It has been another exciting year for the IAPMO R&T Lab.

The first half of 2020 began with a great economic outlook for the United States. IAPMO R&T Lab’s business for January and February was ahead when compared to the same months the previous year.

By March, however, COVID-19 reared its head and the plumbing industry began to feel the effects in the manufacturing sector. Production of essentially needed plumbing products to help keep the country’s infrastructure working was slowing. Despite this situation, IAPMO R&T Lab remains very busy during the pandemic.

Clients contacting us were surprised that the IAPMO R&T Lab continued to be open to serve the needs of the industry. As an essential part of the country’s infrastructure personnel, a decision was made enabling IAPMO R&T Lab to remain open to help the essential businesses. 

At the beginning, we created a work schedule alternating staff coming to lab facility or working from home, making sure that we did not exceed 10 staff members onsite at any giving time. Employees capable of working remotely were allowed to do so. However, test engineers and test technicians are needed to come to the laboratory facility to perform actual tests on products. We added weekends to their schedules to allow testing personnel to be on-site at the lab and to help maintain social distancing.

Later on, when the local authority allowed us to have more people to be in our workplace, we followed the CDC guidelines to reduce the possibilities of spreading the virus.  This includes maintaining social distance among staff, requiring everyone to wear face mask, reminding staff to regularly wash their hands, providing gloves and hand sanitizers, providing office dividers, cleaning the facility regularly, and avoiding all kinds of gatherings by recommending virtual communications or using phone calls.

During the pandemic we have also made use of the entire lab facility, both inside and outside. Special projects were set up in a secured gated area where they could be monitored by lab staff. One special project expanded the lab capabilities to test swimming pool equipment to NSF/ANSI 50.

Other IAPMO R&T Lab projects during the pandemic include the testing of various backflow prevention devices to ensure a clean water supply throughout homes, offices, and hospitals, and to prevent the spread of bacteria from wastewater.

Testing of plumbing products for toxicity under standards NSF/ANSI 61 and NSF 372 continues to ensure that the public can feel safe about the water coming out of their faucets and piping.

IAPMO R&T Lab continues to offer field testing of products that are too large or bulky to ship to the lab or that have already been installed at a particular location and red tagged by a local building official.

As a part of our expansion into testing for other countries, IAPMO R&T Lab’s ANAB accreditation scope was modified to include additional testing capabilities for the Australia/New Zealand marketplace.  Testing to various NOM standards for Mexico continues, as well.

A part of our commitment to the public and the industry is to ensure that the public health, welfare and safety comes first — IAPMO R&T Lab has met the challenge.

For updates of testing capabilities and other services, please Donna Estrada at donna.estrada@iapmortl.org.