While copper remains the most popular pipe for the industry, plastic piping is hot on its heels with research suggesting around 90% of new house build installations are plastic. With this in mind, James Bell explains the benefits of the latest innovation that’s enabling installers to have the right fitting to hand every time.
Push for modern methods
While some plumbing and heating installers continue to use the traditional methods of soldering or compressing pipes and fittings, a shift in the market towards flame-free jointing is driving many to embrace the modern method of installation offered by push-fit solutions. Largely driven by increasing health and safety legislation and insurance requirements, this growing trend, particularly for metal push-fit fittings and valves, has many benefits for both installers and their customers.
Many installers will have experience with plastic push-fit fittings, yet although they undoubtedly offer a range of benefits, regulations prevent their use in certain applications, particularly in close proximity to a boiler. In comparison, slimline metal push-fit solutions provide installers with unrivalled flexibility and durability for almost any type of installation, and a smart and sleek aesthetic look.
Furthermore, when brass fittings are also designed to connect five different types of pipe, like SharkBite, they enable installers to work smarter and more efficiently than ever before. In fact, research has revealed that commercial contractors are choosing to invest in this type of fitting because of the cost-savings that come from faster installations.
Being able to use just one range of fittings and connections for any domestic or commercial hot and cold water application has multiple advantages. Time-saving is the biggest benefit for installers as installation is significantly quicker and easier than traditional methods. Research has revealed that metal push-fit fittings and valves with SharkBite technology are twice as fast to install as press fittings; three times faster than Compression fittings and four times quicker that End Feed.
Translated into real-time savings, one installer reported a saving of three hours’ labour on a combi boiler installation, reducing the total installation cost for the customer and releasing them to get to their next job. With around 1.2 million boiler installations completed every year, the potential time-saving across the industry is huge.
Robust and reliable solution
Brass push-fit fittings and valves are secure and watertight, providing confidence for the customer in the completed job and all are fully demountable and can instantly be re-used, further reducing time, cost and waste. Importantly, these fittings also enable quick, permanent repairs, even in wet conditions so there’s no time wasted in draining down a whole system – a particular advantage for both the installer and customer in emergency situations.
In addition, as no heat is required to create joints there is no need for a hot works permit, providing a major advantage from a health and safety and insurance perspective.
Always on hand
Any homeowner will know how frustrating it is when tradesmen turn up and find they don’t have the right tool for the job. It can not only tarnish their reputation but for installers, it also wastes costly time if they have to sift through multiple types of different fittings in the van before having to visit a local merchant to purchase what they require.
Having to hand one single system solution for any application is an asset for every installer and their customers too. When an installer turns up to a job, they can be confident that they can deliver quality work first time no matter what configuration, type of pipework or situation they face when they arrive. The versatility and robust nature of metal push-fit valves and fittings can also reduce the need for repeat visits to make repairs.
Innovation for the better
The development of metal push-fit fittings and valves is about providing installers with a robust product choice that is designed to save a considerable amount of installation time. While there is some debate in the industry about the benefits of modern versus traditional plumbing and heating skills, innovations like SharkBite allow installers to focus their knowledge and skills elsewhere, such as ensuring maximum system efficiency.
We believe that these innovations are for the better and used properly, can serve to enhance the efficiency of every installer’s working day while helping to deliver the best job possible for their customers every time – and that can only be good for their reputation.