BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION
Building & Construction Division Mission
To promote the expanded acceptance and use of high reliability plastic pressure pipe and tubing systems in building and
construction environments by providing research, education, and code/standard development with a focus on delivering
sustainable and safe plastic system solutions that enrich people’s lives.
Building & Construction Product Overview
BCD is focused on plastic pressure pipe and tubing systems used within buildings and on building premises for applications such as
plumbing, water service, fire protection, hydronic heating and cooling, snow and ice melting and ground source geothermal piping systems.
Additional applications used in commercial construction include pre-insulated pipes for district heating and tubing systems for field
heating or turf conditioning.
The four types of pipe and tubing systems primarily represented by BCD are PEX, CPVC, PE-RT and PP-R:
- PEX: crosslinked polyethylene
- CPVC: chlorinated polyvinyl chloride
- PE-RT: polyethylene of raised temperature
- PP-R: random copolymerized polypropylene
Composite or multi-layer materials such as PEX-AL-PEX and CPVC-AL-CPVC are also represented by BCD.
Note: In these applications, "tubing" refers to products whereby the actual Outside Diameter is 1/8 inch larger than the
nominal size, and "pipe" refers to products whereby the actual Outside Diameter matches that of steel pipe of the same
nominal size, or products where the actual OD matches the nominal size. In both cases, dimensional tolerances are
specified within relevant standards.
Features and Benefits of PEX, CPVC, PE-RT and PP-R Systems
In general, the features and benefits of these high-performance high-temperature plastic piping systems include:
- Ease of installation
- Corrosion resistance
- Safety of potable water
- Reliable fitting and joining options
- Light weight, ease of transportation and handling
- Long-term reliability proven over decades of use around the world
PEX is a polyethylene material which has undergone a change in molecular structure using a chemical
or a physical process whereby the polymer chains are chemically linked. Crosslinking of polyethylene into PEX for pipes
results in improved properties such as elevated temperature strength and performance, chemical resistance and resistance
to slow crack growth.
PEX is a high-temperature flexible plastic pressure pipe with over 40 years of successful use in the
European market, including extensive testing for durability and material performance. It was first introduced in North
America in the early 1980’s and is widely used for plumbing, water service, fire protection, hydronic heating and cooling,
snow and ice melting and ground source geothermal piping systems. PEX is approved in all model plumbing and mechanical
codes across the United States and Canada, and some PEX pipe is listed for use in fire sprinkler systems as defined in
NFPA standard 13D.
CPVC is PVC (polyvinyl chloride) that has been chlorinated via a free radical chlorination reaction.
CPVC is produced by adding chlorine to PVC in a water slurry or fluidized bed chlorination process. The chlorination
reaction is initiated by ultraviolet light. The chlorinated PVC is compounded with ingredients necessary for the desired
properties for further processing. The chlorine added to PVC gives CPVC higher temperature performance and improved fire
and corrosion resistance.
CPVC is a high-temperature plastic pressure piping system introduced for potable plumbing in 1959.
It has also been used extensively in fire sprinkler systems since 1985. This material is also used for many industrial
and process piping applications. CPVC pipe is available in nominal sizes from ½” to 24” and is approved in all model
plumbing and mechanical codes across the United States and Canada. In addition, CPVC pipe and fittings from select
manufacturers are listed for light hazard fire sprinkler systems, as defined in NFPA 13, 13R and 13D standards.
PE-RT is a polyethylene (PE) resin in which the molecular architecture has been designed such
that a sufficient number of tie chains are incorporated to allow operation at elevated or raised temperatures (RT).
Tie chains "tie" together the crystalline structures in the polymer, resulting in improved properties such as elevated
temperature strength and performance, chemical resistance and resistance to slow crack growth.
PE-RT is a high-temperature flexible plastic pressure pipe with a 35-year history of successful use
in the European market with extensive testing for durability and material performance. It was first introduced in North
America in 2003 and is used in aluminum composite (multilayer) barrier tubing and solid wall tubing and pipe. Applications
include plumbing, water service, hydronic heating and cooling, snow and ice melting and ground source geothermal piping
systems. PE-RT is approved in all model plumbing and mechanical codes across the United States.
PP-R is a copolymer of propylene and at least one comonomer, where the propylene is more than 50%
of the composition. PP-R piping products can provide higher temperature and pressure resistance depending on their
formulation. PP-R pipes also may include reinforcement layers for additional performance.
PP-R is a high-temperature plastic pressure piping system first used for plumbing and hydronic heating
in the 1990's in Europe and introduced to North America in the 2000’s. PP-R pipes also provide resistance to highly acidic
and basic solutions. Other uses include industrial and food-grade piping. Joints can be heat-fused. The high heat and/or
pressure performance makes PP-R pipes suitable for demanding applications, such as in high-rise buildings.