Brick and Block Enclosures

Before aluminum and fiberglass enclosures were an option, backflow preventers were covered with some type of box or building, often made of wood or brick and block. As if often the case, necessity became the mother of invention and the founders of Safe-T-Cover and Hot Box® knew there had to be a better way to cover a backflow preventer. The aluminum backflow enclosure was born.

Let's Start With the Basics

brick backflow enclosure

Protection: A brick and block building with locking mechanism provides protection from thieves, vandals and accidents. Heaters provide protection from freezing.

Sizes: customized to the dimensions of the device and its clearances

Materials: brick, painted cement block, wood

Prices: $300 to $10,000 for single backflow preventer without meter

Important to Note: These enclosures may not comply with the intentions of ASSE 1060 standards. The materials used are not on the approved list provided by the ASSE. This means they are not subjected to the same rigorous testing as aluminum, fiberglass, or steel backflow enclosures. Most municipalities require or recommend all enclosures for backflow preventers be ASSE 1060 certified. If freeze protection is important, a design engineer would need to certify that the backflow device would not freeze during winter conditions.

A More in Depth Analysis

The Pros:

A brick and block enclosure performs the same function as an aluminum enclosure; namely protection from vandalism, protection from the elements, and if necessary protection from freezing by using some type of heating system.

A brick enclosure can be built to match the look of its surroundings. Some look rather attractive and could be mistaken for garden sheds or storage houses, which are a commonly accepted site in our country. If someone wanted a customized brick, block, or wooden backflow shelter, they could choose the materials used to build it. The problem with that sentiment is that most of the time, the commercial or industrial building owner is not involved in the choosing and designing of a backflow enclosure. If the people designing the system don't really care how the end result looks, it can be pretty unsightly as can be seen in some of these pictures

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The Cons:
  • ASSE 1060  brick, block, and wood are not on the ASSE 1060 list of allowed materials, meaning they aren't ASSE 1060 certified. 
  • Access – take a look at these pictures of the brick and block enclosures and think about the size of the doors. The access is very limited if the backflow device needs to be removed or even just repaired. Aluminum enclosures have large, removable access panels and some manufacturers allow the roof to be removed if necessary for when the equipment needs to be lifted out.
  • Design Speed – Amazon.com, Inc. is training buyers to expect things the next day. This is spreading into other areas of our lives and is also the case regarding design and construction. Building owners expect things to be done faster and faster. With the aluminum enclosure, the designer spends a very small amount of time selecting the appropriate enclosure compared to the time required to design a brick and block building. In addition to a listing of all their standard enclosures, some manufacturers offer calculators, like our backflow enclosure sizing guide, to help speed up the design process. 
  • Assembly speed – speed on the construction site is also demanding. The brick and block building will take several days to build and would require the coordination of several different subcontractors including a brick mason, a roofer, and a painter. The aluminum enclosure can be installed by two men and it typically takes less than a couple of hours. Watch this video of two of our workers assembling one.
  • Life cycle cost – an aluminum enclosure will last for decades and requires no ongoing maintenance. On the other hand, a brick and block cover, especially one that contains wood, might not last as long. If the brick and block enclosure is painted, maintenance will be required every 5-10 years to keep the wood from rotting and to maintain the look of the enclosure.