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Mea Head Office In Beirut Equipped With Innovative Polypropylene Piping For Chilled And Hot Water System


In our role as design and supervision consultant for the new Middle East Airlines (MEA) headquarters in Beirut, we came up with an innovative design solution for the chilled and hot water system.

As an alternative to Black Steel Pipe Schedule 40, we chose to use multi-layer, faser-composite polypropylene pressure pipes (PP-R), as we discovered these would equip the building with a more sustainable and robust chilled and hot water system.

Our MEP department, with the approval of the client, carried out extensive research into the benefits of polypropylene pipes as an alternative to Black Steel Pipe Schedule 40, and visited several trade exhibitions such as ISH-2019 in Frankfurt and IFEMA-2019 in Madrid to see the product first hand.

Senior Mechanical Engineer, Hassan Chehade said: “This technology has not been implemented on large-scale projects in Lebanon before so it has been a great opportunity to study, review and supervise the installation of the innovative polypropylene pipes on one of the grandest projects in Beirut.” The MEA office building (45,967m² BUA) is served by a central cooling plant of 1,000 Tons.

The pipes are made of glassfiber reinforced polypropylene composite which is ideal for the transport of cooling media in closed systems. This combination of material allows the pipes to remain rigid at high temperatures and significantly reduce linear expansion. They are joined via reliable heat fusion, which produces a virtually leakfree and cohesive unit with excellent safety and durability.

Chehade said: “While other piping materials lose performance over time to scaling and corrosion, PP-R material resists any form of change to the material wall. Even after decades of use, the PP-R pipe will retain its original flow characteristics. This prevents the loss of efficiency that occurs when using a pipe that can scale or corrode and will save energy over the life of the system. No chemical treatments are needed to protect the pipe, saving maintenance costs and reducing waste.

The MEA building is scheduled to be completed this year and Chehade said there is potential for the pipes to be used more widely in the region given their high performance. “Our client has been very forward- thinking and the benefits of using PP-R over Black Steel Pipe Schedule 40 are clear from the studies we have conducted,” he said. “It is easy to fall into the trap of saying ‘but we always do it this way so why should we change?’ But as engineers we should always be looking to push the envelope of innovation for the benefit of our clients and end users.”