Simplifying building services installation

Using a single pipework installation method across an entire project has a number of benefits. Scott James, director at Viega, explains how press connection systems can provide the solution and the benefits of a single source of supply for copper, steel, stainless steel and multi-layer pipework

Viega pipework

The scale and complexity of many modern buildings and the tight timescales of build programmes mean that efficiency at each stage is vital. For building service contractors and engineers selecting the right materials and most suitable installation methodology is crucial for a quick and issue free installation as well as ensuring the longevity of the system.

Each pipework system within a building, such as heating, gas and drinking water, all have different requirements so it is often assumed there is no one connection method that is completely suitable for all applications.

While this has traditionally been true, innovation in press connection technology now allows the same approach to be adopted throughout. Although the specific product used for each application and material will vary, the installation process is identical.

Modern press connections can be used on copper, stainless steel, carbon steel and multi-layer pipe as well as thick-walled steel tube in a wide variety of sizes as well as at a range of temperatures and pressures.

This allows the products to be used on a wide variety of different applications including heating and chilled water; potable water; natural gas and LPG; technical gases and fire suppression systems.

Press connections also simplify leakage testing as the nature of product means that the joint is either fully pressed and secured or missed entirely. If a missed connection is discovered, the fitting can be pressed immediately without the need to prepare the area around the joint or drain the pipework section.

However, poorly designed and engineered products may hold temporarily during testing only to begin leaking when the building is complete. For this reason, it is important to select a system that guarantees any unpressed fitting will leak when tested.

For example, the SC-Contur technology that is built into Viega fittings ensures a visible escape of water from the connection when the system is filled for the first time. It also allows dry testing with an inert gas, where a measurable drop in pressure will occur if a connection has been missed.

One of the main advantages of standardising the installation method is reducing the training requirements and simplifying the process. All installers working on the project can be trained on one system at the beginning of the contract and then be allocated to different areas as needed.

This familiarity with the products and tools allows the teams to work more flexibly and ultimately speeds up the installation by preventing delays.

In addition, further efficiencies can be achieved by utilising a single source of supply. Using one manufacturer’s products allows contractors to further simplify the training of its operatives as well as reduce the amount of equipment needed on site.

Leading manufacturers will commonly offer training on their systems and provide certification for each person trained to make the management and monitoring of skills straightforward.

High quality press connection systems will enable the same press tool to be used on all pipe sizes and materials. For example, Viega’s Pressgun 5 can be used on any fitting from across the Viega range. Through the use of a small number of different press jaws and adapter rings the tool is suitable for 12 mm up to 108 mm pipe as well as thick-walled steel tube from ½” to 2″. With the addition of the Pressgun booster force amplifier the same tool can also be used to press 2 ½”, 3″ and 4″ steel tube.

However, it is important that the tools used are fully compatible with the fittings. One manufacturer’s press tool, jaws and adapters should not be used with other fittings as the elements of the system have been specifically engineered to work together.

Crossover errors, such as using the wrong jaws in a tool or using an incompatible tool to press a fitting can result in serious issues for the building service systems. This can include damage to the pipework or incomplete pressing, both of which can result in leaks and often costly work to rectify it.

Finally, a single manufacturer also simplifies the supply process with greater alignment between the manufacturer, distributor and customer.

The delivery of the products can be planned strategically to ensure that sufficient quantities of the correct product are delivered to site as needed.

Furthermore, utilising a single source has ongoing benefits for the management of the building. A single system supplier means that there will be one warranty for the entire pipework system rather than a number of different agreements with separate manufacturers.

Introducing a single connection method across the project simplifies installation, training and supply. This has benefits for the building services contractors as well as preventing delays that would impact the overall build schedule. High quality press connections have the versatility required to meet the needs of each system within the building, allowing a true single source of supply.

For further information on Viega’s range of solutions, visit