There is an interesting (and important!) analogy around the role of a Plumbing Consultant in India. The circulatory system is 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 as an important element in the building ecosystem has been brought to the forefront due to water shortages and the increased awareness on 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.
B&I: As a Plumbing Consultant In India, you have been involved with the Plumbing ecosystem for a fairly long time. What are the prominent changes that you see have come about during your long practice?
NG: 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 as a Plumbing consultant to keep pace with such rapidly changing technology. One more notable change special from beginners in the plumbing field is quick & easy access to data and information. Thanks to IT technology.
NG: 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 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.
B&I: Is the customer becoming aware of the cost of not having robust plumbing in his project?
NG: 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 that awareness of saving water has increased in the last few years.
NG: India is a diverse country, which also applies true for 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 a plumbing designer, we have to be very sensitive about this fact. Most of our designs are based on green design principles with low flow fixtures, 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.
B&I: If you could compartmentalize based on the customer profile, then which customers you are most at ease to work with (say star hotels, MNCs, etc.)? What defines your ease?
NG: I will not like myself to restrict my sphere for some limited area, as I strongly believe that every new client can explore something new. I will be more at ease to work 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.
B&I: You must be dependent upon the skill-sets of the plumbers/installers you work with. How do you see the situation over there?
NG: Absolutely, 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 of the 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 theory 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 a plumber with minor education requirements. Also, his knowledge level is not certified by any test or updated every year.
NG: 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 year time.
B&I: What are some of the best practices that the project managers should adhere to when it comes to basic plumbing practices?
NG: 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 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 sameafter work is done.
- Have a better material stock system on-site so that shortfall and pilferages on-site are minimized. Sometimes for small partsof the product, the work is held up, and toilets cannot be finished on time.
NG: 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 various reason but to list a few key points as below:
- Bad workmanship
- We must understand that plumbing is very closely integrated with civil work. One has to factor 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
B&I: What do you like to see in a supplier when you look at working with that brand?
NG: 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 for installation. The vendor shall support for any help required during site execution and 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:
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