Ground realty

Of pipes and conduits

These veins and arteries of a building need to be in a good condition for a solid foundation

Of pipes and conduits

Jagvir Goyal

A house works like a human body. It has a strong structural frame like the human skeleton, attractive finish like our skin and a network of pipes and conduits like the veins and arteries in the human body. These ‘veins and arteries’ of the house must work efficiently for the house to spring to life and remain ‘healthy’. Let’s have a look at these pipes and conduits:

RELIABLE Water supply

Existence of a faultless water supply system is the most important requirement of a house. For it, the source of water supply must be reliable for providing sufficient quantity of potable water. As we can’t do without water, making provision for an additional source like submersible pump is not a bad idea.

Next, the pipeline network must be well planned and leakproof to reach the water storage points and to supply it further to all outlets in the bathrooms, kitchen, terraces, courtyards and lawns. The pipelines should have adequate diameter, free of cracks or pin holes, durable, corrosion-free, having sufficient thickness and made of galvanised iron or PVC PPR or composite material. Their joints must be made leakproof by expert plumbers. Before putting these to use, the water supply pipelines should be pressure tested to ensure their ability to withstand water pressure without leakage.

clog-free Sewerage system

Equally important is the existence of a sewerage system that is able to flush out the waste matter and sewage of the house to an outside disposal system within no time. It should consist of clog-free pipelines made of cast iron or PVC. PVC pipes score over CI pipes as CI pipes often have cracks and pinholes and need lead caulking for joints, which is a cumbersome activity. CI pipes are heavy and prone to cracks during handling. PVC pipes are easier to handle and use. Diameter of the pipes, varying from 4 inch to 2 inches, should be decided carefully. The pipeline system should have trap points and closets to draw the waste water from the kitchen and other areas like courtyards and sewage and solids from the toilets to the exit chambers like gully traps and manholes and further to the main disposal pipelines. The traps and closets should have good water seals and vents to prevent the spread of foul gases inside the house and for their safe discharge into the atmosphere.

Heavy duty Electrical conduits

A house demands a network of conduits to carry electrical wires for transmitting electricity and providing light to every nook and corner of it. The conduits should be heavy duty to resist cracks and made of PVC with joint specials of same material and brand to carry fault-free, shock-proof, well-insulated, strong, multi-stranded, well-conducting and low-resistance electric wires of proper size and flexibility to end up behind operational switches and sockets to be operated by the house owner. All this electric circuit system should be well-earthed for shock prevention.

Plan AC piping well in advance

Provision of air conditioners in houses has become affordable and almost universal. Split ACs are preferred over window ACs as these don’t defeat the purpose of windows and aesthetically look better. To provide split ACs, it is essential to providing effective water drainage system attached to each AC and 2 inch diameter PVC conduits to house insulated copper piping up to the outdoor unit. Provision of drainage conduits and piping conduits should therefore be planned for each room irrespective of provision of an AC now or in future.

— The writer is former HoD and engineer-in-chief, Civil Engineering Department in a Punjab PSU


The right connections

Connectivity and Communication command the life systems today. A house is not live unless it has effective Wi-fi and DTH connections. In addition, internal intercom system may be required in a large house. Provision of LED screens in all bedrooms is becoming essential and members want to view channels of their choice. In addition, availability of CCTV cameras is highly advantageous. These items demand provision of separately provided conduits concealed in the walls to run the wires and cables to the modem, set boxes and cameras. Unless these conduits are provided, exposed wires and cables on the walls look ugly. Provision of these conduits should therefore be planned carefully at construction stage itself.


Ensure proper rain drain

A major requirement of the house is the provision of effective rainwater pipelines and the drainage system. All areas in the house receiving rainfall should have proper slopes towards rainwater pipes. The rain drain pipes should be leakproof and thoroughly open. Their mouths should be covered with iron gratings while the outlet points should discharge water into the mandatory rainwater harvesting system established in the house. Rainwater pipes may be of CI or PVC. Again, PVC pipes of minimum 3 inch diameter are preferred.