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5 Plumbing Products to Include in Your Project Specifications

Plumbing engineer looks at spec sheet for firestop sleeve

The result of the plumbing installations in your construction project all starts with the spec. Make it vague or include outdated recommendations and the end product could be less than ideal for your client. That’s why it’s important for plumbing engineers to revisit their specification documents and see where they could make improvements.

Discover the key benefits of editing your specifications, how often you should do so and explore a few modern commercial plumbing solutions that can produce better results for your future projects.

Jump to a Section:

  1. Why you should update your plumbing specifications
  2. How to know when you should edit your specs
  3. How to easily update your specifications
  4. Five commercial plumbing solutions that you should add or adjust in your spec


Why Update Your Plumbing Specifications?

Doing so reaps multiple benefits, all of which help you maintain your project timeline, budget and overall quality. 

  • Better product capabilities. Manufacturers like RWC, HoldRite’s parent company, spend hours on the job site asking contractors where current solutions fall short. Then, they incorporate that feedback into product development to design solutions that streamline installation and improve performance parameters — all while remaining code compliant. 
  • Potential cost savings. Sticking to what we know can be a comfort, but it can also cost us time. On the job site, that’s money thrown away in labor costs. Modern commercial plumbing solutions can speed up installation times, require fewer materials and tools, and minimize additional costs from failed inspections or installation failures down the line. 
  • Improved job site performance. Outdated methods and products can not only put a strain on your project budget, but they can also be so tedious that they throw off the job timeline. And if they don’t pass inspection, that’s even more time added. Delays in one trade’s installation create a domino effect of delays on other trades’ work. Advances in plumbing technology manufacturing methods, on the other hand, reduce installation steps, minimizing room for error. They’re also more likely to be designed to achieve code compliance out of the box or with very little effort. 
  • Ensures accurate spec information. It can be easy to simply copy and paste your spec from project to project, making minimal adjustments to meet the needs of the new build. But do that regularly and you may not realize when a manufacturer is no longer in business or a certain product no longer exists, leading to inaccurate guidelines for contractors. Regularly checking and editing your specification documents keeps information up to date so installers can easily find the products and materials they need. It also helps simplify the submittal process and minimize RFIs — all of which tend to delay projects.

Read more: How Engineers Can Improve Their Plumbing Specs for Better Project Results

When Should You Edit Your Specification Documents?

There are typically a few key indicators that tell you it’s time to update your specs. Here are three things to look for:

  1. Contractors often come to you to submit a product that you included in the specification documents, but they can’t find it because it’s not available. This could indicate that you have listed outdated manufacturer or product information. 
  2. You’re getting a lot of substitution requests for a particular product that isn’t in your spec. It may be worth looking into the performance parameters of the product to see if it outperforms the options you have listed.   
  3. If you haven’t thoroughly reviewed your specifications in over a year, it’s probably time for an update. 

5 Modern Plumbing Solutions for Your Project Specifications

Searching for modern solutions that meet your needs doesn’t need to be a shot in the dark. In fact, people involved in your projects can be the best resources sometimes. When looking for new, innovative commercial plumbing products, specify something contractors already want to use.

Here are a handful of HoldRite and RWC solutions — firestop sleeves, valves, plumbing fittings and pipe, acoustic isolation supports, and no-hub fitting restraints — that pros love, how they compare to other similar solutions, and how they can ultimately improve your project specifications. 

Firestop Systems

Traditional firestopping is a multi-step process — from placing a firestop sleeve to adding mineral wool and sealant individually. All those separate trips to the penetrant location add up, both in time and labor costs.

Plus, those different firestop components and installation phases leave room for human error, opening the door to inspection failures. Colder temperatures or high levels of humidity can extend sealant curing time from a couple days to a week and a half, too, potentially delaying inspection as well.  

Capabilities of standard cast-in-place firestop sleeves 

Many plumbing specifications include firestop sleeves of some sort today, but standard options still have gaps in performance: 

  • They have fixed sleeve heights. Depending on the slab thickness, contractors may have to either measure and cut a sleeve or add several extensions to reach the correct height. This can add both labor and material costs. 
  • They don’t come with a W rating. Contractors usually have to manually achieve a UL W rating for other firestop sleeves out there. That typically requires additional modules or backing material and sealants. 
  • They don’t have a water dam accessory. Penetrants located in wet areas, such as plumbing equipment rooms, may need more protection against water migration between floors. To achieve this, contractors need to extend firestop sleeves above the concrete finish. This exposes them to potential damage by concrete finishing equipment, which would render the water dam null.

Capabilities of HoldRite HydroFlame Pro Firestop Sleeves 

HoldRite cast-in-place sleeves take firestop performance up a notch by including a few unique features:

  • Built-in UL W rating. These sleeves come with a watertight seal right out of the box — no additional materials or labor required for most applications. 
  • Telescoping design. To minimize cutting on the job site, HydroFlame Pro features an adjustable body so contractors can quickly set sleeve height to meet their needs. 
  • Locator whiskers. The OSHA-compliant safety cap on these firestop sleeves includes locator whiskers that help contractors quickly identify their penetrations after concrete is poured.  
  • Water dam accessory. If you need water dams for your project’s firestop sleeves, HoldRite makes a dedicated accessory for the task. Installed after concrete pour to avoid damage, the water dams are designed to carry load ratings depending on pipe and pipe size.
Watch HydroFlame Pro Series Firestop Sleeves - Product Highlight | HoldRite on YouTube.

Read more: How HoldRite Designs Firestop Systems for Safety, Effectiveness and Ease of Use

Commercial Valves

Water delivery is a key function in any new construction build. While it is necessary, it should also be efficient, and not all valve options out there deliver on both fronts.

  • Pressure reducing valve installations are typically broken up into separate valves that align with different pressure drops. This takes up a lot of room and requires installers to build infrastructure to support the system. Plus, these valves can get expensive. 
  • Thermostatic mixing valves’ performance and design can often be at odds with one another. On the one hand, some TMVs underperform when operating at low flow rates. And if they do perform well, they usually have to be concealed because they aren’t aesthetically appealing.   

How Cash Acme valves surpass traditional commercial valve performance 

With a 100-year legacy in the U.S., Cash Acme is the world’s largest volume T&P valve manufacturer and remains an industry leader of water control solutions for residential, commercial and industrial plumbing applications. When it comes to commercial new construction, there are a few distinct valves that rise above the rest.  

HG135 thermostatic mixing valve. Meeting ASSE 1070 standards for mixing valves, this under-sink mixing valve features a superior, fast-acting thermostatic element that provides stable operation at flow rates as low as .25 gpm (.95 lpm). It also reduces the outlet flow to a trickle in the event of a cold-water supply failure to avoid scalding. 

Multi-cartridge pressure reducing valve. This PRV, the only one on the market, eliminates the need for costly two-valve installation in applications subject to wide variation in water demand. It provides accurate flow control and pressure regulation as well as a simple cartridge change-out for servicing. 

EB25 Plus PRV. This valve streamlines commercial PRV installations by replacing expensive automatic control valves with one simpler, more effective cartridge. This pressure regulating valve takes up less space, eliminates the need for parallel or series systems and meets multiple performance and lead-free standards. 

Watch Cash Acme EB25 Plus on YouTube.

Commercial Plumbing Systems

There are a few standard plumbing systems that can wind up on most project specifications for new construction. For hospitals and other commercial builds, copper pipes are usually the norm, which require soldering or pressing. Multi-family projects can lean more toward CPVC and PEX plumbing systems, with crimp, cold expansion or push-fit installations. 

While all of these pipe types and installation methods are acceptable, in a tight labor market, efficiency is key. Some things to look out for when specifying a plumbing system include: 

  • Quantity and cost of tools. 
  • Training required for installation. 
  • Time and steps required for installation. 
  • Longevity of plumbing system and available warranty. 

Why the SharkBite EvoPEX push-to-connect plumbing system is ideal for new construction 

Compared to traditional rough-in plumbing methods, this PEX-only plumbing system is 30% faster to install and reduces the risk of installation errors, delivering the reliability you and your client expect through its innovative design: 

  • Requires no special tools.  
  • Creates a permanent connection.  
  • Green indicator feature confirms that a secure connection has been made. 
  • SharkBite PEX pipe meets the highest chlorine resistance rating. 
  • Comes with a 25-year system warranty. 
Plumbing engineer looks at spec sheet for firestop sleeve

Read more: Cancún Hotel job site uses SharkBite EvoPEX to maximize productivity. 

Plumbing Acoustic Isolation

Acoustic isolation pipe supports are the key to preventing noise problems stemming from pipe vibrations, effectively dampening the noise transfer between piping and building structures.  

While it’s standard to find similar types of silencer solutions across manufacturers — like clamps and through-stud isolators— HoldRite offers a few more advanced options that have higher performance. 

Plumbing engineer looks at spec sheet for firestop sleeve

How HoldRite acoustic pipe supports silence noisy pipes better 

HoldRite Silencer products are engineered to dampen noise transfer between piping and building structures, reducing plumbing noise by an average of 87%. To achieve this, the acoustic isolation solutions undergo rigorous testing: 

  • ISO-3822 certified acoustical lab testing and field testing.   
  • Third-octave testing.  
  • FBC certification to ensure the isolator doesn't degrade PEX or CVPC piping material

No-Hub Fitting Restraints

Though current plumbing codes don’t specify means or methods for no-hub-fitting restraints and field-devised solutions are generally accepted, these ad hoc methods can put your reputation and bottom line at risk. 

Restraints that are cobbled together are untested and labor intensive, and if they fail, they can flood buildings, damage equipment and cause job delays, leading to lawsuits and property damage. This is much more costly than installing a reliable restraint system from the start. 

Read more: Why You Should Ditch Field-Devised No-Hub Fitting Restraints 

Why HoldRite #117 Series No-Hub Fitting Restraints should be in your project specs 

These restraints not only save on time and costs thanks to a streamlined installation method, but they also come code-approved so inspections go smoothly, giving you peace of mind long after you finish the project. 

Plumbing engineer looks at spec sheet for firestop sleeve

The #117 Series offers unique value and unparalleled reliability by: 

  • Undergoing third-party testing to prevent pipe and fitting separation up to 50 feet of headwater. 
  • Eliminating the need for on-site cutting, bending, measuring or modifications.  
  • Installing without affecting other manufacturers' ratings or limitations on their pipe or system components.   
5 Market Locations for RWC Product Installations

How to Get Help Updating Your Plumbing Specifications

New commercial plumbing solutions may sound great in theory, but the logistics of adopting them can be another story. We want plumbing engineers to be proud of their specifications and projects without adding undue cost. So we help by:  

  • Providing free assistance and authorship of your specification documents. We’ll also help with BIM, 3-D models, tech assistance and training. 
  • Helping contractors with creating submittals, so they’re easier for you to review and approve. 
  • Providing product knowledge and installation training in person or virtually, giving you — and contractors — more confidence in the integrity of the installation. 
  • Conducting CEU training or a Lunch and Learn for your staff. 

To gain access to any of these benefits and support opportunities, simply reach out to your HoldRite rep. We’ll help you find the right resource to support you and your projects. 

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