Burst pipes are the most common cause of home insurance claims in the UK and cost an average of £3,500 in damage to property and contents. The expense is not the worst of it because, as the property is dried out and repaired, months of disruption will follow.
Frost is the greatest threat to water services throughout the winter. UK Water Regulations require any fitting or apparatus to be correctly insulated to prevent frost, unless in a location that is heated for more than 12 hours a day. It seems obvious when you are scraping the ice from the car on a frosty morning. However, the insurance claims show that many homeowners, landlords and occupiers seem to be unaware of this requirement.
In the worst-case scenario, the replacement of water supply pipes is required. Traditionally this has required major excavations outside a property and usually a great deal of disruption and trauma within, over several days and possibly weeks – inevitably at high cost.
Water Supply Replacement
Whether or not the cause is bad weather, the replacement of a leaking, or an old and unreliable water supply can extend timelines and inflate costs, sometimes to the detriment of other aspects of a project. However, there is now a cost-effective solution to this previously expensive operation. The use of Groundbreaker’s INSUduct allows the new water service to be routed up the external face of the building and connected to the internal plumbing above ground level.
INSUduct only requires one simple core drilled hole through the wall, at an appropriate point to connect with the internal plumbing. This enables most water supply replacements to be completed within a couple of hours, without the traditional mess and disruption to the householders or occupiers. The improvement in work efficiency and reduction on the impact to occupants is a win for both contractor and customer. Because the system provides a neat, clean finish to the job, there is also little impact to the exterior appearance of the property.
INSUduct is also perfect for redevelopment and refurbishment projects. It is the ideal product for the replacement of original lead water pipes, turning a disruptive and intrusive job into a quick and easy task. The product is also ideal for developments of multi-occupancy properties. Designed to optimise space withing the insulating casing, up to three 32mm OD water pipes can be installed to the exterior of the building, allowing supplies to be installed at multiple levels of a property with a single insulated duct running up the property exterior.
Groundbreaker products are designed to provide long lasting and effective thermal protection to water pipes and fittings outside the thermal envelope of a building. They offer frost protection for three days or more with temperatures as low as -15°C, temperatures we rarely reach in the UK – even with today’s erratic climate! Carefully fabricated to provide long lasting and effective thermal protection to water pipes and fittings in external situations, the products exceed British Standard 5422, and all relevant Water Regulations for frost protection, and is on the “approved list” of most UK water companies.
Steve Leigh, developer of the range and Managing Director of Groundbreaker, has over 40 years’ experience in the Water Industry. “We’ve been putting pipes in holes in the ground to protect them from frost for decades, he explained. “Although it works, today’s new materials allow for a much better solution. Keeping pipes on the surface reduces the risk of leaks developing and allows for easy repair and maintenance. It’s just a must better method of working.”
This isn’t just Steve’s opinion because in 2018 Groundbreaker were recognised by the HBF (Home Builders Federation) as the Utility Company of the Year for their innovative range that meets the highest standards in both product specification and leak free installation design.
The company is also a contributor to the recently launched BPEC (British Plumbing Employers Council) Groundworker, Service Pipe and Meter Housing Installation Training course3. The course highlights the elements of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, relevant to groundwork and ensures contractors have met the minimum competency requirements for entry into WIAPS Approved Contractors Scheme (Groundworker Section).
In addition to INSUduct, the Groundbreaker range includes SHalloduct, which enables easy installation of water supply in situations where water pipes cannot be laid at the recommended depth of 750mm – e.g. over rock, concrete, tree roots etc. This solution offers a viable alternative in awkward situations to expensive excavations or damage to the local environment.
Products are available through most builders’ merchants. For “where to buy” details on the Groundbreaker website got to groundbreaker.co.uk/products/