Canadian Consulting Engineer

Plastics Pipe Institute updates its plastic pipe design calculator for building and construction

April 19, 2021

The association’s Version 2.0 contains more pipe materials and sizes.

Photo Credit: Plastics Pipe Institute Inc.

The Plastics Pipe Institute Inc. (PPI), the major trade association representing the plastic pipe industry, has announced a major update to its Building & Construction Division’s plastic pipe design calculator.

The “BCD Calculator” is a free software tool designed to make it faster to design plastic pressure pipe and tubing systems using CPVC, HDPE, PEX, PE-RT, PP-R and PP-RCT. Applications integrated in the program include plumbing, water service, fire protection, hydronic piping (liquids), radiant heating and cooling, snow and ice melting, geothermal ground loops, district heating, and turf conditioning.

The changes include an updated appearance, a revised pipe/tubing selection menu to prevent confusion between pipe types, hundreds of new sizes of PEX pipe have been added along with HDPE pipe and tubing plus PP-R and PP-RCT pipes, and also links to BCD material webpages.

The calculator allows the user to select either IP/US or Metric/SI working units, as well as multiple fluids (e.g., water, propylene glycol, ethylene glycol). Fluid temperatures and mix ratios are chosen by the user. Results can be viewed, printed, or emailed.

“This online tool includes five main functions which can be used to select and size the right type of pipe for various applications,” said Lance MacNevin, P. Eng., director of engineering for PPI’s Building & Construction Division. “These are pressure/head loss; pipe weight/volume; thermal expansion and contraction; hydraulic shock; and expansion arm/loop design. This update contains hundreds of new pipe materials and sizes. During the past several years, we listened to input from users of the original version of the calculator, and made improvements plus added new features that make it easier to use.”

The BCD Calculator can be found on PPI’s website at or at Additional information about Building & Construction Division materials and tools can be found online at .


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