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Product News: PipeSnug set to lead changes in building regulations

This month, Alex Lever, Director of PipeSnug, talks about a new product he hopes will change the industry.

Home » Tradesman Insights » Product News: PipeSnug set to lead changes in building regulations

 

These are exciting times at PipeSnug HQ. Changes to Part L of the Building Regulations this June, which mandates pipe seals, means PipeSnug is very much in demand. The team has also recently braved BBC’s Dragons’ Den, where we secured investment from not one, but two, Dragons!

The concept of the PipeSnug product came to my fellow director Chris Burdett one day when he was out on site preparing to mortar around yet another waste pipe. He realised a simple fitting would save so much time and mess, look better visually and make life much easier for the plumbers and builders. As Dads with children at the same school, Chris and I got chatting over a few drinks and the concept and business of PipeSnug was born!

Traditionally installers mix mortar or apply sealant, both of which can weather and crack, take a lot of time to apply and often leave a poor finish. PipeSnug and its big brother FlueSnug, can be fitted in seconds and form an instant, yet long-lasting, airtight seal against the wall where pipes enter and exit a building. They can be installed both inside and out.

We estimate that the average plumber, fitting around five bathrooms a month, could save around £150 by using PipeSnug. A heating engineer or company doing 15 to 20 boilers a month could save up to £800 per month in reduced labour cost and materials too.

New building regulations

Part L of the Building Regulations has been changed to help the UK meet its Net Zero targets, and it now requires pipe seals and grommets to be used around pipework.

This prevents warm air escaping a home and also to keep cold air out, where brickwork or the fabric of the building has been removed to allow pipework or other services in. This is a big change for those installing pipework. PipeSnug is currently available in 32mm, 40mm and 110mm versions alongside FlueSnug, the boiler flue sealing collar.

PipeSnug is the only all-in-one solution which meets Part L’s requirement to seal around pipework inside and out, without the need for sealant, mortar or expensive air sealing tape. PipeSnug also keeps warmth in and energy costs down for homeowners. The new Part L also requires photographic evidence that the work has been carried out to the designated standard and PipeSnug is perfect for this. For Local Authority Building Control officers, PipeSnug is an easily recognisable product.

When it comes to FlueSnug there are even more benefits for heating engineers. Like PipeSnug, it fits in seconds and you can install FlueSnug from the inside of the wall to the outside as it’s flexible enough to be folded through the core drilled hole. If a boiler is installed at height, this means it’s much safer to use FlueSnug than any traditional methods and saves money on scaffolding. FlueSnug is also endorsed by leading boiler manufacturers.

Facing the Dragons

With all the changes to the Building Regulations afoot, we realised that the time had come to secure more investment. To develop new versions of the product to satisfy the increased demand in the coming months and years.

As PipeSnugs become the norm on site, we decided to take it into the Dragons’ Den and face their fire. It was incredibly nerve wracking but really exciting too. We had every confidence that the Dragons would see the bright future PipeSnug has ahead. Dragon Deborah Meaden even came out and tried the product for herself! We weren’t kept waiting long – both she and Peter Jones said they wanted to invest. We know PipeSnug is a great product but to get two Dragons wanting to invest was beyond our wildest dreams!

So now, for us, it’s all about growth. We want to increase the availability and sales of our current products and develop new versions of PipeSnug for different sizes and different applications. Longer term, we want to explore the export markets, as we have now secured patents around the world including in the USA, Europe, Australia. I think securing a deal in the Den with the titans of the programme has given us a confidence boost and even more belief that we have a great product and great business.

What you need to know

The Building Regulations Part L changes will apply from June 1st 2022, and are set to reduce heat loss from domestic and commercial properties. The UK government’s Zero Carbon Ready home scheme will see new builds constructed without a gas supply to the building. In order to meet targets, all new homes will need to produce 31% less CO2 emissions.

New proposals will encourage renewables, such as ground source heat pumps, and include the following upgrades:

  • Waste water heating recovery to ALL showers
  • Heating systems flow temperature to be NO more than 55° C
  • Photovoltaics – proportional to the ground floor area (e.g. 50m² GFA will require 3kW peak solar panels equal to approx. 18m² [assumed to SE/SW orientation])
  • Thermal elements U Values of: Walls 0.18, Windows 1.2, Floors 0.13, Roof 0.11

Current building plans and notices that do not factor in the new regulations must be submitted before June 2022. Submissions beyond this date will have to follow the proposed changes.

Tradesman Talk

Have you been made aware of the upcoming changes in Part L regulations, and can you see the benefit to the new legislation?

How realistic do you think a carbon reduction of 31% will be? And what are your thoughts on new builds not being hooked up to the gas mains?

Finally, is PipeSnug a product you would use, and do you see it reducing business’ costs?

As always, you can get involved and have your say by leaving a comment below.

And to share this content with someone you know, click the social links.

Until next time, make sure it’s Tradesman Saver.

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