Monday, 31 March 2014

Basic requirements for the installation of drainage systems

Drainage is listed as a controlled service/fitting. Controlled services and fittings are those covered by Parts G, H, J, L or P in the government Building Regulations. These include:
  • Water supplies 
  • Toilets 
  • Urinals 
  • Hand basins 
  • All sanitary fittings 
  • Drainage 
  • Water disposal systems 
  • Fixed fuel burning heating appliances 
  • Electrical installations 
What this means is that when any of these items are installed, they must be installed in accordance with the requirements of the relevant Building Regulations.

If any work carried out does not meet the minimum requirements stated within the Building Regulations, local authorities will serve a notice, ordering any defects present to be remedied. In some cases a local authority will carry out the work in default and then recover the cost.

Overview of Requirements for Drainage

The regulations detail a number of requirements, please see the following list for an overview of those relevant to plumbing drainage;
  • No material may be used where there is any possibility that contamination of water could occur due to the material. 
  • Water fittings must be protected from erosion and be of suitable strength and thickness 
  • Water fittings must be water tight and constructed to prevent ingress by contaminants/inhibit damage by freezing as well as being adequately supported. 
  • They must be capable of withstanding any internal water pressure not less than 1½ times the maximum pressure. 
  • A water fitting must not be likely to have a detrimental affect on quality/pressure of water 
  • Water fittings must not be embedded in any wall or concrete floor. Where laid below ground level the cover must be sufficient to prevent water freezing. 
  • There is a restriction on concealed water fittings. 
  • Cold water must be kept in such a way that it is not likely to be warmed above 25ºC. 
  • A stop valve must be provided. 
  • The supply system must be capable of being drained down. 
  • The rain water system must be tested, flushed and where necessary disinfected before it is first used. 
  • Any water fittings must bae identified so as to distinguish them from water supply pipes. 
  • There must be adequate devices to prevent back flow. 
  • The pipes supplying water to a storage system must be fitted with a valve to shut of the inflow or a system must be installed so as to minimise the risk and contamination of a store of water and they must be designed to allow free circulation. 
  • Appropriate feed pipes must be provided for water systems. 
  • There must be a temperature device to prevent water heating above 100ºC. 
  • Provision must be made for expansion valves etc in water systems. 
  • A w.c. must be supplied with a water flushing system, by a single flush. 
  • There must be at least one tap conveniently situated for drinking water. 
  • Every bath, wash hand basin, sink or similar must be provided with a watertight plug, subject to certain specified exceptions. 

Foul Drainage

Document H1 (page 17) details the requirements for foul drainage, with information on; bedding and backfilling, rigid pipes, and flexible pipes. This document explains what rate of bedding factor is needed for rigid pipes, flexible pipes and variations for different types of ground. Also detailed are types of appropriate fill material and to what depth should be filled.

Drainage Pipework Requirements

There is a detailed section on pipes including; clayware pipes, concrete pipes, and thermoplastics.

Detailing; the measurements dependant on the nominal size (width of the pipe) laid in fields, laid in light roads, and laid in main roads.

Additionally, H1 details what pipe protection is needed for all kinds of pipes and at all depths. Access points are of course vital when installing drainage, such as; rodding eyes, manholes, inspection chambers, and access fittings, there is a guide to; depth, length and thickness of pipe.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Keeping control of your central heating costs

With the use of non-renewable resources and prices of gas and electricity at an all time high it is more important than ever to minimise consumption. Here are a few reasons why you should care:

  • Gas and oil prices are ever rising; cutting down on their use will save you money.
  • If we all use less resources now, there will be more for our future children and grandchildren.
  • Although there a number of political groups, lobbyists and fringe oil-money-funded researchers opposing global warming, the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is that it is real, that it is happening right now and that unless people across the world use carbon more sustainably, we will be in big problems in the near future.

The most economical kind of boiler is a condensing boiler, which has the following benefits; 
  • The waste heat that is usually dispersed out of the building via the flue of a non condensing boiler is saved and used by a condensing boiler.
  • Typically a new gas condensing boiler will be around 90% efficient, compared to a new non condensing boiler at 78%, or an older non condensing boiler at around 60%.

Good heating controls are vital for keeping cost and waste to a minimum. There are four main kinds of controls for your heating and hot water;
  • Room stat (thermostat), this measures the room's temperature and adjusts the boiler temperature accordingly.
  • Boiler programmer, settable for different times and days of the week, so that you can ensure the boiler is off when you are not at home.
  • Boiler timer, switches your boiler off and on at set times.
  • Thermostatic radiator valves (also known as TRV) knobs on radiators that adjust the temperature of the radiator.

According to The Energy Saving Trust, reducing your heating temperature by just one degree can save £55 per year on heating bills.

Money and energy saving tips; 
  • Update your heating controls, see the above for different kinds of controls.
  • Zone your heating, it is possible to zone areas of the house and not just rooms. You could, for example, zone the upstairs and downstairs at different times of the evening.
  • Set your thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) and room thermostats low then increase the temperature day by day until the optimum temperature is reached. You can then leave the temperature as it is until the season changes.
  •  Do not cover the tops of radiators as they work by convection; cold air enters the radiator at the bottom and leaves through the top as warm air. Thus it is important to keep a good flow of air; watch out for loose wallpaper or anything else that prevents the flow.
  • There have been recent changes in technology and it is now possible to download an app to your mobile phone that controls your central heating system, one such system is British Gas’s Hive system. The system allows the user to remotely control their heating system.

Keep a good eye on how much you are paying for your utilities, there are a few price comparison companies that you can use, such as;

You could also speak to a handful of utility providing companies directly to speak to them about the best rates for you. If you do not have a contract with a company with a fixed rate you may be paying a high gas and electricity price per KWh. Contact details for a few utilities companies are as follows;

Alternatively this article may be of interest, it details lesser known companies;

If you live in the Bath or Bristol area, consider giving BPM Maintenance a try, for affordable, safe & high quality boiler installs and gas work.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Waste management and recycling

Hazards and issues related to the incorrect management or neglect of correct waste management are extensive, they include;
  • Harmful substances – when dealing with waste and recycling the following can include, cleaning solutions, varnishes, bleach, paint, batteries, pesticides, and garden products such as weed killer.
  • Biological agents – human waste, used needles, syringes and drugs.
  • Rodent infestations
  • Animal waste, such as pet litter, hutches , hay and straw

Exposure can be made in a number of ways including;
  • Inhalation
  • Skin penetration through pricks and cuts
  • Skin contact
  • Ingestion

Employers are responsible for taking measures to minimise and control exposure to the hazards. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH 2002) contains the main relevant legal requirements. Employers must assess the risk from harmful substances; this includes reducing the risk at the source by either promoting usage of schemes such as hazardous waste return and needle return schemes.

Most hazards and risks are hugely reduced by using simple measures to control waste.

Waste Carrier's Licensing

If a business, such as Bath Property Maintenance Ltd, carries any form of waste, including their own, then they need to register for a license. Businesses can register as waste carriers on Registering as a lower tier carrier allows you to carry your own waste, registering as an upper tier waste carrier is required for businesses that carry the waste of others. By law, all businesses that carry the waste of others are required to fill out a waste transfer note for each load of waste transferred.

As an example, for an electrical job where the waste generated includes only the packaging of materials that the contractor purchased themselves, then only a lower tier license is required. But if the electrical work involves replacing wires, the existing waste wiring removed requires an upper tier license to transport it.


COSHH requires employers to take general steps to manage and assess employee’s exposure to hazardous substances, such as;
  • Identify which employees may be at risk and how
  • Monitor and review the risk and who may be at risk regularly
  • Implement measures to control the risk


Employers must state clear instructions, and provide adequate training for the following;
  • Details of the hazards and risks they may face
  • Guides for good personal hygiene
  • The companies procedures for dealing with contamination and incidents
  • The companies procedures for reporting incidents
New employees must receive induction training in the company’s policies and existing employees must have regular refresher training and be made aware of any changes or additions to the company's policies.


A good standard of personal hygiene is very important for employees, facilities must be provided to employees such as;
  • Protective clothing
  • Adequate washing facilities where appropriate
  • Company procedures for when gross contaminations occurs