When undertaking a new build or major renovation, it is important to think about plumbing in the overall building design. Knowing where high-quality materials fit into the overall plan and where standard materials can be used gives the perception of luxury while keeping projects at a reasonable cost. If a plumbing system is not designed with practicality in mind, you might find yourself running into issues later down the road with inefficiencies or malfunctions. There are strategic ways that you can design plumbing so it matches architectural styles and is extremely functional.

Saving Water

water leak


Whenever you set out to design your plumbing system, make sure that you focus on saving water and energy. We live in a world of finite resources, so being conscientious of the environment is not only good for marketing purposes, but also for sustainability. There are a few obvious product choices according to Plumbing Manufacturers International that accomplish this purpose. When deciding on fixtures, make sure that they are WaterSense equipped so that water is not run excessively, and wasted.

When choosing fixtures that use less water, make sure that the technology is equipped to handle these new processes. The plumbing system needs to be able to work with whatever water flow is required.

Following Code

Some code will need to be followed from the federal government regulations while others will be governed by state or local policy. There are several factors to consider when looking at plumbing codes. You do not want to make a plumbing code mistake and then have to redo a finished part of the project because of a lack of compliance.

Common code violations include not having a sufficient downhill slope to properly drain the water. If a drain is releasing water slowly and it is not obvious as to whether there is a clog, then it can be because the slope is not steep enough. Functional problems can completely interrupt the focus on architectural plumbing features such as specific sinks. In a building blueprint, there needs to be enough space allocated for plumbing cleanouts. In addition, you need to make sure that you have the minimum number of cleanouts for the building design and that they are not located next to critical or areas where hygiene is critical. Another coding downfall that can harm focus on design, is if the plumber does not leave enough space around fixtures for walls. Fixtures can be placed before drywall is finished, and thus can cause cramped spaces.

Strategically Place Rooms

water distribution

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Plumbing costs can increase dramatically due to room design. This is because there are ancillary systems typically build next to plumbing systems. The further apart rooms are that require plumbing, the more  materials and labor involved, and the higher the costs. The pipes that are run out the fixtures should be installed far enough apart so as there is no confusion as to where future leaks might occur. Another consideration you want to make when choosing a plumbing design is to place hot water pipes in a way that allows water to recirculate closer together rather than needing reheated every time it is used.

Read more: Plumbing through floor joists

Material Selection

Regardless of your external design choices are made, you will not see the plumbing features underneath the design. Therefore, instead of worrying about what the materials look like such as different pipe material, you should choose materials based on their proven performance. Skimping on quality materials at the beginning just lead to potential costly problems down the road. Doing something the right the first time can increase initial costs, but will be most cost-efficient in the long run.

The typical parts of a plumbing system that need to be included in a plumbing system are the external fixtures, waste and vent pipes, building drains and sewers, storm drainage, and the connections between all of these systems.

Ensuring Potable and Ample Water

Not all water used in a plumbing system will be potable. It is important to make sure that you do not connect any unsafe water sources with water intended for human consumption. This is an excellent way to ruin somebody’s day!

In addition to making sure that the water is potable, you want to make sure there is enough water for the intended occupancy. Whether, it is an apartment building, a new high rise, or a large residential community, making sure the water supply is adequate is imperative. With the finite amount of potable water, it is important to make sure that efficiency is optimized so just enough, but not too much, water is used.

Choose Multilevel Water Supply Source

water supply

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There are four methods for overhead water supply. These include a direct supply from overhead tanks, direct pumping, hydro-pneumatic, or overhead tanks distribution. According to a presentation on architecture and plumbing, a direct supply system is good when you only have a few floors to consider. Direct pumping involves putting water directly into the distribution system. The hydro-pneumatic system is a variant of direct pumping. It is important when considering this system that there is a reliable power supply. Finally, the overhead tanks distribution puts water into multiple overhead tanks which is then run throughout the building.

Read more: How To Fix A Busted Or Leaking Water Main?

Choosing the Correct Valve

water valve

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Another decision is to make sure the right kind of valve is used. These valves operate in different ways. Gate valves are either entirely open or shut. These means that there is no regulation of flow. In contrast, a globe valve allows for variance in water flow. A gate valve can be used when there is no angle to consider and is the most common choice. A globe valve is helpful when the materials flowing through the pipes are expected to be thicker or when the water flow needs to be considered on an angle.

Whatever design and choices you make, remember that being efficient and choosing high quality materials at the beginning will save a significant amount of money in the long run. Designing plumbing in this way can actually free up money for higher end external fixtures that provide a sense of identity to whatever the building is.


How to Determine Where Plumbing Fits into Your Building Design was last modified: September 19th, 2023 by Leo
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Tiffany Locke
Tiffany Locke

I like that you mention how plumbers can help you know code regulations for different things, such as fixtures, so that you can have everything installed correctly. When choosing a plumber, you’d probably want to consider the plumbing services you need, such as pipe repairs or fixture installation. Knowing what you need could ensure you find a contractor that has the skills, experience, and equipment to handle the work you require so that you get the best results.