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The construction of a new building requires the design and implementation of several sophisticated systems, many of which have significant overlap with the structure's plumbing. To make sure that these systems are properly designed and executed, especially when the level of complexity is high, it is a very good idea to have a plumbing engineer as part of the project team. Here is a brief introduction to the role along with five reasons why this professional can improve building safety, security and functionality.

What Is a Plumbing Engineer?

A plumbing engineer is an engineering professional involved with the planning, design and installation of building systems related to plumbing, including water supply and drainage. Their role frequently overlaps other areas of mechanical and civil engineering. The systems they work on include standard plumbing for bathrooms, water supplies and drainage usually on a large scale. Some of their more specialized work includes the plumbing elements of fire suppression systems, stormwater and sewer drains, and domestic water access.

For these reasons, plumbing engineers are closely involved in creating systems that affect the safety and security of new buildings. They usually work in collaboration with or under the supervision of licensed mechanical, civil or fire protection engineers. A plumbing engineer focuses on a "whole-building" concept that seeks to integrate important characteristics and elements of the structure's design while supporting natural systems of recycling water, air and waste.

Areas Where Plumbing Engineers Contribute to Construction

Sanitary sewer: In a new construction project, a plumbing engineer can be responsible for designing the sanitary sewer system from the building to the point where it connects to a municipal sewer system, an on-side disposal system or specialized containment site. This helps control standard sewer and wastewater that accumulates as part of daily activities in the building. If there are specialized sewage and drain system needs, he can also accommodate those. For example, the engineer can design drainage that separates wastewater streams if one of the streams needs specialized treatment before being diverted into a municipal sewer system.

Domestic/potable water: Clean, potable water is necessary in any context, and the plumbing engineer is responsible for systems that ensure a steady supply of safe water for a building's occupants. The engineer creates systems that supply water to plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems, fire suppression systems, process equipment, cleaning systems and more. In this context, he also creates systems for water supplies that need different treatments, such as those for manufacturing. When designing these water elements, the engineer always seeks to reduce water use and conserve as much as possible.

Domestic hot water: The plumbing engineer ensures an appropriate supply of hot water for use in a building by designing and implementing water heaters, distribution pipe networks and safety devices. He must always remember that equipment on-site will be needed to generate hot water and work to ensure this equipment and the hot water systems are appropriate to building occupant needs.

Storm water systems: Stormwater, rainwater and snowmelt drainage forms a significant element of a building's plumbing needs. A plumbing engineer creates the systems required to keep the structure clear of stormwater and free from flooding or water damage. Engineers can help design containment processes and ways to handle stormwater that do not put undue stress on the outer environment, such as releasing too much water at once into municipal drainage systems.

Plumbing fixtures: Plumbing engineers can help choose fixtures for use throughout an entire building, concentrating on water conservation, while still providing plenty of water for sanitation and building occupant needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on the role of a plumbing engineer in new building design and construction and to view projects we've worked on, visit our website!

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