Subscribe and win

Victaulic offers cost benefits to commercial building sector

Victualic Mechanical pipe joining systems offers alternative to flanges or welding to connect piping systemsSigns that the recovery in the South African office sector is becoming increasingly fragile should alert developers to place even more emphasis on avoiding unnecessary costs during the building, expansion or maintenance of office buildings.

According to the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) the national office vacancy rate increased by 0.4% to 11.1% in the first quarter of this year. SAPOA warns that signs of weakness in the office sector are becoming apparent. “Given the recent credit ratings downgrade and potential impacts thereof it is hard to imagine the national office vacancy rate returning to mid-single digits within the next 24 months,” the Association said in a recent research report.

Yet, SAPOA believes leasing opportunities do still exist with 23 of the country’s 53 office nodes reporting improved occupancy rates during the first quarter, while 22 nodes still have vacancy rates below 8%. In these nodes the use of innovative technologies that keep costs in check will be crucial.

Barry van Jaarsveld, Victaulic Regional Manager for Africa, says mechanical pipe joining systems is one such solution which offers an alternative to the use of flanges or welding to connect piping systems and drastically reduces the time necessary to install and maintain these connections. In commercial buildings – such as offices, shopping centres or mixed use developments - this includes piping systems for heating, cooling, plumbing and fire protection. Van Jaarsveld says using mechanical pipe joining systems can have a significant impact on construction schedules.

“Contractors are always under pressure to finish a project in time for a launch date or ribbon cutting ceremony and unplanned stoppages can put increased pressure on schedules and budgets. Victaulic can relieve some of this pressure through quicker installation. The Victaulic system can also contribute to a much greener building process as installation does not require welding and therefore less energy.”

Victaulic’s mechanical pipe joining system requires fewer and less skilled workers therefore further reducing installation costs. “With no fire risk there is no need for fire protection and the health and safety risks on the job site are drastically reduced. You also need fewer people working on site for a shorter period of time, which in itself reduces health and safety risks.”

Van Jaarsveld says pipe joining technology is especially suited to commercial building projects as it can easily accommodate changes in the scope of the project. “Unlike a welded system a mechanical pipe joining system can easily be taken apart and the same parts can be reassembled. The initial installation of the Victaulic system is about five times faster than welding, but when welded systems need to be reworked, the Victaulic system can be ten times faster.”

The reduction in safety concerns also simplifies maintenance or additions and renovation to existing buildings. “As there is no fire risk the Victaulic system can safely be installed while other people are still using the building. Victaulic makes use of a union at every joint, providing easy access for maintenance and system expansions.”

Yet Van Jaarsveld says there is still a widely held perception that pipe coupling technology can only be used on a temporary basis. “Victaulic offers a permanent solution. Our pipe joining technology has been used in buildings like the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada; the Petronas Towers in Malaysia; and Trump Tower in the United States. South African installations include the Telkom Data Centre in Centurion as well as the FNB Building in Rosebank. If the correct installation process is followed, we can guarantee the joints over the life time of the piping system.”