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Preferable Prices from Plastic

Cascade, Authentic Traditional Cast Iron Styling

For local authority organisations the cost of new materials is a key specification criterion. With this in mind Graham Smith, Sales Director of Brett Martin Plumbing & Drainage explores a new generation of rainwater systems that delivers more than just cost benefits to public sector buildings.

Plastic is a modern material, used frequently in modern construction solutions. For drainage and rainwater systems this is no exception. The UK is seeing a growing trend in the replacement of traditional cast iron systems with those made of plastic instead.

This is particularly true of housing associations and public sector property portfolios. Often buildings in the public realm are older, especially in the case of housing stock, and therefore repair and maintenance is a regular activity to ensure their systems remain serviceable.

The main reason for the replacement of a rainwater system is a practical one – it needs to enable the run-off of water from the roof of the building, preventing the ingress of moisture and its effects on the building’s fabric. However, a rainwater system can have significant impact on the aesthetics of a building too, and it is often preferable from a specification and planning point of view to replace like with like, especially if the building is located in a conservation area or displays notable architecture.

However, achieving this look can prove to be cost prohibitive and of course cost is a driving issue. Traditional cast iron is expensive, and its price continues to rise thanks to rising demand for it from elsewhere in the world. It is also time consuming to work with because grinders are needed to cut it to size, after which it needs to be primed, sealed and finished onsite. Because of the weight of real cast iron, contractors have to be extra vigilant when working at height, with more time taken to lift and fix a system into place. This represents an added cost that can see the price of specification and installation rise significantly for the local authority or housing association.

Plastic rainwater systems that closely resemble traditional cast iron are an ideal way to replace older damaged systems, ensuring that the building is protected and that the traditional appearance of the exterior is safeguarded. In selecting the replacement system on this basis it is important to ensure that it has been developed with cast iron in mind and that it replicates the subtle details, such as central joining seam on fittings or the availability of curved pipes to resemble more traditional applications on heritage buildings, for example, for a really convincing finish.

Selecting from a range that encompasses a wide selection of cast iron style options will ensure the aesthetic is carried through each element of the system’s detailing. For example Brett Martin’s Cast Iron Style range features three style of domestic gutter (106mm Profiled Ogee, 112mm Half Round and 115mm Deep gutter profile, all utilising 68mm round downpipes and the new 65mm square downpipe range).

Meanwhile for larger scale commercial buildings such as council offices, leisure, or education and healthcare applications there is a high capacity system with a choice of half round gutter and a choice of round and rectangular downpipes.

When refurbishing older systems of course it may be the case that only sections need to be replaced. Ensuring that the products are manufactured to be compatible with existing products is an important consideration in the selection process. Likewise, products which are carefully rendered to match real cast iron will not look out of place in this type of application.

Cost is a real issue in the maintenance and refurbishment of buildings, because older materials command higher prices, while the systems take more time and, sometimes, special skills to install. Products rendered in plastic are overcoming this challenge with a cost that reflects the efficiencies of modern construction methods.

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