To accommodate the influx of conference attendees visiting the new Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), a major hotel chain started construction of a new, $50 million hotel. Built nine stories high with 290 rooms, city officials were deeply invested in its progress and success. Hotel decision makers were committed to making sure the hotel was on budget—and opened on time. Their dedication influenced every aspect of the project, including project design, construction, and installation of plumbing systems.
Plumbing Systems, Inc., a Florida-based company, was tasked with installing the new hotel’s piping systems. Vice President Kris Martin, oversaw the project. “This was the number one development project in Birmingham, and it was important to everyone that it was done right” he explained. “A number of piping materials were considered, but ultimately the most cost-effective, easy-to-install and best-supported piping solution was chosen for the job: Lubrizol CPVC Pipe and Fittings.”
Copper was originally chosen for the Birmingham project, but was quickly seen as a less desirable choice for plumbing systems. As explained by Martin, “Copper is just too valuable. It’s expensive to purchase and the street value at which someone can sell stolen copper is extremely high. We were able to achieve significant cost savings by using Lubrizol CPVC and didn’t have to worry about theft.”
Another material that was strongly considered was Polypropylene (PP-R). According to Martin,“PP-R was a realistic option; there was a lot of lobbying to specify it for this project. We were opposed to installing it, however, based on our past experience. CPVC was significantly cheaper than PP-R. About two-thirds was saved on material costs by switching from copper to CPVC. The hotel owners would have only saved about 12 percent had they switched to PP-R. CPVC is much less expensive to install, as well. It costs around $3,000 for the two tools required to join one-inch to one-and-a-half-inch PP-R pipe, and it can cost $12,000-$15,000 for the equipment required to install larger pipe. Solvent cement used to bond CPVC pipe costs a fraction of this amount.”
Martin continued, “It’s more of a task to install PP-R piping than CPVC, too. Installing a six-inch joint twenty feet up high via the melting techniques required for PP-R is no easy task. Using PP-R can mean delays, too.”
“If your joining machine breaks,” Martin explained, “installation has to be halted. Using solvent cement to join CPVC means never having to worry about additional problems related to metric system sizing, import costs and increased lead times to allow for shipping. CPVC piping, alternatively, is widely available.”
Ultimately, Lubrizol’s FlowGuard Gold® and Corzan® Piping Systems were chosen for the new hotel’s plumbing system. “We were relieved Lubrizol CPVC Pipe and Fittings technology was chosen. We have installed FlowGuard Gold and Corzan Plumbing Systems in 40 high-rise towers in the past. We have been installing products based on Lubrizol CPVC technology for 10-12 years, and about 90 percent of what we use is FlowGuard Gold or Corzan Piping Systems; we only use other products if we don’t have a choice,” Martin explained.
“Besides making great products, Lubrizol materials are all well supported, too,” Martin reflected. “The representatives at Lubrizol are very responsive; the training they provide is wonderful, and it is very easy to attain. You don’t necessarily get that with other piping material manufacturers. We’ve never had any significant problems since we began installing FlowGuard Gold and Corzan Plumbing Systems and we don’t anticipate any with this project. These are great products to work with and we’re pleased to be installing this type of system in Birmingham.”