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The heart of any piping system is its service life and, from that, its life-cycle cost. Capital resources are nearly always limited when it comes to infrastructure investment. All too often the selection of a piping material is predicated solely on its initial purchase price without due consideration to its projected life cycle cost. Plastics piping systems with their inherent chemical and corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance, ease of installation, and strong, leak-free joints are an extremely attractive alternative to more traditional piping products such as steel, ductile iron, copper or concrete when analysed on a life cycle cost basis.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Australia investigated the predominant pipe materials used in water networks and found that PE piping systems provided for significantly lower life cycle costs when compared to ductile or mixed (ductile iron and PVC) water networks. Their work, published in 2018, considered all factors of a water network operation including purchase and installation cost, operational and repair costs, failure statistics, system age and location among other key variables. Similar studies have been published by others such as The European Plastic Pipe and Fitting Association (TEPPFA) and all bear testament to the life cycle cost benefits of plastic piping systems. (12,13,14)