From novice to drainage ventilation specialist: Michael Chang

In this blog we bring you something a little bit more personal from our Product Engineer, Michael Chang, who has been a member of the Studor team for over 12 years:

I was a vehicle apprentice technician in Hong Kong before I came to the UK to study for a BEng Mechanical Engineering degree. I knew nothing about plumbing before I joined Studor and it was a big challenge to start with, but I soon developed a sound knowledge base and after a few years I completed an Engineering Design Master’s degree based on Studor’s development projects.

My inquisitive nature and drive for personal development has enabled me to develop an in-depth specialist knowledge of plumbing ventilation. I continue to see plumbing technology as an interesting subject – particularly as it is “behind the scene” but no building would function without it. There are still a lot of people who don’t know why there is a water trap in every fixture unit, although it is a relatively straight forward and simple principle – there is still a lot of education work to do!

Being an engineer, I am always interested in how things work and trying to figure out how things could be improved. I recently took the opportunity to visit the Science Museum in London. What an experience! It was like travelling back in time, and even has one section about the development of toilets (“water closets” (WCs)).


Cummings’ water closet patented in 1775 (source: see below)

If we go back in time, the “big bang” of plumbing was in the late 15th century: It is quite amazing to consider that since the first WC was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harington for Queen Elizabeth (and later reinvented and patented in 1775 by Alexander Cummings) that the principle is still the same! More about “Toilets, earth closets, and house plumbing” can be read on the site dedicated to The History of Sanitary Sewers.

The drainage system is an essential part of the “digestive system” of the living space in houses and buildings; the behind-the-scenes aspect that most people, including myself before I joined the Studor team 12 years ago, would even think about. It is amazing how something given so little thought is so important!

Quite simply, the water trap is a barrier of water which separates waste water and air from the living space. However, the air pressure on both sides of this water barrier must be balanced – both positively and negatively. You can read more about this in our “The Only Line of Defence” blog.

I find it really rewarding working for a company which is positively contributing towards a healthier living environment for everyone!  It is challenging environment – always trying to figure out how to save time, space, cost, and solve difficulties. Sometimes I find that it is best not need to think too much otherwise it would become complicated – I do believe that “less is more” and “simple is the best”!

Cummings’ water closet image sourced from

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Why the CE Mark alone is not enough…

Studor has remained a pioneer of standards and approvals for drainage ventilation products since being founded in 1975. When European Standard EN12380 was introduced for Air Admittance Valves (AAVs) in drainage systems in 2002, it was natural for Studor to not only to comply with the standard but to take that step further and seek independent validation of conformity. This was achieved by the issue of the DIN CERTCO KEYMARK in 2005 for the Mini-Vent and Maxi-Vent. Studor now holds several KEYMARK certificates across the range of AAV products.

Sören Scholz, Head of Certification Body for “DIN CERTCO Gesellschaft für Konformitätsbewertung mbH”, has kindly taken some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about DIN CERTCO and the KEYMARK scheme:


Who is DIN CERTCO and what do they do?

DIN CERTCO is the certification organisation of TÜV Rheinland and DIN, the German Institute for Standardization, highly regarded internationally for its independence, neutrality, competence and extensive experience in the certification of products, services, qualified enterprises and persons. DIN, as other standards bodies, maintains a comprehensive collection of technical rules that sustain the efficient manufacture, testing, and assessment of products. DIN promotes the application of standards by its activities in the field of conformity assessment. Testing and assessment can take various forms: from the supplier’s declaration of conformity to third-party assessment, from proto-type-testing to type examination, or the assessment of a quality or environmental management system. With its network of partners, DIN CERTCO offers certification services that adapt flexibly to specific requirements. As a result, the proof of conformity provided exactly matches the scope deemed necessary.  Since 2015, the empowerment of certification bodies, the administration of the KEYMARK, and the management on behalf of CEN is assumed by DIN CERTCO as the KEYMARK Management Organization (KMO).

What is your role in DIN CERTCO?

I am the Head of Certification Body at DIN CERTCO. We were anxious to extend the certification business at DIN CERTCO in the area of heating and air-conditioning products, although for these kinds of products the certification has a long tradition in Germany. Together with the interested parties we develop specific certification schemes and implement them in addition to the relevant standard(s). Our DIN certifications help specialist planners, installers, builder/owners in the public and private sectors in the decision-making process. We think that the voluntary product certification becomes more and more important, especially for the growing European market. Therefore a quality mark well known Europe-wide is very important for both, manufacturers/suppliers and consumers.

What is the KEYMARK?

On recommendation of the European Council to improve consumer protection and to counteract the uncertainty of consumers by a mark variety, the European Standards Organisations CEN and CENELEC developed the harmonised European Mark System for standardised products. The KEYMARK is the European quality mark showing the conformity of products with European Standards. A product may only be marked with the KEYMARK if it has been tested and certified before by a neutral, independent and competent body. The factory inspection and Initial Type Testing (ITT), together with regular inspection, constitute an important element of the procedure for granting the KEYMARK. Beyond that, the manufacturer has to carry out a Factory Production Control (FPC) in consideration of the relevant product standards and the elements of EN ISO 9001. This quality system is controlled by an annual inspection and is completed by type testing which takes place at least every 2 years. Today, there are many products using the KEYMARK as a European quality mark, including:

  • Clay pipes
  • Heat pumps
  • Solar thermal products
  • Thermal insulation products for buildings and industrial applications
  • Thermostatic radiator valves
  • … to name just a few!

What is “DIN-Geprüft”?

To improve the confidence in the KEYMARK, it is often granted in combination with marks of existing national certification systems which are based on the conformity with European Standards. In Germany, the KEYMARK is often granted together with the well known Certification Mark “DIN Geprüft” (= DIN Tested). The KEYMARK symbol and “DIN Geprüft” together form the KEYMARK certification.

What’s wrong with just using the CE mark?

The CE mark is basically a self-declaration. There are strict requirements a manufacturer must comply with in order to apply the CE mark, but in most cases, there is no requirement for independent validation that these requirements have been met. The CE mark shows the observance of legal minimum requirements, but the KEYMARK provides a real surplus value for the consumer: tested and certified observance of uniform European Quality Standards.

How does the KEYMARK affect the STUDOR products?

Several of the the Studor Air Admittance Valves have been issued the KEYMARK certificate, which certifies that they conform with the requirements for CE marking as laid out in European Standard EN12380.

Are any other Air Admittance Valves certified with the KEYMARK?

At this time, STUDOR and Geberit are the only manufacturers to be issued with the KEYMARK certificates.

Where can I find more information about DIN CERTCO and the KEYMARK certification?

DIN CERTCO’s website provides detailed information in German and English at

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“Seeing is Believing” Test Tower Roundup

Tony Hill at the base of the test tower

As we come towards the end of another year at our “Seeing is Believing” test tower, here’s an update from Tony Hill (our Technical Sales Engineer) on what’s been happening at the world’s tallest drainage test facility:


Not heard of the “Seeing is Believing” test tower? Where have you been the last 2 years? More to the point, why haven’t you been? 🙂

In a nutshell, a visit to our “Seeing is Believing” test tower is an immersive experience in which you can see first-hand how the Studor System out-performs the traditional vent system in maintaining the trap seals and protecting against the negative and positive pressures in the drainage system. Please click through the links at the bottom of this article if you’d like to know more.

This year has been another great success at the tower for both for us at Studor and as an educational trip for consultants, designers and installers alike. We’ve hosted at least one show each month throughout the year, with a total of around 250 visitors to date from the UK and also from overseas.

One of the highlights was a private day for a group of 12 Young Engineers from SoPHE – this new generation of engineers are starting their career at a time when in many regions “the only way is up”. The visit to the test tower offered them the perfect opportunity to gain a good understanding of the specific issues related to drainage ventilation in high rise buildings.

Taking on-board requests from some of our earlier visitors, we made a few changes to the system this year, including an offset in clear pipe, and plan to make more changes soon – watch this space!

If you have any thoughts on what else you’d like to see at the test tower, then please make a suggestion and we can make the changes over the winter when it’s really really cold in the unheated concrete tower – thanks for that! 😉 Seriously, we do welcome all feedback, so please email me at with any ideas.

On a final note, here’s the quick check list we do before each show:

1) Big tall building to play in.
2) Water.
3) Supplies.
4) Toilet.
5) Lots of toilets.
    Check, check, check!lots-of-toilets


6) For the rest you have to be here – after all, “Seeing IS Believing”!

For more information on 2017 dates, to arrange a private day for your PH team, or even to bring your clients to see why the Studor System (incorporating the Studor P.A.P.A. and AAVs) is the ONLY way forward in high rise building drainage, please contact me at

Don’t forget, what goes down always comes back up – nice!

down up





Other publications relating to our “Seeing is Believing” test tower:



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World Standards Day: 14 October

14 October, every yWorld Standards Day 2016 Posterear since 1998

Standards – Essential to providing a protective framework

World Standards Day is celebrated by members of the IECISO and ITU as a way of recognising the “collaborative efforts of the thousands of experts worldwide who develop the voluntary technical agreements that are published as international standards”.

Standards are essential to provide a protective framework for products, processes and the environments around us.

In our “The Only Line of Defence” blog we outline why standards are so important in relation to Air Admittance Valves (AAVs). If AAVs do not conform to the required standards then there is a real risk that health could be compromised. This is why Studor has been instrumental in working with international standards organisations to introduce and review relevant standards – this is an area of high importance to us, as health should never knowingly be compromised.

SAI Global is the approvals body responsible for Studor’s Watermark approvals. Their October e-newsletter outlines the ways in which standards build trust:


World Standards Day was first established in 1998 and each year there has been a joint statement published from the presidents of the IEC, ISO and ITU. Please click on the below posters to access the statements from each of the below featured years:








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An Update from Graduate Engineer Iris Jiang

Hands-on practical experience wIris Jiang Graduate Engineerith Eco-Bay and the Studor products:  

On 22 June 2016 graduate engineer Iris Jiang was the focus of that day’s interview in honour of the 2016 National Women in Engineering Day. She has recently returned to Belgium following her first overseas internship with our Thai distributor (Eco-Bay Ltd) and has shared her experience with us:

During my two months internship, the Studor products were the main focus to distribute. I started with a technical overview: looking into the working principle of Mini-Vent, Maxi-Vent, P.A.P.A. and Maxi-Filtra through information provided by Studor, thereafter digging deeper into drainage physics through papers written by Professor John Swaffield and doing experimental stuff with the Maxi-Vent with a see-through cover.

I also accompanied the Eco-Bay team for two months to all their consultancy visits. It’s very interesting to see how culture differences lead to a different work approach. For me, it was a very interesting internship. I love the “simplicity” of how Studor solves venting problems, and I was intrigued by the business approach of Thai people. I’m sure Studor will continue to have growth capacities in developing countries, particularly Asia, since skyscrapers are getting higher and higher there. And since it’s a way to show off their country, I’m sure many more are to follow.

Wishing Studor all the best and thanks to Eco-Bay for a great internship!

Iris Jiang

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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Ewa Bielinska

NWED - 23 JunePolish-born Ewa Bielińska is a Quality & Process Flow Manager at Miko Pac, one of Studor’s manufacturers. She is based at their Bydgoszcz facility in Poland. Ewa’s interest in engineering started from Food Technology. Since graduating from the Polish University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn she has acquired 14 years of engineering experience, 10 of which have been as a Manager.

Ewa lives her life by the motto “make today amazing”, and applies this to all aspects of her life – both professionally and privately.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with?

The implementation of certified systems at Miko Pac has been very challenging, but equally very rewarding. I was instrumental in the implementation of the ISO 9001 quality management system at our Polish plant in 2004 and am responsible for ensuring our continued compliance and overseeing the regular third-party audits.

In 2008 I was heavily involved with attaining BRC-IoP “high risk” accreditation for our Polish plant and in 2015 for our Indonesian plant. As the majority of our manufacturing is food packaging, and we have a high attention to quality, this was a natural progression for us – the BRC is the first standard in the world to be recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI) benchmarking committee and is very highly regarded world-wide. The accreditation granted to our Indonesian plant was the second such accreditation ever to be awarded to an Indonesian facility and I’m very proud to have been involved with this! 

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

I feel that women have the skill of taking a more global view and being able to link together many different aspects of a project to draw them together. 

Women constitute a small percentage of engineers versus men. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Engineering is the power of development; it is very nice to be a part of that world. 

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

I really enjoy having the opportunity to do some sports and love spending quality time with my daughter.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

Oh, it is so hard to choose one from so many! 😉


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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Nicole Jean

NWED - 23 JuneDr Nicole Jean is a Public Health Design EngineeNicole Jeanr at Mace. Of Saint Lucian origin, she completed her BEng in Architectural Engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, returning a year later to commence her PhD in Construction, and is now based in London.

When Nicole graduated from Heriot-Watt University in 2009 she went to work as a graduate electrical engineer. In 2015 she re-entered the industry in this same discipline and in November (of that year), once her PhD was completed, she moved over to public health engineering. This move was fuelled by her research, and her passion for designing safe internal environments.

National Women in Engineering Day 2016 is of special importance this year to Nicole, as it is her Doctoral Graduation Day. We’re sure that you will join us in offering congratulations to her today!

What got you interested in engineering?

My early academic loves were technical drawing and mathematics. These subjects led me to complete an Associate Degree in Architectural Technology, where I discovered building services. It was then that the tug-of-war between architecture and engineering began. The open day visit to Heriot-Watt University in February 2005 introduced me to the science behind creating built environments. It became clear after this visit that engineering was winning. Still not convinced though that my need for design and creativity would be fed, I told myself “it’s just for now”. Today, eleven years later, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Where did you study?

I completed my BEng in Architectural Engineering from Heriot-Watt University. This degree covered acoustics, lighting, sustainable building design and environmental modelling, along with mechanical, electrical and public health design. My undergraduate dissertation provided the introduction to public health research, and when the opportunity arose, I returned to Heriot-Watt University to commence my PhD in Construction.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with?

My two most notable projects are Blue Coral in St. Lucia, and the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, England.

Blue Coral, a 1960s building, was my first commercial and renovation project. I went from reading about its Caribbean competition prize-winning, to working in both the Design Consultant’s and Building Services Engineer’s offices over three summers.

Designing and solving problems lies at the heart of my attraction to this industry, and Blue Coral provided me my first glimpse of a multi-disciplinary creative process. I sat as the engineer in the architecture studio and was driven with grand ideas for this building. Though I’m left with thoughts of what could have and should have been, I like to think that the exposure to such a passionate design environment, influences my work to this day.

The Mary Rose Museum is one of my most notable due to its historic significance. The high standard demanded of this project by the client and members of the team provided a fantastic learning opportunity. I am proud to have been briefly involved.

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

My tallest would be a multi-storey housing project in London, where the tallest structure was 8 or 9 storeys.

Have you been involved in any projects where the Studor System has been installed?

Unfortunately I worked as an Electrical Engineer on this housing project. It would have, however, been a great opportunity to use the P.A.P.A. in the PH design!

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

I believe women bring to engineering the uniqueness and skill which we individually possess. It’s difficult to say one attribute which all women possess, but increased gender balance may allow for innovation, as well as facilitate better ways of managing, communicating, working and collaborating with other members of a multi-disciplinary team. All of which are advantageous elements for delivering a successful project. 

Women constitute a small percentage of engineers versus men. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

My advice to women who are thinking of studying or training to become engineers is to work hard and believe that you are good enough. Take the opportunities which are given to you and read subjects outside your specialty. Ensure that you have a breadth and depth of knowledge.  Do not be intimidated by the room full of men which you will walk into regularly. We are all people and they are, more often than not, happy to see you. Become the best engineer that you can be, and ensure that your work speaks for itself.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

I enjoy photography, crafts, reading and exercising either through the gym, or socially by playing squash. I also travel a couple times a year to the Caribbean. This year I’ve visited St. Lucia, Trinidad and Barbados. If I can find the time, I’d love to join a steel pan orchestra and rediscover my love for double tenor.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

I thoroughly enjoy a good laugh and, with very light-hearted effort, I have discovered that I am not averse to creating the situation for it. A very close friend regularly says “only you Nicole”, and one of my nicknames as a child was given to me simply because I was the most mischievous. All I will say is this – in my younger days, I maybe too often – fully embraced the dare…

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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Iris Jiang

NWED - 23 JuneIris Jiang is a graduate  engineer from Ghent University Iris Jiangin Belgium. She graduated in 2015 as an applied bio-science engineer and later this year she starts studying for a further Master’s degree in Environmental Sanitation, which covers the following main areas:

  • sources and causes of environmental pollution;
  • the methodologies for the detection and analysis of environmental pollution;
  • environmental toxicology and risk assessment, both in the eco-toxicological and human toxicological field;
  • the prevention and sanitation of environmental pollution;
  • the treatment and management of waste.

Born in Belgium, Iris is very much looking forward to her first overseas internship with Studor’s distributor for Thailand – Eco-Bay Ltd – which she starts next month, and will provide practical experience to build on the knowledge she’s developed through her study. She is multi-lingual, fluent in Simplified Chinese, Dutch and English and is learning French and Spanish.

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

I don’t think women in general have skills or attributes which differ from men, but it all depends on the person.

Women constitute a small percentage of engineers versus men. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

As a fresh graduate, I felt women and men were treated equally in the classrooms of my university. Although I’m aware an inequality exists when entering the ‘real world’, I truly believe women don’t need to settle for less when being ambitious and open minded.

If you’ve found your passion and it happens to be engineering, and you also happen to be a girl, be proud of it and go for this rough but rewarding degree!

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Traveling, meeting people and sharing stories, hanging out with friends and pace down to read a book.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

I can’t really remember what fun is in these desperate times of thesis writing 😉

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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Lina Abolail

NWED - 23 JuneJordanian Lina Abolail studied at the Mu’tah University in Jordan and is now based in Dubai, working as a Business Development Manager for Polypipe Middle East. She loves that her job involves a significant amount of working outside in the gulf area. She balances her challenging career with her family life as a mother of 2 children and an active social life.

What got you interested in engineering?

Most of my family studied civil engineering and it was a natural decision for me to follow in the family footsteps – particularly as it was our dream to have our our own branded company in the future. Being an engineer makes me feel good and confident.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with?

The Jewel of the Creek development – 9 towers at the creek with beautiful landscaping and design.  I was involved to win this project as a luxurious reference.

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

Marina Gate Towers – 50+ storeys.

Have you been involved in any projects where the Studor System has been installed?

Yes – the Marina Gate Towers project. In order to maximise the sellable living space, the shafts are particularly small. Also, even some of the structural details of the project don’t allow the contractor to install a traditional drainage system. The Studor System was a natural choice to address these issues and also provide a reliable drainage ventilation system designed specifically for high rise projects. 

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Women are focused, determined, and creative. They have better skills in leadership and more ability to give the right instruction and guide others to the right way. Being a woman and engineer means you are up to the challenge and ready to deliver the job despite the physical obstacles and different traditions.

Women constitute a small percentage of engineers versus men. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Engineering builds the dreams of others. I believe that women in engineering make sure that it is done in the right way. Don’t let your gender stop you – follow your dreams and know that you can be a success. 

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Swimming, socializing with people and spending time with my family.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

At a team building activity we built a boat from ropes and barrels and were supposed to set sail. There were 4 of us on board. One colleague fell into the water and I just panicked, started screaming, also fell down in the water (which turned out to be freezing) and started pulling my colleagues down with me. It was then that I noticed that the trainer was heartily laughing – we were so near the beach and in such shallow water that there was no risk of drowning!

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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Lisa Cavanaugh

NWED - 23 JuneLisa Cavanaugh is a Senior Process Engineer at Dymotek, one of Studor’s manufacturers, located in Connecticut, USA. She graduated Cum Laude in 1987 from the University of Lowell in Massachusetts (now known as UMass Lowell) with a Bachelor of Science in Plastics Engineering and a minor in Chemistry.

Lisa loved maths and the sciences all her life. It was in high school that she came to the realisation that she had to go into a technical field to not only learn more, but also to utilise the knowledge she was continuing to gain. As much as she enjoyed biology and physics, chemistry was her real passion!

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with?

The one that comes to mind is being an active member of the Quick Mold Change team at an employer I stayed with for 11 years. Our mold changes took several hours and the goal given to us by the president of our company was 15 minutes. Over time we actually got down to 5 minutes. We actually had a lot of fun working on the goal, we viewed it as a challenge but knew we could do it. We researched many different ways to possibly do mold changes, we decided which ones to try out to see what worked for us, and after trying them we worked on perfecting them. The team was cross-functional and had technicians and operators in it too, not just engineers. The whole experience was really rewarding and helped our company in that we opened up production capacity on our current molding machines, rather than having to spend more money on buying new machines – it just made us more efficient. It was a great team effort.

Are you a member of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES)?

No I am not, but I need to look into the Society of Women Engineers here in the States. I am currently a Professional Member of the Society of Plastics Engineers – I became a Student Member as a sophomore in college in 1984.

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

I feel that we bring attention to detail, patience, and a different way of looking at things.

Women constitute a small percentage of engineers versus men. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Be open minded about working with different types of people who have different views, opinions and experiences. You can learn a lot from them. Be a team player. Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams. You will have to work hard but the rewards are great. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else, I am very fulfilled in my career, more than I ever dreamed possible.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

The majority of my personal time is spent with my child. I also love to read, listen to music, and spend time outdoors walking, hiking, biking or gardening.


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