Pipe dreams – Pendock casings for social housing

01 - Main image - CHM-MXM - IMG_20160419_102202-corrected-edit-crop-2700x1421px-1500x1000pxIt’s been 35 years since Pendock launched its pre-formed plywood casings for concealing pipework and building services, which have subsequently influenced the way social housing specifiers and contractors approach heating system refurbishment and fire safety improvement projects.

Such has been the impact of Pendock’s products and their widespread use on countless social housing projects, that the name is now a brand generic, where pipes are no longer just, ‘boxed-in’, but ‘Pendocked’.


From first principles

The original principle of using casings manufactured from pre-formed plywood to conceal pipework was conceived as a solution to reduce the amount of time spent on-site when boxing in pipework.

The predominant method at that time was to fabricate boxing from wood or MDF sheets, which then needed measuring, cutting to size, sanding and joining together, before being fitted using screws or nails to fixing battens. After this, the surfaces were then sanded before being painted several times and, in some cases, tiled.

Clearly, the cost of materials and labour to complete even a simple pipe boxing project was significant and escalated further when considering that this would need to be repeated in every flat during a heating system upgrade or refurbishment programme. Also, as flats often remain occupied during this process, tenants faced considerable disruption.

Pendock’s solution offered installers pre-formed casings in a range of different sizes that just needed cutting to length and fixing to two battens.

Also, from the outset, pre-formed Pendock TK and MX boxing products were pre-finished with a durable white melamine, which removed the need for painting, saving even more time.

The result was that comparative installation times were halved by using Pendock boxing, which reduced labour costs and enabled contractors to move on to the next block or project faster, all of which helped social landlords improve budget utilisation and reduce refurbishment times.


Expanding choice

During the past three decades, Pendock has expanded its range and introduced products to address new applications, such as metal boxing for concealing external pipework installed as part of distributed heating systems.

Metal boxing has also been used widely for concealing external gas supply and ground source heat pump pipework, which could be at risk from damage or vandalism. Fire sprinkler supply pipework mounted in open balconies or externally to flats are also covered using metal boxing to provide added security and weather resistance.

Boiler pipework casings and, more recently, fire sprinkler boxing, have also been added to meet the need for cost effective solutions that are quick and easy to install. The range of accessories has also expanded, allowing plywood boxing to be specified as an integrated solution including corners, stop ends and joints, all of which are dedicated to the specific product shapes, profiles and dimensions.

The scope of pipe boxing and casing products now available makes the Pendock range one of the most comprehensive available for local authority and housing association refurbishment projects. So much so, that the complete range is now covered by a dedicated brand – Pendock Profiles – which is orientated towards social housing applications.


Raising the profile – Tough and weather resistant metal boxing.

With the increased use of district heating schemes, Pendock’s metal pipe boxing has become one of the fastest growing products in the company’s range. Engineered primarily to provide a weather resistant and tough solution for concealing external pipework, building services and other utilities, it also protects against accidental damage or vandalism, where pipes may be within easy reach.

Bespoke manufactured to individual project specifications from 2mm aluminium, as standard, metal boxing is available as a three-sided channel profile, for securing to a single flat surface or as a two-sided 90-degree design for fixing to adjacent surfaces, such as a wall and ceiling. Supplied with a PPC finish and in lengths of up to 4000mm, both types can be used to conceal vertical and horizontal pipework and supported by a range of dedicated accessories.

Even though metal boxing has proven to be popular for the specific applications for which it was designed, it is Pendock’s pre-formed plywood boxing and casings that are still the most widely used to conceal interior pipework.


Decorative, durable and versatile

Within the Pendock Profiles range, there are five individual products, each with its own set of features and benefits, designed to suit various interior applications within social housing refurbishment.

At the heart of the ‘Profiles’ product range are the MX and TK profiles, which have been available from day one and have consequently been used in countless social housing projects across the UK. So, what’s the difference between them?

The primary distinction between the two products is their shape. MX is formed into a 90-degree ‘L’ shaped cross-sectional profile, while the TK incorporates a 115-degree angle on the shorter leg, which creates a sloping top surface.

As TK is designed primarily for concealing small bore heating system pipe work at skirting level, this feature helps it blend in to living areas, bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms.

The TK family also includes the TKD option, which is designed for concealing pipes running vertically, mid wall, and incorporates a 115-degree angle on either side, which allows pipework to be fully covered. Both are manufactured from 5mm plywood and are prefinished in durable white melamine.

The MX’s 90-degree profile and the wide range of sizes available, makes it a highly versatile solution for boxing in horizontal or vertical pipework in a variety of residential applications, from heating and mains water, through to larger diameter drainage and wastewater pipework.

This versatility is increased further as two ‘L’ shaped MX profiles can be joined together in different size configurations to create ‘U’ shaped channel sections. These can be used to conceal interior pipework or building utilities, such as vertical pipe runs from floor to ceiling or ceiling mounted fire sprinkler pipework.

The MX range is manufactured in 5mm or 8mm thicknesses, depending on the size of the profile, and a range of dedicated accessories is also available for both the MX and TK, including internal and external corners, as well as stop ends; butt joints and access panels.


Fire and water

An evolution of the MX is the MXF fire sprinkler boxing range, which also have a pre-formed and pre-finished 90 degree ‘L’ shaped profile. MXF has already become the preferred choice of many LA and HA contractors when concealing surface mounted sprinkler pipework in high-rise blocks, as part of fire safety framework agreements.

Manufactured in 5mm or 8mm thicknesses, MXF can be easily cut to length and drilled on-site to accommodate the sprinkler heads. Dedicated accessories are also available to give a high quality, integrated and professional finish.

Completing the range are Pendock’s ‘BC’ boiler pipe casings. Designed to conceal unsightly boiler pipework, valves, filters and flues, BC casings provide an attractive, practical and ‘easy-fit’ solution while avoiding the time and cost issues associated with site fabricated boiler boxing.

Access for gas safety checks, routine inspection or boiler maintenance can be carried out easily, as they can be removed, re-used and refitted without damage. A range of standard sizes are available, as well as the option of manufacturing casings to bespoke sizes for specific projects.


Service, support and specifications

With such a diverse and comprehensive product range, Pendock has ensured that specifiers and contractors can obtain easy access to information and technical details.

Their website provides a plethora of information, alongside downloadable drawings in PDF and DWG format, as well as NBS specification clauses for every Pendock Profiles product in its ‘Tech Info’ section. Beyond this, Pendock also offers technical support and advice by phone or e-mail. It appears that they’ve got everything covered.