There is an interesting (and important!) analogy around the role of a Plumbing Consultant in India. The circulatory system in our body is what a plumbing system is to a building. Water inlet, outlet, circulation of water in a building, sewage, etc. – all these determine the health of a building. Plumbing is an important element in the building ecosystem that has been brought to the forefront due to water shortages and the increased awareness of water conservation. Like the other elements in the building industry in India, plumbing practices and solutions have evolved with time. Judicial consumption of water resources is a by-product of having a good plumbing system in place. Approaching the different facets of plumbing, Buildingandinteriors.com gets into a conversation with Mr. Nilesh Gandhi, Managing Director, Ace Consultants, Pune, India.
Major changes in the plumbing ecosystem in India in past years
When I look back over the past 20 years as a Plumbing Consultant In India, one thing which strikes out is the amount of due importance plumbing started getting today is phenomenal. I think that is a sign of more mature development. The technology in terms of material & design is rapidly changing in India. We have been using GI and CI pipes for the last 74 years, but in the last 10 years, there have been at least 10 new materials that come with different technology and advantages.
Sometimes it becomes challenging for a Plumbing consultant to keep pace with such rapidly changing technology. One more notable change special for beginners in the plumbing field is quick & easy access to data and information. Thanks to IT technology.
Challenges at the customer end for a plumbing project
At last, someone has asked for my dream wish list (on a lighter note)!
Here it goes:
- Minimum rework on-site for plumbing
- Selection of the cp/ sanitaryware at the concept stage and stick to the same
- When you select any system, go for a complete package, do not try to marry two different items from 2 companies’ product baskets just because it suits your cost.
- Always go with certified products.
Awareness of plumbing costs & importance of a robust plumbing system
There is a famous saying that plumbing has low capital value but high nuisance value. I must say that the percentage of customer awareness is increasing in Metro and 1st tier cities, but it has yet to penetrate further in Tier 2-3 cities and villages. One thing I will admit is that awareness of saving water has increased in the last few years.
Role of quality & quantity of water in the plumbing system
India is a diverse country, which also applies true to the quality and quantity of water available. We are the 2nd largest populated country globally with a disproportionate quantity of water available per capita. As plumbing designers, we have to be very sensitive about this fact. Most of our designs are based on green design principles with low flow fixtures, the use of reclaimed water from STP for flushing and landscaping, and air conditioning.
Adopting & implementing Rainwater harvesting as a part of the design from the start makes it more effective. Based on the area, the quality does differ, and we need to adjust our treatment based on the raw water quality parameters. We also have to protect cp/ sanitaryware from the extra hard water with suitable treatment.
I will not like to restrict my sphere to some limited area, as I strongly believe that every new client can explore something new. I will be more at ease working with like-minded professionals with good ethics, but I will not like to typecast those values only associated with MNC or star hotels. From a Plumbing design perspective, a Star Hotel or Hospital is more challenging, and so I enjoy it more.
Position of Plumber in Indian society & need for change
We all are heavily dependent on the tradesman, which is the plumber for executing our planned details. Our branch is called PHE-Public Health Engineering, which means the executing person is dealing directly with public health. I do not consider this less than Doctor’s work ( in a good sense). Most infectious diseases spread through water and sanitary drainage.
Unfortunately, we do not value the importance of Plumbing Consultant In India. his work. In developed countries like the USA / Europe to get certified as a plumber person needs both practical and theoretical training. Every year or alternate year, he or she has to update them with continuous education programs. At present, in India, we are lagging on this front. Most local authorities have their norms for people to be certified as plumbers with minor education requirements. Also, his knowledge level is not certified by any test or updated every year.
Role of the Indian Plumbing Association and the regional training resources
Due to the strong emphasis of the present Government, there has been rapid development in the plumbing Skill sector. Indian Plumbing Association has a big role in the IPSC-Indian Plumbing Skill Council, which is part of the NSDC-National Skill Development Corporation. IPSC has developed a training module for 25 different skill levels for plumbing based on the market requirement.
To name a few, they include Plumber- Helper, Assistant, Forman, Supervisor, Site engineer, Pump and EM Mech, Plumbing product sales assistant, Design engineer, etc. They also have agencies that will test existing knowledge and identify the gap based on tests. After a successful test, the person will get certified by the Government of India. The Government of India also gives all these activities seed funding. I am very positive about this development, and we all can see this change more visibly in the next 5 years’ time.
Best practices for project managers in basic plumbing projects
I would list them as follows:
- Study the Plumbing designer drawing thoroughly
- Study the product catalogue and check the installation video for new products for better clarity & guidance.
- Always go with a professional plumbing installer with a proven track record.
- Do a mock-up of the work and get it approved, so there are no mistakes in repeated work at various locations.
- Nowadays, we have technological tools like REVIT, project managers shall use the same, which can give you clash detection and saves time in rework on site.
- Keep track of changes/ modifications done on-site for the concealed work so correct as a plumbing contractor makes the built drawing of the same after work is done.
- Have a better material stock system on-site so that shortfall and pilferages on-site are minimized. Sometimes for small parts of the product, the work is held up, and toilets cannot be finished on time.
Reasons of seepage
Right design with appropriate material in a skilled plumber’s hand will give you a perfect system that not only works efficiently but is also maintainable. There can be the various reasons but to list a few key points below:
- Bad workmanship
- We must understand that plumbing is very closely integrated with civil work. One has to factor in the expansion/ contractor associated with piping and cut out closed with the right
- Correct selection of MOC of pipes suitable for the application
- Through checking for water tightness before concealing the work
- Proper supporting to pipes
Criteria for brand association
I strongly believe that a plumbing item is not a simple product, but it is a complete system. So when I select a brand, I am looking for a complete solution for my client. The product shall be certified and tested, easy to install. The vendor shall support any help required during site execution. Also, make sure about the availability of spares for at least the next 7 years.
Also, suppose the brand is not from India. In that case, I will make sure that they have a company technical person located in India particularly if the product is related to sanitary drainage or rainwater piping system or water supply piping system as based on the local culture and practice we have to add some fittings in the product range, so it suits our market requirement.
A Solution Provider’s Take: Mr Sandeep Surana, Stiebel Eltron
Today, a Plumbing Consultant In India is an important point of contact for many builders with questions relating to energy-efficient and sustainable building plumbing solutions. With changes in building regulations and more focus on green building technologies, they ensure that the green energy plumbing system designed by them would complement the overall designs and run at optimum efficiency. Our wide and inclusive product ranges across different verticals cover hot water solutions, renewables, space heating and ventilation and are suitable for both heating and cooling purposes. The products are suitable for extreme conditions (-20 degrees to +40 degrees operating temperature) and thus give flexibility and a wide range of options for the consultants to choose from as per their customer’s requirements.
Plumbing consultants & Stiebel Eltron
Plumbing Consultants play a pivotal role in planning the construction of units for residential, commercial and hospitality sectors. Most recently, a lot of consultants are also looking also for upscaling the refurbishment buildings. Stiebel Eltron offers not only the right products and systems but also the right service support mix for the Plumbing Consultants. This includes extensive information and useful tools that are available online, general and customised documentation and planning support. These interactive online tools from Stiebel Eltron help them to plan suitable products, schematic diagrams, consumption with all indicative features and placement of the product.
Our technologically advanced products automatically diagnose and highlight any problem in the whole function, and can be controlled even remotely. They are equipped with Artificial Intelligence for more interactive and increased efficiency, leading to a long trouble-free product life thus also increasing the credibility of the consultants and consumer ease. Plumbing consultants invest a substantial amount of time and effort, putting a lot of attention into detail while retaining the need to be cost-effective for their projects. They often take delight in the results of our products in terms of efficiency and energy conservation. Stiebel Eltron also assists with a dedicated site technician for product guidance during the entire installation process. Furthermore, their after service checks of installations which is an added advantage for the Consultants in terms of reliability and reassurance.