Complying with drainage regulations and 4IR thinking

Complying with drainage regulations and 4IR thinking

We have three options of how to comply with the seven sanitary drainage regulations.

By Vollie Brink, Pre Eng

VollieBrinkThere are only seven sanitary drainage regulations in SANS 10400-P, and these are Part 1 to Part 7.

Part 2 is the important technical design regulation to which the design and installation must comply and is inherently a description of how the system must function. It is the cornerstone of the deem-to-satisfy-rule (DTSR) design, but also the basis of the rational design (RD). It is also the Agrément Certification for design and construction, if someone has such a design and construction solution. These performance regulations are in Annex A, and B.

The choice of which design solution to use is at the choice of the owner, but the Building Control Officer also has a choice and may require a rational design if he or she deems it necessary due to complexity, or any other reason that deems it necessary.

If you carefully study the DTSR, you will see that it is basically a recipe for housing and offices, and it does not pertinently address buildings such as hospitals, hotels, shopping centres and industrial buildings. This is where the RD comes in.

I know you may tell me that all of this is old news to you, but what I want to discuss in this article is something related to all of this.

The DTSR design and construction recipe was specifically developed for the plumber or architect, and the exact words were that it was meant to always be used, “so that you do not need an engineer for a house design”.

This too is old news, but I want you to just take a moment and think how this will affect the 4th industrial revolution, the so-called 4IR. I wrote an article for another engineering magazine about 4Ir that will affect the future of all of us.

This 4IR is not still coming, it is already here and it seems it will be mostly electronic development and intelligent high-tech that could perhaps even replace much of your and my work, however, at my age I am not concerned too much, but you should perhaps be more concerned, in a positive way, as it should give you more scope and opportunities, and even a better world to live in (I hope!).

4IR cannot happen without change, progress, renewal, innovation, and thinking out-of-the-box. Stagnation will prevent you from participating in the 4IR race and it is developing at an exponential rate. What took years to develop is now progressing at phenomenal rates and if you want to be part of it, you must wake up with new thinking and be willing to change or stay behind. I find that many in the plumbing trade are not willing to adapt and change.

There is an old saying, ‘adapt or die’, and now is the time to adapt. My concern is that so many people use the ‘rules’ too rigidly, and cannot or will not adapt or rationalise. Rules can no longer be rigid but
need to be adaptable, and the rational design is the ideal vehicle to think anew and fresh, and with 4IR in mind.

A typical example of this rigid thinking and lack of adaptability is with the older generation who frantically cling to the regulations and specifically the rules. An example is the gully. There are other solutions for a gully which are much more hygienic and much more aesthetic. The basic reason for a gully was to provide an overflow for backflow from the municipal sewer and also a connection box to collect all the waste-water discharge pipes, and it is supposed to be situated between the house (kitchen and bathroom) and the municipal connection.

An engineer has developed a simple backflow-overflow pipe configuration which has been used with great success on many projects such as hospitals and other buildings, and also some other solutions to prevent overflow of sewage when there is a blockage. Fortunately, these solutions are part of rational design and could be implemented, but it is a pity that it cannot be applied on all buildings, as changing the regulations may take years.

The national building regulations (NBR) will not be 4IR-friendly at the rate it takes to adapt, and the institutional red tape is also not conducive to faster development. Perhaps the deem-to-satisfy rule will be more aligned to a doom-to-stagnate rule for the future or for fast tracking the 4IR requirements.

Perhaps what will be required in the short term is to remove some of the people who cannot adapt or align to new and fresh 4IR thinking.

 Vollie Brink is one of the industry’s longest-serving wet services engineers. He continues to serve on SABS committees and has been involved in the Green Building Council’s Green Star rating system. Brink continues to consult for various organisations while enjoying a well-earned retirement.


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