Plumbing without pain

Saniplus ... connecting multiple fixtures.

HOMEOWNERS can now install an extra toilet, bathroom or kitchen anywhere they want without major works, thanks to innovative macerating technology from SFA Group, which was promoting the system at a premier building and interiors exhibition in Bahrain in May (7 to 9).

The French group, the inventor of the well-known macerating systems, has recently found a partner in Bahrain-based Saniclean, which is the exclusive and authorised distributor for the group’s range of Saniflo pumps and macerators in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Both partners were at this year’s gulfInteriors exhibition held at the Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Centre, to promote these products for both markets.

Speaking to Gulf Construction, SFA Group’s export director Xavier Desrousseaux says: “Our system is an alternative to traditional plumbing, where you have to break the floor or walls to install a shower room or bathroom. Our system is simple: just connect the macerator to electricity and water supply, and you have a working bathroom in half day, anywhere you want, regardless of gravity drainage.

He says additional fixtures such as a washbasin and shower can be connected to this system. “An extra bathroom can add 10 per cent to your home’s value,” Desrousseaux points out.

Elaborating on the system, he says the macerator grinds human waste into tiny particles and pumps the effluent up to 5 m to the main drain pipe, adding that it’s also beneficial for locations where gravity evacuation is either not possible or costly to implement. Also, the discharge is through a small bore pipe (25 mm), so there is no disruption to the building and the pipe can be hidden in walls, false ceilings, as a discrete installation, hence providing an economical way to renovate, remodel or do retrofit installations.

Desrousseaux emphasises that while that there are competing products on the market, mostly from European companies, SFA Group stands out because of the very wide range (25 to 30 models) it offers, from macerators to pumps, which are extremely reliable. “Today, we are the only ones to have the motor sealed in an oil-filled enclosure – which is not the case with our competitors,” he says.

As a specialist in the field, SFA can offer a specific product for each kind of application and sanitary challenge. “For example, to evacuate a full bathroom, we offer a macerator with four inlets; for a full house, we have a specific lifting station; and for hot water from a commercial kitchen, we have a dedicated product,” he adds.

The products are fitted with carbon filters to neutralise odours. Its commercial lifting stations have venting systems that help discharge odours outside the building.

SFA’s stand at gulfInteriors this year.

SFA’s stand at gulfInteriors this year.

Desrousseaux also claims to have the most silent products on the markets. He says the noise produced is only 55 dB compared to 72 dB of competing products.

He says his company’s participation in gulfInteriors was aimed at increasing awareness in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia about this concept, especially among professionals such as architects, technical consultants, and hydraulic engineers, so it may be specified for both residential and commercial applications.

Desrousseaux says the company’s core business, however, is retrofit. “When you want to change a room into a wet facility then our product is the best fit,” he says.

SFA has products for new build as well. Citing the example of a 50-storey office tower in China, he says the construction company built the tower and then sold every floor on a shell-and-core basis, enabling end-users to fit it out with a kitchen or a toilet of his choice. The challenge, he says, was that the main drain pipe was located in the centre of the building. As it would be complex to bring the waste from the kitchen and toilets by gravity to this main drain pipe, SFA suggested its Sanipro for evacuation of waste, “which did the job”, says Desrousseaux.

SFA has had a partner in the UAE for more than 10 years now where it is doing very well. One of the many projects undertaken in the emirates was a completely re-modelled hospital in Dubai, where a floor was fitted with new washbasins and toilets. SFA delivered 50 units of its Sanibest Pro, Saniplus and Sanivite models for the project.

Desrousseaux is confident SFA products will appeal to customers in Bahrain, adding his company can offer smart solutions to address the sanitation problems in the country. He says breakdown of waste at the domestic level making sanitation easier at sewage treatment plants. Considering the high temperatures in Bahrain, the sewage pipes can get blocked, he indicates, adding that with SFA macerators, the waste is liquefied by cutting blades and discharged via the internal pump.

He recommends the Sanicubic lifting stations range for the country and the region. “For people who build basements in their homes, our pumps are a much better alternative to submersible pumps and piping systems, which involves a lot of excavation work. A Sanicubic lifting station is enough to evacuate a full house and a basement.”

The pump has enough power to evacuate waste 11 m vertically and 100 m horizontally, with a single unit capable of handling the effluent of one house – and some can even handle two houses, says Desrousseaux.

This unit can also be used for temporary camps where a drainage network cannot be installed. A Sanicubic can collect waste from one or two containers and pump it 100 m to a blackwater tank.

A macerator in a desert truck in Dubai.

A macerator in a desert truck in Dubai.

Desrousseaux says the macerators designed for domestic applications can take up to 90 litres per minute of waste and at one time serve up to four sanitary devices. For larger installations such as intensive commercial applications, pumping stations that have more powerful motors and can handle 200 litres per minute of waste can be employed.

Citing further projects where SFA products have been used, Derek Kinnear, a partner at Saniclean, says: “Our first project was to supply 18 Saniflo macerators to a contractor in Riyadh. The problem was to remove human waste from new toilets fitted into a refurbished food-processing plant, as the main sewer was some 75 m away and no internal sewer pipes could be installed without a massive amount of expensive excavation work, which would also have delayed the project completion date.

“Our engineers visited the site and offered a cost-effective and time-saving option by recommending the installation of a Saniflo classic unit to each toilet, and discharging through a 32-mm pipe at high level through the service roof void and connecting to a high level header pipe and to the septic system via a soil pipe.”

Pleased with the results it achieved on its project, the contractor recommended Saniclean services to another contractor working on the VIP area of the new airport in Riyadh. Here, Saniclean supplied eight Sanicompact toilets with a self-contained pump and macerator installed within the ceramic body, significantly saving 1.5 litres of water per flush.

“Both contractors are continuing to use our Saniflo range of products for new projects, including basement applications where the point of use is below the septic system,” he adds.

Kinnear says the company is presently working with some major consultants to select and specify these products for such diverse applications as basement bathrooms, bathroom installations in refurbished villas, and refurbished high-rise buildings with pretensioned concrete floors that cannot be core drilled.

Meanwhile, Saniclean has entered into a distribution and technology sharing joint venture with UK-based Water Treatment Engineering (WTE), which offers a range of packaged sewage treatment plants for various applications ranging from a simple family home or luxury villa to high-rise apartments for up to 300 people and district sewage treatment plants for up 5,000 people.

“We are also hoping to announce a joint venture partnership with a prominent Bahrain-based GCC-wide group in the near future,” Kinnear adds, without revealing details.

SFA began as a designer of water treatment plant equipment in 1958 and soon revolutionised the bathroom fixture market with its creation of a toilet grinder. Today, the French inventor is among the top companies worldwide in bathroom fixtures, allowing homeowners to install toilets, bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms anywhere in the home, and without any major work. Having established itself in France, SFA spread its success story throughout Europe and North America.

To maintain this excellence, the company’s research and development engineers are constantly innovating high-tech products that conform rigidly to environmental and technological standards.

Desrousseaux says all SFA products are designed and manufactured at the company’s factory in France to maintain the highest possible standards in terms of quality. The company produces 90 per cent of the components used in its products, which ensures the reliability of its products. This factory is ISO 9001 certified. SFA also has 22 subsidiaries and 40 distributors worldwide.