Less risk and less water
Alan Stevenson explains the rationale behind the latest revisions to Part G of the Building Regulations — and routes to compliance.
The long awaited revisions to Part G of the Building Regulations finally took effect on 6 April 2010. The new legislation, which covers enhanced hot-water safety and water efficiency, impacts on bathroom installations in new-build properties — including new dwellings, new dwellings created by a change of use to an existing building and refurbishments.
Hot water supply
Every year almost 600 people are seriously injured and in extreme cases around 20 people die from scalds caused by hot water, with children and the elderly most at risk.
The revisions to Part G of the Building Regulations include measures to help reduce the number of incidences of scalding by requiring that all baths in new dwellings have a device fitted that limits the filling temperature to a maximum of 48ºC.
The best way of limiting bath-water temperatures is to have an inbuilt safety device. These mix the hot water with cold water before it reaches the outlet, ensuring that the hot water is warm rather than scalding hot. And, you can forget any ideas of simply turning the cylinder thermostat down to 48ºC. This is against the regulations as harmful bacteria could grow within the pipework and fittings.
There is also a requirement for the provision of high-temperature flushing for pasteurisation of pipes where intermittent use is anticipated. This is a major change within the Building Regulations and only affects new- build properties. However, we would advise that thermostatic bath fillers, bath shower mixers or mixing valves should be installed as standard practice for any bathroom refurbishment as well.
It is also possible to comply with the regulations without changing your existing specification. The introduction of a thermostatic under-bath blending valve can be used with any bath filler, tap or bath shower mixer without changing your existing bathroom design — perfect for homes with families or for the elderly. There is a range of bath fillers and bath shower mixers on the market which limits temperatures to below the required maximum of 48ºC — including Saracen TMV2 mixing valves which are available at Plumb Center.
Despite our wet weather, with floods regularly being reported on the news, this still does not create enough storage water for the UK’s long-term consumption, which leaves the very serious concern of water scarcity in the future.
The new Water Efficiency Standard aims to help prevent the threat of water shortage by setting a new maximum water usage of 125 l per person per day for all new homes. Currently, it is estimated that the average person uses around 150 l of water a day. To meet the 125 l standard, water-efficient products will need to be installed.
These requirements only apply to newly-constructed buildings or buildings that are subject to a material change of use. The regulations state that a calculation is required to show that the potential consumption of water does not exceed 125 l per head per day. To help with this calculation, a document entitled ‘the water efficiency calculator for new dwellings’ can be downloaded from the Government Planning Portal website at www.planningportal.gov.uk.
This calculation takes into account such items as sanitary appliances, white goods and alternative sources of water such as grey or harvested water. To help with this calculation and where the type of sanitaryware or appliance is not known yet, default values can be used.
At Plumb Center we have a wide range of products which lead the way in water-efficient bathroom solutions from sanitaryware, taps and flow limiters to showers — all designed to help achieve the performance target set.
The Concept water-saving bath by Ideal Standard for example has a design that ensures the bath is comfortable whilst using less water than a standard bath. This can be teamed up with the Ecoplay grey-water harvesting system which stores up to 100 l of waste bath water. Each full tank can flush a toilet up to 20 times, which can reduce mains water consumption by up to 30%.
When it comes to flow limiters there are a number of solutions. They include Grohe aerated taps which can reduce water consumption by up to 65% and come with a rapid installation system so are very quick to fit. Likewise the Mira Eco handset range of showers have aerating technology saving up to 75% water and which can also reduce the heating costs of the shower water.
A full range of enhanced hot water safety and water efficient products are available from over 480 conveniently located Plumb Center branches across the UK and can be delivered next day.
Alan Stevenson is trading director with Plumb Center