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Drainage & Plumbing Feature Take the lead on lead


Steve Leigh of Groundbreaker asks housing providers, is your property’s drinking water harming your tenants?


Maintenance & Refurbishment


water supply pipes and if still in place can be causing developmental harm to young occupants. Although the use of lead in plumbing has been banned in the UK for more


A


than 50 years, there are still many properties where lead contamination of water is a risk. In some areas of the UK, up to a third of these older properties are still receiving their water through these original lead pipes. In properties with lead supply pipes, the only totally secure method to reduce


lead levels in the water supply is to replace the original supply with modern plastic pipe. These new materials can also provide the additional benefits of improving flow rates and reducing pipe noise. Traditionally, any lead replacement program requires major excavations


outside a property and causes huge disruption within. Resulting in mess and disturbance to householders over several days. This disruption has often been the cause of users’ reluctance to have the work undertaken, but new solutions mean it doesn’t have to be this way.


REPLACING LEAD WATER SUPPLY PIPES An innovative solution to water supply pipe replacement which significantly reduces disturbance, time and cost is the routing of the new supply pipe up the external face of the building.


wareness of the potential health problems caused by lead in the water supply, particularly in infants and children, is growing. Houses built before 1970 would have been constructed with lead


There are still many properties where lead contamination of water is a risk. In some areas of the UK, up to a third of these older properties are still receiving their water through these original lead pipes.


Traditionally, pipes needed to be within the thermal envelope of the building


or buried to minimise the risk of frost damage and freeze thaw bursts. Today’s new materials however allow for a simpler solution, that keeps pipes


on the surface, reduces the risk of leaks developing, and allows for easy repair and maintenance. Insulated ducting products, for example, are designed to provide long lasting


and effective thermal protection to water pipes and fittings outside the thermal envelope of a building. To achieve the level of protection required by British Standard 5422 and all


relevant Water Regulations for frost protection, the ducting must be carefully fabricated to provide long lasting protection and should be tested and approved to Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations, Regulation 4 or listed as an approved product by WRAS Approvals.


www.housingmmonline.co.uk | HMM June/July 2021 | 35


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