On the surface, commercial plumbing and residential plumbing might look very similar. You see water supply lines and drains, and this may lead you to think that commercial drain service and residential drain service are interchangeable. While there might be some similarities between the two, there are also some very important differences.
One of the first differences is that the drains in your average home are not going to be under the same kind of stress as a commercial drain. Generally, commercial drains need to handle a much greater flow than the drains on a single-family home. In addition to that, commercial drains might have different requirements depending on the setting. At some commercial properties, the drains might need to handle different chemicals or a high volume of waste that would not be present at a residential property.
Due to these differences, the regulations and codes for commercial drains are much more stringent. A commercial plumber needs to understand these codes and have the ability to perform the work to the precise requirements. Commercial drain services will also require a plumber to have specialized training and they will need tools and equipment that are specific to various commercial applications.
If you need work performed at a commercial property, then you need to hire a commercial plumber that understands these differences. In the following sections, we are going to take a closer look at different types of commercial properties and some of the drain services that they might need.
Commercial Drain Service
When you talk about commercial drain services, you have a wide array of different settings to which a plumber’s skills may be applied. Each setting will be governed by its own regulations, and this can dictate some significant differences in the drainage requirements for the property. To see just how different commercial plumbing is from residential plumbing, a look at a few of these different settings could be instructive.
Restaurants and other food service businesses have very particular needs when it comes to their drains. They need to have a variety of working drains throughout their kitchens and they will need to have working sinks and toilets for their staff and for customers. Along with that, most establishments that serve and prepare food will need to have grease traps.
The drains in a restaurant kitchen are subject to a level of stress that far exceeds that of your average home drain. Between all of the food preparation, cleaning of dishes and cleaning of the kitchen itself, the drainage system will handle immense amounts of water and waste in a day. If a drain were to fail, it could result in a serious disruption to the operation of the business, and it could expose the staff and your customers to unsanitary conditions.
The drains in a restaurant will need to be installed to precise specification, and restaurants have specific needs when it comes to drain maintenance. Beyond that, they will also need a commercial plumber to perform regular cleanings for the grease trap that is connected to the various drains in the kitchen.
Gyms and Fitness Facilities
You have a variety of gyms and fitness centers that would need commercial drain services. Just like a restaurant, a gym or fitness club is going to need to have bathroom facilities for both men and women. Your members are also going to expect the ability to take a shower when they are done their workout. This not only means having showers, but also making sure that the drains can keep up with all of the usage.
One of the more specific applications that apply to gyms is the shower system. You are likely to have a system with a lot of showerheads in two different sections for men and women. This is also going to require drains that can handle the flow of water coming for the number of showers that are available. An experienced commercial plumber is going to understand how to build this shower facility and they are going to understand the drainage requirements based on the number of showers that are installed.
Aside from the bathrooms and showers, some fitness centers might decide to install specialized pieces of equipment that might require the skills and knowledge of a commercial plumber. You’ll find a lot of gyms that have a steam room or a sauna. Along with that, you also have gyms that might decide to offer a hot tub or an ice bath.
Apartment and office buildings might not seem like settings that would have heavy-duty plumbing needs, but the size of these buildings make the drainage and plumbing needs for these buildings very different from that of a single-family home. They often need multiple distribution points and drains, and different offices might need specialized services.
First, you have to consider the number of floors and the number of units. If you are talking about apartments, then each unit is going to need the drains for the bathrooms and kitchens. For an office building, you’ll have to have bathroom facilities for every office and most offices will need a break area with a kitchen.
The maintenance and upkeep for large apartment or office buildings can also be complex. You might be able to hire a maintenance team for some of the more basic plumbing maintenance and repairs, but you will probably need to hire a commercial drain service for much of the work. Some property owners decide to contract with a commercial plumbing service to perform regular inspections and maintenance.
Functional drains play an important part in running a hotel. First, you have to consider all of the needs of the guests when they are in their rooms. Obviously, they expect a toilet that is going to flush properly and they are also going to want a sinks and showers with functional drains. A hotel has to have all of this plumbing and drain work done, but there is more to it than that.
Most hotels will also serve and prepare food, so the food preparation areas are going to need much of the same plumbing work that you would find in a restaurant. They will need adequate facilities for preparing the food, washing dishes and a hotel with food service is also likely to need a grease trap for the drains. If the hotel offers laundry service or handles the cleaning of their own linens, then plumbing and drainage will also be required for that.
To ensure a good experience for guests, a hotel will also need regular maintenance. Just like with an apartment building, a hotel might have a maintenance staff, but it is unlikely that they will be able to take care of all of the drain maintenance and repair needs. For services like regular maintenance and inspection, a hotel is likely to contract with a commercial plumbing service.
Drain services for healthcare facilities are usually going to be a little more complex than that of other settings. While you do have a range of different healthcare settings that will need plumbing, in settings where patient care is a priority there needs to be an emphasis on hygiene and sanitation. You have to protect the health of your patients and your staff, and you need plumbing systems that perform reliably to ensure the smooth operation of the facility.
Whether you are talking about a large hospital or medical complex or something like a dentist’s office, assisted living facility or physical therapy center, all of these patient care settings are governed by very strict rules, and this extends to the plumbing. For the installation, maintenance and repair of drains in healthcare facilities, it is of the highest importance that you have a commercial plumber that understands the unique needs of the setting.
A dentist’s office makes for a good example as to how complex things can be. A dentist’s office will need more drain lines that many other commercial facilities. Each chair will have its own basin, and each workstation will need areas for the dentist’s and technicians to wash up. You also have to consider the pathogens and contaminants that could be in the water that gets washed down the drain. A dentist’s office might be required to have specialized drain equipment that is designed to contain various pathogens and contaminants.
Healthcare facilities will also have strict guidelines for maintaining the drains in their buildings. They might need regular inspections from a commercial plumber and they will also have to have the equipment maintained to ensure reliable operation. In many commercial settings, a lack of maintenance might just lead to a bad day for the business; in a healthcare setting, it could put people’s lives at risk and open the business up to serious liabilities.
When you talk about recreational facilities, it could be any number of different settings. You have things like community centers, parks, swimming pools, campgrounds and more. Depending on the type of recreational facility, it will have different plumbing requirements.
Most recreational facilities are going to need bathrooms at the very least. This will include facilities for both men and women. Depending on the type of activity and the setting, you might also need to include showers and changing rooms for both the men and the women.
Many recreational facilities also have areas where food is for sale and places where people eat. If that is the case, then this area is going to need to follow some of the requirements that are in place for food service applications.
When it comes to a retail setting, the scope of the facility and the purpose can vary, so the plumbing needs will differ. You have everything from the single standalone store to larger shopping complexes like a mall. A small standalone store might have relatively simple drainage needs when compared to other commercial settings, but the larger footprint of a mall might require more complex drain systems.
Even in a small standalone store, there are some requirements. At the very least, you are going to need bathrooms for the staff. You might also choose to have bathrooms that are available to the public and most stores will also have a break room with an area for washing dishes.
With malls, it can get more complicated because it is a larger facility and you will have many different units that all have their own needs. The different retail units in the mall might need their own bathrooms for staff. You also have to include the public bathrooms throughout the mall. If the mall has restaurants, then all of those units are going to need to adhere to the codes that apply to restaurant drains.
Regular Upkeep and Maintenance
Aside from ensuring that commercial drains are installed correctly and to code, upkeep and maintenance are very important to the plumbing in any commercial setting. As we mentioned before, commercial drains are usually going to be under a much greater stress than those that are in the average home. Without the necessary maintenance and upkeep, these drains can start having problems very quickly.
The possibility of a malfunctioning drain is not the only reason to stay current on all of your maintenance and upkeep. A failure to perform adequate maintenance can lead to serious problems that will result in expensive repairs. Beyond that, a malfunctioning drain can make for conditions that are unsanitary –or at the very least unpleasant – for your customers.
Along with the need to keep your business running without disruption, much of the maintenance and upkeep for commercial drains might be a big part of meeting regulatory obligations. As an example, restaurants will need regular inspections and maintenance from a commercial plumber. A failure to meet these obligations could land the business on the wrong side of the health codes.
In a commercial setting, all of the installation, repairs, maintenance and inspections need to be performed by a licensed commercial plumber. It can help to contract with a single commercial plumber for all of this work. With the same plumber coming back time after time, you will be able to coordinate a schedule for the necessary maintenance and inspections, and if there is ever the need for a repair, it is better to have a plumber that is familiar with the system in your location.