Pipes are the network of tubing used to ensure the smooth conveyance of water through a building and regulate its flow. They must be compatible with other construction materials, the fluids being transported and the pressure both inside and outside the building. There are service pipes (the mains) which distribute the water supply to buildings (also called heavy gauge pipes). Within the building itself there are light gauge pipes which supply the water but also a separate system for drainage and waste disposal. Pipes are available in a number of lengths but also diameters. Different materials can be used to manufacture pipes. Copper pipes are expensive but they can withstand high pressures and heavy flow and resist corrosion. Galvanised iron pipes are cheaper but are more suitable in areas of hard water. Polythene pipes are cheap, light and easy to install but cannot be used to supply hot water. Concrete pipes are available with large diameters for heavy water drainage. Other materials used for pipes include asbestos cement, PVC, cast iron and stoneware (ceramic-based). An indispensable component for plumbing, without pipes no building would be able to function correctly. Not only does the piping distribute the water supply but it also takes away the waste.

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