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Plumbing market sees greater shift to plastic pipes

by Rajiv Ravindran Pillai on Feb 10, 2018

Most recently, there has been a steady shift towards plastic pipes and fittings due to low costs, ease of installation and a growing product range. Other factors driving plastic sector growth include technological developments and improved reliability.

According to Bryan Heffernan, technical director-mechanical, James L Williams Middle East, the biggest drivers in the piping/plumbing market is the increasing environmental requirements, quality and availability of materials from the supply chain, with the clients and consultants focusing on the country of origin.

There are many clients and consultants that still have not welcomed the supply chain sourcing of material from the Asian market, even though most of the top manufactures for materials, equipment and products have moved production to Asia in order to compete within a very competitive global market.

Unfortunately there still remains many specifications that insist on materials that must be manufactured in either Europe, the UK or the US, which in many instances are driving up pricing, limiting availability of range and increasing lead time for supply of material to site.

Furthermore, with the construction market growing as a result of upcoming events such as Expo 2020, Jan Lohoff, regional director MEA at Aliaxis, had said that the plumbing industry is quite buoyant in the GCC.

He said that the drive is more towards sustainable transformation relating to material and systems used, e.g., while copper and metal might have been used in the past, the trend towards plastic piping systems, and sustainable and innovative solutions are increasing.

Heffernan said more specifically: “We are finding that consultant’s specifications are beginning to shift material requirements for drainage pipe work away from uPVC to materials such as HDPE (high-density polyethylene) in order to meet the project’s environmental targets. In addition, we are finding more emphasis been taken on proprietary piping systems such as silent pipes to deal with noise produced by waste as it passes through the drainage systems within buildings.” 

I have now come to notice the plastic pipes beneath my kitchen and bathroom sinks. Ten years back, it was mostly metal pipes, and I remember the corrosion stains they had.