Marley Alutec’s Tony Wereszczynski explains why landlords shouldn’t waste time when choosing rainwater and eaves systems and discusses the new industry standard relevant to the sector and the most recent technical advancements and trends in rainwater products.
Specifying rainwater and eaves systems may not be a top priority for housing providers, but these solutions play a crucial role in retaining the structural integrity of a building. Overlooking their importance could result in costly repairs in the long term. However, with the right guidance and technical support, these systems can not only be specified and maintained correctly, but also contribute to a property’s overall aesthetics.
The three key factors to keep in mind when choosing rainwater and eaves systems are durability, cost efficiency and aesthetics. In order to ensure all these are covered it’s especially important to consider the choice of material the solutions are made of. Typically, rainwater systems are PVC, cast-iron or aluminium. The most affordable option is a PVC system. Despite its low upfront cost however, this type of solution would require replacing at least twice during a building’s lifetime.
The more durable, albeit expensive systems are those made of cast iron. While they are bound to last longer without requiring a replacement, these systems are extremely maintenance-intensive. Perhaps the best of both worlds is offered by high-quality marine grade aluminium systems, some of which can last at least 50 years with little to no maintenance.
Beyond cost and maintenance considerations however, aesthetics must also come in to the mix, as rainwater and eaves systems have a considerable impact on the exterior. Manufacturers offer a wide range of products in a variety of colours and finishes that specifiers can choose from. One way to approach this is to choose products that match the building’s fenestration palette in order to achieve a uniform look. This allows housing operators to achieve any desired aesthetic and improve performance without compromise.
Metal guttering standard
To aid specifiers in their choice of metal rainwater systems, a new industry standard has been launched earlier this year. Building product standards have an important role within construction – to provide assurance over product quality and to help housing operators build a reputation for specifying quality and durable solutions. For too long there has been an absence of standards within rainwater and eaves products, which makes the new standard, Standard BS9101, a welcome development.
The Metal Gutter Manufacturers Association, the British Standards Institution and a select drafting committee comprising of experts from all sectors of the industry, initiated the standard in 2014 before launching it this year. Covering all metal gutter systems, the standard ensures they meet a core strength test to provide peace of mind to specifiers.
The standard would also make it a lot harder for unscrupulous manufacturers to copy existing designs and produce cheaper, less reliable systems. However, the new standard does not offer guidance on gutter sizing to provide the required rainwater drainage capacity. In this regard, it is important that proper rainwater run-off calculations have been done in order to adequately size systems. Partnering with a trusted manufacturer with an experienced technical department is the best way to meet these requirements.
Marine grade aluminium
Another industry development is the growing trend being seeing across listed, heritage or period-style new build properties, and that is a demand for low maintenance replacements for cast iron systems. To satisfy this trend, manufacturers are using modern materials such as marine grade aluminium. These products also have a life expectancy of 50 years or more and are highly corrosion resistant.
This makes marine grade aluminium cost effective when compared to cast iron installations, which require high levels of maintenance. Over the last decade the industry has seen a lot of movement, from technological advancements, such as nano self-cleaning additives, to improved industry standards launched to provide specifiers peace of mind when choosing rainwater and eaves systems. Installing high-quality rainwater and eaves systems can give a property a new lease of life and reduce lifecycle and maintenance costs.
Tony Wereszczynski is technical director at Marley Alutec