Geberit opens new showroom and training centre

On 30 March 2017, Geberit hosted 300 customers at a gala event in celebration of their 10-year anniversary.

PIC 2568By Geberit Southern Africa

Guests were welcomed by Erwin Kaelin, head of developing markets, who gave a brief overview on the history of Geberit and, in particular, the journey of Geberit in southern Africa. Kaelin introduced the international campaign for 2017, “Time goes by. Quality remains” — a most fitting theme for Geberit Southern Africa.

Mark Schurr, managing director of Geberit Southern Africa, said the highlight of the event was the big reveal and official opening of the state-of-the-art showroom, which was purposefully built to showcase the new Geberit Bathroom Collection. Geberit Southern Africa is one of the launch markets for the new Geberit Bathroom series, which encompasses Geberit-branded ceramics and bathroom furniture. In addition, the new training centre was opened, incorporating the impressive three-storey-high hydraulic drainage tower — the first of its kind in Africa — designed along the same principles as the one located at Geberit Head Office’s training centre in Jona, Switzerland. Ronald van Triest, member of the Geberit Group Executive Board, Kaelin, and Helene Budliger Artieda, the ambassador of Switzerland, cut the ribbon and officially declared the new Geberit showroom and training centre open.

The showroom and training centre, incorporating the awe-inspiring Hydraulic Tower, is an investment made by the Geberit Group in acknowledgement of the performance and growth achieved in the region. The new facility was more than a year in the making as a lot of research, planning, and design were invested in ensuring the hydraulic drainage tower would be of international standard and the showroom would incorporate all the aspects of Geberit’s new product offering.

Geberit product manager, Leonard Da Silva, first went overseas to research how it was being done elsewhere. Each country’s tower is customised to its own needs. For example, the one at head office in Switzerland is a completely solid structure. He also went to see the Hydraulic Towers in Austria and Slovenia. The project was well thought out and planned even before Geberit moved into its new premises over a year ago. 

“The Hydraulic Tower challenges the status quo. No architect, engineer, or plumber can visit this and not appreciate the significance of plumbing, water, and water flow.”

The Hydraulic Tower was built at the same time as the new showroom, so it was no small task to pull off!

The local Geberit design team did the design work of the tower, and Modern Plumbing Works (MPW) was chosen to do the actual installation of the pipework. Murray Smith was the architect involved in the showroom project. His clear understanding of the brief from Switzerland, together with his creative thinking and design flair, is evident in the finished product.

The Hydraulic Tower provides an ideal learning point for installers and offers a clear understanding of the function of drainage from roof to waste pipes. It also shows the technical aspect of how water travels within drainage pipes. The showroom excites with a world of new possibilities through the appealing displays of the Geberit bathroom ceramics.

Geberit has a new look where reliable technology behind the wall is united with perfectly designed bathroom equipment. Geberit’s new facility, where design meets function, enables installers, specifiers, and end users the opportunity to experience this new world for themselves.

System description

At 9.5m in height, the tower is the tallest one in Africa. It was designed specifically for the South African plumbing market and the challenges it faces.

Currently it is programmed to run 11 different scenarios, demonstrating the incorrect and correct way of doing things. The plan is to have red and blue coloured water in the system to illustrate the difference between the incorrect and correct scenarios further.

The scenarios are all numbered on the tower. They show things like swept entry versus non-swept entry. Scenario 9, for example, is all about showing cross-contamination of water. You can run any scenario with the touch of a button on the preprogrammed tablet screen.

The system is fitted out with clear CAB piping. It is exactly the same size and dimensions of normal HDPE pipe, except that it is see-through to allow you to see what is happening with the water inside.

“People often think plumbing is just removing water and solids, but the water-to-air ratio is so important and thanks to the clear piping, we can now show people just how important,” says Da Silva. “It’s clear pipe and you can’t fool hydraulics; what you see is what you get.”

The tower offers training for all different kinds of professionals in the industry. It covers from installers to architects and specifiers — even quantity surveyors and wet service engineers – anyone can go there and experience the tower to see how it works.

While the main function of the tower is to show the workings of drainage, it has been fitted out with a Pluvia syphonic roof drainage system at the back to show how the system works – something that was never possible before. “Usually you can’t see such detail on the Pluvia systems. You only see the ends; you don’t see what happens inside the pipe,” explains Da Silva. “Once you see how it works, you understand it better.”

Hilti was used for the framework of the system, and Geberit cisterns, new toilets, and basins from the Geberit Bathroom Collection, together with Geberit urinals and traps, were mounted onto the system and connected to the clear CAB pipe. Grundfos pumps are used to pump the water, enabling the running of various scenarios. 


Once the design was complete, the MPW team moved onto site and worked quite quickly, starting on 14 February 2017, with completion on 30 March 2017. They were selected for the job based on their knowledge and understanding of the Geberit project.

Patrick Masongweni, project manager on the job for MPW, and Dean Cane, operations manager at MPW, both have seen the Hydraulic Tower at Geberit’s head office in Switzerland and were very impressed with the design. Also, MPW has been working with Geberit for many years. “So when we were invited by Mark Schurr to be involved, the decision was an easy ‘Yes’ for us!” explains Cane.

Installation was pretty straightforward once the tower’s design was signed off by head office. “Once we had the drawings for the water and drainage we could work with these, applying normal installation practices,” Cane explains.

“The Hydraulic Tower offers such a great opportunity for plumbers, architects, and engineers in southern Africa to experience the flow of water and change a few dogged mindsets of what is wrong and what is right,” says Cane.

“The Hydraulic Tower challenges the status quo. No architect, engineer, or plumber can visit this and not appreciate the significance of plumbing, water, and water flow,” says Cane.

All about training

Training commenced in May and the idea is to keep groups relatively small (about 12 people at most) to keep the focus of the group, explains Da Silva. The training will be done by the various Geberit sales consultants who have market experience and have been trained on the tower themselves. “The consultants know exactly what their clients need to be trained on, as they’re the ones out in the field all the time,” explains Da Silva.

From when the company opened its doors locally, training has been essential for Geberit. They initially started training in a small container at first, and now they have come so far. This is one of the key aspects about Geberit and why they are so successful. “The Hydraulic Tower is the next step to show our commitment to training,” said Da Silva.

“Geberit’s commitment to training is well known, and the tower will enhance the training visually as well as practically,” says Cane. “For us again, and for industry, the mere uniqueness of the project is special.”


There were remarkably few issues when the system was initially started up — only four leaks. These were mostly on the pan connectors, as the fuse between the HDPE and CAB was a huge challenge. “The installers have never worked with CAB piping before and that was in itself a challenge,” Da Silva explains. “It’s a bit of a nightmare to work with as it is such a brittle plastic. When you melt the plastic and pull it apart, it makes those cobweb strings. Then it becomes a challenge not to get those strings in the joints. On average, an HDPE joint on a 110mm pipe will take you about two minutes. Where on the CAB, from smallest to biggest, you’re looking at about five minutes for preparation and everything. So it takes a lot longer. It’s a highly technical product to work with, but Modern Plumbing pulled it off,” says Da Silva.

Automation and programming

Geberit programmed a home automation system to control the tower, customising it for the tower so everything can run off a standard tablet. There is still some fine-tuning required on some of the scenarios, but for the most part, impressively, everything just happens with the touch of a button — down to certain lights coming on to illuminate the section of the tower in use.

Currently, two control panels are wired to run the system with another in the pipeline.

“The programming of the scenarios was quite extensive,” explains Da Silva. It took quite some time to get everything running as it should.


“The system will keep evolving and we will keep adding products — it will be an ongoing thing. The moment the sales consultants identify a need in the market, we can introduce something new to the structure,” explains Da Silva. For example, there is currently a request to add another tank to show people the difference between having a 90-degree junction compared to a 45-degree one.

Hydraulic Tower in numbers

CAB clear piping (40–110mm) 210m
Mepla piping (20–50mm) 230m
Mapress stainless steel (76.1–108mm) 70m
HDPE (50–110mm) 30m
Total wiring  2 289m
Tower weight 1.5t

Dimensions of the three sides:

a) 7.1m × 9.5m
b) 3.5m × 9.5m
c) 5.0m × 9.5m


Click below to read the June 2017 issue of Plumbing Africa

(ensure you are logged in first)

PA June2017


 PAClick Here Blue



PA PLUMBDRAIN logo 150 PLUMBING Online logo TP SA Plumbers Handbook Logo

Product of

IMD logo White

Interact Media Defined (IMD), is one of South Africa’s leading multi-media magazine publishers READ MORE

Our Products

building LOGO white

Water Online logo white 200

HVACR Online logo 200

mining LOGO whiteCLA Online logo white MM

Talk to us

JHB T : +27 (0) 11 579 4940
CPT T : 0861 727 663
E :

13A Riley Road, Bedfordview,
South Africa 2007

© Interact Media Defined