During the process of your self-build process you might begin to hear phrases like ‘first fix’ and ‘second fix’ but what do they actually mean? If this is the starts of your first renovation project then it would be best to get used to some of these terms as you will hear a fair amount of new jargon.
First and Second Fix Plumbing
The first-fix includes everything that is involved in first stage of your build. First-fix plumbing is basically the pipework for the water supply, space heating and the waste water drainage from your property. The plumbers would of course need their own space to complete their work and so because of this, the process cannot take place simultaneously with the electrical installation.
The way to find a good tradesman would be by inspecting their work. If the plumbing appears to be neat and tidy then this would usually be the mark of good workmanship. Basically, you should try and hire someone who will really pay attention to the overall layout and plan their work carefully.
Second-fix plumbing is the is the process of actually connecting the appliances, this would also include testing and commissioning. Second -fix plumbing would include bathroom sanitary ware and radiators, as well as boilers and other equipment.
First -Fix Supply Water Pipework
Whether you decide to use copper or plastic pipework, in order to make sure that you will get the best possible performance it can be a good idea to have some extra fittings installed at the first-fix stage. This can also make maintenance much easier for the consumer.
Here are some examples of possible choices for extra fittings:
- Fit double check valves to the as this can prevent backflow to the boiler and contamination of the water supply.
- Install a magnetic type boiler filter to any radiator system as this will prevent sludge build-up from blocking your boiler.
- When it comes to both the hot and cold appliances, it would be a good idea to fit quarter-turn service valves.
Waste Water Plumbing
These days, the above ground drainage systems are really quite simple to install and the whole process has been made even easier with push-fit plumbing now complementing the traditional solvent- weld (this is the glued joint) and the compression (these are the screwed joint) fittings. It would be a good idea for you to make use of the catalogue of of parts that would be provided by the manufacturers. You would also need a workable plan and good knowledge of the things that you are not able to do.
There are three waste pipe plumbing systems on offer and out of these, solvent-weld is by far the most durable. The glued system must be push fitted together first and then once this has been done it should be taken apart one joint at a time before being glued back together. Try not to be tempted by the idea to glue it up on your first attempt because weld does not come apart after it has set. In the worst case scenario if you really needed to separate the joints then this could be done with a saw.
Compression joints are far more forgiving. This is because they can be made and unmade repeatedly until you are completely happy with the end result. The compression joints can easily be removed and refitted by threaded nuts and no glue or tools would be needed. The joints must be tightened correctly or there will be a certain amount of leakage sooner or later.
The push fit system is not compatible with solvent-weld because of the reduced diameter. This may only be minor but it will prevent you from joining the two together. In some cases the push pipe can kink and this lack of strength must mean that they will need plenty of support if hot waste water is going to be flowing through them without causing the pipe to sag.
Three Checks To Carry Out On Your Waste Water Plumbing
- In order to make sure that the traps remain intact while the system is in use, air has to ventilate the system sufficiently.
- In order to ensure that the pipework can be unblocked and cleaned, cleaning caps have to be fitted.
- The pipes must be sized correctly for the job at hand and they must be supported by clips.