1) Water efficiency
Ensuring that water wastage is kept to a minimum is in the interests of social housing providers and their tenants in terms of cost savings. But in recent years, government attention around sustainability has also steadily intensified. Initiatives such as the Clean Growth Strategy mean that homes and commercial buildings are coming under greater scrutiny than ever before when it comes to their green credentials.
If fixtures can be sourced which tick the boxes for both sustainability and cost-effectiveness, that’s a big plus for social housing providers looking to meet the latest regulatory requirements for water efficiency.
Fortunately, many of today’s taps and showers are supplied with optional flow regulators to reduce water consumption. The result is a significant water saving – for example, although most standard showers distribute a shower flow rate of 13.5 litres per minute, flow regulated showers can offer a rate of 10 litres per minute without compromising on performance.
A big advantage of electric showers is that they only heat the water that’s used and are therefore effective at improving water efficiency. Bristan electric showers also carry an eco-setting that helps to reduce electric consumption.
Another option are thermostatic bar showers which are simple to use and very easy to fit. Thermostatically controlled and generally suitable for all types of plumbing systems, these products often have an eco-setting, which provides further efficiency.
2) Water safety
Figures show that hundreds of people a year are burnt so badly that they have to be admitted to an NHS specialist burns service with severe scalds from tap water in their bath, sink or shower, and older people are particularly prone to such accidents. When specifying products for social housing, hot water safety must always be an important consideration because many tenants may be vulnerable and have various disabilities.
Part G of the building regulations includes measures to help reduce scalding by requiring all baths in new dwellings have a device fitted that limits the temperature to a maximum of 46°C (44°C + / – 2°C). A TMV2 fitting is designed for use in a domestic environment and is best practice for water safety.
Some of the most popular products are thermostatic bath shower mixers that have a pre-set maximum temperature. A thermostatic under bath blending valve can be used with any bath filler, tap or bath shower mixer so there is no need to change the architecture of the existing specification.
Thermostatic electric showers, which provide a safeguard against fluctuations in water heat, are also a good solution. Keep a look out for the BEAB Care Mark when deciding on an assistive shower, as this demonstrates compliance with additional safety requirements that take into account the needs of elderly. Showers that incorporate the BEAB Care Mark tend to have a large dial for ease of use, raised markings and an audible click when settings are adjusted.
Social housing providers may look after hundreds or thousands of properties, so having the ability to quickly install fixtures and fittings is another important consideration. New technology is becoming available that speeds up the installation process, saving time for busy maintenance teams.
For example, Bristan’s unique, patented Easyfit system makes installation fast, accurate and simple. Featuring flexible inlets for easy connection to the hot and cold supply plus push-on fittings for the tap body, it saves time in new build and refurbishment, while allowing plenty of room for tiling and sealing to be completed.