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Chief Executive Officer's Message 
 
 

GP Russ Chaney
Chief Executive Officer

Amazing to Realize How Far We’ve Come Since 1999

The fifth International Emerging Technology Symposium was held May 10-11 in Rosemont, Ill. ETS is held bi-annually and is one of the most comprehensive and informative events in our industry, where attendees and participants discuss emerging trends, challenges and opportunities important to their work. Following ETS, on May 12 the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition (PILC) met in Illinois, as well. At this event, volunteers and chief staff from approximately 15 industry organizations came together to discuss high-level issues that affect the entire plumbing industry. The PILC was established five years ago by PMI (Plumbing Manufacturers International), ASPE (American Society of Plumbing Engineers) and IAPMO. Since then it has grown to include between 15-18 national plumbing industry organizations.

As you may know, IAPMO’s code development process has begun for the 2018 Uniform Codes.  From May 2-6, IAPMO’s UPC and UMC Technical Committees met to discuss all proposed changes to what will eventually make up the 2018 editions of the UPC and UMC. Following their meeting, these two Technical Committees will be balloted on each and every proposed code change. The results of the ballot will be posted in the Report on Proposals (ROP), which will be available this summer.  

Back in 1999, the IAPMO Board of Directors and our membership made a crucial decision to develop the Uniform Codes using what was then the ANSI process utilized by NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association). NFPA was instrumental in those early years, offering guidance to IAPMO staff and members learning the new process. As I look back, I am not only grateful to the professional staff at NFPA, but also proud of how far IAPMO has come to date.  When IAPMO was invited by ANSI in 2011 to become an Audited Designator, it became quite clear to me that a significant milestone had been reached. Considering there are more than 240 standards developers in the ANSI system and only six of those developers are Audited Designators, this is quite an accomplishment! Such status is granted by ANSI when the SDO has accomplished, among others, the following:

• Successfully completed ANSI audits
• Has a proven track record in standards development
    • Including the extent of notices concerning code development activities and the integrity of the other due process safeguards used in conducting the work
    • Has been involved in standards development activity for at least five years
    • During the five year period, no standard was denied ANS status by ANSI due to a failure to adhere to the principles and procedures upon which the developer’s accreditation was based
• Has an identified method in place which assures that adequate representation of consumers’ concerns is obtained in connection with consumer product standards

What does it mean to be an Audited Designator? It means that once the developer has completed its code and/or standard development process, the SDO may self-designate its code or standard as an American National Standard. Typically, SDO’s submit their request to ANSI’s Board of Standards Review (BSR) seeking the American National Standard designation. In the case of an Audited Designator, it can do so immediately. Agrieved parties, of course, are given appeal rights as part of our code development process.

Switching gears a bit, I’d like to thank everyone who played a role in celebrating and promoting World Plumbing Day. For those of you who are regular readers of this magazine, you know that the second quarter of the year I like to focus on the value that plumbing brings to society. For the past six years that vehicle has been via World Plumbing Day, which was created by the World Plumbing Council to encourage plumbing industry organizations to support their valuable contributions to society. This year’s World Plumbing Day, not unlike the six previous years, has given IAPMO the ability to highlight the various contributions that the industry has made over the past year.  

Of course, it’s always important to have those in politics recognize the industry as an invaluable tool to protect the health and safety of society. Plumbing is vital to global health and our industry has made great strides over the past six years to utilize the celebration of World Plumbing Day on March 11, every year, as the mechanism to promote the industry’s value to society. This year’s celebration was built upon previous years, including the poster contest held by the World Plumbing Council. As I write this article, the results of the competition have yet to be announced, but I am proud of the fact that the plumbing industry has a global competition that gives the younger generation an opportunity to understand the fundamental importance of access to clean water and sanitation.  

I also have the delight in advising that IAPMO was able to get comments from U.S. President Barack Obama noting that plumbing is vital to global health.

Numerous IAPMO staff members and volunteers, including Board members and their spouses, have made special efforts to visit local schools to educate students in grades 1-5 on the importance of access to clean water and proper sanitation. It’s not an overstatement to say that American society doesn’t think twice when turning on a faucet, knowing the water that flows from that faucet is safe for ingestion and domestic use. Many throughout the world do not have access to clean water, but in the United States and other developed countries it is often taken for granted that our water is safe.  

The incident in Flint, Mich., is a tangible example of what can happen when access to clean water is not maintained as a top priority. Diverting sources of clean water to Flint has created an overwhelming understanding by political leaders both at the local and federal level of what happened and, most importantly, how to prevent this from happening in the future. We have known for decades that lead can cause major health issues, especially to those with a weak immune system. It also perfectly illustrates the impact and uncertainty that now resides in the minds of those living within Flint, unsure of whether the water is safe for their families. It will be interesting to see how state and federal agencies respond to what occurred in Flint. As we continue to watch this story unfold, the plumbing industry should continue to do its part to ensure that the systems it designs, installs, inspects, and maintains are proper, done in accordance with local codes and standards, and with the highest level of skill.  

I am extremely proud of IAPMO Board member Tom Bigley, the leadership of the United Association (UA), and the UA Locals in and around Flint for the help they offered to the people of Michigan. Many IAPMO clients and plumbing manufacturers, all members of PMI, made major contributions by supplying kitchen faucets installed by IAPMO’s friends at the UA and UA Local 370 in Flint. UA journeymen, apprentices, and others offered their time and expertise to hundreds of homeowners in their time of need.  Great job!

In previous articles, I’ve discussed the close working relationship between IAPMO and the United Association. The events that transpired in Flint a few months ago are one minor way in which the two organizations work closely together. Current UA General President Bill Hite will be retiring at the end of this year, with a new general president scheduled to be elected at the UA convention in San Diego this August.  I’d like to wish the UA much success at their upcoming conference. And best wishes to Bill Hite, who did a fantastic job in taking the UA to new accomplishments.

You may have recently heard that the ICC filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against IAPMO.  I do not wish to provide too much detail about the lawsuit at this time, other than to indicate that it is IAPMO’s view that this type of matter should be litigated in court, not in a public forum.  IAPMO plans to vigorously and aggressively defend the services that it offers to the industry.  The IAPMO senior leadership feels confident that IAPMO’s position on this issue will be vindicated in the legal system.

In closing, I want to remind you that IAPMO’s 87th annual Education and Business Conference will be held in Albuquerque from Sept. 25-29. The week will begin with the Roscoe King Memorial Golf Tournament followed by the Assembly Consideration Session and numerous education sessions. If you haven’t done so, you may register to attend conference by visiting https://forms.iapmo.org/conference/.

Looking forward to seeing you in New Mexico!