Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

A newly created trade association will represent the interests of the precast concrete drainage industry. The British Precast Drainage Association (BPDA) is formed from the integration of the Concrete Pipeline Systems Association (CPSA) and the Box Culvert Association (BCA) and takes its place as one of the specialist product groups within the British Precast Concrete Federation.

Stuart Crisp, Business Development Director of the BPDA is clear about the benefits: “While the two product groups have distinct characteristics, there is much common ground in the use of concrete products in drainage applications.  Bringing the two associations together allows us to combine our resources more efficiently to promote the benefits of precast concrete drainage solutions.”

A distinctive new logo marks the launch of the Association and although rebranding the wealth of technical data sheets and guidance notes will be a gradual process, the new website is now live and all information from both associations can be found at

“The concrete industry has some compelling product benefits to shout about,” continues Stuart Crisp. “Our mission is to provide measured and accurate information and to counteract situations where inadequate and misleading opinions prevail.”


Posted by & filed under Pipes & Manholes.

Precast concrete has been around for many years. This time-proven, strong, durable and sustainable material continues to develop as new products and systems are introduced helping to deliver safer, cheaper and faster build times with reduced environmental impacts.

The precast manhole system comprises a factory produced monolithic concrete base unit, supplied complete with channel and benching with predetermined combinations of sealed inlet(s) and outlet and a thicker-walled chamber ring, removing the need for concrete backfill whilst providing a watertight structure. Construction time from base to cover slab is typically around 30 minutes.

The award-winning concrete pipe lifter makes light work of the installation of drainage pipelines. Simply remove the bucket and attach to your excavator in seconds.

There are no hydraulic links or mechanical components. It makes offloading, handling and installing pipes safer, faster, easier and cheaper.

Visit our website for more information on manholes and the pipelifter.


Posted by & filed under Pipes & Manholes.

Precast concrete drainage products have enabled Highways England’s main project contractor Costain to safely deliver a new £192 million dual carriageway section of the A556 trunk road between the Cheshire towns of Knutsford in the south and Bowdon in the north. The dual carriageway enables this strategic route to bypass the villages of Tabley, Mere and Bucklow Hill. Over 50,000 vehicles a day use the 7km stretch of road, which is an important link between the M6 motorway at junction 19 and the M56 motorway at junction 7.

Costain’s design partner for the scheme was Capita. Along with the task of designing the new road, Capita was also responsible for developing a drainage design solution with the capacity to deal effectively with rainwater run-off from the new road.

The drainage design uses precast concrete surface water channels at the edge of the carriageways to convey rainwater run-off to a series of V-gratings and then into catchpits.

Over 750 precast concrete catchpits have been used on this scheme in both 1200mm and 1800mm diameter. Manufactured by Concrete Pipeline Systems Association member FP McCann the precast concrete units incorporate a pre-cored monolithic base fitted with watertight, flexible connector seals to allow concrete drainage pipework to be connected quickly and easily to the unit.

The scheme also includes over 100 Easi-Base precast concrete manholes. Where the run-off cannot discharge directly manholes are used, many incorporating flow control units, penstocks and pollution control devices.

These off-site manufactured solutions are quicker, easier and safer to install. As the system is manufactured under factory conditions and is quality assured, the units’ quality and finish are better than could have been achieved under site conditions. Users can be sure that the precast units comply with all necessary technical standards.

Simon Ellison, Costain’s sector director said: “These off-site manufactured precast concrete drainage chamber systems have helped us achieve our build programme and site safety targets. They are simple to install and the integrity of the finished units together with the cast-in openings and seals are integral to our long life, low maintenance drainage design for the A556 bypass”.

For more information on the Concrete Pipelifter and Precast Manhole Systems please visit their dedicated pages.

bedding design

Posted by & filed under Costs, Design.

The choice of bedding design and standard of construction is as critical to the success of a pipeline installation as the choice of pipe. Understanding its importance, but not understanding the choices available, can lead to over-specification. Bedding design is one area where it is possible to prove the extent of this impact and the CPSA Structural Design and Material Cost calculators can play an important role.

There are a range of bedding solutions – or Classes – that are acceptable depending upon the material from which the drainage pipe has been manufactured, its strength and performance characteristics, traffic loading and the depth at which it is installed.

Bedding is particularly important for flexible pipes, such as sewer pipes manufactured from HDPE. This is because pipelines constructed with flexible pipes need to derive a significant proportion of their structural strength from the embedment either side of the pipeline to prevent them deflecting excessively under load, a condition known as ovalisation, where initially the vertical diameter of the pipe reduces and the horizontal diameter increases.

As a consequence of their lack of inherent strength, flexible pipe installations depend heavily on a high quality installation where the construction is carried out precisely to the engineer’s specification where the surrounding embedment takes the majority of the pipeline’s designed loading.

To help make the options more transparent, CPSA has developed a web-based Structural Design Calculator tool to help with the selection of appropriate bedding Classes for buried pipelines and a second tool – the Material Cost Calculator – to enable a clear cost comparison of different solutions.

Using these calculators recently allowed Leeds based ground worker and civil engineer Athena Civil Engineering to take the initiative on a new housing development in Roundhay near Leeds.

Using the CPSA Structural Design and Material Cost calculators, Athena was able to determine the optimum bedding design for the project. Consideration was also given to the excavated material from the trench, which was deemed suitable for backfill purposes.

To learn more about how Athena used the CPSA on-line calculators please read the full case study.

To download the CPSA Calculator App for portable devices please click here.


Posted by & filed under Training.

CPD – Continuing Personal or Professional Development – is the term that describes a commitment to structured skill enhancement and personal or professional competence.

CPSA currently offers industry professionals the choice of four CPD presentations independently accredited by Construction CPD Certification Service. These presentations have also received the approval of The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and are recognised as CIWEM Accredited Short Courses.

All the presentations can be offered as a free seminar at your local office or at a suitable location. CPD certificates are available to all attendees. The presentations are delivered by Stuart Crisp, CPSA’s Business Development Director. To book a seminar, please complete the booking form or contact CPSA on 0116 232 5170 or email Stuart Crisp directly at

CDP Seminars

1. “Choosing the right pipeline system – now and for the future”

The areas covered include:

  • Installation (capital) and operating costs.
  • Structural and hydraulic design.
  • Installation.
  • Durability and lifetime operational performance.
  • Quality and Standards.
  • Innovation.

Read More


2. “Embodied Carbon Emissions in Concrete and Other Pipeline Materials”

  • Explains the fundamentals of carbon accounting and the data required to produce a carbon footprint.
  • Identifies recognised information sources and indicates limitations to the reliability of some data.
  • Includes a detailed analysis of pipelines and provides comparisons with alternative pipeline materials and installation methods.
  • Provides an overview of other environmental impacts such as responsible sourcing, recycling and embodied energy.

Read More


3. “Surface Water Management using proprietary precast concrete SuDS systems”

This seminar provides an understanding of the legal framework driving changes in the design and construction of surface water management systems in the UK and the basic principles associated with sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and their ownership, operation and maintenance. In this context, proprietary precast concrete SuDS components and systems will be identified and their specific uses examined.

Read More


4. “Optimising Pipeline Bedding Design to Achieve Installed Cost & Carbon Efficiencies”

This seminar demonstrates that substantial savings in pipeline installation costs and embodied carbon can be achieved through the effective use of structural design and the resulting selection of an appropriate pipeline embedment detail relevant to the pipe material and strength.

Read More


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Posted by & filed under Sustainability.

Modern drainage asks a lot of its materials. You need a system that’s totally reliable, easy to install, cost – effective, sustainable and compliant with all the relevant standards. It’s no job for a lightweight. That’s why concrete is still the UK’s best choice for sewerage systems. Concrete offers strong, stable, sustainable performance backed by over 150 years of proven success.

To find out more visit the CPSA website and download the Heavyweight Brochure.

Posted by & filed under Design.


The Concrete Pipeline Systems Association (CPSA) has published a revised version of its comprehensive Technical Guide on the design and installation of concrete pipeline systems.

This latest edition of this indispensable publication will be essential reading for asset owners, designers and installers of concrete pipeline systems. This version has been updated to include the latest industry specifications and examples of best practice. It has also been completely redesigned and with new illustrations to improve clarity and to make it easier to use.

To help users access information quickly and easily, the Guide has been divided into five sections:

System Design – This includes information on the hydraulic design of surface and foul water drainage systems, an introduction to Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), pipeline structural design and bedding material selection; and the design of manholes.

Installation of pipes in trenches – This includes advice on planning and sequencing operations, handling and storage, excavation and laying, jointing testing and ground reinstatement.

Installation of pipes using pipe jacking – This section includes a description of techniques and equipment and advice on product selection.

Installation of manholes – This incorporates advice on planning, handling and storage, construction, jointing and ground reinstatement.

The final section is a comprehensive list of references and further reading including industry Standards, specifications and references to other useful publications and industry bodies. Concrete pipeline systems are the material of choice for both foul water and surface (or storm) water systems and have been for over a century. With their proven long service life of more than 100 years users can be sure that installation and lifetime costs will be minimal. In addition to being cost effective, concrete pipes are also an environmentally friendly drainage solution, particularly when compared to plastic pipes.

A major advantage of using concrete pipes is that they are suitable for use with a wide range of bedding designs which can lead to substantial installed cost savings, faster installation and a lower environmental impact. Precast concrete’s inherent strength and durability can also help protect a pipeline system throughout its lifetime of operation and extend intervention periods for maintenance and replacement.

The Technical Guide provides essential information from the CPSA to design, install and maintain a concrete pipeline system. The Guide is currently available as a pdf download and includes hyperlinks to specialist information and additional design details.

Download Technical Guide


Sustainable Urban Drainage System

Posted by & filed under Sustainability.

CPSA members offer numerous components suitable for use within a sustainable urban drainage system.

On the CPSA website they are listed in a table indicating their functions within the appropriate Management Train. If you’re looking for specific product information contact the CPSA.

Useful Sustainable Urban Drainage System information:

Sustainable urban drainage systems are a natural method of controlling drainage in and around properties. SuDS work by holding back water that runs off from a site, allowing more natural processes to eliminate pollutants.

Appropriate implementation of sustainable urban drainage systems must deliberate a combination of techniques, supported by traditional drainage techniques. It is fundamental that all stakeholders within the construction of sustainable urban drainage systems consider the significance of the entire life maintenance and the use of suitable components that deliver sustainability and longevity.

To find out more about Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, Contact CPSA today.

Concrete Manholes

Posted by & filed under Pipes & Manholes.

Concrete pipeline systems manufacturers are determined to continuously innovate as the industry strives for improved pipeline and manhole construction quality and performance, delivering reduced waste, lower costs, faster build times and minimised environmental impacts.

The design flexibility of concrete pipe and manhole systems means that many special features can be incorporated in the factory and simply placed into position on site. These “offsite solutions” can replace lengthy in-situ operations, thus improving site safety and product quality, reducing waste, speeding up installation and reducing costs.

The new precast manhole base system yields environmental advantages; less concrete is used, there is less waste and less excavated material is disposed to landfill. An annual saving of over 22,000 tonnes of CO₂e is estimated in the UK if all manholes manufactured by members of CPSA changed to the new precast base system.

For more information on Concrete manhole construction please visit the CPSA website.


Posted by & filed under Costs, Design.

Two of our most popular online tools have been updated and we’ve also launched a new web App.


Providing access to the Structural Design and Material Cost Calculators for people on the move via iPhone or Android devices enhances the usefulness of these highly popular online tools. That is why you’ll now find the new web App available for download from the App Store and the Google Play Store. Changes to the original online calculators have been introduced to further simplify the calculation process and to improve the user experience. Designers and installers can now select the most economical buried pipeline solution with just a few swipes of the finger. The pipe factor of safety is now automatically determined in the Structural Design Calculator based on recommendations in BS 9295 and the Material Cost Calculator now provides users with the option to override the default values for bulk densities of excavated materials and imported granular bedding material. A further development is that results from the Structural Design Calculator can be input directly to the Material Cost Calculator and both calculators can export results into either a PDF or Excel file.

Check out the calculators and App: