Pushing the boundaries

Pushing the boundaries

While the plumbing industry continues to debate the merits of copper and plastic piping systems, the actual solution may be to adopt a product that combines the strengths of both, according to Aaron Carter, Tectite Marketing Manager at Pegler Yorkshire.
In the simplest terms, it’s possible to split installers into two camps based on their preferences for piping systems – plastic or copper. In reality, there are far more considerations and factors that influence this decision beyond personal preference, such as budget, customer demands and installation requirements.
Aaron Carter, Tectite Marketing Manager, is convinced that – based on extensive research carried out by Pegler Yorkshire – there are actually six subsections amongst installers when defined by their approach to installing piping systems.
“Our research shows that installers range from the staunch, copper-only traditionalists to those who opt to use plastic every time because of time and budget constraints. Between those two groups, there are varying degrees of acceptance for both copper and plastic. What we are trying to do is create a product – Tectite Multilayer – that will successfully bridge that gap.”
The heating and plumbing industry has been gradually migrating towards plastic over a number of years, increasingly driven by key considerations such as time and budget. Copper currently accounts for approximately 60% of the annual total spend on pipework yet the price differential means that – in terms of total meterage – the market is moving towards a far closer split 50/50 with plastic.
“While the move towards plastic shows that the industry’s approach is changing, it’s important to remember that this is not always the natural first choice of the installer,” explained Aaron.
“Sometimes, the demands of time and money will outweigh those of aesthetics, meaning that plastic will be adopted and installed – regardless of any reservations that the customer or installer might have. The aim of this new system is to provide installers with a product that offers a mix of the benefits of both plastic and copper, and overcomes any reservations that installers may have.”
The Tectite Tube, which is central to the versatility of the system, has been developed and manufactured with an integrated layer of aluminium at its core. The inclusion of the metal within the construction enables the pipe to retain whatever shape it is moulded to – whether that’s a 90° bend or a tight offset.
The metal construction of the tube also delivers other benefits over a standard plastic product, including eight times less thermal expansion, reduced sagging and a bend radius of four times the pipe’s external diameter. On top of this, it is used with a metal fitting for increased performance and reliability without impacting on installation time.
“When we started developing this product, as well as researching installers’ views on copper and plastic, we also looked into what they liked (and didn’t like) about the two systems. The results that we got were fundamental in the creation of Tectite Multilayer.
“By focusing on matching the strengths of the existing options – as well as eliminating the weaknesses – it becomes possible to create something with a far wider appeal. Perhaps something that will eclipse both plastic and copper.”
Every installation will bring its own challenges for an installer, but the key to a successful business is being able to adapt to ensure that the right outcome is achieved. There will be times when one system will be the obvious choice, but there will be other times when a good working knowledge of all the available options will be the difference between securing a job or not. The danger is that by being too dependent on a certain way of working, installers will struggle to offer customers the right solution.
“The modern installer needs to be as competitive as possible in order to secure work but there is still a very strong desire to do the best possible job. Unfortunately – and in spite of the massive leaps forwards in technology – there are still installers who believe plastic systems are inferior or only suitable for certain types of work. We are confident that improving on the existing benefits of plastic – and removing some of the traditional barriers to its adoption – will convince installers that this is a development that they should be considering.”