The Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) announced a major update to its Building & Construction Division’s Plastic Pipe Design Calculator. PPI is the major trade association representing the plastic pipe industry.

The “BCD Calculator” is a free software tool that simplifies and makes 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, the "Pipe/Tubing Selection Menu" has been revised 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, and 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.”

The modifications to the original PPI/BCD Design Calculator were part of a BCD Task Group initiative led by MacNevin. “Once again, our members stepped up and volunteered their time to support the industry with updates and refinement to an important support tool. Their years of collective expertise were critical to the performance of Version 2.0. 

“This update contains hundreds of new pipe materials and sizes," he adds. "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 is part of a series of online tools that PPI has published as a service to the pipe industry," said PPI President David Fink. "Other PPI calculators include the HDPEApp, the Conduit Design Calculator and PACE, and are intended to assist designers with sizing their piping products easily and accurately.”

The BCD Calculator can be found on PPI’s website at or at