Getting Ahead in Heating & Plumbing

With modern building services projects growing in complexity and including a wide array of stakeholders, contractors need to arm themselves with a wealth of heating and plumbing techniques and fittings. Drew Clough, Product Manager – Building Solutions, at REHAU, explores important considerations surrounding modern heating and plumbing installations, and their impact on a project’s cost-effectiveness and durability.

Construction industry headlines remain saturated with doubt around project delays, health & safety breaches and quality issues. These industry challenges can affect even the most competent industry bodies and construction bosses, so it is important contractors possess a diverse range of modern heating and plumbing techniques.

Building services are a building’s lifeblood, and contractors require easy-to-install solutions that are reliable and cost-effective if they are to build on the company’s legacy, retain competitive advantage and reap future rewards.

Impactful site challenges

 Multiple key challenges affect decisions made in the planning stages of a commercial heating and plumbing installation.

Price is often the primary factor for many new-build and refurb projects, yet this has led to a corner-cutting culture due to price pressures. This has been highlighted by the likes of Dame Judith Hackett, and this mindset is now less common.

Furthermore, contractors can incur financial penalties if time-sensitive targets are not met. It is therefore crucial to deal with reliable supply chain partners. For central London projects, knowing everything will be delivered to site, with sufficient storage and easy access, is vital.

The BESA has said the UK construction industry cannot competently deliver everything in a world of increasing opportunities and demands for higher standards with a shrinking pool of resource and talent. To counter this shortfall, contractors must know how products are installed and specified, and the long-term value they add to a building.

Pipe fitting choices

Though pipe fittings often play second fiddle to the actual pipe, they are crucial to tackling contractors’ wider site challenges, including leaks. M&E contractors have plenty of pipe fitting choices to ensure a fitting’s long-term effectiveness.

  • Soldered or brazed joints

A socket-type, copper or copper alloy fitting into which tube sections are inserted and fastened with a filler metal, via a soldering or brazing process.

  • Compression fittings

Compression fittings work by the compression of a ferrule between two tapered surfaces and the pipe itself.

  • Press fit (Or interference fit)

This is a fastening between two parts which is achieved by friction after the parts are pushed together.

  • Push fit

Metal spurs tightly grip the pipe’s insides when they are inserted into the fitting sockets.

Developing a good understanding of some these highly important aspects of a modern heating and plumbing installation can positively impact a project’s effectiveness and durability.

Specifying 21st century pipe fittings

Contractors should analyse the type of pipe fitting used in their building services projects to ensure high-quality and resilient heating and plumbing solutions. By initially installing the correct pipe fitting, less long-term maintenance is required.

Pipe fittings evolve in accordance with changing building requirements. With press fit fittings, the specialist crimp tool required to use compressive force to bond the pipe together must be calibrated frequently. Fittings like RAUTITAN by REHAU completely eliminates this calibration requirement – deburring pipes and a simple visual inspection is sufficient to verify a proper connection before the pressure test. It is faster, easier and more reliable than other jointing methods.

Many sites have restrictions on the use of flames, so joining options that don’t require welding, such as compression fittings, are more attractive on any project. Compression fittings also allow contractors to visually inspect joints and swiftly move onto the next without requiring more tools. Consequently, this removes issues around misplacing tools, and the uncertainty about being unable to check joint reliability not having tools can create.

Understanding the benefits

Mounting pressures on M&E teams mean it is difficult to find competitive advantage. However, to borrow a popular phrase, the devil is in the detail. Leaning on supply chain partners is vital if you want to gain the knowledge needed to advise your client and ultimately drive your business forward.

By being equipped with the skills and resources to advise on the best solutions, and truly understanding the features and benefits of 21st century heating and plumbing, an M&E contractor will be ideally placed to enhance their profitability and reputation.

 For more information on REHAU’s heating and plumbing solutions and to download our guide, please visit www.rehau.uk/rautitan

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