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The Victaulic grooved pipe jointing system has been used for various water, fire protection and sprinkler systems for Swiss Re’s new headquarters at 30 St Mary Axe in London.

The distinctive, curved and tapering 180 metre tower is set to be the second tallest in the city, and a combination of Victaulic’s Style 77 Flexible Couplings and Style 07 Rigid Zero-Flex Couplings were used as the best solution to connect both carbon steel and stainless steel pipework throughout.

The Victaulic system was chosen by Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil for it’s years of proven joint reliability, as well as its ease and simplicity of installation, which contributed to controlling cost and offered benefits to the installation programme.

Due to the variety, size and scale of the individual pipe systems required for the 40floor building, up to 450mm diameter sized couplings were used to connect the multitude of building services systems, which included condenser, chilled, low temperature hot water and boosted cold water applications. The use of these couplings by Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil was essential to the company’s philosophy for a modular system of pre-fabricated risers, which could be progressively installed as the structure progressed. This enabled a complete floor of riser pipe work to be installed in one day, which was equivalent to approximately 250 metres of pipework.

Victaulic Style 77 and 07 couplings were combined to address the need for both movement and rigidity in the range of systems, as manufactured from ductile iron, the Victaulic Style 77 coupling offers a flexible joint.

Alternatively, the Zero-Flex – style 07 coupling was used for long straight pipe runs and risers where minimum movement was necessary. Designed to give a rigid pipe joint, the Zero-Flex Joint coupling is manufactured with a unique patented angle pad, which constricts the housing key into the grooves providing positive clamping of the pipe to resist torsional and flexural loads.

Victaulic couplings and fittings provide the consultant, contractor and end client of a project with a number of both technical and commercial benefits.

In addition to installation time and cost savings, Victaulic systems require no hot work permits helping to comply easier with health and safety regulations. It offers minimal equipment investment and service downtime because only two bolts are required for a 300mm joint, and the installation of Victaulic couplings help provide a relatively clean system, greatly reducing the time required for system flushing.

The Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil contract commenced in early March 2002 and is due for completion in September 2003.

Encompassing different widths, the building is designed with a 50 metre diameter at the base, increases to its widest of 57 metres at the middle and then tapers in at the apex. Founded on 750mm diameter reinforced concrete piles, the structure comprises approximately of 10,000 tons of structural steelwork that forms the core and outer diagonal grid. The whole envelope is glass clad and the diagrid in internally impressed with aluminium panels.

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