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International plumbing: The pandemic and plumbing around the world

Understanding COVID-19 and the plumbing world from an international perspective 

How is the plumbing industry across the globe during the COVID-19 ordeal? While businesses contended with keeping their doors open during the pandemic, 2021 is showing interesting ways that businesses, including those in the plumbing industry, are trying to stay ahead of the curve. From developing plumbing product standards to  incorporating water-conserving plumbing into airports to … coercing people into taking a COVID vaccination otherwise they’ll lose their job? Let’s take a detailed look at how the plumbing world is navigating the pandemic world.

Starting Off Local: The Inland Empire x IAPMO x SCC

 The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO®) and ASSE International have published chemical dispensers standard as both an American National Standard and National Standard of Canada. For more than 30 years, IAPMO has developed plumbing product standards as American National Standards and received accreditation through the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) for development of National Standards of Canada in 2018, thus accepting the responsibility for development of can/IAPMO-designated standards.

 According to this article: the standard specifies performance requirements for chemical dispensing systems to provide a means of mixing potable water with chemicals to provide the user with a ready-for-use chemical solution. Devices covered by this standard are intended for stationary installations, mobile devices where the orientations are fixed, and handheld devices.

 The devices used are designed to protect against high‐hazard substances entering the potable water system with the goal of providing for dilution of a concentrated solution inline such that the ready‐to‐use, mixed solution can be dispensed with minimal waste and footprint.

Scoping the National Plumbing Scene: Texas x Nashville International Airport

 In this recent article on Nashville International Airport’s sustainable design,  several green design and construction components have been incorporated to optimize building performance and passenger comfort while minimizing environmental impacts, including water-conserving plumbing. We’ve talked about this before in our blog, “Top Industry Trends Plumbers Embraced in 2020.”

 There’s still a growing demand for such plumbing products and solutions and many plumbing contractors reveal that the demand for green living products is quite high. This focus on green living has become a sort of standard in the industry, with about 47 percent of plumbing retailers carrying green products. And we see green living products making their way from residential spaces to international spaces such as airports.

 Fentress Architects announced that the new Concourse D at Nashville International Airport (also known as BNA) has achieved LEED Silver certification, highlighting the project’s sustainable, wellness-oriented design and construction process. This distinction makes Concourse D one of only five newly constructed airport facilities in the United States, and one of nine airport facilities worldwide, to earn LEED Silver under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) rigorous LEED v4 standards.

 “Fentress Architects has been at the forefront of green building design for over four decades,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects. “Energy conservation is a key element of not only our design approach, but our values as a firm.”

 The project elevates the airport as a world-class facility with six domestic aircraft gates, public art, diverse traveler amenities, and improved ramp amenities and function space. “LEED certification is a coveted mark of environmental distinction and innovation,” said BNA President and CEO Doug Kreulen. “We’re building not only a bigger airport, but also a better, ‘greener,’ more sustainable airport.”

 “At every stage of the project, from the design process to construction, the project team remained committed to aligning our approach with the airport’s sustainability targets,” said Deborah Lucking, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Director of Sustainability at Fentress Architects. “Fentress is committed to advancing sustainability and human wellness in the built environment and achieving LEED v4 Silver showcases the project team’s dedication to going far beyond the minimum LEED requirements to achieve certification.”

Around the World: U.K. Plumbing x COVID Vaccination

 Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, a plumbing firm is exploring vaccine rules for staff. With a headlined statement, “No jab, no job?,” this article highlights how one firm is changing its employment contracts to include a requirement for workers to have a COVID-19 vaccine. No jab implies the poking of a needle that would be received from getting the vaccine.

 The founder of the plumbing firm says that no one would get fired for refusing to have the shot, but legal conversations about making the vaccine mandatory for new hires within a few months is still good reason for many plumbers to be concerned.

 Although founder Charlie Mullins is “pretty much certain that 99% of our staff would jump at the opportunity,” the guarantee still is up in the air. Why seek legal guidance on mandating the vaccine if the goal is not to force people to have one?

 Mullins adds, “Who in their right mind would turn down one needle or one jab that could save your life?” While these comments appear harmless, the undertone is evident that Mullins and the lawyers he’s conversing with are pushing for people to get the vaccine rather than not — albeit a light push. A push is still a push, light or not. However, he presents the issue as one of persuasion rather than coercion.

 “You encourage people and advise them,” he says, adding that receiving the vaccine could take place during working hours. It’s as if this “offer” is too good to be true with minimal to no cons.

As things stand, people in Britain can only receive the vaccine from the state-run National Health Service, which is gradually rolling them out free of charge, following an order of priority with elderly and vulnerable people top of the list.

 Will the current no jab, no job pandemic-driven slogan find Britain employees and employers in a bind? We can only hope not, and stay up-to-date regarding vaccinations and employment contracts.