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Traditional Cast Iron Rainwater Systems with a Modern Price Tag

Cascade, Cast Iron Style Rainwater Systems

Specifiers are often required to create a heritage aesthetic, in line with the local architectural vernacular of a particular project. However, as Graham Smith, Sales Director of Brett Martin Plumbing & Drainage explores, old style detailing doesn’t have to lead to age-old problems, there is a way of achieving a traditional look with modern convenience - cost effectively.

There are many reasons why clients and developers demand the look and feel of traditional building products. Often a conservation order or planning control requires that refurbishment, renovation or new build projects in protected areas are designed with architectural details that respect their local surroundings. Because old-fashioned details conjure the nostalgia of heritage they are often highly prized and therefore represent a specification choice that adds value to any project.

Drainage and rainwater systems are no exception. Getting the specification wrong can result in a contemporary looking installation on a period renovation. Likewise such choices can slow the planning process and impede build programmes. The challenge for specifiers and the contractors who need to realise their architectural vision is the cost and availability of traditional drainage and rainwater systems.

Real cast iron is expensive because of the pressure of the material supply on the UK market. 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. For the contractor this represents an added cost that can see the price of specification and installation rise significantly for the client.

A new generation of products are coming to the fore that can help specifiers and developers overcome these challenges. Investment in the research and development of rainwater and drainage systems that are manufactured of plastic means that products are now available that so closely resemble the real thing it is often hard for the end user to tell the difference.

Recognising that it is the minute detail that is sought after in the specification of traditional systems, the specifier is able to select hoppers with traditional stamps such as fleurs de lys, lions and even bespoke dates. Downpipes are carefully manufactured and assembled with the central join intact, as it would appear on a real cast iron pipe. Meanwhile soil pipes and water butts can all be used to complete the overall look.

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 projects there is a high capacity system with a choice of half round gutter and a choice of round and rectangular downpipes.

When traditional aesthetics in external detailing are required, drainage can play an important part. However specifiers need to be aware of the cost - both in materials and labour - of selecting real cast iron. Products rendered in plastic are overcoming this challenge, with a price tag more inline with modern construction methods.

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