Following two years of virtual events, Pump Industry Australia (PIA) Members were once again able to meet face to face at the 19th annual AGM, held at the Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne. The first in-person AGM since 2019 boasted a great turnout, with a sizable crowd gathering to hear how the industry had fared over the last 12 months and to see what was in store for the coming year.

For those unable to attend, the event was run virtually as well, with attendees from all over the country – and even one from New Zealand – able to tune in, access presentations and engage. PIA President, John Inkster, started by welcoming everyone to the event and encouraging attendees to reflect on the difficult and turbulent times many families and businesses had faced over the past few years.

Not out of the woods yet

Despite being once again able to conduct an in-person AGM, Mr Inkster mused that the pump industry – and indeed the world – had not seen the last of COVID-19, with variants and sub-variants continuing to wreak havoc on supply chains, and a looming, eminent fourth wave of the virus expected for Australia.

Mr Inkster said that although many had thought 2023 would be different, it was shaping up to be a year not too different to 2022, referencing the ‘new normal’ that individuals and businesses would have to adjust to.

Pump industry standing

Despite COVID-19’s ongoing presence, it wasn’t all doom and gloom; throughout the industry people had been experiencing pent up demand for products and had full order books. An abundance of public restructuring spending and private investment meant the industry was having no problems getting cash flow in – a trend Mr Inkster predicts will continue until the fourth quarter of 2023.

However, Mr Inkster warned that this cash influx may be the calm before the storm, and that despite some headwinds coming for the pump industry in 2023, Australia was in a strong position to weather the storm well.

Engaging with industry

Since 2021’s AGM, the PIA has been continuing to engage with the industry, including holding the Energy and Efficiency of Pipelines Training online in November 2021. The Pump Performance and Monitoring Training was also held online in March 2022 and boasted a great turnout.

In September 2022, ABB presented the Flow Meter Seminar, which was hosted by Brown Brothers Engineers in Keysborough, where attendees were given the option of attending in person or via Zoom.

On the topic of Council’s submission to the Services Trades Council (STC) regarding its request for suitably qualified Members to undertake repairs and service under the PD Act 2018, the PIA said it continues to liaise with associated parties throughout the year.

Further dialogue between the PIA and Acting Manager of Building Policy at the Department of Energy and Public Works, Elanor Ketter, was scheduled for 30 November 2022, with the PIA hoping to reach a resolution.

Ongoing work with standards

The PIA has been continuing its involvement with three committees on Australian standards, including with the longest running committee, the Fire Pump Committee.

FP-008 Fire Pump Committee

AS2941 – Fixed fire protection installations – Pumpset systems

Although the committee is currently inactive, the PIA thinks it’s time this system was updated, with the current one from 2013. PIA is currently assisting Fire Protection Association Australia to write a Proposal to Standards to have the standard analysed and revised, and hopes something will come of this in 2023.

AS5414 – Bushfire water sprays system

A document was released, containing specifications for residential bushfire pumps, to which the PIA suggested it be included in the Fixed Fire Pump standard but as it stands, it is just in abeyance.

ME-030 Pump Committee

ISO 9906:2012 Rotodynamic pumps – hydraulic performance acceptance tests grade one, two and three

In 2018, this was adopted as an Australian standard. There is currently a ballot as to whether the original standard should be amended, confirmed or withdrawn. It is the PIA’s intention to vote to Review and Amend.

ISO 2858:1975 End suction centrifugal pumps (rated 16 bar) – designation, nominal duty point and dimensions

The PIA was asked to vote on this standard again and, as some of these pumps are still manufactured in Australia, the PIA voted to confirm.

ISO 9905:1994 Technical specifications for centrifugal pumps class one

The PIA voted to abstain.

ISO 9908:1993 Technical specifications for centrifugal pumps class 111

As with above, PIA voted to abstain as it appears there is little interest in these standards overseas.

EL-058 Energy Efficiency for Swimming Pool pumps Committee

Draft AS 5352 Swimming Pool and Spa Heat pump systems

Despite highlighting that they were not in fact heat pump people and instead worked with hydraulic water pumps, the PIA was asked to stay part of the committee. The PIA made numerous comments to have the standard improved, with expected publication before the end of 2022.

AS 5102.1:2019 Performance of household electrical appliances – Swimming pool pump-units, Part 1: Measurement of energy consumption and performance

Amendments are being made as there were some errors with complicated calculations or formulae that need to be corrected. Expected publication was late 2022, if not early 2023.

Changes from the Federal Government came in the form of new regulations that replace the Voluntary Energy Rating Label program that applied to pool pumps until now.

From 1 October 2022, manufacturers, suppliers and importers of a pool pump will need to declare the minimum energy performance efficiency of in-scope pool pumps sold in Australia in accordance with the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (Swimming Pool pump-units) Determination 2021.

Additionally, the revised National Construction Code 2022 will be adopted as of May 2023, in which lead free plumbing equipment or parts in contact with drinking water is no longer acceptable. Also, air conditioning pumps and circulators must comply with MEPs requirements.

There’s a proposal by the Australian Buildings Codes Board to Standards Australia to make a modification to the plumbing code. The proposal says that the design and installation of pumps is not covered sufficiently by the AS/NZ 3500 series, suggesting that the current provisions in the AS/NZ 3500 may be insufficient. The proposed scope is to add a deemed-to-satisfy solution for the design of plumbing systems relating to pumps in the plumbing code.

PIA Executive Officer – Standards and Life Member Ken Kugler thinks the PIA should get heavily involved in this as there will be lots of benefits for many in the industry.

PIA President, John Inskter, thanked attendees for coming and participating in the AGM.

The Technical Handbook

The Pump Technical Handbook has undergone major upgrades over the last two years, with chapters carefully reviewed and improved to ensure they’re relevant, up to date and easy to read. These upgrades have resulted in a content increase of almost 40 per cent.

Differences in publishing the handbooks means that PIA members now have the ability to customise either or both of the Pipe Friction Handbook and the Pump Technical Handbook, featuring their companies’ colours and logos on the cover. Members were encouraged to get in touch with the Council via email if they wanted to take advantage of the fantastic opportunity.

Looking to the year ahead

The PIA intends to keep up its industry engagement and continue its commitment to providing valuable training and learning opportunities for members and the industry as a whole. Re-elected PIA President, John Inkster, said the PIA needs to grow, but that it needs to also make sure it has relevance and improves its presence.

Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, the 2022 PIA Council did not formulate a concrete plan for 2023, instead deciding that the 2023 Council could prepare one as the world returns to pre-COVID normal.

Mr Inskter said that although the last few years were difficult on account of not being able to do much, the coming year would present an opportunity to do more and promote the industry. The 2022 AGM concluded with a dinner, where members were able to reconnect and once again engage face to face with each other, after two years of seeing each other through screens.

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