PHCC’s 125th Anniversary is about more than celebrating the past. Also being celebrated is PHCC’s track record of adapting to and initiating change, and actually creating the future. 

The plumbing-heating-cooling industry of today bears little resemblance to the industry of 125 years ago. Throughout the decades, PHCC and its constituents have had to adapt continually to new materials and trade skills, to new technologies, to new ways of doing business. Consider some of the profound changes that have occurred since the association’s beginning:

  • Cast iron and galvanized steel piping have been replaced in many applications by first copper, then plastics.
  • Hydronic heating was surpassed by warm air heating and cooling for many years; now it is on the comeback trail in the form of sub-floor radiant heating.
  • Modern electronics has made its way into plumbing products, tools and equipment.
  • Distribution channels have proliferated.
  • Social and economic upheavals have occurred, including two global wars, the Great Depression and today’s war on terror.
  • Inventions ranging from the telephone to air travel to automobiles, radio and TV did not exist or were in seminal form when PHCC was started. Now they profoundly shape the world we live in - including the businesses of PHC contractors.
  • The construction and plumbing marketplaces have gone from predominantly union to nonunion labor.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed to oversee regulations and standards covering water conservation, lead abatement and other issues of concern to the plumbing industry. PHCC has been in the forefront of lobbying efforts to shape ideal EPA regulations and comply with them.

Throughout its history, PHCC has shown the flexibility to keep pace with the changes and upheavals. At the same time, the organization has never compromised its core mission to promote professionalism and protect public health and safety and the environment.

Plumbers Protect The Health Of The Nation

PHCC Is Primed To Meet The Challenges Ahead:The future no doubt will hold just as many changes and challenges as the past. PHCC will adapt as it always has, with a firm grip on its mission of professionalism, coupled with the flexibility to respond to the changing world around it.


Many future challenges are unforeseen. Others reflect trends that are already underway in this first decade of the 21st century. PHCC already is developing programs and positions to benefit members in coping with the great issues of our time. These include:

  • Changing workforce demographics. Young white males provided the lion’s share of the PHC labor forces throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Today’s American demographics foreshadow a new destiny for the pipe trades. Minorities and women will be counted on to provide a bulk of construction and service work in the decades to come. PHCC already has stepped in with imaginative programs to recruit and welcome these new trade citizens.
  • Shortage of skilled workers. The construction industry as a whole has been plagued by this shortage over the last couple of decades. PHCC, through its Apprenticeship Committees, has done its part to alleviate the burden on its members.
  • “Big Box” merchandisers. Many plumbing products now get sold directly to consumers via huge retail stores known as the “big boxes.” Nobody can stop this trend, nor is it clear that it would be right to do so. PHCC, however, has helped members cope via its “Partners for Professionalism” program of products that are linked with the craftsmanship of trade professionals.
  • The Internet. Still in its infancy, the Internet promises to have an impact on 21st century society as great as TV and radio in the previous century. PHCC is tapping into this new communications medium to deliver products and services to its membership. At the same time, PHCC education programs show members how to make the best use of the Internet to enhance their professionalism.
  • Industry consolidation. Vendors, suppliers and to some extent contractors themselves are becoming bigger and more diversified through acquisitions and mergers. This has an impact on traditional business relationships. PHCC recognizes the need to refine business management education to stay in tune with new demands placed upon members by larger and more sophisticated business partners.
  • Design/build. Construction contractors find many building owners desire a “one-stop shopping” experience for all construction needs. PHCC recognizes the so-called “design/build” phenomenon as an unstoppable trend and has incorporated it into educational programs accordingly.
  • Sustainable construction. The so-called “green” movement that was spawned in the 1980s has picked up momentum as awareness grows about the importance of using resources wisely. PHCC understands that it is not enough to build projects quickly and within budget. The new watchword is “sustainable” construction. It refers to building with the least use of resources. The PHCC Educational Foundation is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and dedicated to promoting sustainable construction.
  • Changing political climate.  PHC contractors, like all business owners, face a dizzying array of costly and time-consuming government regulations. PHCC has developed a strong presence on Capitol Hill in the state legislatures, and has greatly expanded its Political Action Committee to increase its influence with key lawmakers. These efforts protect contractors’ and small business interests, and also help raise the standards for the industry. 
  • Focused contracting.  The contracting business has become increasingly complex and specialized. This has led to the formation of PHCC’s enhanced service groups. The Construction Contractors’ Alliance, Quality Service Contractors and the Union-Affiliated Contractors have helped members focus on their specific areas of work and take it to the next level of excellence. These special groups are just one way PHCC meets the needs of its diverse membership. 

    Professionalism Means Being Ready For Anything: Nobody can foretell what new technologies and social or economic trends may come our way in the years and decades ahead. Nonetheless, judging from the past, it is clear that members of PHCC stand ahead of the pack in being situated to anticipate and adapt to whatever the future may bring.

    PHCC stands for professionalism. Professionalism means being ready for anything that may come our way.  

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