Jan 23, 2019 Last Updated 4:59 PM, Jan 22, 2019

Geberit looks at piping solutions that can help limit disruption in healthcare

Published in Healthcare
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Building redevelopments in healthcare establishments can be particularly challenging, with downtime needing to be kept to a minimum or, very often, not an option at all. Safety is also a key factor due to the high footfall of building occupants. Antony Corbett, Product Manager for Geberit, looks at the piping solutions that can help specifiers and installers in the public sector meet these challenges.


Realising the benefits of carbon steel:

Getting the most out of carbon steel depends on ensuring oxygen is kept out. The products must be kept in a well-ventilated area that is clean, dry and away from pipes of different materials.

Once in situ, we recommend using an oxygen monitor to highlight any issues before they take hold, allowing building maintenance staff to investigate and correct problems, rather than rely too heavily on chemicals. Where any repair work is required, this ideally must also be done in carbon steel. The system should never be left partially filled during maintenance.

When installed and looked after correctly, it is an extremely effective solution – a return visit to the Mater Hospital in Ireland, where Geberit Mapress Carbon Steel was installed some 14 years ago, showed corrosion-free pipework as effective as the day it was comissioned.

Hospitals are arguably the most important public sector buildings of all, and for the specifiers, installers and maintenance engineers tasked with upgrading and keeping these building’s operational, they present the most challenges. Moving vulnerable people is not an option and where closure for upgrades or completely new building works are required timeframes are tight. As we all know, the NHS is under enormous pressure at the moment and any available hospital space is precious.

As in all buildings, plumbing is an essential part of the hospital‘s makeup, providing general sanitation, heating and drinking water to patients and staff, as well as being used within the operating theatre. When choosing the right pipes for this environment, specifiers must first and foremost look to products that ensure reliability and longevity, followed by solutions that are easy and quick to install, allowing for an efficient turnaround. Pressing solutions, which can be used for every plumbing scenario – from gas central heating, to potable water – provide an extremely versatile option; here’s why:

Why press?

Pressed pipe is far easier to install than soldered or screwed piping and as a consequence, time on site can be reduced by around 35%, according to a BSRIA report, cutting total installed costs by 27% compared with screwed steel pipework. No hot works are required, making it a far safer solution for installers and building occupants, and comissioning can take place while the system is still wet, further reducing downtime. Leaks are easily identified during the test phase, ensuring customers are not left with issues after handover.

Fit for purpose

Pressing solutions come in a variety of formats, from standard copper pipe, to more specialist options, such as carbon steel. Carbon steel is particularly well-suited to a hospital’s closed-circuit system – it is up to 50% lighter than traditional steel pipe, further enhancing its easy-to-install and cost-saving credentials. And, as fewer materials are used in its manufacture, carbon steel‘s environmental impact is also reduced.

Owing to these benefits, carbon steel was used for the closed circuit and chilled heating systems at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI), which has undergone an £80m upgrade. Transforming one of the oldest hospitals in the country, first opened in 1735, the redevelopment has encompassed the old parts alongside the new, bringing the famous teaching hospital’s historic site up to 21st century medical standards to better service patients and students alike.

Some of the most far reaching changes include a new ward block, including integrated assessment, short stay and state-of-the-art intensive care units, a surgical floor, medical floor and leading-edge clinical centre. Modern wards have been created in newer parts of the build to accommodate inpatients from the BRI Old Building – the oldest part of the hospital which is being decommissioned and used for redevelopment.

Apart from carbon steel, Geberit Mapress copper was used for domestic plumbing and stainless steel for external works, demonstrating its versatility as a ‘total‘ plumbing solution.

Contributing to BIM

As mentioned, one of pressing’s key benefits is that it’s extremely quick to install. This makes it an ideal solution in the fastest turnaround projects using Building Information Modelling (BIM).

For example, pressing was used for water and natural gas at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute, located on the Health Science Campus at Belfast City Hosptial. Built in a record 17 months, thanks to the latest BIM, making it Northern Ireland’s largest completed Level 2 BIM application.

Robert Hall, from the Harvey Group, explained: “We chose Geberit piping systems for the versatility, ease of installation and quality. The project was under specific time constraints and the Mapress press fit system worked with the BIM modelling in terms of getting the project completed in the fastest time possible.“

Ticking all the boxes

In the hospital environment there is no room for error, which is where solutions like pressed pipe come into their own. Specifiers can be confident that the plumbing elements stand the best possible chance of getting completed on time and with safety, quality and cost savings also high on pressing’s agenda, this product serves to tick a number of the challenging boxes demanded by public sector projects.



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