Contour Heating

Contour: Why specify pipe boxing?

  • 19 Jun 2020

Concealing exposed pipework is essential to ensure safety standards are met in healthcare, mental health, custodial, education and local authority sectors. Alongside this, the pipe boxing’s smooth surface allows for efficient, hygienic cleaning practices; Contour is providing further information to help aid the specification process of the company’s pipe boxing solutions. 

Pipe Boxing: Three Options Available

In most cases, aluminium, mild steel and preformed plywood are the preferred materials used during the manufacturing process of the pipe boxing, and each material is suited to different purposes. 

Internal, Low Risk Applications

For internal, dry applications of high and low traffic, Contour recommend you opt for a preformed plywood solution. The thickness of this can be adapted to suit the specific environment. For a high-traffic environment, like a school corridor, for example, it is recommended you go for an 8mm thickness.

Damp or Wet Environments

If the exposed pipework is vulnerable to rust due to it being outdoors (or in a damp, internal setting), aluminium would be the best material, as it will be able to withstand the rigors of British weather.  

High-Risk Environments

For environments that are susceptible to damage, such as a mental health facility or SEN/challenging setting, a stronger solution would be most appropriate. In this instance, mild steel would be the most suitable material. 

Can You Get Anti-Ligature Pipe Boxing?

For high-risk settings, an anti-ligature pipe boxing option is available.

Recent statistics indicate suicide and self-harm in mental health and custodial settings continue to be a problem in the UK. This has prompted a rise in anti-ligature specification for furniture, fixtures and fittings in these high-risk environments. 

Potential ligatures below waste height can pose a significant risk to users, which is why anti-ligature pipe boxing should be a consideration in mental health, custodial, and any other settings that house individuals who exhibit challenging and self-harming behaviours. 

Anti-ligature Characteristics to Look Out For

Look for anti-ligature grilles that are punched directly into the aluminium or steel, rather than as a separate grille sheet welded inside the casing. This reduces potential weak spots and ensures casing retains strength and rigidity.

In terms of grille design, specifiers should seek to choose products that comply with latest Government guidance, for example The Home Office Police Buildings Design Guide (Custody, July 2009, section PD3.02.14), which details that grilles unless otherwise specified, should be perforated with 2mm diameter holes at 4mm centres, in a triangular pitch formation.

Added Protection: BioCote® Anti-Microbial Protection

Healthcare, mental health, custodial and education settings all require safe and stringent hygiene practices in order to control the spread of infection.

Additionally, these settings require the cleaning process to be thorough yet efficient in order to reduce overheads whilst following safety guidelines. 

The above settings are all vulnerable to potentially unsanitary treatment and viruses are known to stay on surfaces even after they have been wiped clean. 

Therefore, we recommend that specifiers opt for pipe boxing that contains anti-microbial protection, such as BioCote®. To find out more about the hygienic efficiencies of BioCote® protection, click here.  


Boxing in unsightly pipework will provide users with a safe, hygienic solution; yet it is important to understand key product characteristics before making specification. 

Contour hopes this blog has provided answers to some of your common queries, but do not hesitate to get in touch with an expert to discuss your project further. 

Click here to access the company’s pipe boxing product page, where you will find more info, including technical drawings and a brochure. 

Contour can be contacted at;
The Mansions
43 Broadway
TF11 8BB
Tel: 01952 290 498
Email: [email protected]

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