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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