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Plumbing contractors prepare for 21st century.

Plumbing contractors prepare for 21st century

The history of plumbing is replete with sanitary wonders as described in the trade publication Plumbing, Heating and Piping.

Two thousand years before the birth of Christ, it is recorded that the Queen of Crete had a bathroom adjoining her bed chamber which included a tub similar to those in use today and which was supplied with running water from terra cotta pipes.

The Romans are credited with building the first public plumbing systems. Their aqueducts distributed water in lead pipes and their citizens enjoyed huge public steam baths. The word "plumber" is derived from the Latin word "plumbum" for lead. A "plumbarius" was the worker who fashioned the lead pipe used in Roman water systems. But these advances were wiped out when Alaric, the Visigothic king invaded Rome in 410 A.D. His barbarian legions wiped out the Roman Empire and destroyed any notions of sanitation that existed up to that time.

For well over 1,000 years after the fall of Rome, Western culture was not concerned about hygienic facilities. Modern plumbing began in the early 1800's and it has evolved into a maior convenience of everyday life that we take for granted. Its applications extend way beyond sanitary considerations and today plumbing is essential for many of our recreational and therapeutic activities.

As an industry, plumbing has become very involved with many codes, regulations and licensing laws. The explosion in construction has led to a continuing sophistication of systems and equipment which requires knowledgeable professionals for maintenance and repair work. Today, no single licensed plumber can be an expert in all phases of the industry. For the contractor, the practical step was to computerize the operations and departmentalize with experts in the management and technical servicing of the business.

We at Page Plumbing & Heating Corp., have worked very hard during the last five years to make the organizational changes required by these technical advances. We have brought in specially trained experts in various categories.

We have a vice president for Internal Operations who dispatches the mechanics and controls emergency work on a 24- hour basis, seven days a week. This allows us to cover any emergency, whenever it occurs, with the proper equipment and material. We also establish control of material purchases so that we get the best prices which we are then able to pass along to the customer. This includes knowing where to obtain outdated and difficult to replace material. Alan Phillips, who is in charge of this area, has a Masters Degree in Business Administration plus many years of experience in the plumbing business.

Bill Davis, our vice president for Estimating and Quality Control, has over 30 years experience in the industry, having worked his way up from mechanic to foreman to manager of all outside operations. His expertise includes sprinkler and standpipe systems and gas systems as well as the quality control of all mechanics. To maintain the level of our quality control, we conduct periodic internal seminars for our mechanics at which we review technical information and any changes in the plumbing code.

Our industry protects the health and welfare of the American public, yet as an industry we have not proiected a professionsl image. Many people think that professionalism means the attainment of a certain level of education, training or proficiency in plumbing. I go further and say that professionalism also includes appearance, cleanliness, etiquette and and the ability to communicate with the client. We now come to the next important aspect of our business, dealing with city agencies. During the past few years, the city has been updating its paper work and management of its regulatory agencies. The plumbing contractor has to be familiar with these changes in order to expedite all filings and inspections, especially when a C of O is involved or approval for a completed job is required. The timeliness of getting approvals is crucial in situations where a property is being refinanced. Page Plumbing is fortunate to have as our vice president of Operations for City Agencies Jack Groobman, who has over 40 years of experience and was president of his own company, Groobman & Lazar for several decades.

Up until recently, the plumbing industry virtually ignored the tools of marketing which are essential for the growth of any business. We at Page Plumbing have made a commitment to incorporate sales and marketing as an important part of our operation and have brought on board Mark Gordon as our vice president of Sales and Marketing. His background includes exerience with real estate management and sales firms and several large developers. Our president, Fred Glass, is a recognized expert in the plumbing industry and its codes. He has written several articles on this topic and has served as a consultant to the industry. I am chairman and am the third generation of the business which was started in 1918.

The 1990's may come to be described as the decade of water and energy conservation. This movement may ultimately result in water metering throughout the country. Water meters have already become mandatory in New York City and several other large cities. Owners should be very cognizant of the fact that all leaks, small and large, will increase their water bills and therefore should be taken care of immediately.

It is likely that more innovations and advances in plumbing and heating equipment occured in this century in America than in all previous times anywhere.

Norman Page Chairman Page Plumbing & Heating Corp.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Renovation & Rehabilitation Supplement
Author:Page, Norman
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jul 24, 1991
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