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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Copper Piping Clinches Construction At Dali Museum, Other Public Facilities

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Construction & Renovation, Expansions & Renovations, FacilityBlog, Featured Post, Topics, Web Exclusives

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Published on February 26, 2013 with No Comments

This web exclusive is provided by the Copper Development Association.

Plumbing and piping systems can be a major hassle when installation or maintenance is needed. Depending on the materials and joining application that are used, the system can be expensive, difficult to install, and make for nightmare repair jobs. Plumbing installations require the help of outside experts and permits. If the system fails, it can put a serious damper on a facility’s operations and affect the bottom line.

However, the decision of what material to use when installing and maintaining a piping system doesn’t have to come at the sacrifice of quality. Lower overall construction materials costs and new technologies can deliver fast, long-lasting, reliable performance to service facilities long into the future. With today’s new joining methods, copper can continue to offer facility managers a lifetime of safety and value while cutting down on installation, labor, and future repair costs.

Copper solderless joining systems can do "wet-repairs," which means fixes can be done immediately and without draining the system. (Photo: Viega & the Copper Development Association)

Copper solderless joining systems can do “wet-repairs,” which means fixes can be done immediately and without draining the system. (Photo: Viega & the Copper Development Association)

Alternative “solderless” joining systems have become popular among contractors because they rely on push-connect or press-connect mechanical fittings, or similar fittings that use a structural adhesive joining system; all of which are suitable for most plumbing applications and are capable of withstanding the pressure and temperature ranges common to both residential and commercial building projects.

One advantage of copper solderless joining systems is the ability for “wet-repairs,” which can be done immediately, without draining the system.  Furthermore, these joining systems are flameless making it easy for a plumber to install, and cost-effective and reliable for the owner.  Press-connect joints use a special fitting which contain an elastomeric gasket or seal. Then, pressing tools and jaws are used to connect the tubing between the fittings.

By selecting a copper joining system, these three facilities were able to save time, money, and the headache of having to do a job more than once.

Speed of installation ensured museum deadlines were met. The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL was facing a tight deadline when planning to open its facility to the public in early 2011. The plumbing installation required careful considerations, as it needed to be skillfully placed around areas containing valuable art, so that in a worst case scenario the artwork would not be damaged if a pipe burst and the gallery space flooded. The museum opted to go with a copper press-connect system because its ease of installation meant the installers could meet the specific design requirements of the job and still be able to open the facility on time.

Flameless system saved school district time and money. At the Glen Urquhart Private Elementary School, in Beverly, MA, construction was behind schedule. The deadline for the heating and plumbing portion of construction came and went with no progress to show. So they turned to a press-connect joining system to finish the job quickly and efficiently. The move to go with the flameless system saved administrators time and money by avoiding the need to obtain soldering and burn permits to do the work faster, further delaying the school’s opening. The project was not only a success but gave them a peace of mind that the overall copper system was a product they can rely on for decades to come.

Wet repairs allowed uninterrupted service. The plumbing system at Naperville Central High School in IL was in need of an expansion to service newer buildings on the campus. More than 18,000 feet of copper tubing was installed for the project, including retrofitting the existing system. School officials chose a press-connect system because of its ability to do wet repairs, meaning they were able to install the newer tubing without having to drain the older parts of the system. In the end, installation time was reduced by 12 to 18 percent by using press connect fittings.

A commercial facility that is open to the public is going to face its fair share of problems, including wear and tear over the years. Copper joining systems ensure that when something does go wrong, it will not be with the piping.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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