Overseas developments

The COVID-19 pandemic was a global crisis that needed a global response and because of its unique membership – and a huge resource of knowledge – the CIPHE has been able to give a global response.

Every day, the CIPHE-HK, as we are known, works to be a bridge between the industry and the Government Departments. We do this because to be able to work as a plumbing or HVAC engineer you have to be registered with the government. There is no way around it.

But it also means we have been able to make a significant contribution to the global response to the crisis which is both a government and a public health issue.

Sharing knowledge

For us, it wasn’t the first health crisis that we have had to respond to. The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) reached Hong Kong in March 2003 and sadly 286 people died.

SARS was a very painful experience for us and as a population we are very aware of contagious infections.

For those who do not know, both COVID-19 and SARS are caused by coronaviruses which are a group of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses.

At the height of the outbreak, in early April 2003 the SARS virus reached a housing estate called Amoy Gardens. It infected 329 residents and 33 died.

Toilet discharge pipes were linked to its spread in the homes. An investigation by eight agencies and the Department of Health found vertical soil stacks collecting effluent from all floors was an issue.

As COVID-19 began to take hold, we considered the possibility of it being transmitted through pipes in the same way as the SARS virus. We worked quickly and were able to share our findings in P&H Engineering to help other professionals around the world.

We’ve been sharing our expertise globally too, including the World Plumbing Council and the media.

We’ll be telling you more about our response and the lessons that can be learnt from this in the next edition of the journal.

But we are also looking to the future as soon, we hope, the crisis will be over. In December, we held our AGM and elections to committee posts. We are delighted to announce Sylvia Liu is our new Chairwoman.

Like everywhere in the world, saving water is a concern and a priority. Water network management, its preventative maintenance, repair and rehabilitation is a priority. Education, especially youth participation is also important – as many of you will recognise.

Professional development, with officially recognised qualifications is vital to maintaining standards. Members are studying hard and we look forward to seeing their names in the journal!

The year ahead includes the World Plumbing Council and the UN Climate summit. We may be in a different time zone but we share the same values and determination to make a difference.


Who are we?

CIPHE-HKB is one of the Accredited Providers under Voluntary Continuing Professional Development Scheme for Licensed Plumbers.

Current membership: 1,499

Chair of Hong Kong Branch: Sylvia Liu

The Hong Kong Branch of The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (formerly known as Institute of Plumbing) was registered in the Societies Registration Office by Mr. G. S. Stokes. The main objective of the Hong Kong Branch was to provide better service to the members in Hong Kong region. Since the inception of the local branch, it maintains frequent dialogue with the Water Authority which forms a bridge between the industry and the Government Departments.

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering– Hong Kong Branch came into being in July 2008. The new title better reflects their scope of work and firmly identifies plumbing and heating as an engineering discipline.

The parent Institute in the UK provides full support to the Hong Kong Branch in terms of advancement of science and practice of plumbing. The number of Hong Kong members grew dramatically from about 200 members and today it is almost eight times that number.

Our main objectives are to advance for the public benefit and education of the public, the science, practice and principles of Plumbing and Heating Engineering in Hong Kong region.

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