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 show 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 opportunity 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?
Well, 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 Studor 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?
As 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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…