Professional Builder discovers that for two inventors pipe dreams really do come true!
We caught up with Chris Burdett and Alex Lever on a site in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, where Chris’s company Living Space Construction is putting the finishing touches to a large extension project.
It’s a typical job for Chris in this highly desirable part of Hertfordshire and, although the project itself is of interest, Professional Builder has actually come to hear all about the new product the pair have brought to market – PipeSnug.
“The PipeSnug concept came to me out on site one day when I was preparing to point mortar around a waste pipe for what seemed like the millionth time,” explains Chris.
“I realised a simple fitting would save so much time compared to mixing mortar or siliconing around the pipe, as well as blending into the fabric of the building visually. It has been designed specifically to fit the elbow joint on 32 and 40mm waste pipes, once you have drilled the hole using a 52mm core drill.”
A builder and bricklayer with over 25 years’ experience in the trade, building is in the blood as Chris’s father ran a building company in Luton. Working in and around the relatively wealthy commuter town of Harpenden has helped ensure Living Space has survived various downturns and prospered with extensions and loft conversions.
Chris has a keen eye for design (he has recently qualified as a garden designer too), and the PipeSnug idea really started to gain traction when he met Alex, his business partner, through the local school their children go to.
After a few drinks one evening, Chris told Alex about his idea and the two of them began to discuss the possibility of manufacturing the product. Alex has founded and run a number of companies, in a wide range of industry sectors, particularly property, manufacturing and technology.
“I got really excited, as when I did my research I realised there was nothing quite like it on the market,” explains Alex. “PipeSnug is designed so that any plumber or builder can use it to seal the hole where a pipe exits a wall.
Pointing or sealing the hole with mortar, silicone or expanding foam can become very messy to prepare and use, and doesn’t look great on the building’s exterior. PipeSnug is quicker, cheaper, and cleaner than all these methods. For me, it’s a very exciting project to be involved in.”
Where Chris brings his experience of the trade and a keen interest in design, Alex brings his knowledge of launching companies and products.
The pair formed a company, Snug Solutions, and the hard work on bringing the product to market began. Patents and trademarks were created, tooling was made and the product was put into production. It has taken around two years to get the product manufactured and ready for distribution.
PipeSnug has been used at the site we are visiting today and as we stand outside we can see that the product does indeed lend a neat finish to the exterior pipework.
“The beauty of PipeSnug is that it can be installed in all weathers on any plumbing or construction project, including new builds, extensions, loft conversions and kitchen or bathroom installations,” continues Chris.
“The product’s snug fit also means that it helps to maintain the energy efficiency of the property, by tightly filling in any gaps where heat would otherwise escape.
“This helps installers to comply with Part L of the Building Regulations and keeps the risk of heat escaping from a building to a minimum. It will also hold your pipework in place and on the position you want, freeing up both your hands to safely fix the clips.”
PipeSnug is the first product Chris and Alex have brought to market and the pair intend to launch an even wider choice of PipeSnug sizes in the coming months. It’s an innovation that solves a real problem for those in the construction industry.
“We have signed up with a national distributor and are actively selling to merchants. We will also be at trade shows over the coming year,” says Chris. “I’m confident once a tradesperson uses PipeSnug they will come back to it again and again – it just makes so much sense.”
For more details on PipeSnug click here.