The importance of specifying the correct pipework
A hotel’s plumbing may be a much lower selection criterion than the size of the bed or the interior décor, but it is no less vital to comfort and the guest experience.
While not every guest will take advantage of the spa, the bar or the room service facilities, few will leave without using the plumbing. A negative experience – whether it’s poor water pressure in the shower or a rude awakening from clanging pipework – will influence the guest’s decisions about returning or recommending the hotel. Therefore, it is important to investigate the factors to consider when specifying pipework for hotels.
Flexibility and flow rate
A flexible PEX (polyethylene) pipe system on the other hand, requires less joints as the flexible nature of the material means it can be bent around obstacles. Even MLC pipe (Multi-Layer Composite), which features an aluminium tube with an inner and outer-layer of PE, offers excellent flexibility, thereby requiring few joints and, like PEX pipe, it also avoids the clanking and knocking sounds that generate so many guest complaints in hotels. And even when joints are required, the press fit and shrink fit system used with PEX and MLC piping allows the installer to review the joint fully to ensure a secure connection is delivered. This isn’t always easy to detect with soldering.
Safety and versatility
An MLC and PEX pipe system is also a safer way to go when designing pipework. Flames are not required when putting together a joint, which means that the installer is far more protected. Indeed, during Uponor’s latest project at Principal London Hotel in Bloomsbury, a PEX Q&E system was installed to distribute water to guest rooms. A flame free installation, coupled with minimal joints ensured not only safety but also that the integrity of the historic building was maintained.
Fewer joints also means less vulnerability to leaks and a smooth internal surface reduces the risk of calcification, which can eventually reduce the internal diameter of a traditional pipe in hard water areas, affecting flow rates. In the long term, less maintenance is required.
Creating a healthy hotel
Through implementing a flow and return design, sufficient water pressure can be guaranteed in a hygienic manner. However, a major risk for hotels is low occupancy which can create issues such as legionella from stagnant water. In order to minimise this risk, hoteliers need to engage with the full spectrum of the supply chain to ensure guest safety is guaranteed, whilst obtaining a cost effective and efficient model