It is estimated that more than 3 million new social houses are needed in the next 20 years

19 September 2019

Plumbing and heating for social housing

A social housing report, resulting from a year-long investigation brought together by the charity Shelter following the Grenfell Tower fire, has estimated that more than 3 million new social houses are needed in the next 20 years. Analysis of the construction market by Glenigans has also highlighted a 40% surge in the underlying value of social housing projects starting on site in the quarter running up to July 2019. The remainder of the year is forecasted for a further two per cent rise while a longer-term forecast, for 2020, shows predictions of a three per cent rise.

With a clear focus on cost, speed of build and quality and performance of social housing for the future, the specification of plumbing and heating systems will need to be carefully considered to ensure fast construction, maximum efficiency, suitability for residents and optimal whole life costs. 

Wavin is ideally placed to provide a complete piping and heating solution for social housing projects with a range of innovative products combined with design support and assistance, helping to deliver high performing installations on time and on budget. Wavin’s knowledge and experience in the residential and public sector markets adds value throughout the project and for the whole life of the build. 

Easy installation

With cost being a key priority for building of social housing, the speed and ease of build including the installation of plumbing systems is key. 
On any property project, we need the safest and quickest solutions that are also going to be reliable and perform for years to come to ensure the comfort and well-being of our residents. Tigris K1 fits the profile perfectly and the support from Wavin ensuring the engineers and installers were all happy helped the process greatly.
Michael Mingay , Senior Services Engineer, Norwich County Council

Read the Norwich County Council case study here 

For soil systems, The Osma Keyway system ensures the perfect angle of fall every time speeding up fitting and guaranteeing a secure reliable installation. For quicker installation, the system is also available with durable Ring-Seal (push-fit) connections. The acoustic coupler saves time by automatically allows for an expansion gap.

For soil systems, The Osma Keyway system ensures the perfect angle of fall every time speeding up fitting and guaranteeing a secure reliable installation. For quicker installation, the system is also available with durable Ring-Seal (push-fit) connections. The acoustic coupler saves time by automatically allows for an expansion gap.

Tamperproof installations

Tamperproof fittings are ideal for shared residential developments to prevent theft, malicious damage or accidental demounting. Hep2O for hot and cold potable water systems combines the convenience of push-fit plumbing with the security and extra reassurance of the In4Sure security feature which once fitted require the Hepkey to adjust or demount. Plastic push-fit piping is also less likely to be stolen than copper piping. 
Underfloor heating can provide an efficient heating solution that is less likely to suffer from damage or tampering.

Managing whole life cost

The installation of plumbing for social housing is not the only cost consideration. The whole life cost which is influenced by ongoing maintenance costs and reliability of both the hot and cold water and soil and waste systems should also be a key consideration when specifying for social housing. The council or housing association will be responsible for most repairs including gas appliances, heating and hot water, toilet, baths, pipes and sinks as well as the health and safety requirements and any damp, disrepair or damage caused by faulty pipework and plumbing. 

Any issues with plumbing will need to be dealt with quickly and with minimum disruption to tenants, therefore a durable, reliable and long-lasting plumbing system is essential in order to manage the whole life cost of a property. 

Wavin products are manufactured to a quality management system which is approved to BS EN ISO 14001:2015 and they are also covered by a range of relevant British Standards kitemarks. Wavin products also hold marketing leading guarantees including Hep2O push-fit plumbing system which offers a 50 year guarantee and Hep2O underfloor heating which offers a 100 year guarantee. 

Efficiency and energy usage

An efficient heating system that helps to optimise energy usage and lower bills for tenants is important for a social housing development. With underfloor heating the floor is gently heated with piped warm water providing an all round and more even heating than radiators which rely on convection. The lower water temperatures required for underfloor heating ensure better energy efficiency with fuel bills up to 20% lower.  

Noise reduction for multi occupancy housing

Noise from plumbing systems can be an issue particularly in multi-occupancy buildings.

Wavin AS Acoustic soil system absorbs both airborne and structural sound making it ideal for multi occupancy building projects. Its world market leading noise insulating characteristics come from its mineral filled polypropylene composition which has a high specific weight and special molecular structure to enables absorption of a number of different sound source.

For plastic soil systems in residential housing, reducing structural-borne sound in soil stacks due to thermal expansion can also be an issue. The Osma acoustic coupler that features in the OsmaSoil system tackles this issue with its innovative design. The captive ring seal at one end of the fitting combined with an expandable rubber gasket at the other end is specifically designed to accommodate thermal expansion and allow the pipe to move in the joint by up to 18mm. When installed with an expansion fitting, you can see the expansion gap for easier inspection.

Health and safety considerations

Underfloor heating provides an even room temperature which ensures all round comfortable warmth and a healthier environment because less dust circulates in the air. The warm floor inhibits the breeding of dust mites and fungi. As underfloor heating has no exposed hot surfaces, it is safer for children and more vunerable residents. 

Hep2O underfloor heating is a flexible solution that can be used with any floor type and has a unique flexible manifold with the choice to add extra ports as required. 

Maximising space

In multiple occupancy and flat developments where space is short, the reduced dimensions of the Osma compact commercial soil and waste systems will minimise the duct space required. The rotating bases of branches also make it easier to make connections in tight spaces.

The OsmaSoil six boss manifold also saves space by allowing waste pipes to run at floor level directly into the manifold without any special adaptors. Its compact size means it can be installed in a much smaller hole than some of the more conventional push-fit manifolds.

HepVO is also particularly suitable as an alternative to traditional traps where space under a sink, shower or bath is limited. The sleek design which can be fitted vertically or horizontally for tight spaces.

Fast and accurate design (BIM)

Whilst registered social landlords are not currently covered by the BIM mandate that is part of the government’s construction strategy and drive towards a digitally built Britain, BIM can offer a number of benefits including improved efficiency, reduced waste and reduced risks for social housing builds.

Wavin’s BIM packages include downloadable Revit families to help you achieve BIM level 2. They make it easier and quicker to plan, specify and design using plumbing and above ground systems. The full bill of materials created from Wavin’s BIM packages cuts down on waste. Wavin’s Revit families for BIM will help to reach a complete ‘as built’ pipe system in the fastest way possible significantly cutting down design time. Our packages have also been the first in the sector to receive the new BSI Kitemark for Building information Modelling BIM objects.

Find out more about Wavin’s solutions for social housing or request a consultation