As we navigate a complex socioeconomic landscape, created by the Covid-19 crisis, the role of public health in our cities is more prominent than ever before.
In light of the current pandemic, public health continues to play an essential role in shaping the future of our communities. However, more often than not, our focus remains on price rather than on people’s health.
Creating cities, communities and buildings that support public health is not a feat that is achieved overnight. It requires a thoughtful 360-degree approach that starts from planning and design through to installation, operation and maintenance of our spaces. It comes down to organised efforts from governments, enterprises and decision-makers to make informed choices that support health and wellbeing.
And this is exactly where the right drainage systems can have a pivotal impact.
Drainage systems are more than just pipes. They evacuate foul water from our buildings in a safe and controlled way, acting as a central component in the “pathogen treatment train” strategy. They also have a direct relationship to other systems in the building, helping to protect occupants from harm.
Essentially, the better the drainage system, the safer and more efficient the building becomes for visitors, occupants and owners.
An engineered drainage system can make all the difference. Especially now, where living and working in the healthiest possible environment is at the forefront of our minds, understanding the deep impact of safe and sustainable drainage in our daily lives is more important than ever before.
The function of high-performing drainage solutions is to mitigate the risk of failure, resulting in safer and stronger spaces that enhance health and well-being.
As a visitor or occupant, you may recognise drainage failures as foul smells or disturbing noises, which are not only irritating and inconvenient but can also be harmful to human health. Odours entering buildings through blocked vents, dry taps and damaged drain lines can cause a number of health and respiratory problems by leaking harmful toxins into the air.
As a building owner or operator, these failures can have drastic consequences. If a floor of your building had to close due to failures, earnings could be lost. Failures can even cause reputational damage should anybody in the building fall ill from exposure to toxins. High-performance drainage solutions can decrease liability for owners and increase the resale value of property.
Moreover, huge costs are associated with re-installation of drainage systems, which can often wipe out profit from the entire project. That’s why early engagement is important when creating commercial buildings that truly support public health.
If drainage is poorly chosen, installed or maintained, the impact can be severe. Decisions made during design and construction can adversely affect the people who use the building, resulting in serious health damage and increased exposure to viruses and pathogens (such as SARS and Covid-19).
High-performance drainage solutions can not only reduce the spread of these harmful pathogens, but also prevent the leak of toxic gases into our environment, helping to improve ventilation and maintain healthy indoor air quality.
Evidently, from high-rise residential towers to extensive commercial developments, it is vital that the safest and most sustainable solutions are employed everywhere. Hospitals usually require a zero-risk approach when it comes to designing and installing drainage systems. So why should people in an office tower or shopping mall matter less?
Commercial buildings require the same zero-risk approach to drainage to ensure that people are protected not only in their homes, but also in the places where they work, learn and shop.
Therefore, it is not enough to just employ any drainage product. Engineered drainage goes beyond the product to support holistic solutions that deliver a number of social and economic benefits.
And let’s not forget about the environmental impact of high-performance drainage systems. As our cities seek to adopt a more circular economic model, we are increasingly integrating more sustainable solutions in every industry.
The key is using lower impact drainage systems that embrace cleaner manufacturing methods. This means the production process results in less harmful waste products. Furthermore, these systems often substitute traditional materials for ones that are fully recyclable to better support the circular economy philosophy.
The truth is, we are currently living through one of the greatest public health crises of our time. Safe and healthy spaces are of utmost importance for ourselves and our loved ones.
We must recognise that water has an important role to play in the management and recovery of the global crisis. Water is essentially the new oil, and the right drainage solutions give us the ability to capture, recycle and reuse it, creating a sustainable cycle for the use of our most precious resource. It is the way we use, conserve and manage water – employing safe and sustainable solutions along the way – that will have the biggest impact on future generations.
* UK-headquartered Polypipe is one of Europe’s largest and most innovative manufacturers of plastic piping systems, with an extensive history and success in overseas markets, including the Middle East.