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Drainage Departs from Tradition

Cascade, Cast Iron Style Rainwater Systems

Modern building projects are constantly looking to modern materials that can save time, improve cost and achieve legislative targets. These materials also need to fulfil the desired aesthetic of the project, combining traditional appearance with modern benefits. Here Graham Smith, Sales Director of Brett Martin Plumbing & Drainage, looks at one such material, modern plastic rainwater systems that are manufactured to accurately reproduce the aesthetics of traditional cast iron.

For many new build and refurbishment projects it is the aspirational touches and small detailing in the finish that add value for the developer, by increasing the appeal of a property - and although a rainwater system’s primary role is to protect a building from the effects of rainfall, it too can contribute to the appearance of the exterior façade.

In many areas, planning requirements demand that the rainwater system of a new build property must be in keeping with the local architectural vernacular. Within conservation areas in particular, this can mean a cast iron system is required. For refurbishment projects, particularly for listed buildings, rules may be even more stringent, with a ‘like for like’ replacement being demanded.

This is where problems of budget and time can arise. The availability of metal in recent years has dropped, due to increased global demand. As such cast iron is now an expensive option for any developer considering installing it on a new build or refurbishment property. Add to this the additional skills and tools needed to cut, prime and finish a cast iron rainwater system onsite, coupled with the risks of working with a heavy material at height, and the costs soon mount up.

Happily, the Brett Martin ‘Cast Iron Style’ systems provide a modern solution reducing, to a very large degree, the cost, time and effort associated with buying and installing traditional materials. Innovations in manufacturing techniques mean that the subtle detailing of a real cast iron rainwater system can now be replicated in plastic. For developers, their specifiers and contractors, there are plenty of benefits: lightweight means that work at height is safer for the contractor (and anyone standing underneath), while time and labour involved in cutting, priming and finishing a metal system onsite is greatly reduced. Brett Martin’s products arrive on site ready to install and, where pipe and gutter lengths require cutting to size, there’s no need to prime and paint, to the manufacturers recommendations, the cut ends to protect and prevent corrosion. Meanwhile, for the developer, a sympathetic replication of traditional materials can be achieved using a less expensive and more modern product which, in the vast majority of cases, still meets a planner’s stipulations.

Depending on the desired effect, there is a choice of plastic Cast Iron Style products to suit almost any specification. Those offered by Brett Martin include three different profiles of domestic gutter: 106mm Profiled Ogee, 112mm Half Round and 115mm x 75mm Deep gutter profile, all utilising 68mm round downpipes. In addition, the 106mm Profiled Ogee gutter is enhanced by the use of the new 65mm square downpipe range. For larger scale projects there is a high capacity system with a choice of 160mm Half Round gutter combined with either the 105mm Round or the 100mm x 75mm Rectangular downpipes.

Because of the longevity of plastic products, the life costs of a rainwater system can be significantly reduced. This was one of the drivers in the specification of Brett Martin’s Cast Iron Style products by CTD Architects on the £1.15million refurbishment of 73 period terraced houses in Knutton village, North Staffordshire.

Chris Hesketh specified the rainwater system on this project and commented, “The aesthetic was the primary reason for selecting the Cast Iron Style system,” he explained, “However, we were also impressed with the thickness and quality of the products. Residents of the refurbished houses wanted a system that would require little or no maintenance, and from this point of view the solution satisfied both the residents’ and architectural requirements.”

The Knutton Terraces Heritage project was undertaken by RENEW North Staffordshire as part of the RENEW North Staffordshire Housing Market Renewal Initiative (HMRI) Area of Major Intervention, with 40% of the funding from Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council.

Details help to create a high quality traditional appearance and the right rainwater system plays a part here. By substituting materials for a modern alternative, developers can achieve the desired result cost effectively.

For further information on the Cascade range visit Cascade Cast Iron Style Systems