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Public health engineering

Well-designed water and waste systems are essential to successful, healthy and sustainable buildings.


We design systems for water supply and sanitation that help buildings work better for occupants, owners and the environment.

Arup’s public health engineers tackle diverse challenges – from sustainable strategies to fire suppression systems, and from drainage in high-rise buildings to supplying ultra-pure water and piping specialist gases and fluids for healthcarescience and industry facilities.

Together with Arup’s mechanical and electrical engineers, we provide integrated building services. We also collaborate with water engineers to ensure that plumbing and infrastructure work together, in sympathy with the complete water cycle.

Driven by performance

By thinking beyond standard solutions, we shape performance-based systems that help our clients achieve their aspirations – from stunning design to ease of maintenance to LEED®, BREEAM and Estidama ratings.

Our drainage system design is helping to shape high-quality mixed-use spaces in Renzo Piano’s London Bridge Tower, known as the ‘Shard of Glass’. Its apartments, hotel, restaurants and offices sit on top of each other, but our design gives them independent systems of drainage, ensuring that maintenance on one system will not impact other tenants.

Likewise, our design ensures reliable water supply up to the 87th floor of the Shard’s spire – more than 280m above ground level – while keeping water pressures at levels typical in a building half the height to remove the need for installation and upkeep of specialist high-pressure fittings.

Responsible with resources

The design of sustainable water management systems helps save water and the energy associated with its use, from pumping to heating. From sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to water reuse, our expertise helps clients to make better use of water and energy, and to make their buildings more resilient.

Thoughtful water and waste system designs can help secure sustainability credentials, such as the LEED Platinum rating for Kroon Hall, the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Kroon Hall’s potable water use is 81% below the LEED baseline. The building’s courtyard filters stormwater to remove 80% of suspended solids before it enters underground tanks. The water is then used for toilets and irrigation.

Shapers of change

Arup helps shape the debate on public health engineering in professional and regulatory forums. Where we see strong potential for positive change, we assist clients in research and product development and also pursue in-house research and development.

For example, when a client wanted to use rainwater to flush toilets but did not want the expense and pumping associated with an underground tank, we discovered that there were limited suitable systems on the market. So we developed the Arup rainwater harvesting flushing tank – a low-carbon system that requires only rainwater and gravity to work.

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Global contact

Martin Shouler.
  • Martin Shouler

    Martin Shouler

    Martin Shouler.

    Your best solution to date?

    Recently, it would be Chanel Mobile Art – touring art pavilion which toured Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and is planned to be installed in Paris permanently.

    Why is it significant?

    Bringing together the full spectrum of Arup design expertise (SMEP, fire, facades, materials, lighting, access) and delivering a building in a diverse range of cities across the world – truly demonstrating our range and international – total engineering.

    Your particular skill?

    Water use in and around buildings – providing a sustainable solution.

    Enthusiasm?

    Always being able to challenge and develop oneself.

    Why Arup?

    Working on exciting projects with exciting people.

    Anything else

    Chair of the UK’s Society of Public Health Engineers, Chair of the UK’s National Water Conservation Group, Expert to the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, Member of the Environment Agency's Advisory Committee.

  • Global Public Health Engineering Leader

Explore our work


HATS_stage 2A_ Teaser

Project: Harbour area treatment scheme
(HATS) stage 2A

A major sewerage infrastructure project in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong.

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Kresge Foundation Headquarters. Image credit Machonochie Photography.

Project: Kresge Foundation Headquarters

Expansion and renovation project received USGBC’s LEED Platinum rating.

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Kaiser Template Hospitals. Image credit Robert Canfield.

Project: Kaiser Template Hospitals

A versatile and sustainable template hospital and plant design.

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