More and more frequently, grooved solutions are being selected by mechanical contractors faced with time and cost challenges...
When Lleida community in Spain sought to modernise a historic hospital, they had to minimise patients' inconvenience while increasing capacity and improving an aging HVAC system. This article looks at why project managers chose to install a modern grooved mechanical piping system.
In extending Lleida´s existing Santa Maria hospital, safety was the paramount concern for everyone involved, as the project did not enjoy the luxury of an empty building, and medical facilities were still required to serve the local community during the upgrade process. This created obvious additional challenges for the HVAC installation.
Exterior and mechanical room piping were carbon steel, with polypropylene piping used in other areas inside the building. If mechanical contractors Climatizacion SAUFER had opted to use hot works on the carbon steel pipe, continuing work in Santa Maria would have been unthinkable with patients still onsite and medical facilities could have suffered lengthy shutdowns.
Welding pipework is potentially hazardous, creates toxic fumes and is a fire risk. Entire systems are required to be drained and dried prior to performing maintenance work since a pipe may burst when flame comes into contact with liquid. For example, if a welder accidentally opened the wrong pipe or if a system was not fully drained, the worker could suffer from molten metal splatter. An area where work is being carried out needs to be evacuated and costly fire-watch is necessary.
Instead of welding, a grooved piping system was used, eliminating many of the risks traditionally associated with joining pipe, and allowing care to carry on unhampered in surrounding areas of the hospital. Thanks to the use of a Victaulic no-flame system, work was able to continue safely with patients still in beds, and only the need to empty the most nearby wards.
A whole range of Victaulic grooved products were used throughout the Santa Maria Hospital - from butterfly valves and suction diffusers to rigid and flexible HVAC couplings – including in the mechanical rooms.
More and more frequently, grooved solutions are being selected by mechanical contractors faced with time and cost challenges. In Lleida, this helped the mechanical contractor solve important cost issues, gave them the possibility to do a high speed and high quality job and solve unique safety problems connected with the project.
Some of the major advantages of the Victaulic system are derived from its simplicity – the design of a mechanical pipe joint is inherently easier to work with during maintenance activities. The mechanical joint, or coupling, is comprised of four elements: the pipe groove, the gasket and coupling housings, and the nuts and bolts.
The pipe groove is formed by cold forming or machining a groove into the end of a pipe – using a simple Victaulic grooving tool it is possible to do this onsite, as in Lleida, or offsite in a workshop enabling prefabrication. The key section of the coupling housing engages the groove and the coupling housing fully encloses the gasket, reinforcing it and securing it in position.
Grooved piping systems are dramatically easier and faster to assemble than their welded equivalents. Their smaller footprint, speed of installation and their flame-free assembly help minimise risk, exposure and cost involved on sites. Grooved systems also present advantages for maintaining and rerouting pipes as they require less access space for work than welded systems.
In the Santa Maria Hospital, Victaulic systems provided an easy, safe, high quality and economical solution that helped Climatizacion SAUFER to meet their delivery agreements on time and on budget whilst minimising disturbance to patient care. The revamp was completed ahead of schedule.
“Victaulic products were chosen for their high quality and the reduced time and cost of installation with no need to use specialised labour,” commented Xavier Ferrer, Climatizacion SAUFER Project Manager.
The range of customer support services provided by Victaulic through its Construction Piping Services (CPS) division helped convince the general contractor, FCC, of the suitability of the system.
CPS services include free estimates and specification updates demonstrating how the Victaulic piping system can save time and money; detailed project-specification drawings and site visits to supervise transition from drawing to implementation; and software solutions to design and specify Victaulic products in a project.
In addition to its comprehensive estimating, pre-planning, project-coordination and software-solutions services, Victaulic is the only mechanical piping systems manufacturer with more than 200 factory-trained piping specialists worldwide to service customer needs in the field.
“This was not our first installation with Victaulic,” added Ferrer. “We were sufficiently impressed in Lleida that we would now say that the company would be our first choice for subsequent projects.”