A Builder’s perspective on pipe boxing methods
July 2020

Leading print and digital publication, PHAM News, recently ran an online Q&A article on the use of Pendock products in a Liverpool social housing contract that were fitted by local building contractor, AA Molyneux, which makes interesting reading, so we’ve shared it here.

Concealing heating and plumbing pipework can be simple when using pre-formed pipe boxing, eliminating the hassle and time consuming task of fabricating solutions on site. PHAM News talks to Andy Molyneux from Liverpool-based AA Molyneux Builders about how using Pendock’s pipe boxing products make for a more efficient use of time and a neater finish.

Q: What type of work does AA Molyneux carry out?
A: We’re a building company and work on any projects associated with the building trade – from replacing tap washers and general maintenance to disabled adaptations and full structural refurbishments. We do a lot of work in the social housing sector for housing associations and local authorities.

Q: Do you often need to conceal heating and plumbing pipework?
A: Yes – we generally cover all heating and plumbing pipework. The main reason being that cosmetically it looks a lot better. We like the clean lines it creates and it can make a space feel bigger.

There’s also a health and safety issue to be aware of. Pipes can get hot, so they often need to be covered, especially in public sector properties. We also find that exposed pipes can be easily damaged and are difficult to keep clean, as they can create a dust trap.

Q: Which method do you use and why?
A: We use Pendock’s pipe boxing solutions – which are pre-formed and pre-finished. They are neat, consistent and cosmetically look great.

Before this, most of our pipework was boxed in using plywood or MDF, which we’d buy in lengths and cut to the right dimensions. This was laborious and time-consuming – and costly. We’d have to get a joiner in and then a painter, so it would end up taking approximately three to four times longer to fit compared to the Pendock system we use now.

Pendock looks so much neater than normal ply or MDF boxing in, and the finish is more consistent. It’s quick, easy and maintenance-free. It doesn’t need any painting and any tradesperson can fit it.

We also use Pendock’s boiler pipe casings – these simply slot over the pipework under a boiler, again providing a very neat solution that requires minimal cutting or preparation.

Q: Where can you buy pre-formed boxing from?
A: We buy products online from Pendock, or through builders’ merchants that stock it. It’s very straightforward, but if we need any help with product selection or sizing, we just give the Pendock technical team a call.

Q: How do the costs compare to traditional methods?
A: Initially, a piece of pre-formed pipe boxing – say 2 to 3 metres – can seem a little bit expensive compared to buying a piece of timber of the same length – but the benefits far outweigh the costs. We’ve saved so much time and money because we don’t have to fabricate pipe boxing solutions on site anymore.

Q: How easy is the fitting?
A: It’s easy to fit. You just need the pre-formed profile, some battens, some screws, screw caps and some silicone to seal the edges into the wall and floor. You can cover vertical or horizontal pipework and you can get internal and external angled corners, so you don’t need to make mitre joints. The sizes come in various heights and widths, which is very handy, as obviously you don’t know how many pipes you’ll need to cover – there could be two, three or four pipes, or even a combination of these in different areas. It’s so much easier to fit compared to on-site fabrication.

Q: How do you access the pipework in the future, for repairs or maintenance?
A: If there’s an issue behind the boxing in, maintenance is very easy. All you have to do is unscrew it, fix whatever problems are there and refit it. It’s very simple to do. You can also buy access panels from Pendock, which can be fitted within the pipe boxing in appropriate places – over valves, for example.