In the 1980s and 1990s, flexible plastic piping came to the fore; an inexpensive alternative to metal pipework systems, offering advantages such as flexibility, ease of installation and resistance to freezing. Both remain popular. In 2007, 90% of new domestic properties were built using plastic piping for the hot and cold plumbing system, although copper remains the most commonly specified material for all pipework, particularly in high-rise projects.
Yet, there is a third, and increasingly viable, option for hot and cold potable water systems, which can also deliver benefits across a wide variety of other applications. Driven by key drivers such as cost, reliability and ease of installation, project teams are turning to multi-layer composite pipes – a strong, flexible and added-value option for building services across any project.
Strong and flexible
Multi-layer piping systems consist of three main layers:
- An outer plastic layer usually made of polyethylene (PE-RT II) which protects against corrosion and mechanical damage. Non-reactive, fire retardant and flexible.
- A central aluminium layer which makes the pipe stable yet bendable. Typically 0.2-0.7mm thick.
- An inner plastic layer, which is usually made from the same or similar material to the outside layer.
Multi-layer pipework is not a new technology. In fact, the first multi-layer composite pipes were introduced to the UK market over 40 years ago, but it has often been reserved for industrial applications. Now, with greater discussion over materials selection and increased awareness of the benefits, multi-layer pipework is proving to be an effective all-rounder which can overcome many of the challenges identified throughout the specification and installation process.
In its latest white paper, ‘Multi-Layer Pipework – The Perfect All-Rounder’, Geberit looks at the challenges faced during the material specification process and the advantages that these systems can offer for those throughout the supply chain. The paper examines the benefits of using multi-layer systems, how the switch to these materials has and is happening – and why companies such as Geberit are embracing the technology to benefit projects, installers and the built environment.
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