How Innovative Plumbing Systems Can Help the Skilled Labor Shortage

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Finding, training and maintaining skilled laborers continues to be a top challenge in the construction industry, and the plumbing industry is no different.

Through a survey conducted in HBI’s Spring 2021 Construction Labor Market Report, builders reported a 55% shortage of plumbers available for work. With the lack of new entrants to fill job needs, labor costs are increasing, delays are becoming prevalent and ultimately, talent is becoming overworked.

In fact, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Q1 2021 Commercial Construction Index, 75% of builders say they are asking their contractors to do more work than usual to keep up with demand. To combat this challenge, manufacturers and other companies associated with the trades are partnering with organizations, such as Home Builders Institute (HBI), which provide students with the skills, experience and placement services they need to have a successful career in the trades while addressing the industry’s labor shortage.

Even as these organizations spread awareness of the vibrant career opportunities in the trades, it takes time to train new recruits effectively. Contractors need creative solutions to compensate for the lack of labor. That’s where companies, like Reliance Worldwide Corporation (RWC), have a key role to play: developing and manufacturing innovative products that can be installed quickly, simply and with limited labor.

Products for new construction like SharkBite's EvoPEX pipe fittings are specifically engineered as a more efficient alternative to tool-based pipe connection methods because they require no special tools, soldering or chemicals. They can be installed up to 30% faster than traditional PEX rough-in-plumbing methods, making the process of connecting different pipe sizes and materials simpler and with quicker transitions.

These simple and innovative products can even be installed in wet lines and in tight spots like crawl spaces or other undesirable conditions that could have originally called for several skilled plumbers to complete.

Products such as EvoPEX fittings minimize lost time on the job and help reduce installation errors by visually showing plumbers when they have made a permanent and secure connection. No crimp, clamp or expansion tools, and no soldering or glue are required.

While new products and technologies will never be a substitute for the talent and impact of skilled labor, innovative systems can help contractors complete jobs quickly and with limited help, increasing efficiency and jumpstarting productivity.

To learn more about RWC’s efforts with careers in construction, please visit

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