The BESA Pipe Plus app provides designers, contractors, consultants, and specifiers with technical guidance to help them identify the most suitable metal pipework solution for their specific applications and ensure they are referring to the latest relevant technical standards and best practice 

It is free of charge and was developed by the Association’s Pipework App Development Group, in partnership with the British Metal Tubes and Fittings Association (BMTFA). This collaborative exercise brought together manufacturers’ technical expertise, distributors’ understanding of poor specifications, and installers concerned about reducing risks associated with poor or incorrect product selection.  

The app covers all aspects of pipework specification for construction and building engineering projects, including guidance on all relevant materials such as carbon steel, stainless steel, and copper, and the appropriate jointing options, as a function of temperature and pressure. 

BESA and the BMTFA have both repeatedly warned about the risks posed by making a poorly informed product choice, which can impact pressure integrity, temperature suitability, service life and performance, resulting in increased risks, extra maintenance, compliance and sign off challenges, as well as reduced system lifetime.  

They pointed out that 45% of failures in pipework systems were caused by incorrect or poor installation and 25% were the result of the wrong product being selected. The app will, therefore, provide much needed peace of mind to specifiers and reduce potential health and safety issues, BESA says.

It will give on-site teams easy access to best practice installation techniques, training, and health and safety information, ensuring they can get the job done right first time and avoid potentially costly mistakes. There are also major benefits for distributors and wholesalers who will be able to check they are selling the right product for the application in hand. 

“We are delighted to make such a valuable tool freely available to the industry,” said Will Pitt, chair of the BESA Pipework Group. “The need for such a resource has been apparent for some time and we should all be extremely grateful to the experts from both associations who gave up so much of their time and expertise to make this possible. 

“Currently too many specifiers rely on legacy and outdated specifications that can lead to compliance, installation, performance and service life issues,” he added. “The app will be crucial in helping them avoid these pitfalls.” 

The BESA Pipe Plus app is also a portal to a comprehensive industry database to support accurate product specification including details of steel grades, technical delivery conditions, installation guidance, and other BESA supporting information. The app also directs users to BMTFA members who can supply more detailed product information and support. 

The confusion surrounding what type of welded carbon steel tube to select is a glaring example of the pitfalls the app will help contractors avoid. There are two distinct types of this kind of tube: cold-formed or hot-finished. While both look largely the same when installed, they have very different performance and compliance characteristics, meaning that cold-formed may not be suitable for a range of applications.

“Awareness of this kind of issue has improved since Grenfell, which has been a ‘game changer’ in terms of increasing the focus on safety and compliance,” said Richard Trevaskis, BMTFA chair.  

“Specifiers are now more cautious about value engineering projects because they risk compromising the integrity of the original design and leaving themselves exposed to blame if something they have cut from the original specification leads to problems in the future. 

“The pressure on project teams to get decisions right first time is growing. Using the BESA app will help everyone in the relevant supply chains make informed and compliant choices for the long term benefit of building users, designers and constructors,” he added. 

The app development partners added that plans for a Golden Thread of project information proposed by the Hackitt Review will make the decision making process more transparent, so it is more important than ever that specifiers and contractors have the best possible advice and technical specifications at their fingertips at each stage of the project. 

“This is only the start of our collaboration with industry, as we have plans to further develop the app and the information it holds, as the industry looks for further best practice guidance, digital data and traceability improvements,” added Pitt. 

The BESA Pipe Plus App is available from the Apple App store and Google Play store.