07 October 2020

De-risking plumbing and drainage in offsite construction

While every element has the potential to cause significant damage to a building, the impact of water often goes unnoticed for some time and with costly consequences. In fact, figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) found that the insurance industry receives £2.5 million in claims each day from customers who have experienced an ‘escape of water’ in their home, and around 25% of buildings and contents insurance claims are for damage caused by leaks .

When it comes to plumbing and drainage in offsite construction, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider. 

The level of design, planning and quality control that’s intrinsic to offsite construction means it’s easier for manufacturers to ‘get it right’ in a factory setting, without the variables typically experienced on site. 

On the other hand, because services are usually pre-fitted when a modular building, panel system or volumetric system is delivered to site, aspects such as plumbing and drainage are even more hidden from view than in traditional construction, meaning a slight drip can quickly become a damaging leak before handover is complete. 

Removing the risk 

Fortunately, offsite manufacturers can play to the positives and eliminate potential issues with the right planning and connectivity firmly in mind. Central to this is taking a single-manufacturer approach to plumbing and drainage.

In any chain – whether we’re talking people, business or even a relay race – the link is always the weak spot, and plumbing is no different. When going from plastic to copper, or one manufacturer’s piping to another, there’s always a chance that a break in the chain could occur. 

Although leading companies like Wavin understand this and develop products that are compatible with other solutions and types of systems sold and used across an industry, there can be misalliances, for example as products change or new ones are launched. 

However, by using systems from a single manufacturer that offers the full solution, those in modular construction can feel assured that all the products they’re using are designed to connect and work together, and undergo meticulous testing. What’s more, by using a single supplier, offsite companies can take advantage of extended warranties and guarantees and, in turn, pass these on to their clients and customers. 

Stronger connections

At Wavin, we’ve been working with offsite manufacturers for more than 20 years. We’ve developed products that are ideal for all modern methods of construction and, importantly, offer a complete plumbing and drainage solution. 

Each product in the range is designed with standardised joints to remove risk and also reduce the chance of fittings moving or dismounting in transit from an offsite factory to site. 

Wavin has also developed many of its products with ease of installation in mind, whether fitting takes place in a factory-controlled setting or on site. 

Just one example of this is our push-fit hot and cold plumbing system, Hep2O. With a unique In4Sure™ design, fitters will hear a reassuring ‘rumble’ sensation when a pipe has been successfully connected and this connection can only be demounted with a HepKey. Simplifying installation further, no hot works or flames are needed for fitting, further de-risking the process and meaning offsite factories do not need specific skillsets during build.   

For drainage, Osma Soil also has in-built features to give a reassuring connection. A captive ring seal ensures a secure joint every time and the KeyWay fitting guarantees the perfect fall time and time again. All soil and waste products within the Osma range are available in solvent weld or push-fit options to create a secure connection, even in tight installation settings. 

We are so confident about the performance of these solutions that we provide a 50-year guarantee against defects in materials or manufacturing across all of our pipe and fittings. 

By taking a one-manufacturer approach to plumbing and drainage, offsite construction firms can overcome the potential hazards of damaging leaks, further remove risk from their designs and make the installation of these services fast and effective in a controlled setting. 

Find out more about how Wavin can support your next modular or offsite projects here