What Is Commercial Plumbing?

Plumber Showing A Wrench Up Close

Jun 28, 2024


When a water line breaks, a pipe bursts, or a sewer line backs up in your building, the consequences can ripple through every part of your business. From a flooded boutique where prized merchandise becomes unsellable, to a waterlogged office where critical documents and expensive electronics are destroyed overnight, the impact stretches far beyond mere physical damage.

Presence of water means health and safety violations, so you may need to shut down operations until extensive clean-up and inspections are completed. This not only affects revenue but may also tarnish your reputation in the industry.

These are the key differences between commercial and residential plumbing; the plumbing system of your property is interconnected with the operational, financial, and reputational aspects of your operations. The only way a busy property owner or manager can make sure it keeps working as it should is to work with a reliable commercial plumber (and not just any residential plumber from your neighborhood).

Commercial Plumbing Infrastructure: The Backbone of Your Business

If you are a business owner, facility manager, or building operator, you should have a clear understanding of the following core elements of your plumbing infrastructure to help you recognize the signs when something is amiss. 

Piping Networks

Commercial plumbers can help you understand what type of pipes are best for your building (e.g., copper, PVC, PEX, steel). They can schedule periodic inspections to check for corrosion, leaks, or insulation damage, so you can prevent costly repairs and reduce risks of water damage. If the building is older, they can help decide when/whether to upgrade piping material.

Water Supply Systems

Your commercial plumbing services should be on top of maintaining:

  • The proper pressure regulators to avoid pipe damage and cause leaks; and
  • A grid of backflow prevention devices to block any risk of contamination of clean water.
  • Water treatment solutions to manage hardness or chemical content in the water supply (if applicable).

Sanitary and Storm Drainage Systems

The sanitary system removes all the water and waste from toilets, sinks, and other facilities, while the storm system eliminates rainwater, which is especially important in large commercial properties with flat roofs. In addition to regular cleaning to avert any blockages and back-ups, a good commercial plumbing expert will also make sure you are in compliance with local environmental regulations regarding rainwater runoff. 

Ventilation Systems

For most residential plumbers, ventilation usually starts and ends with regulating the indoor air pressure. This is not the case for an industrial or corporate property. You need specialized plumbing services to remove gasses, odors, toxic fumes and chemicals from the drainage system as well.  

Importance of Hiring a Commercial Plumbing Contractor: Regulatory Compliance

Each region has specific building codes regarding the safety, efficiency, and environmental compliance of both commercial and residential plumbing systems. Not staying compliant with even a single code can result in an exorbitant fine or other, more serious legal repercussions. This is why you need expert plumbers. They make sure your commercial spaces are safe, functional, and do not face interruptions that could affect the operations or tenant satisfaction. 

At Coastal Commercial Services in Florida, our plumbing audits for commercial buildings help ensure that:

  • All piping is up to code and the correct material is installed as per Florida Building Code.
  • The water supply system is in compliance with water conservation regulations and able to provide adequate water flow and pressure.
  • Both sanitary and storm drainage systems are correctly installed and capable of handling the volume of wastewater and runoff without risk of backflow or contamination.
  • The ventilation systems connected to the plumbing are properly installed and functioning to prevent the buildup of dangerous gasses.
  • There are no leaks in all accessible pipes, fixtures, and joints.
  • Water heaters and boilers are working correctly and safely as per the energy efficiency and safety standards set by Florida codes.
  • All plumbing fixtures comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for accessibility (where applicable).
  • All fixtures (toilets, faucets, showers, etc.) meet the mandated efficiency ratings.
  • The emergency-related plumbing systems, like sump pumps and flood protection, are in good working order and adequate for the building’s needs.

What to Look for When Choosing a Commercial Plumbing Service

They should provide the range of services you might need.

This includes not only preventative maintenance and repairs but also system upgrades, emergency services, and compliance checks.

  • Installation, maintenance, and repair of all plumbing fixtures (bathroom sinks, toilets, faucets, showers, urinals, bathtubs, bidets, drinking fountains, service sinks, eye wash stations, hose bibs, kitchen sinks, mop sinks, water coolers).  
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair of drainage and sewer lines, using modern techniques like hydro jetting (using high-pressure water to clear blockages) and video inspections (using cameras to inspect pipes internally).
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair of all types of water heaters (tankless, storage tank, heat pump, hybrid, solar, condensing, large commercial models) 
  • Identification and repair of different leaks in the commercial plumbing system (pinhole leaks, slab leaks, fixture leaks, supply line leaks, drain leaks, radiator leaks, joint leaks, underground leaks).
  • Installation, maintenance and repair of different backflow preventers (reduced pressure zone devices, double check valve assemblies, pressure vacuum breakers, atmospheric vacuum breakers, hose bib vacuum breakers).
  • Inspection, repair, and replacement of damaged or old pipes (Copper, PVC, CPVC, PEX, ABS, HDPE, stainless steel, galvanized steel, cast iron, black iron).
  • Emergency services (preferably 24/7) for rapid assessment and making temporary or permanent repairs to mitigate damage and restore functionality.
A plumber installing a sink

They must be licensed and certified.

Each state has its own licensing board; in Florida, plumbers must be licensed by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR). This tells you that they have passed the required examinations and met the necessary experience to practice. Never hesitate to ask for their license number so you can verify it through the official website.

You can also look for additional certifications from reputable organizations like the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) or certifications specific to commercial systems, such as Certified in Plumbing Design, Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester Certification, OSHA Safety Certifications, and so on.

They should have a stable team of experienced technicians.

If a company frequently hires new technicians or relies heavily on temporary workers, these employees might not have the same level of training or experience as more seasoned technicians. They might make errors, use incorrect techniques, or need more time to resolve issues, which can lead to repeated service calls and increased costs for you. Additionally, the technicians should be able to provide case studies or references from similar projects they have worked on, which will give you insights into their capability.

They should have a solid reputation

Unlike residential plumbing, commercial plumbing jobs deal with more complex plumbing systems. Therefore, you need a specialist commercial plumber with a reputation for reliability. You can gauge this through online reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, or Better Business Bureau (BBB). This will let you know if any complaints have been filed against the service. Word-of-mouth recommendations from other business owners or property managers in your area can also be very telling.

We are Here to Serve All the Plumbing Requirements for Your Business

With over two decades of industrial-grade plumbing experience across South Florida, we at Coastal Commercial Services have what it takes to get the job done right every time, no matter how big or small the project. Our licensed, bonded and insured plumbing technicians are on standby 24/7 to respond with the urgency you need. Call us at (772) 341-0094 or contact us online for a price estimate. Let us get you back to business as usual with minimal interruption.