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Planning is the key to a successful drainage system

12 Sep 11 Roger Brigham, Bespoke Design Manager for ACO Building Drainage, explains the importance of planning and specifying drainage systems correctly at the design stage, to minimise costs, while boosting aesthetics, functionality and long term reliability

Drainage is a critical part of every construction project, both large and small, with this infrastructure providing the vital arteries through which waste water can drain away from a building quickly and safely. An effective system is crucial to eliminate the risk of flooding and health issues that can present significant risk to people and property.

However, all too often the specification of drainage systems, especially at the design stage, is either overlooked altogether or carried out as an afterthought. For example, flow rate calculations are frequently incorrect, leading to over or under specification of drainage; similarly, poor planning results in compromises during the construction phase, with projects that could easily have been completed using standard drainage units requiring custom engineered solutions.

Each building has its own unique set of drainage needs and it is these critical factors that must be considered when planning drainage systems, to minimise construction costs, while simultaneously optimising the aesthetics, functionality and long term reliability of drainage units. Indeed, whether you’re involved in designing or building a new project or upgrading an existing building, every aspect of the system must be carefully planned to meet the correct drainage requirements simply, quickly and within budget.

In essence, the overall drainage system needs to deal with the removal of two types of water: foul water from waste, bathrooms, kitchens or utility rooms; and surface water from rainfall. Thanks to the introduction of innovative drainage technologies and the level of technical support available from leading manufacturers, the task of creating an effective drainage system can now be carried out in a quick, accurate and straightforward manner, avoiding delays, wasted time and poor performance.

In particular, the latest generation of market leading drainage system components are manufactured from high performance materials that make them resistant to corrosion, while the experience and customer support offered by the leading specialists in the industry eliminate design risk. Most recently we have seen the introduction of innovative modular drainage systems that have been developed to help cut build times and costs, enabling quick and easy design and installation in almost any building.

The latest modular linear drainage systems allow both simple and complex drainage networks to be built into concrete, tiled, epoxy resin and vinyl sheeted floors, without the need for onsite fabrication, leading to a significant cut in the time needed for a project. Most of these products offer a wide choice of modules, including straight, corner and branch channel sections, in standard lengths between 500mm and 3,000mm and a variety of outlet options, and all parts have been designed to be quick and easy to interconnect, simplifying the task still further.

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Furthermore, these new products have been manufactured to ensure a tough, long lasting corrosion resistant finish. Just as importantly, some are fully tested and approved to the appropriate building standards, such as to BS EN 1433 standard for linear drainage channels for collecting and removing surface water. The drainage systems are particularly ideal for use in a wide range of areas with pedestrian and vehicular traffic, including changing room and shower facilities.

When designing a drainage system for particularly specialist or demanding applications where corrosion free materials and aesthetic considerations are crucial, including chemical plant rooms, food and drink processing factories, washdown areas and highly specialised architectural projects, the use of other high performance materials might be necessary. In answer to this, leading manufacturers such as ACO Building Drainage now offer a wide range of stainless steel solutions to provide a sophisticated alternative to traditional PVC-u and cast iron products.

These products ensure a safe and hygienic solution for efficient liquid transfer including soil, waste, process drainage and rainwater in a wide range of commercial and public sector environments. ACO’s stainless steel pipe range, for example, is also particularly easy to assemble with push on fittings, while all components have been chemically pickled and passivated for optimum durability and corrosion resistance.

Although the latest modular technology offers an effective solution in many applications, there are some buildings that require something that little bit more specific than an off the shelf solution. To address this there is now a range of bespoke drainage products on the market that can meet the unique and diverse needs of particularly specialist applications. Companies such as ACO Building Drainage offer a range of custom made channel and gully drainage solutions, in terms of width, height, depth, edge detail and various outlet configurations, as well as other associated building products that can be manufactured with short lead times and at particularly competitive costs.

In addition, leading manufacturers also offer a wide range of grating designs that are both functional and practical. In particular, the latest designs feature enhanced slip resistance properties and improved liquid interception performance together with attractive aesthetic appeal. In exterior applications, gratings can be supplied with security locks to guarantee maximum security at all times.

From shower gullies and channels to pipe systems and access covers, there are many options open to the modern developer. By giving careful thought to the specialised drainage needs of each individual building at the design stage, you can make use of the latest drainage technologies to ensure the creation of drainage systems that reduce installation and lifetime costs, while delivering exceptional finish and performance. 

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