“Go West,” ASPE members were told this year - so I did in late October, spending two days in Long Beach, CA, at the American Society of Plumbing Engineers’ biennial Convention and Engineered Plumbing Exposition (EPE).
This was the second time I’d attended this event, the first being in 2006 when it was held in Tampa, FL.
My stay at the EPE was one day shorter this time, but no less enjoyable or informative.
As editor of PM Engineer, I spent part of each day manning the PME/BNP Media booth on the exhibit floor. This is a great way to get feedback from the plumbing engineers/specifiers on what they like and don’t like about PME and what topics are hot in the industry.
Another great means to get this insight is by walking the show floor over and over and over. The show floor was a good size, at about 150,000 square feet, and it featured about 300 exhibitors and 650 booths. Overall, it held just shy of 6,000 attendees - a new record, according to ASPE.
Equally importantly, those present represented all sectors of our industry: engineers, designers and contractors; small and large firms; private companies and government entities.
Despite the floor’s size, I came across several engineers who I’d known by name only - either through their emails or phone calls to me or the articles or letters they’d sent to me in the past year or so - but was finally able to meet because I recognized their names on their badges. (Thank goodness for large type.)
I also found my self most drawn to learning more about various products, especially commercial water heaters (gas and electric), push-on stops, hydronic control systems, AB 1953-compliant (0.25% or less total lead content by weighted average) faucets and, of course, anything green.
SeminarsComplementing time spent in our booth and on the show floor was that spent in a few educational seminars.
Water Reclamation. Finding a chair for the session was impossible, but I stayed for a good portion of it, standing along with at least 50 others. Peter Cartwright, the presenter, focused on two things: the many challenges posed by the huge variation and high concentrations of water contaminants in wastewater; and the tools designers can use to identify the optimum technologies for removing specific classes of contaminants.
Sprinkler Layout For Engineers. Steve Scandaliato [middle photo] spoke with passion throughout his talk. He told the small crowd repeatedly that “the Code always keeps what’s time-tested, but the Code is a template that you must step out of when necessary.” Scandaliato reiterated that it’s important for engineers to understand that if they write a spec, they’re liable - not the contractor who reads it and installs it. He added, “NFPA 13 says how to install sprinklers, but the Building Code says when to install them.”
Forensic Engineering. Mark Passamaneck, P.E., opened his presentation by explaining how forensics can help plumbing engineers. “Forensics analyze the causes of a failure, accident or malfunction. Remember, safety and the proper performance of the system are the main things.” Passamaneck showed many examples of plumbing components that had failed and explained how forensics helped determine why they failed. “Designers can really help installation by specifying procedures and practices.”
Before I go, I’d like to offer my congratulations to Julius Ballanco, PME’s editorial director, on his re-election as president of ASPE. He’ll serve in that capacity for two more years. Keep up the great work - there and here - JB!