Stainless steel goes public

A special report undertaken on behalf of the British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA) into the suitability and use of stainless steel tubes and fittings for internal plumbing applications, has highlighted potential for increased use in public and commercial buildings. Applications where it is claimed that stainless steel’s hygienic and environmental properties, resistance to corrosion, high strength and low maintenance cost can be of particular benefit include hospitals, old people’s homes, schools and prisons. The report highlights the track record of stainless steel systems in Scottish hospitals, where specific, soft water conditions have led to the specification of stainless steel and plastic systems in place of copper. Although the report confirms that stainless steel plumbing materials are usually more expensive than copper or plastic, it suggests that this initial cost difference can be more than offset over the life-cycle of the installation once other considerations, such as reduced maintenance, are taken into account. Installation costs can also be minimised by using a fast and efficient joining method such as pressfitting. Especially relevant for larger installations or in areas with limited space, this cost-effective method of joining stainless steel pipe work benefits from being flame-free and quick-to-joint.

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