PMI Members Help Trade Pros Boost Skills, Learn New Trends

Plumbers, designers and other building professionals look to Plumbing Manufacturers International members for crucial training to boost installation and selling skills and learn about new trends.

And PMI members are delivering, providing educational support with digital libraries, online and in-person training, product donations, training centers, special programs and more. Industry trade pros can take advantage of these resources, which are often free, when they want to earn continuing education units, solve an installation issue, or learn about innovative plumbing products and solutions.

To stay competitive, industry professionals seek ways to expand services that cater to the growing number of customers looking for sustainable or smart plumbing products or for lower water and energy bills. PMI members continue to add smart plumbing tech to their product lines, giving plumbing and design businesses and their customers more eco-friendly choices.

Making it easy to stay updated

Delta Faucet Co., Gerber Plumbing Fixtures, Haws Corp., Kohler Co., Symmons Industries, T&S Brass and Viega are among several PMI members who make it easy for construction trade pros to find product and trend information, planning tools, technical resources, and continuing education classes.

Gerber provides access to a variety of training and resources on its website, including technical documents and installation manuals, a project planning online tool, and an on-demand library of training videos. Kohler’s Technical Resources website page includes installation and maintenance videos and troubleshooting guides.

Symmons University delivers in-depth, virtual and hands-on product training to plumbing professionals, engineers and others. The company offers short product videos explaining installation, maintenance, servicing and more on its website.

Viega operates two seminar centers – in Colorado and New Hampshire – where plumbing professionals and others can learn new concepts and skills from experts. The centers each offer well-equipped labs and large interactive learning spaces where trainees can gain hands-on experience using Viega’s pipe fitting tools, best practices and methods, notes the company’s website. For those not located near the centers, Viega’s technical consultants provide training sessions via online workshops.

Many trade professionals must earn continuing education units (CEUs) to keep their skills updated. Haws will arrange an in-person CEU “lunch and learn” or online webinar on a variety of topics, such as drinking fountain compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and best practices in emergency eyewash and shower equipment. T&S Brass provides a library of continuing education courses by working with the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, Food Service Consultants Society International, and American Institute of Architects.

LIXIL’s TradeUp initiative – through its American Standard brand – supports vocational training across the United States. TradeUp educates students and others about the need for more skilled plumbers while assisting vocational schools with product donations and seminars on new plumbing technology, according to a company video.

LIXIL’s GROHE brand dedicates substantial resources to training plumbers globally. The GROHE Installer Vocational Training and Education Program addresses the shortage of skilled installers across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EMENA). GROHE collaborates with more than 40 plumbing institutions offering training across the region and provides learning materials, experienced trainers and more. The program organized 12 new training facilities, including one in Ghana, West Africa.

Smart fixture know-how can help pros expand business

Many plumbing companies and design firms encourage their workers to learn new skills to meet the demand for smart plumbing fixtures. At the same time, plumbing manufacturers that offer training and support can help increase awareness among designers, contractors and plumbers of new innovations and technologies that can help save customers water, energy and money.

Attendees of this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) had the chance to earn CEUs and learn the latest about plumbing smart fixtures. JoAnn Arcenal, Kohler’s director of residential business development, spoke on a panel that discussed, “Designing the Next Generation Smart Home.” The session description identifies smart home technology as a “competitive necessity” as a new generation of homeowners seeks homes that promote wellness and reflect their values.

Homebuyers, especially tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zers, are looking for more eco-friendly and smart options, such as voice-controlled showers and faucets, touchless faucets, self-cleaning toilets, and whole-home water leak detector systems, noted a recent FTL Finance article. Millennials make up the largest group of homebuyers at 43%, reports the National Association of Realtors.

Statistics show demand rising for plumbing smart tech. For example, the global smart toilet market is projected to almost double from about $6.08 billion in 2018 to almost $13 billion by 2026, according to a Verified Market Research report.

PMI members such as Moen help plumbers meet the smart-tech demand with specialized training. Moen’s Plumber Network certifies plumbers with free training on its Smart Water products installation. Moen adds plumbers who complete the training to the Moen Pro Finder tool, where homeowners can search for local professionals to install Moen products, such as the Smart Faucet, Smart Shower and the Flo Smart Water Monitor and Shutoff.