The Changing Nature of Push-fit Technology

Push-fit technology has become a given within the plumbing and heating industry, and we're seeing it become commonplace across many other sectors. Mike Riseley, Sales Director at PBPSA member company RWC UK, owner of John Guest and it's Speedfit brand using Polybutene-1 for pushfit fittings and layflat pipe; talks about the challenges the construction industry is facing, and how push-fit connections can help overcome them.

Cover article: HVP Jan/Feb 2022

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The Changing Nature of Push-fit Technology

As the UK construction industry starts to get its rhythm back from the COVID-19 pandemic, sector growth is expected to soar. According to the Construction Products Association, construction output was predicted to grow by 13.7% in 2021 and a further 6.3% in 2022, with private housing infrastructure driving growth.

Additionally, the UK government is aiming to deliver 300,000 new homes a year until 2023, and has confirmed a £3.7 billion investment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, among other infrastructure projects, such as schools and public sector buildings. But this forecasted increase isn’t without its own challenges. From skills and materials shortages, through to rising costs and tight turnarounds, the drive to build better, greener, and faster is going to face difficulties.

However, installers can take advantage of future-proofed products that are up to date with the latest technology.

Push-Fit, Push-Fit Real Good

One technology that’s been around for decades and can give installers a head start is push-fit. Developed in 1974 by RWC’s John Guest Speedfit brand using Polybutene-1, push-fit valves, pipes, and fittings have been making installers’ lives easier for almost half a century.

Pushing Solutions to the Construction Industry

In comparison to traditional installation methods, such as press-fit, compression, and soldering, push-fit technology can cut installation time by up to 40%, as it doesn’t require any specialist tools. Push-fit can be installed by junior plumbers, giving more experienced plumbers the ability to focus on other difficult tasks. This offsets some of the challenges that come with the skills gap within the construction industry.

Push-fit also offers invaluable time savings. Due to accelerated installation, installers can spend less time on each job without compromising on quality, as well as increase productivity and efficiency. This takes away the pressures that come with increased demand, rigid deadlines, and tight turnarounds.

Pushing Sustainability

And push-fit offers more than just time saving benefits - it has revolutionised the plumbing industry and proved to be immensely versatile when it comes to repairs, maintenance, and improvements (RMI) to existing pipework, which is renowned for its complexities. This means current plumbing infrastructure can be repurposed and replaced quickly, with minimal impact on tenants - a key trend in sustainable development.

Emissions are also reduced because of the tool-free installation process behind push-fit technology, as there are no blowtorches or soldering creating fumes and potential fire hazards (especially in tight spaces). This also means there is no need for cleaning agents, therefore reducing the need for chemicals, fuel for blow torches, or the energy needed to make these tools and materials.

While these gains may seem minimal, they add up in the grand scheme of things, as does the ability of push-fit connections to protect precious resources.

With many customers looking for improved efficiency and sustainable plumbing solutions, installers can use innovative products such as RWC’s Easifit TMV by Reliance Valves. To give installers even more flexibility, the valve was updated with JG Speedfit push-fit connections, and works even under low flow rates to save water and energy.

As part of a site’s BREEAM accreditation checks, water conservation is an important element of the efficiency rating of the building, where tap flow rates are expected not to exceed 31/pm - the Easifit TMV can support flow rates as low as 11/pm.

Pushing for a Higher Standard

With decades of research and development behind push-fit technology, and world class engineering, durable, leak-proof push-fit connections have become the norm in the plumbing and heating industry, and we’re seeing their application in a range of other industries, such as automotive and industrial.

As RWC’s push-fit products are manufactured at such a high standard, they meet stringent regulations and have undergone various third-party testing to ensure optimal performance. Thanks to these improved levels of quality testing, longer warranties are offered, and infrastructure can be built to higher standards.

Ultimately, installers can benefit from increased business, improved brand value, and fewer product defects.

For more about RWC and its family of brands - JG Speedfit, Reliance Valves, and SharkBite, please visit RWC/John Guest