Low Cost From Medium to High Rise

The latest cost comparison study in Australia demonstrates that the Studor AU Cost ComparisonSystem is the most economical across all building heights

An independent study, commissioned by Studor Australia, has provided evidence that the Studor System, incorporating Studor AAVs (Air Admittance Valves) and Studor P.A.P.A.s (Positive Air Pressure Attenuators), is the most cost effective drainage system across all building heights, due to its reduced pipework requirements which result in a faster and easier installation process, in addition to the material savings.

The study compares the supply and installation costs of the Studor System against the other two main types of high rise sewer stack systems in use across Australia and New Zealand: a Reduced Velocity Aerator Stack System (RVASS) and a traditional passive vented system incorporating relief vents, also referred to as a Fully Vented Modified Stack System (FVMSS).

Whilst a previous comparison, based on an entire building project over 22 floors at Hamilton Harbour, demonstrated that the Studor System was the most cost effective for that size project, it also raised the question of how the stack systems would compare over shorter and taller building designs.

The new comparison compared the same three stack systems over several building heights. This time the calculations were based on a representative single stack using the three systems covering 8, 40, 70 and 90 floors.

Cost comparison image

An independent hydraulics consultant was commissioned to provide the design and bill of quantities. A separate consultant and estimator then provided a cost estimation for the bill of quantities with the aim of comparing the Studor System relative to an ordinary FVMSS and to two RVASS; one using 160mm and the other using 110mm pipework.

The results demonstrated that the Studor System is the most economical of the three drainage systems. The extent of the savings are typically over 40% against the RVASS systems and over 20% against the FVMSS system. Whilst the amount of saving differed depending on the building heights, the Studor System was the most cost effective for the four height options that were considered.

AU Cost Comparison - Percentage Savings

The Studor System offers additional benefits to just cost savings. The reduced pipework requirements offer a sustainable drainage solution, whilst the reduction in duct size required increases the habitable space available. In addition, site safety is improved with a reduced requirement for working at height, whilst the elimination of roof venting pipes and penetrations reduces thermal heat loss and enhances the aesthetic appearance of the building.

The full report providing more detail about the study, including a complete breakdown of all estimates, is available for download upon completion of this form.

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Studor Active Ventilation @ The National Lift Tower July 2015 Update

I can hardly believe it, but it’s now been 10 weeks since we launched our “Seeing is Believing” test rig – the past weeks have been an absolute flurry of activity! The response to our offer to visit the test tower and witness/participate in the testing has been overwhelming, on both a national and international level.

Test Tower Ready to Flush

Ready to Flush!

Our latest live demonstration event last week was attended by over 60 Public Health Engineers over 4 days, ranging from time-served to the newest batch of our future engineers. Also present to support me with running the event were Steve White (Studor Technical Director), Daniel Rath (Studor Technical Sales Director), Michael Chang (Studor Product Engineer) and Tom Gale (Studor General Assistant).

If you missed this event, then don’t worry – we will be back at the tower in September – and if you’d like to come up then please email me at tony.hill@studor.net.

The results and reactions, even from those slightly “long in the tooth”(!), were all similar to the previous shows:

  • “Wow!”
  • “I think I have got it wrong in the past!”
  • “I’ll have to look at my designs more closely from now on!”
  • “I wouldn’t want to be sat on that, if that happens!” – this was specifically in response to witnessing the following video when 10 WCs were flushed with the Studor System isolated (with no venting).

Studor System Isolated – 10 WCs Flushing from Studor on Vimeo

Test Tower Supplies

Supplies for Flushing

During the hands-on testing, anyone attending will take an active role in the tests, from loading the WCs at the top of the stack, watching the AAVs working at the midway point, viewing the annular flow through clear sections of pipework, seeing the P.A.P.A. attenuating (slowing down) the positive transient and, at the base of the stack, witnessing the hydraulic jump and the speed of the solids against the delayed water flow. A member of the Studor team is available at all stages of the testing to answer any questions. What is a very important aspect of our events is that if anyone wishes to see one of the tests done in particular way, then we will do our utmost to accommodate any requests.


Actively vented shoes!

On a final note, one of our visitors last week misunderstood “active ventilation” and thought it related to her footwear – by far the best safety shoes so far on the test tower, although we have been advised that this is the safest nail varnish colour to have! :-)


Tony Hill at the base of the test tower


Tony Hill
Technical Sales Engineer, Studor
27 July, 2015

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Seeing is Believing!

Tony Hill


We asked Tony Hill (our Technical Sales Engineer) to answer a few questions about the “seeing is believing” test rig – the result of weeks of hard work by him and the team from Polypipe Terrain:


What is the purpose of the test tower, and what does it demonstrate?

Although the Studor System has been sold worldwide for over 10 years, one of the issues we’ve had when talking to various industry professionals is that they want to SEE evidence that the system works – of course, when its normally installed the drainage system is hidden within the infrastructure of the building, so it not accessible. The tower was the idea of a UK-based Senior M&E Manager, Les Copeland, and myself to clearly showTony Hill at the base of the test tower how the Studor System works in a real building. Given that we’re celebrating 40 years of Studor this year, it was an ideal opportunity to launch this project!

By utilising clear pipe and by having all of the P.A.P.A. units, AAVs and other fittings completely visible, it is a real way of demonstrating the occurrences within a real high rise drainage system and how they are managed by the Studor System versus a traditional vent system. The test tower has been very successful in illustrating that the Studor System out-performs the traditional vent system in maintaining the trap seals and protecting against the negative and positive pressures in the system.


Is it an interactive experience for you and the attendees?

Absolutely! Everyone who visits the test tower has the opportunityInteractive participation to take an active part in the testing and pushing the system to its limit. During the testing of the systems on the day it is very much a hands on test from all involved – the attendees add normal and abnormal items to the system (including sausages, burgers, toilet paper, cotton buds, wet wipes and sanitary products), as well as flushing the WCs. During the break-out discussions, the attendees are encouraged to give us their suggestions for different tests and scenarios which we try to accommodate. The results are showed via pressure monitors and U-gauges. It is very much a case of “seeing is believing”!

Is the test tower a world first?

Although not the first test tower for drainage, we believe it to be over 3 times the height of any existing test facility for drainage.

Why was the National Lift Tower a great choice of venue?

National Lift TowerWell, apart from the fabulous views at the top, the National Lift Tower is easily accessible from Studor’s UK office. Its central location in the UK means that it is also easily accessible for anyone visiting from the UK or flying into a UK airport. The fire escape shaft of the tower was effectively a dead space, with only an open steel framed staircase running from the bottom of the tower to the top. This means that all levels of the pipe work are accessible to view from a safe working platform. A great benefit was being able to fit 98m of straight pipework with the ability to change the pipework at anytime to bring in offsets, long runs, etc. As long as you don’t have a bad head for heights it is the perfect venue!

What skills do you have which helped with the implementation?

Before working for Studor, I have been a plumbing and drainage engineer on site and time-served as a mechanical building services engineer. This experience has given me a practical approach to installations and the problems that can occur throughout the whole process from drawing to installation.

Who was involved in the project?

The entire Studor team has been involved, providing support from the design stage right through to assisting with the show days. Our UK distributor of the IMG_6685Studor System (marketed as the Terrain Pleura System), Polypipe Terrain, also provided significant support with the design and installation. To cut down on the amount of on-site work, they prefabricated parts of the pipework before bringing it to the tower for installation. Of course, the team employed by the National Lift Tower have also been involved and have provided a great deal of support throughout the installation process and also on the show days. I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone on this project and it’s a great example of teamwork!

What have you learnt from this experience?

Personally I have learnt in a practical way about how air and air movement within the drainage is more important than the water flow. I have read in books and through my time at Studor about the facts and figures but “seeing is believing” is always the best!

 Who has attended so far?

IMG_2525As at the middle of June 2015 we have had 4 show days so far, which have been attended by a mixture of building regulation inspectors, consultants, designers, international developers, M&E contractors, main contractors and public health engineers. We’re planning more dates over the next year – please email me at tony.hill@studor.net if you’d like to attend.

How does the system educate us about active drainage ventilation?

In the show we can see with our live tests how active ventilation out-performs the standard designed and installed secondary vent pipe system and keeps the systems within a safe pressure zone to maintain the water trap seals. Look out for our future blogs in the coming weeks which will include additional detail and videos of the testing…

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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Alex Keates

NWED - 23 JuneAlex Keats

Today we talk to Alex Keates, whose passion for machinery and how things are made drew her to engineering.

Since having studied in Bogotá (Colombia) and London (UK), her career path has led her to work as an Engineer for Hoare Lea in London.

Amongst other projects, she has been involved with an extensive property portfolio across Europe (shopping centres, hotels, etc.).

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

The Heron, also known as Milton Court, is a 36 storey 112m / 367 ft tall residential skyscraper in London. The building was developed by Heron International

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Analytical skills, different approaches to solve issues, and interpersonal skills.

Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Be open minded but stick to the facts, ask many questions, believe in yourself and persevere.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Travelling, scuba diving, dancing and cooking.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

Trying to explain a complicated technical issue to a client using a cooking / food analogy. The client had no idea of either, but was very interested, so I ended up explaining both topics, using my drawing and colouring in skills.

Anything you’d like to add?

We, men and women, need to be aware of our own strengths, abilities and limitations in order to complement and help each other out in all aspects of life.

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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Elisa Bruno

NWED - 23 June

Elisa Bruno

Elisa Bruno’s passion for problem solving lead her to study for her MEng in Building Engineering and Architecture at the University of Catania (Italy), and for her MSc in Sustainable Construction Processes at the University IUAV of Venice (Italy).

She subsequently joined hurleypalmerflatt in July 2014, where she currently works in their London office as a Graduate Energy and Sustainability Consultant.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with?

I had a hand in the Al Faisaliah retail mall refurbishment, a major scheme in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In fact, it’s currently the 3rd tallest building in Saudi Arabia.

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

After the Al Faisaliah, the tallest building I’ve been involved with was Swan Heights, Reading (UK) – a development which would have contained 352 apartments in three tower blocks of 28, 26 and 24 floors.

Are you a member of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES)?

Not yet, but willing to join soon!

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Intuition and a more holistic approach.

Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Go for it! Engineering is great and you really feel you have the opportunity to make a difference in the real world!

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

I love travelling around the world, reading books and hanging out with friends!

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

That’s highly confidential, I’m afraid! :-)


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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Alexandra Vella

NWED - 23 June

Alexandra Vella

Today’s spotlight is on Alexandra Vella, an Executive Engineer currently working for Hoare Lea in London.

It was her love of numbers/maths and physics and wanting to understand how things work which got her interested in engineering and led her to a career in Building Services.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with and why?

I have been privileged to work on several landmark buildings, but the best was a grade 2* listed theatre in East London because the challenges were huge and it was so satisfying to see the final building in operation.

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

Falcon Wharf – a 19 floor landmark development, mainly residential apartments with mixed use, on the banks of the River Thames in London, adjacent to a heliport.

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Softer skills, intuition and empathy, a different logic (although we can think logically like men we do it in a different way).

Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Engineering is a vast title which encompasses a massive variety of jobs. If you enjoy problem solving and working with numbers then you will find your niche in the engineering world. Lots of women are employed as engineers so you won’t be in a boy’s club.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Travel, socialising, rugby and volunteering.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

Space planning plant rooms using an A0 plan and cut-out plant shapes with blue tack on the back to figure out the plant arrangement!

Anything you’d like to add?

There is a big push for women to get involved in engineering which is a good thing, but I am concerned that this does not achieve what it set out to do, which is to encourage a better mix of men and women. I am involved with the IET women’s group and have many female friends in my company and industry who serve as sounding boards and role models. However, I would be keen to see more mixed events which are representative of the wider industry, just so women considering becoming engineers don’t get the wrong impression.

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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Amanda Stanley

NWED - 23 JuneAmanda Stanley

Amanda Stanley is a Senior Public Health Engineer for hurleypalmerflatt in London’s West End.

Back in her school years she loved Technical Drawing and then “just happened to fall into a job doing plumbing and not graphic design, but [she’s] not [looked] back since”!

She is now very well known and well respected in the industry.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with and why?

Marble Arch Place – mixed use development
18 storey luxury apartments
8 storey commercial offices
Ground and lower ground floor retail and building entrances
5 basement levels with cinema, residential amenities, FM amenities and Landlord areas including car parking

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

Principal Tower – 55 storeys above ground floor residential high rise in Principal Place, Shoreditch, London.

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Common sense/different way of thinking.

 Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

When you spend a quantity of time designing a project and seeing the development fully through to the final product is very rewarding.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Spending time with my family.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

When I was on a Christmas party and the ‘gents’ all decided to get me drunk, but I was still standing whilst they were all still trying to find their feet after 14 rums, 2 vodkas, 4 red wines, 2 tequilas and 1 pint of shandy. Luckily I do not drink now!

Anything you’d like to add?

I know there is not another job I would love as much and each day is different with never the same problems, solutions etc.

I’ve been an engineer since I left school at 16 and 30 years later I would not change a thing. Well, maybe the time at college and paperwork!!! Just kidding.

I am currently looking into patenting a product I’ve developed, which is very exciting.

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National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Professor Lynne Jack

NWED - 23 JuneProfessor Lynne Jack

Professor Lynne Jack (Professor of Building Services Engineering) is Director of the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design) at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

What got you interested in engineering?

I first became interested in engineering during my time at secondary school. I remember being intrigued by the concept of engineering principles applied to the development of renewable energy technologies. Studying for my undergraduate degree in Energy Engineering cemented my desire to work in the field, as I could see how the knowledge gained and skills learned could be applied to real-world challenges.

Where did you study?

I completed my first degree at Edinburgh Napier University in 1990, and my PhD at Heriot Watt University in 1997.

My first degree was in Energy Engineering and, after graduation, I worked as a Thermal Engineer on the cooling design of electronic circuit-boards. After spending some time working for a small engineering consultancy, I then joined Heriot-Watt University where I began my research career working in the area of water and drainage systems for buildings.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with and why?

Almost every project is different so it’s always difficult identify the most notable. But those that have a tangible outcome or where academic impact on the sector can be demonstrated are usually the most noteworthy. Personally, I enjoy site monitoring or measuring data from experimental test-rigs, and using this to develop simulation models to predict system performance. Examples of notable site investigations include data gathered from social housing apartments in Scotland and from an experimental test tower in Taiwan.

Projects where we have collaborated with industry partners have also been hugely successful and, I believe, present the best opportunity for ensuring impact from academic research. Examples includes our very successful relationship with Studor, where we have, over an extended period of time, built increasingly sophisticated simulation models to predict the performance of systems and products for building drainage, and also the LUNA project work, where we are about to embark upon a study of the impact of water efficiency upon the viability of the loading units methodology to pipe and pump sizing for water supply systems in buildings.

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

In my experience, the best engineers have demonstrated a genuine ‘can-do’ attitude, and have been open to team-working and interdisciplinary collaboration. The very nature of engineering challenges means that, oftentimes, the way to tackle a particular challenge, problem or design is not immediately obvious, but working together and being open to ideas will, more often than not, allow the team to reach the optimal solution.

Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

My advice to those thinking of studying or training to become engineers is to remember that the rewards always outweigh the challenges! Study hard, work hard and try to look out for examples of good practice from people that you’d like to emulate. And try to think of yourself not as a female engineer but as good engineer, able to deliver to the highest standards of quality in response to the requirements of a job.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Married with two teenage sons, I dedicate most of my time outside work to my family. In rare moments to myself, I enjoy reading music, some cycling and am currently learning a new language (albeit rather slowly!)


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The UK’s National Women in Engineering Day: 23 June

shutterstock_93112609NWED - 23 June

Tomorrow is the UK’s National Women in Engineering Day (NWED), which was established by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) in 2014 to celebrate their 95th anniversary. As per the NWED website:

On 23 June 2014 WES wanted to focus attention on the great opportunities for women in engineering, at a time when it has never been more important to address the engineering skills shortage. By encouraging girls into engineering careers we will not only be increasing diversity and inclusion – a business imperative – but enabling us to fill the substantial future job opportunities that have been predicted in this sector.

The idea behind National Women in Engineering Day is to encourage all groups (Governmental, educational, corporate, Professional Engineering Institutions, individuals and other organisations) to organise their own events in support of the day, and link them together for maximum impact through the use of the NWED logo, corresponding website, and supporting resources.

shutterstock_284883458What has been very evident from speaking with various female engineers in the lead-up to NWED is that although most acknowledge that women do bring a different skill set to engineering, they also recognise that these complement the skills brought to the industry by men. To quote one female engineer we spoke to:

“I’ve been in the building engineering industry for over 35 years – and the skill sets that women need to survive in this industry must be ‘inclusive’.  For instance, without the support of the men in my life, and in the workplace, I wouldn’t be where I am today… We should be all inclusive: male and female together – it is the skills that we have that should define us – not targets.”


Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women, and it is hoped that by specifically promoting engineering to women that this will open up opportunities for more women to work alongside men to fill the engineering skills shortage.

To contribute to the programme of events being carried out by organisations across the UK, each day this week we will be publishing a short feature on different female engineers from the UK. We hope that you will find this interesting, inspiring and a little different!

More information on NWED and WES can be found on the respective websites.

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Transient Free Surface flows in Building Drainage Systems

Dr. Michael Gormley

Dr. Michael Gormley

Guest blog by Dr. Michael Gormley

Dr. Michael Gormley is a specialist in water supply and drainage as well as an electrical building services engineer. Here he shares with us here about his work on completing the book Transient Free Surface flows in Building Drainage Systems, which is published by Routledge and is also available to purchase from Amazon:


The late Professor John Swaffield

The late Professor John Swaffield

John Swaffield was, without argument, one of the great academic stalwarts in the world of water supply and drainage for buildings for more than 40 years. Following his retirement as head of The School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University in 2008 and his Presidency of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineering (CIBSE) in 2009, John planned two books to cover the vast amount of research he had led in his career spanning  over 40 years in academia and working with industry. The first of these books: Transient Airflows in Building Drainage Systems was published in 2010. In this celebrated book he dealt with the mechanisms of air pressure transient generation, suppression and modelling in buildings, effectively collecting his work on this subject in a thoughtful and provocative way. Following on from this book, John set about work on his final book, a companion to the first; Transient Free Surface flows in Building Drainage Systems was set to complete his treatise on modelling and mechanisms of all flows in building drainage systems, and its contribution would be focussed on attenuating wave flows, solid transport and roof drainage, set in the context of climate change.  Sadly, John died before this work could be finished and published.


In late 2011 three of us at Heriot-Watt University – myself, Grant Wright and Ian McDougall – undertook the task of completing this work. John had completed about 40% at the time he passed away, however the task of piecing together the completed parts to make a coherent work was way beyond what we had expected. There were a number of challenges in completing this work. Firstly, trying to piece together the material John had left, particularly those parts which were half finished, presented a considerable challenge. The next big challenge was to try to maintain John’s voice throughout. While we had all been involved in the research being presented we were keen to make sure that john’s personality pervaded the text. The final challenge and, arguably the biggest one, was trying to remain faithful to John’s opinions. We were acutely aware that we weren’t just finishing a book, but producing a piece of work which was his legacy to this field of engineering.

TFSFIBDSThe book itself is a unique blend of engineering physics and practical application of free surface flow modelling, all placed in the context of climate change. Future challenges in this area of engineering design of systems to cope with changing loads, will strain outdated design procedures, as the industry attempts to cope with the dual opposing threats of ‘too much water’ from increased rainfall intensity and ‘too little water’ from reduced flow appliances and water conservation initiatives. The challenge has never been greater and current design methods are too rigid and abstract to fully deal with the vast range of possible scenarios. Transient free surface flows in building drainage systems  contains all the physics relating to free surface modelling, solid transport prediction, wave attenuation, rainwater modelling and whole system design to give the reader an opportunity to engage with the topic from an engineered design point of view. Practical case studies demonstrate the effectiveness of this method and shows how designs can be modified to improve system performance, even under extreme conditions.

In finishing this book we are more than aware that it is not exactly the way John would have done it. We hope that we have retained his voice throughout and that it is a befitting testimony to his legacy.

June 2015

Dr. Michael Gormley
Associate Professor
Architectural Engineering
Room 3.40 William Arrol Building, School of the Built Environment
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS
e: m.gormley@hw.ac.uk  t: + 44 (0) 131 451 8262

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