Commercial plumbing requires a different skill set to residential plumbing. It is a specialist area concerning plumbing for such enterprises as shopping centres, hotels, large strata buildings, factories and education facilities. A commercial plumber has the particular knowledge required to install and maintain hygienic, user-friendly and energy efficient facilities for these buildings.
The difference between plumbing requirements for an ordinary building and, e.g., a shopping centre is vast. The bathrooms, for example, need a lot more planning and attention to energy conservation and hygiene, due to the number of units and the high traffic experienced. This applies to all bathroom plumbing features. For instance, a commercial plumber can install waterless urinals, automatically flushing toilets and touch-free technology — in other words, water is only used when it is actually required. Taps are not left on and toilets are not left unflushed. The clean-up required is also significantly reduced.
In-building backflow prevention devices are vital for health and safety where there is the potential for contaminated water to enter the drinking water supply system. Commercial plumbers will assess risk levels and install backflow prevention devices where cross connections exist. This is both legally required and essential to avoid risk of illness and even death. Only licensed plumbers who have achieved accreditation as backflow plumbers can install backflow devices.
A commercial plumber has a completely different set of mechanical equipment to a purely residential plumber. This is because commercial plumbing simply takes place on a larger scale. Where a home may have a hot water tank, most large commercial buildings have a boiler system. While home residences can make do with guttering, commercial buildings usually require a roof drainage system. While a home residence may simply have a fire extinguisher or blanket, a commercial building may have a fire hydrant and/or fire hoses to maintain.
A specialised commercial plumber will have intimate knowledge of the sometimes quite stringent codes and requirements for commercial plumbing in the city they service. Usually, commercial plumbers are employed by contract and provide both emergency plumbing and an ongoing preventative maintenance program. This ensures that the most efficient system is put into place and kept in good working order, allowing owners to get on with other business.