Installing fire sprinkler pipework? We’ve got it covered

Installing fire sprinkler pipework? We’ve got it coveredIf you're installing or retro-fitting fire sprinkler systems in tower blocks and flats, Encasement’s ‘Versa’ pipe boxing range provides the perfect cost effective solution for concealing sprinkler pipework.

Manufactured from pre-formed FSC® certified plywood and pre-finished in a durable white melamine, our Versa ‘L’ shaped boxing is available in either 5mm or 8mm thicknesses for use inside flats or in public areas, such as stairs and lift lobbies where sprinklers are required.

Versa sprinkler pipe boxing is available in a wide range of sizes and helps save time, as there’s no fabrication or painting required on site. Just cut to the required length, drill holes for the sprinkler heads and secure to the wall or ceiling. 

Our durable Versa boxing can be used with standard sprinkler heads or concealed ‘pop-out’ units with cover caps.

Encasement is the UK’s leading manufacturer of pre-formed plywood boxing and decorative casings. Whatever your requirement – we’ve got it covered.

Created On  19 Apr 2018 10:28 in Pipe Boxing  -  Permalink
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Fire sprinkler systems – going undercover

Fire sprinkler systems – going undercoverAs residential fire safety, particularly in multi-storey buildings and tower blocks has been at the centre of attention since last June, the groundswell of opinion is clearly behind the installation of fire sprinkler systems as part of a multi-million pound programme of fire protection upgrades.

While discussions continue regarding how the work is being funded, it appears that local authorities and housing associations are likely to make a significant contribution to the cost, so it’s inevitable that ‘value’ and ‘cost effectiveness’ will form part of the tendering procedures that are already taking place. 

No compromises

However, due to the intense public focus and scrutiny directed towards public sector housing, the safety of tenants and residents will not be compromised for reasons of economy, as ‘cost cutting’ was one of the areas of concern raised by Dame Judith Hackitt’s interim report last December.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that fire sprinkler systems are becoming an integral part of the high-rise residential environment, which should increase further as part of the proposed review of building regulations. While fire sprinklers are comparatively simple to incorporate in new builds, as they can be integrated right from the outset at the planning and design stage, for retro-installed solutions inside individual flats and for communal areas, sprinkler system pipework will need be surface mounted in most cases.

Clearly, the pipework and sprinkler heads need to be concealed to not only give a more aesthetic finish to each project and avoid complaints from tenants, but to also provide a practical purpose of containing the system components and acting as a visible barrier to potential tampering.

The cover up

When concealing the sprinkler system pipework, consideration also needs to be given to the amount of time required to install the pipe boxing, which is why pre-formed and pre-finished solutions, such as Encasement’s Versa sprinkler system pipe boxing, are increasingly specified by sprinkler system contractors.

Versa ‘L’ shaped pipe boxing is manufactured from 5mm or 8mm thick, FSC® certified and compliant timber in a range of sizes and the system also includes accessories, such as internal and external corners to help create an integrated finish to the sprinkler installation. All that’s needed to install the sprinkler pipe boxing on site is to drill the holes for sprinkler heads, cut to length and secure to the wall or ceiling with wood battens, screws and white caps.

From our experience of working with contractors on countless social housing projects where pipework needs to be concealed, Versa boxing solutions can be fitted in less than half the time of site made alternatives. Also, as they’re pre-finished with durable white melamine, there’s no painting required on site, which also saves time and cost.

Saving time and cost

This time saving provides a number of benefits. For contractors, local authorities and housing associations, the fire safety upgrades can be completed within a shorter timescale, while simultaneously minimising the disruption period for tenants while the work is being carried out.

Potentially the most important advantage is that costs can be reduced, not by ‘cutting corners’, but by cutting the time spent during the installation without compromising the quality or integrity of the installation.

When considering the scale of the sprinkler installation programmes being planned during the next 5 years, which is conservatively estimated at around 50,000 individual flats, then just a 10 minute time saving by using Versa sprinkler boxing will cumulatively save more than 2.5 years, if working an 8 hour day.

These figures are persuasive in their own right, but the important focus is rightfully on improving fire safety in high-rise residential buildings, and Versa can make a contribution to that process in terms of effectiveness, ease of installation and economics.

Created On  19 Apr 2018 10:24 in Pipe Boxing  -  Permalink
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FSC© Matters

FSC© MattersSince the Forest Stewardship Council was founded in the early 1990s, its ‘Chain of Custody’ certification process has become recognised globally as the primary standard for sourcing sustainable timber. 

Yet in spite of the UK government’s ‘Timber Procurement Policy’ guidance, which in essence, requires only independently verifiable legal and sustainable timber should be used on housing stock, there is evidence of inconsistency and a lack of awareness of this, particularly in local authority and housing association property refurbishment projects.

Where’s the issue?

Tens of thousands of local authority properties are maintained and refurbished every year, often requiring boilers and heating system pipework to be concealed. For more than 25 years, pre-formed and pre-finished plywood boxing has gradually been adopted as the preferred solution for many LAs and HAs, together with contractors, as it saves time and money compared to site made alternatives. 

However, even with the move to sustainable timber, government procurement guidance and FSC certification, most if not all, LA pipe boxing specifications still do not specify the use of products manufactured from FSC certified legal and sustainable timber.

As FSC pipe boxing costs no more than the non-FSC equivalent, price is not an obstacle to specification or supply. Also, under the scope of their own sustainability policies, contractors and merchants should be purchasing and supplying FSC products in preference to non-FSC equivalents. Some would even argue that they should go further and take the responsibility of advising specifiers that legal and sustainable products are available.

Time for change

Price is clearly not a barrier to change, which should help stimulate interest from specifiers and contractors alike to adopt pipe boxing manufactured from independently verified legal and sustainable timber.

It’s likely that LAs, HAs, contractors and merchants are as focused on sustainability and sustainably sourced products, as we are at Encasement. But, for some reason it’s not being applied to the use of pre-formed pipe boxing, which is worth millions of pounds to maintenance contractors, heating engineers and merchants nationally.

Throughout the supply chain everyone has a responsibility for sustainable procurement, so in our view a lack of awareness or understanding about obligations is no defence, especially as existing government guidance has set out the policy that should be adopted.

So, what is the answer to the question of FSC, who cares? "We all should.”

Created On  27 Oct 2017 11:08  -  Permalink
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Thinking outside the box – Saving time and money

Thinking outside the box – Saving time and money

The June edition of leading magazine, Public Sector Building, featured Encasement’s boiler pipe casing to illustrate the time and money that can be saved on-site and during regular boiler maintenance by using pre-formed casings.

Download your PDF copy here 
Created On  27 Oct 2017 11:02  -  Permalink
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Pipe boxing – Undercover work

Pipe boxing – Undercover work

With the potential for local authorities and housing associations to save tens of thousands of pounds, just by changing the way heating system and boiler pipework are concealed on site, Encasement’s Managing Director Martin Taylor provides a detailed insight on where and how the cost can be removed from the process.

In any property, whether it’s a new build or a refurbishment project, there will inevitably be some exposed pipework that will need covering for reasons of safety, in the case of hot pipes, or purely aesthetics.

However, for local authorities (LA) and housing associations (HA), where they primarily deal with older housing stock, which requires upgrading and annual maintenance, the high volumes of exposed pipework for heating systems, boilers, gas, mains water and waste can present a number of challenges.

Usually, due to the age of the properties and the nature of their construction, which predominantly uses concrete and brick, mechanical and electrical services need to be surface mounted, as they can’t easily be concealed during installation.

Given that upgrading heating systems with more energy efficient solutions in older social housing stock is important to reduce emissions and energy consumption, while improving comfort for occupants, there is also a need to ensure that the updated system is safe and looks good too.

And it’s at this point where LAs and HAs have the opportunity of either saving or wasting thousands of pounds on their...

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Created On  9 Aug 2016 10:05 in Boiler CasingPipe Boxing  -  Permalink
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