In the world of faucets, the news from manufacturers is usually a new product that features a different finish or style. Price Pfister has taken a different approach by addressing the installation issue.

The company has introduced TwistPfit, an installation system that is going to be made available on all of its widespread lavatory faucets. The system, which features above-the-counter installation and pre-assembled parts, reduces installation time by as much as 50% and makes it a one-person job, the company said. The only special tool required for assembly is a hex wrench, which is included with the product.

"There's a labor shortage among plumbers," said Mark A. Gold, vice president/marketing. "The plumber can have his apprentice do the installation. He doesn't have to put his best people on that job. He can save time and make more money because the price is the same as the traditional model."

The roll-out began in October and will continue through the fourth quarter. Several wholesalers and faucet manufacturers contacted by Supply House Times responded positively to the idea of a simpler faucet installation system.

Mark Vadovich, purchasing manager at Able Distributing Co. (Phoenix), said, "We would like to offer our customers products that are easier to work with and more profitable for them."

Johnny Tanner, plumbing supervisor at Apex Supply Co. (Atlanta), said he sees a trend toward making faucet installation easier. "Twenty years ago faucets had to be assembled piece by piece," Tanner said. "It has become a lot simpler." Most plumbers like working with easy-to-assemble faucets because it means there are fewer loose parts that can get lost, he said.

Focusing on ease of installation can be a double-edged sword for the plumbing industry, said Tony LoRusso, director/purchasing at Bergenfield, N.J.-based Palermo Supply Co. "When manufacturers make it so easy for consumers to do their own installation, it indirectly hurts the wholesale industry," he said. "This type of innovation makes a product so easy to install that it encourages a do-it-yourself attitude even among those who traditionally would hire a tradesman."