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The British Standard that guides and determines the thickness of insulation we all supply and/or install on industrial and building services equipment has reached the point where it is to be considered for review. The British Standards Institute (BSI) puts all British Standards through a review process at least every 5 years, although not every standard changes or is rewritten.

As the title suggests, BS 5422:2009: Method for specifying thermal insulating materials for pipes, tanks, vessels,
ductwork and equipment operating within the temperature range -40oC to +700oC, was published in 2009 and has been revised on average every ten years, with previous editions in 2001, 1990 and the original in 1977.

The BSI is currently considering whether to undertake a review of the standard – either as an update or full revision.

BS 5422 is the standard that underpins the pipework and ductwork insulation thicknesses required to comply with the recommendations within Domestic and Non-Domestic Building Service Compliance Guides, and the Domestic and Non-Domestic Building Service Compliance Guide for Scotland. These compliance guides are referenced within the energy related Approved Documents for use in England, and Wales, the Technical Booklets for use in Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Building Standards Technical Handbooks.

In addition to this, BS 5422 includes tables of insulation thicknesses for refrigeration, cold and hot process applications, advice and insulation thicknesses for protection against freezing, definitions of fire performance criteria, the importance of correct vapour barrier selection, and explanations of thickness calculation methodologies.

Due to its comprehensive contents, BS 5422 is often cited in project specifications as the default contract compliance document, raising its importance further.

How TICA Members Can Help

For the reasons above, BS 5422 impacts what TICA members are contracted to apply to pipework and ductwork, and it can also influence the finishing materials used in combination with the insulation. Involvement in a revision is therefore important to TICA members, any changes will have an impact on what you are expected to install on site, engagement at the early stages will allow you to prepare for changes as they filter through the contractual route.

Examples of changes that could be made include increasing the range or number of pipe sizes within tables in the standard so that clear advice is available to all users, particularly for larger sized pipework, extending guidance for pipework types other than steel, introducing widely used cladding materials into the tables of surface emissivity, and adding to the guidance on the insulation of valves and fittings.

TICA members played a major part in the revision of the British Standard BS 5970:2012 Thermal insulation of pipework, ductwork, associated equipment and other industrial installations in the temperature range of -100°C to +870°C. Code of practice and there is the opportunity to do the same for a revision of BS 5422. If you have any issues, recommendations or suggested changes to the current standard, please make them known now so we can get a head start on the re-drafting process.

Written by Carl Davison, Technical Services Manager of Kingspan Industrial Insulation

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