HVCA chief executive Robert Higgs has urged businesses to adapt to a radically changed marketplace in which new opportunities will look very different from those previously encountered.
Speaking at a conference organised by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers to mark the 400th anniversary of its foundation, Mr Higgs pointed out that the commercial potential provided by the sustainability agenda was enormous, but that firms must be prepared to take on new kinds of work.
'Replacing gas boilers on a like-for-like basis, for example, will not be a viable business in the future,' he said.
'Also, global water demand is predicted to increase by 30 per cent over the next 20 years - and finding efficient methods for collection and distribution of water is right in plumbing industry territory.'
However, considerable investment would have to be made in skills and training to equip the workforce to deliver new solutions.
'Enlightened contractors are already diversifying, and they must be supported with a suite of vocational qualifications and an infrastructure to deliver them.'
The conference was chaired by the Master of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, Chris Sneath, who served two terms as HVCA president in 1990/91 and 1996/97.