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Farm Labourer

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I've been asked by the wife to box in some pipes in the boot-room. Not a job I've done recently. Any tips or hints? Should I use plywood or MDF or something else? The box will be painted to match the wall.

Thank you in advance.
 

owen

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Use MRMDF. Fix a plumb batten on each wall then fix the boxing to that. I normally use 18mm for one side then 6mm for the front if it's in a corner or 18mm both sides with a 6mm front if it's in the middle of a wall.
 

MikeG.

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What are the pipes? If this is a soil & vent pipe, you should insulate it, and surround it with plasterboard, skimmed, for noise reduction. If these are services penetrating the ground floor ceiling, you should do the same, for fire protection (and use 2 layers of plasterboard with staggered joints). If these are water pipes not in the above categories, you should either leave an access panel or make the whole thing removable in case of leaks. MDF isn't the answer to everything.
 

Farm Labourer

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These are just the hot and cold supply to the kitchen but I do agree with access panels - I kind of like the idea that Peter Millard (as per vid link, above) has used with Buttonfix to attach the front - they would work admirably for this task.
 

owen

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MikeG.":3x4kalyu said:
What are the pipes? If this is a soil & vent pipe, you should insulate it, and surround it with plasterboard, skimmed, for noise reduction. If these are services penetrating the ground floor ceiling, you should do the same, for fire protection (and use 2 layers of plasterboard with staggered joints). If these are water pipes not in the above categories, you should either leave an access panel or make the whole thing removable in case of leaks. MDF isn't the answer to everything.
MDF is the answer to boxing in water pipes though. If it's just pinned onto battens, it can be removed easily if there's any leaks( there wont be, if something leaks it's guaranteed to be in the most awkward spot ever) it takes a perfect paint finish to blend in with the walls, and it's cheap. Obviously it's not any good where any kind of fire protection is needed but thats not the case with water pipes. Only time I would put an access panel is if there were any stop puffins, isolation valves etc getting boxed in.
 

DBT85

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My boxing in was done with mrmdf, easy to finish, easy to remove,easy to scribe to your wonky floors and walls.
 

MikeG.

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owen":2xlh1y8g said:
MikeG.":2xlh1y8g said:
What are the pipes? If this is a soil & vent pipe, you should insulate it, and surround it with plasterboard, skimmed, for noise reduction. If these are services penetrating the ground floor ceiling, you should do the same, for fire protection (and use 2 layers of plasterboard with staggered joints). If these are water pipes not in the above categories, you should either leave an access panel or make the whole thing removable in case of leaks. MDF isn't the answer to everything.
MDF is the answer to boxing in water pipes though. ..........
Not if they penetrate the ceiling. As I explained, anything that penetrates the ground floor ceiling must be fire resistant (minimum 30 mins, but that varies with the building type and location). This is a great example of why simple uninformed answers on the internet are so dangerous.
 

jimmy_s

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In Scotland pipes and other services pipes and other small services 40mm dia or less in groups of up to 4 spaced at 40mm or more apart going through a GF ceiling dont have to be fire stopped, I take it the English Regs are different? - I had always thought it would be the same. In the non domestic regs this is the case for going through fire compartment floors and walls also.
 

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MikeG.":21ruu8d5 said:
Not if they penetrate the ceiling. As I explained, anything that penetrates the ground floor ceiling must be fire resistant (minimum 30 mins, but that varies with the building type and location). This is a great example of why simple uninformed answers on the internet are so dangerous.
Surely if you're boxing in existing pipes that penetrate the ceiling, they would already meet that requirement?

.
 

MikeG.

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No, not at all. Even if they met the regs when the house was built that doesn't mean they meet the current regs. You're not obliged to bring everything up to current regs unless you are doing substantial works to that element of the building, but this is fire safety we're talking about here. If there is a fire downstairs you want some chance to escape from upstairs, so my advice is do this job properly.
 

owen

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MikeG.":vfda4dd9 said:
owen":vfda4dd9 said:
MikeG.":vfda4dd9 said:
What are the pipes? If this is a soil & vent pipe, you should insulate it, and surround it with plasterboard, skimmed, for noise reduction. If these are services penetrating the ground floor ceiling, you should do the same, for fire protection (and use 2 layers of plasterboard with staggered joints). If these are water pipes not in the above categories, you should either leave an access panel or make the whole thing removable in case of leaks. MDF isn't the answer to everything.
MDF is the answer to boxing in water pipes though. ..........
Not if they penetrate the ceiling. As I explained, anything that penetrates the ground floor ceiling must be fire resistant (minimum 30 mins, but that varies with the building type and location). This is a great example of why simple uninformed answers on the internet are so dangerous.
Do they? First time I've ever heard that, and my building inspector or architect has never mentioned it on many conversions I've done, flats, offices, houses, holiday lets. Are you sure?
I really can't see it being dangerous, by the time the fires burnt through the boxing in, there's still a ceiling above it exactly the same as if it wasn't boxed in? There's no void for the fire to go through because the pipes are in the way?
 

owen

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MikeG.":1y6hrjdi said:
owen":1y6hrjdi said:
MikeG.":1y6hrjdi said:
What are the pipes? If this is a soil & vent pipe, you should insulate it, and surround it with plasterboard, skimmed, for noise reduction. If these are services penetrating the ground floor ceiling, you should do the same, for fire protection (and use 2 layers of plasterboard with staggered joints). If these are water pipes not in the above categories, you should either leave an access panel or make the whole thing removable in case of leaks. MDF isn't the answer to everything.
MDF is the answer to boxing in water pipes though. ..........
Not if they penetrate the ceiling. As I explained, anything that penetrates the ground floor ceiling must be fire resistant (minimum 30 mins, but that varies with the building type and location). This is a great example of why simple uninformed answers on the internet are so dangerous.
Reading that again, are you saying the boxing in penetrates the ceiling or the pipes? Because the pipes penetrate the ceiling wether the boxing in is there or not? This is a genuine question btw because I might have to change the way I've been boxing in.
 

MikeG.

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All of the structural elements of a building have to survive a certain "reasonable time" in a fire, and those reasonable times are specified in the Appendices to Part B (approved document)*. For a 2 storey house without a basement this is 30 minutes. The ceiling is what provides the fire integrity for the first floor structure, and a 12.5mm + skim plasterboard ceiling is deemed to satisfy that requirement. However, if you punch holes through it, it loses integrity. To re-establish that integrity, boxing around the services with the same (or greater) specification means in effect the ceiling is continuous again. If you are using MDF for that job your building inspector is entitled to ask you for evidence that the boxing provides half hour fire resistance, and you won't be able to produce that.

However, if the building is controlled and has been properly inspected (a huge "if" these days with the innately corrupt system of private building inspectors), and your boxings have been passed, then that's the end of the issue. You don't have to satisfy me, you have to satisfy your building inspector.

* There is another route to compliance through British Standards (I think the relevant one is BS9999).
 

owen

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Thanks Mike. I guess what I'm trying to say though, a pipe filled with water coming through a ceiling that's been plastered around, isn't generally a loss of fire integrity? Or is it? Or is it basically down to how a certain person i.e the building inspector interperates the regulations?
 

MikeG.

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Yes it is. A fire in the room below will enter the ceiling void in the gap around the pipe, no matter what is in the pipe. But yes, that's down to the building inspector as to whether or not he A spots it, and B, sees it as an issue. Grenfell Tower was inspected and passed, remember.
 

owen

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But if it's plastered in there is no gap? It's something to bear in mind for the future though, thanks.
 

MikeG.

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owen":edz8n2kv said:
But if it's plastered in there is no gap? It's something to bear in mind for the future though, thanks.
.....and that's why this is something which can go unnoticed or ignored by a Building Inspector. However, the join between plaster and pipe isn't a fire-tight one, and anyway, if the pipes are close to the wall, no plasterer will ever get behind them to make a complete job of surrounding them.

In a house you've every chance of getting away with this (you shouldn't, but there we are), but in commercial developments such as a block of flats, or a hospital, these sorts of details have to be got right, and there are standard details on any set of drawings for such projects showing how it should be done. In those buildings the structure will be 60 or 90 minutes fire rating, so we're talking intumescent fire collars at each floor and so on, alarms, protected escape routes, and so on. They aren't going to let someone stick a few pipes through a hole and smear a bit of plaster around it!
 

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