What is so special about Industrial plumbing that it has to be seen as a unique identity, not to be clubbed with residential plumbing? After all, both have pipes that cart away waste water and sewage. However on analysis, it will be seen that there is a wide divergence between the two and there are lots of differences in basic setup and installation of residential and commercial plumbing networks.
To get a better idea of industrial plumbing, there are four areas that need to be looked into –
- Network Architecture – Consider the scale of an industrial or commercial establishment and it will be very easy to imagine how complex plumbing network architecture can be. An industrial complex is often spread out over acres of land, including buildings and manufacturing facilities. There will be multiple floors, with large numbers of sinks and toilets. Not only that, the network will have to run through factory floors collecting effluents from machinery as well as industrial waste. This is why industrial plumbing is in a class of its own and has to be carried out by those specifically trained in this field.
Industrial plumbers have to be certified in this area and only then can they take up this job and do full justice to it. An example will better illustrate this point. Issuing a roadworthy certificate in Melbourne or for that matter anywhere else in Australia for a used vehicle for resale can only be done by certified garages as mandated by regulatory authorities. Similarly for any industrial plumbing activity only certified and licensed plumbers are authorised to do so.
- Specified grades of pipes and fixtures – The pipes and fixtures for industrial plumbing is of a much higher grade than that used for general applications. This is because the plumbing infrastructure is more frequently used than say the domestic sector. Apart from heavy usage, the sewage water might be a mix of acids and chemicals which will damage ordinary pipes. Industrial grade plumbing pipes are made of special grade materials that can stand up to any form of waste disposal. These are heavy duty and more durable.
In commercial complexes having offices or retail shopping malls, the discharge will primarily be waste water without any harmful toxins in them. But in industrial establishments the problems of waste disposal is more acute simply because of the chemicals and harmful toxins in the effluents. True, water and sewerage treatment plants are today compulsory so that the final waste water that goes into the mainstream is cleaned of toxins. But before that the chemical laden water has to be taken from different sites to the treatment plants. Here the pipes and fixtures have to be of special grade and quality.
- Increased possibility of heavy damage – The more complex the plumbing system the greater will be the potential for heavy damage should something go wrong. A minor problem in one corner of a factory or commercial building will have a cascading effect on the whole structure. A burst pipe in a kitchen of a house might just about flood the living room or parts of the adjacent rooms. But consider the havoc if a large diameter pipe bursts on the 30th floor of a commercial complex or in a portion of a factory with very sensitive and expensive equipment. The whole area might have to be evacuated for safety of life and records have to be retrieved from damage.
It is therefore necessary that special care be taken in the initial stages when the network is being installed. Further, regular checking and maintenance work should be carried out. Almost all firms, companies and businesses usually have annual contracts for maintenance of plumbing systems with reputed plumbing agencies. Preventive action can eliminate the need for expensive repairs. This is somewhat similar to car air conditioning regas. Not servicing the car air conditioner at periodical intervals can result in damage to the compressor and related parts necessitating costly repairs.
- Heavy usage demand – A toilet in a house will be used approximately 50 times a day and yet shows considerable amount of wear and tear over the years. Now just imagine the number of times multiple toilets are used in an industrial complex by 500 workers and it will be easy to understand why industrial plumbing has to be of the highest quality to ensure that frequent breakdowns or blockages or backflow do not occur. Hence considerable expertise is required from plumbers engaged to carry out industrial plumbing activities.
Industrial plumbing therefore has to follow these basic guidelines if it has to stand the test of heavy usage and time.