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HPM April 2015

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com PIPES,PUMPS,VALVES&FITTINGS Pipe priorities in specifications Durapipe’s building services brand manager, Des Dolan, discusses the findings from its research into pipework specifications... The building services landscape is changing. Gone are the days when products were specified on performance and price alone. There are now so many other factors that are taken into consideration when selecting systems for HVAC applications. The introduction of BIM, (Building Information Modelling) increased awareness of health and safety issues and more emphasis being put on sustainability are just some of the industry developments that now play a part in product selection. As a result, we have spoken to building services contractors and consultants to find out what their current priorities are when specifying pipework systems for HVAC applications. BIM BIM has been the hot topic in the construction industry for the last two years, with all companies in the supply chain keen to outline their strategies and solutions regarding BIM. Despite the frenzy around this new digital approach, and the looming deadline for public buildings, it seems the building services sector is all talk and little action, with just a quarter of those surveyed selecting products with BIM information available. Despite relatively small take up currently, there are encouraging signs that usage is growing, as 39% of those questioned explained that they occasionally use BIM models, suggesting that they are preparing for compliance with the new procurement process. However, with the mandatory requirement for BIM on all public sector buildings, with a capital value over £5 million, from May 2016, it is concerning that one in four of respondents stated they do not believe the technology to be important at all. Maybe these companies need to get to grips with BIM quickly and embrace the technology if they are to be competing for tenders this time next year. SUSTAINABILITY Sustainability has now become integral to every construction project in the UK. Reducing carbon emissions, saving energy and recycling materials are major priorities for all businesses and the construction industry is no different. Every new build project needs to demonstrate clear sustainable credentials and it is important each company in the supply chain can provide a defined strategy outlining its commitment to sustainable practices. This is evident from our research, in which almost a quarter (22%) of respondents revealed they only choose systems that demonstrate clear sustainable credentials. More than half of those questioned (55%) acknowledged the it is an issue of growing importance, although not always essential, while 20% confirmed it forms part of a balanced specification process as a consideration, alongside other criteria. Just three per cent of respondents admitted they rarely consider sustainability when selecting pipework products for HVAC applications, a clear indication of the huge part it plays in today’s building projects. LEGIONELLA Following some high-profile cases of legionella outbreaks hitting the headlines, legionella has become a key focus over recent years, with dedicated conferences, forums and debates filling the building services events calendar. With sanitary hot water and air conditioning circuits most at risk of contamination from legionella bacteria, it seems the pipework systems that serve these applications are being assessed for their suitability to limit bacteria growth. More than 80% of those questioned by us stated that ‘preventing the risk of legionella developing in pipework systems’ is a major factor in the specification decision. Almost half (48%) revealed it is always a consideration, while 38% advised it is a consideration for relevant applications. Just six per cent of respondents admitted it is not something that is usually thought about when selecting pipework products. MATERIAL SELECTION With such a variety of factors influencing the specification of pipework systems, it is interesting to look at the preferred material choices for different building services applications. Plastic is the preferred choice, by a clear margin, for chemical drainage applications, with 77% of those questioned revealing they use Vulcathene for this application. While copper systems maintain their firm hold on hot and cold water specifications, their market share is, however, beginning to reduce. Purpose-designed plastic pipe systems are now starting to gain some traction with more than a quarter of those questioned revealing they favour plastic pipework solutions for hot and cold water applications. It is the responsibility of manufacturers to develop their product ranges to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s contractors, consultants and end clients. The issues that affect the building services market are always evolving and it is crucial that manufacturers keep abreast of the latest trends and act accordingly. Research, such as this, is an important part of our product development strategy as it allows the company to gain an insight into what is important to its customers, enabling its product portfoilos to be adapted and expanded in line with its clients’ requirements. 80 APRIL 2015 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 159 Durapipe UK has spoken to building services contractors and consultants to find out what their current priorities are when specifying pipework systems for HVAC applications


HPM April 2015
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