensions as the Four Pillars of Plumbing.

The first step for this initiative is simple. The WPC is just asking for a clear description of the training requirements to participate in the plumbing industry in your country or jurisdiction. The WPC has a guideline for producing the descriptions but will be happy to receive a description in any form.

The second step is optional but should also be simple for many stakeholders in plumbing industries. The WPC asks you to state any changes you want regarding training requirements for your plumbing industry and to note any evidence or arguments supporting your wanted changes.

In other words, the first step asks you to give a straight factual picture of the current training requirements for your plumbing industry, the second step asks you to state what you think the training requirements should be and why.

Through these two steps, the aim is to create a storehouse of per-country or per-jurisdiction case studies concerning training requirements to participate in plumbing industries.

After we have gained a collection of case studies for the Participation (training-requirements) ‘Pillar’, we will repeat the process to obtain case studies for the other three Pillars.

The WPC is holding its first Four Pillars of Plumbing Forum, focused on training requirements, on 19 October 2017 in Abu Dhabi, in conjunction with the 2017 WorldSkills Competition. The initial phase of the Four Pillars program will culminate in the next World Plumbing Conference in September 2019, in Melbourne Australia. The theme for the Conference is: What’s the best way to build a plumbing industry?

Plumbing industries can get ideas for improving their industry frameworks by learning about the features of frameworks in other jurisdictions. We can jointly gather evidence and arguments that support establishing – and in some cases defending – strong frameworks for plumbing industries.

WPC Members, and other organizations that contribute case studies, will be able to draw on this unique storehouse of knowledge. WPC Members will also be able to obtain tailored information from the WPC Secretariat drawn from analysis of the case studies.

The WPC does not think there is a one-size-fits-all ‘best’ plumbing industry framework. The economic, institutional and cultural environments of plumbing industries, and the scopes of plumbing industries, are too varied globally for there to be one ideal framework. But we do think better frameworks bring better outcomes, with the outcomes ranging from better availability of clean water and efficient sanitation services to better prosperity of plumbing businesses and better growth of strong plumbing industries.

If you are willing to help this initiative, whether by contributing a case study for one or more of the Pillars or some other means, please contact the World Plumbing Council on In particular I encourage you to join us in Abu Dhabi for the WPC General Meeting + Four Pillars Forum event on 19th October.

For more information visit


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