Sudhakaran Nair, popularly known as SN, has been an active member of the Indian plumbing industry for over four decades. He started his career as a project engineer in 1970 with a renowned plumbing contractor in Mumbai. After a successful spell of 13 years in the Middle East, he returned to India to set up ESSENCO, a building services company headquartered in Bengaluru. During his career in India and the Middle East, he has nearly 550 completed projects to his credit.
SN was one of the few who foresaw the need for a national platform for Indian plumbing professionals which resulted in him becoming one of the Founder Members of the Indian Plumbing Association when it was formed in 1993. He was elected as its National President in 2006 and has since been reelected twice and remains at the helm of the association. He was elected to the Executive Board of the World Plumbing Council in March 2005, a first for an Indian, and served the council for six years as Executive Board Member. He was reelected to the WPC Board in September 2011, as Deputy Chairman.
On the challenges prevailing in the Indian plumbing industry, Sudhakaran Nair says, “Challenges are many. The three important factors essential for implementation of safe plumbing installations are codes and standards of current international standards, skilled personnel and technically sound materials and equipment.”
SN has been instrumental in forging an alliance between IPA and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, USA, for drafting and publishing various plumbing codes such as Uniform Plumbing Code-India, Green Plumbing Code Supplement-India, Uniform Swimming Pool Code-India, Water Efficient Products-India and Uniform Solar Energy Code-India.
“Several components that go into a modern plumbing installation are still not manufactured in India. Only a few high-end projects where budgets permit use imported products. Since several taxes, duties and transportation costs make imports expensive, not everyone can choose this path,” he explains.
SN is a Fellow Member of Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, UK, and Full Member of American Society of Plumbing Engineers. In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by IPA. Recently, the ACCE Gourav Award was conferred on him by the Association of Consulting Civil Engineers for his untiring efforts to upgrade plumbing standards in the country.
Sudhakaran Nair adds, “Every building structure meant for human habitation requires a safe plumbing installation and the lack of it directly affects the health and safety of the occupants apart from the structure itself. Among the engineering segments currently taught in our country, Civil Engineering is the closest to plumbing engineering. Thankfully, unlike in the past, more and more of our young engineers have now realised the potential and are willing to join the plumbing profession.”