New Aerospace College on the Horizon in Bromley – Assessing the Plumbing and Drainage Needs

Councillors in Bromley recently approved plans for an extensive new aerospace college at Biggin Hill airport. The Greater London Authority (GLA) has contributed £6.2m of funding to the £11m facility, which is a joint project between LoCate and London South East Colleges. The college will accommodate up to 200 students and 25 teaching staff.

Ahead of the college’s construction, developers will no doubt be mindful of the plumbing and drainage work that needs to be completed as part of the build. As with any large-scale development, it’s imperative that the existing sewage system is stress-tested to ensure it can sustain the demands placed on it by such a large premises – one that will probably have it’s fair share of toilets and kitchens (and possibly the odd fountain).

However, this merely scratches the surface of what is required to prepare the plumbing and drainage system for a new-build premises of this nature. Here are just some of the other actions and installations that should typically be considered before, during and after construction.

CCTV Drain Survey

Before building on top of an existing drainage system, the local water authority will usually insist that a CCTV drain survey – or build over survey – is carried out to ensure there are no blockages or other issues in the pipes that could cause further problems down the line.

CCTV drain surveys are one of the most cost-effective ways to see inside drains as they don’t require any digging. Instead, a waterproof CCTV camera is slowly lowered into the drain and feeds real-time footage back to an engineer above ground, allowing them to identify anything from leaks and blockages to scale build-up and displaced joints.

It is also advisable to conduct a CCTV drain survey once building is complete to check that no problems have arisen during the construction process.

person lowering equipment into a drain outside

Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM)

While CCTV surveys will ensure any plumbing and drainage problems are resolved ahead of construction, it’s important to regularly inspect and maintain all systems to prevent the recurrence of blockages, leaks or other issues.

Many businesses, colleges and public sector organisations will have a programme of planned preventative maintenance (PPM), delivered by a professional plumbing and drainage company. Although different premises will have different requirements, a PPM programme will typically cover the following:

  • Gutter cleaning
  • Toilet and urinal pipework
  • Septic tank and sewage treatment plant maintenance
  • Maintaining and emptying grease traps
  • External and internal drains
  • Pipework descaling
  • Clearing drains that lead to soakaways

Not only does PPM minimise the disruption and downtime caused by drain blockages and interruptions to the water supply, but it also helps public and private sector organizations meet health and safety legislation and environmental standards.

Soakaways & Sewage Treatment Plants

From 1 January 2020, it will be illegal for septic tanks to release wastewater directly into local watercourses. This regulation has been brought in to minimise water pollution across the UK, but it also supplements local policy on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which allow for rain and wastewater to run off in a natural way by replicating natural processes.

To adhere to the new regulations, owners of domestic and commercial properties are advised to either install a sewage treatment plant or soakaway system, both of which will ensure cleaner water is dispersed into local waterways.

With soakaways also used for rainwater run-off, this will no doubt be a consideration for the developers of the new aerospace college at Biggin Hill.

Grease Traps

One of the most common causes of drain blockages is the build-up of fat, oil and grease (FOG), which over time can form into ‘fatbergs’ – bringing major disruption to sewer systems and posing a risk to public health and the environment.

Commercial kitchens are required by law to install grease traps, which are designed to separate FOG and other solid materials from water, preventing their entry into local sewer systems and waterways. Any business or public body with a commercial kitchen could be subject to a hefty fine, or even closure, if they are found to be operating without a grease trap, so it’s essential that this is installed as part of any new build.

Water Pump Installation

Bromley and Biggin Hill may not be as liable to flooding as towns located closer to the River Thames. However, flood risk should be a key consideration for any commercial developer or construction company when planning a new premises.

If the proposed site of a new premises is located in an “at risk” area, the installation of a water pump should feature heavily in the development plans. Water pumps are installed in the basements of commercial properties and automatically detect flood water before pumping it out through a hose – allowing the property to get back up and running after a burst pipe, collapsed drain or any other flooding event.

The Commercial Plumbing and Drainage Experts

At Drain Doctor, we have extensive experience of working with schools, colleges and other commercial properties in the local area.

Our team of fully-trained engineers provide a full range of plumbing and drainage services for construction firms, from emergency repairs and planned maintenance through to grease trap, soakaway and water pump installation. We also conduct CCTV drain surveys to ensure drainage systems are fit for purpose ahead of build.

For more information on our commercial services, or to get a quote, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.