Tate that: hidden solutions that
everyone needs to see
REHAU provides vital products that make even the world’s most iconic buildings tick.
HPM Editor, Tim Wood, met up with Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing & Technical –
Building Solutions, to find out how.
Every year, visitors from all over
the world flock to London to visit
the Tate Modern – home to the
greatest collection of British art in
In 2017, 5.7 million made the
pilgrimage to Bankside in Southwark to
see collections of international modern
and contemporary art dating from 1900
until today. Boasting a total internal floor
area of 34,500m2, art lovers spend hours
exploring the galleries in one of the
capital’s most best loved and recognisable
What goes largely unrecognised,
however, is that REHAU, deliverer of
unlimited polymer solutions worldwide,
was at the heart of the £260 million
extension to the Tate Modern.
In what was the highest profile
Thermally Activated Building Structure
(TABS) installation in the UK, REHAU’s
PE-Xa pipework was embedded in the
concrete slabs making up each floor of
the new building to circulate cooled water
and provide environmentally sustainable
comfort cooling throughout.
Loops of more than 24,000 metres
of pipework were installed on the
reinforcement before the concrete
was cast, and REHAU’s EVERLOC
compression sleeve fittings were used to
join the embedded pipework when the
slabs were delivered to site.
Without REHAU’s expertise and the
benefits of the TABS technology - most
notably low investment costs, high levels of
comfort and performance, ‘soft cooling’
with no draughts and the ability to reduce
the output of other cooling devices - the
requirements of the huge gallery spaces
would never have been met.
It is the quality and durability of the
pipework and fittings used on projects
such as this that has seen REHAU work on
similar projects worldwide.
However, despite being the premium
worldwide brand for polymer-based
innovations, Steve Richmond, Head
of Marketing & Technical - Building
Solutions, accepts that the REHAU name
isn’t as well-known as it should be.
“We could be the biggest company you
have never seen,” he said. “The products
are hidden away, so you may encounter
them, but not actually realise it.
“If you ask a consultant or a plumber
they will likely know us, but we are
not consumer facing. Although it is a
premium brand, REHAU is still not a
household name in the UK.”
Although REHAU began providing
building solutions in Europe in the 1960s,
it’s only been active in the UK for 20 years.
Around 40 people cover sales, marketing,
product management, and technical
support from its head office in Ross on
Wye, in Herefordshire, at four regional
sales offices, and from a hub in London,
which acts as a specification office.
Of REHAU’s five business divisions –
the others centre on automotive, windows,
furniture and industry - building solutions
has the biggest range of products,
covering the most areas.
REHAU is best known for underfloor
heating (UFH) having carried out its first
UFH installation in 1986.
“We have been very strong in this
sector and nowadays are considered a
premium brand,” said Steve. “It’s about
supplementing our flexible PE-Xa
pipe technology, with the controls and
manifold to make the whole UFH system.”
One of REHAU’s key pipework solutions
is RAUTITAN, designed specifically for
drinking water and heating systems. The
product has been available in Europe for
several years now and launched in the
UK at the end of 2017. It has delivered on
durability, is corrosion resistant and easy
to install for virtually every application.
Another strong area for REHAU focuses
on pre-insulated pipe, which is used for
district heating and biomass, which first
started over ten years ago in the UK.
“We started off relatively small but
have since grown into one of the market
leaders,” said Steve.
“We invested in UK production in 2012,
and that gave us an advantage in having
local production, reducing our carbon
emissions and offering quicker lead times.
This is now one of our strongest areas.”
Being a German business – the
company was founded in Bavaria in 1948 –
has enabled REHAU to become extremely
strong in the major European markets.
“Our products are up there with the
market leaders on a global level, and
in Europe we are very well established
when it comes to providing the building
solutions products,” said Steve.
“Despite having a huge basket of
products, we still need to keep an eye on
the market. We look at trends and decide
whether it will work in the UK or not.
“We are flexible about having a huge
range in the building solutions division.
If we like something new, we can bring
in a dedicated sales force, introduce it to
the merchants and then use our existing
channels to launch new products.
“As a group, we are always looking to
improve products, to bring them into the
21st century, as well as what extra services
we can offer to end users and installers.”
Looking ahead, smart homes is a market
that REHAU is looking to tap into.
“We already to do smart UFH controls
and have controls that can link up to
home automation systems for some of the
high end residential systems, such as self
builds or expensive apartments in the
South East,” said Steve.
“It’s about a number of the products
we already produce coming together and
20 Heating & Plumbing Monthly | JUNE 2018 | www.hpmmag.com