Casings for social housing – covering up with Encasement
In any property, whether it’s a new build or a refurbishment project, there will inevitably be exposed pipework that needs covering for reasons of safety and aesthetics, or as a deterrent from tampering, accidental damage and vandalism, particularly for exterior pipework.
For housing associations and local authorities dealing with older housing stock that requires heating system upgrades, fire sprinkler system retro-fits and regular maintenance, as part of the property management regime, large quantities of exposed pipework can present a number of challenges.
For example, where fire sprinklers need to be located within individual flats and communal areas, they can be readily incorporated into new builds at the design stage and can be hidden within risers and ceiling voids. However, for retro-fitted solutions this is not an option and in most cases surface mounting is the only practical and cost-effective solution.
Left: Versa 5 fire sprinkler boxing, Right: Riva pipe boxing
It's a similar situation for heating system refurbishment programmes. Upgrading boilers to more fuel-efficient models together with new radiator pipework and the installation of district heating schemes, all involve the surface mounting or pipes, as well as electrical cabling in many cases, which need to be concealed.
A key advantages of surface mounted pipework, whether it’s for sprinklers, heating systems or boilers, is the simplicity and comparative speed with which it can be installed by skilled contractors, which helps keep costs under control. Clearly, choosing a method of concealment that is also quick and easy to install, makes sound economic and practical sense.
Encasement’s pre-formed plywood boxing and casing solutions have become the preferred solution for many HAs and LAs when concealing interior pipework, while its ‘Arma’ range of tough aluminium casings is used to cover and protect exterior services, such as gas supply pipes, electrical cabling and distributed heating pipework.
Left: Boiler pipework casing, Right: Arma exterior pipe protection
For interior use, the company’s comprehensive range includes Riva; Versa 5 and Versa 8 pipe and fire sprinkler boxing products, as well as boiler pipe casings, which are all pre-finished in white melamine, removing the need for on-site painting and helping save time and money on site.
Information gathered by Encasement from its direct experience of working with contractors on countless UK social housing projects have shown that the company’s pipe and fire sprinkler boxing can be fitted in less than half the time of site made alternatives.
A further advantage to Encasement’s pre-formed casings solutions becomes apparent when assessing ‘whole life’ costs, which escalate significantly when routine maintenance visits are considered. In the majority of cases, site made casings are damaged or destroyed during their removal, as the screw heads are filled and painted over, making them impossible or extremely time consuming to dismantle.
Also, managing routine maintenance and inspection can become more complex, as a joiner may be required to remove site made boxing in advance of the maintenance work being carried out by a service engineer before revisiting the property to refit the casing or construct a new one.
With preformed pipe boxing solutions, it is usually a simple process of removing the securing screws and then the individual lengths of boxing can be removed and replaced quickly and easily. For boiler pipe casings, this process is even simpler, as they are often self-supporting and require no screws to hold them together, so they can be easily removed and replaced in just a matter of seconds.
With more than 30 years manufacturing experience in this sector, Encasement estimates that more than 100,000 kilometres of its pipe-boxing have already been installed in social housing sites throughout the UK.
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