As with every industry, there is always a grey patch with materials, with various people pointing out flaws in others product. Plumbing is no exception. Various hot topics where brought up during the meetings, including the specification issue, vermin, expansion of Polymer and the separation within the PHACT group between the mono-layered and multi-layered pipe manufactures.
Each polymer manufacturer is responsible in receiving their SABS certification certificate and every one was urged to ensure the product was certified before purchasing. The major specification topic was the Standard 10252, where it states: Plastic piping shall not be rigidly encased in floors, concert slabs or walls” – section 220.127.116.11 – sentence c.
According to Patrick, the final specifications draft is to be complete in the next 6 to 8 months for the mono-layered manufactures in the polymer material category. Currently testing on the piping is being done on average every 3-months, to meet the international standard specs. In the draft, PHACT would be dealing with the issue of Standard 10252. Patrick didn’t see any problematic issue that would arise from placing polymer products in floors, concert slabs and walls.
Patrick reported that the R56 and R41 don’t exist, although for external reasons, they do still appear on the JASMIC website. The question of whether polymer pipes should be wrapped according to this standard was debatable. Patrick pointed out that the purpose of wrapping pipes was to prevent it from the lime reaction in the cement, which occurs in metal pipes. Polymer products don’t suffer under the same reaction and therefore wrapping pipes in brown paper was futile. He did specify if the standard was to wrap, then it should done
In a concrete slab, polymer pipes are available with a plastic sleeve to allow the piping to be slipped out of the slab and replaced, without any damage to concrete.
Patrick commented that the multi-layered piping manufactures had decided that PHACT where not moving quickly enough with regards to new specifications, and had left the association to form their own. They would be modelling their specification on the same module as the PHACT group. Mono pipes are piping that is a solid material, such as polymer, whereas multi-layer are when the inside and outside layers are a form of polymer and the middle section is a metal.
Questions arose regarding tools in the polymer industry, as each manufacture has designed there own specific tools for their product without any type of standard tooling being created. This causes issues for maintenance plumbers as they would not be able to know which type of piping is used in the building until they arrived on site. Carrying around a tool kit with all the varieties isn’t only an unrealistic scenario, but to acquire all the equipment would be costly. Unfortunately PHACT has no solution in this case, but did inform those present that all polymer products are transmission systems and compatible with metal products. He also recommended that plumbing companies create an opportunity from this situation by acquiring all the tools and renting them out.
The question to whether polymer products had issues to expanding wasn’t resolved. Case studies of walls cracking due to the material expanding caused by a pressure force was matched with reports of the plastic only expanding to a few millimeters which would hardly affect the surrounding materials.
Another issue that wasn’t resolved was the concern of vermin eating through the product to get to the water. Patrick explained rats where sensitive to moisture and it was only at joints that leaked where the problem could arise. It was also brought up that a well known rat poison – Rattix – deals with rat extermination by dehydrating the rodents. They would either die of the result, or be driving out the building in search of water.