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Making the Smart Link: A manifold plumbing guide

For professionals working in the construction sector, particularly those working on new build developments, projects are presenting more challenges than ever. Developers and specifiers must produce more housing than ever, keeping costs low while not compromising on quality within the residences. As demand from prospective homebuyers and the Government to produce more affordable housing mounts, housing developers must also deliver these high-quality residences in record time.

As a result, mechanical and electrical contractors working on new build property projects must stick to ever tighter deadlines. Whether supplied from a central heating system or district heating source, their installations must deliver a high-performance heating and plumbing solution to occupants, without using costly building methods or wasting materials during construction processes. To help approach these challenges, REHAU want to draw the attention of M&E contractors to the plumbing manifold option.

Systems such as the Smart Link Plumbing Manifold use pipework from a central distribution manifold, often found in a utility cupboard, that go to each outlet around a residence.  Unlike the traditional branch method, they feature continuous pipe runs to the radiators, taps or appliances, so no extra jointing is required.

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Manifold solutions are ideal for settings where space is at a premium. For example, in a new-build apartment building, building services are often limited to a very small utility cupboard or void in the wall, rather than a dedicated utility room. By using a system that works with space-saving house design, plumbing for the entire property can be reduced to pipework and a centralised distribution point.

With this in mind, the following blog explores some of the benefits of plumbing manifolds vs branch plumbing methods for plumbing and heating contractors – along with the developers and facilities managers they work with.

Material Benefits

With a hot and cold water manifold such as the Smart Link, its joint-free continuous piping provides building materials-saving benefits. Where traditional branch systems use lots of joints to create a network of piping to different outlets, a manifold system using the Smart Link requires up to three times fewer joints around the polymer pipes connected to radiators, taps and appliances.

By reducing the number of joints and fittings required across the system, money can be saved on individual component costs. This means contractors can ensure a cost-effective installation and save potential waste material from cutting, soldering and jointing during system set-up.

Save some time

Time is always of the essence during the construction of a residential development. Demand for affordable housing, particularly for first time buyers, means the market for new-build apartments is as fast-paced than ever. As they are installing the heating system, it is the mechanical contractor who bears much of the brunt of this need to install solutions quickly. 

With up to three-times reduction of joints around the system also saves time on plumbing installation for contractors. Using continuous PE-Xa pipe with a Smart Link manifold means time-consuming jointing and soldering synonymous with branch solutions can be avoided completely. When there is pressure on site from other trades needing to carry out their work to the same tight deadlines, this time-saving installation could be vital for contractors.

Keep it simple

The plumbing manifold design of the Smart Link has been designed with simplicity for heating and plumbing contractors in mind. This completely modular system features five cold and four hot water outlets, into which the pipework can be secured quickly into place the Smart Link jointing system – the fastest, most simple and most secure manifold jointing system on the market. A quick visual inspection to test connection integrity is all that is required, further speeding up installation. 

The Smart Link manifold plumbing system is also designed to be quick and easy to maintain. The unit’s central location within a utility cupboard fits with space-saving house designs, so facilities managers, estate managers and other maintenance contractors can easily isolate any of the hot and cold water outlets. Because there are no concealed joints within the system due to the continuous PEX pipes, no disruptive maintenance work such as removing floorboards and drilling into walls has to take place.

A multi-layered solution

Once a new-build property developer or specifier has chosen a manifold solution for their project, it is important to consider the other components. This includes the pipework itself, which will deliver heated water to outlets and appliances. 

A compatible polymer multilayer composite pipe (MLCP) system, RAUTITAN, has been developed for use with the Smart Link manifold. It offers excellent performance and can be installed through walls, floors and skirting boards to radiator connections. This can be done in three simple steps with RAUTOOL, REHAU’s range of installation tools.

When connected to the manifold’s outlets, RAUTITAN is also a hygienic solution that provides homes with safe drinking water. The multi-layer pipe’s smooth surface eliminates deposit build-up and microbial contamination, helping contractors deliver occupants a long-lasting and reliable domestic heating system.


While the creation of affordable housing and particularly high-rise apartment buildings remains a priority, pressure on developers and contractors to deliver low-cost domestic plumbing systems in record time will keep growing. Using modular manifold solutions in conjunction with high-performance MLCP pipe, construction industry professionals can provide homes that suit occupant requirements long into the future.

Want to find out more about REHAU’s plumbing solutions like the Smart Link and RAUTITAN? Click here to see all the information on our plumbing and heating solutions.

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