The qualities of copper
The advantages offered by copper’s natural properties — Peter Marsh.
Copper’s traditional benefits combined with modern innovations keep it competitive in today’s market, explains PETER MARSHPipework installations are the arteries and veins of any building, and their correct and efficient functioning are essential. It is vital that appropriate materials are selected for the installations and that selection criteria include performance, quality of material and installation costs. The UK Copper Board runs regular independent surveys to monitor the perception of copper and its position in the installation market. The results have consistently highlighted that copper’s qualities speak for themselves, with installers listing the following. • Proven track record: plumbers know copper is reliable and a quality product. • Durability: copper lasts for years and years. • Versatility: it can be used for any installation. • Value for money: copper systems are competitively priced. • Appearance: it gives a neat, professional appearance and can be painted. • Performance: copper provides a greater flow rate for a given tube diameter. In addition to the advantages offered by copper’s natural properties, the copper industry has sought to develop innovations that help installers save time and money. To keep pace with developments in the construction industry we have seen the introduction of push-fit and press fittings. These flame-free systems are simple and quick to use, which means that the actual time spent on-site is reduced and, as a result, productivity and profitability are increased. Some push-fit fittings can be de-mounted and re-used, allowing any last minute changes to the design to be incorporated. Products in competing materials often have to be sourced from a single manufacturer, restricting material options. For the installer, a direct benefit of copper systems is that a professionally installed high-quality system minimises return calls from clients, which strengthens their reputation. Whilst a copper system accomplishes this, it also offers value for money. The trade price of copper tube is the same today as it was in 1994. With inflation removed, this price represents a saving of 23% in real terms — making copper a truly cost-effective material for building services. Peter Marsh is chairman of the UK Copper Board, 5 Grovelands Business Centre, Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 7TE.