Posted by & filed under Design, Health & Safety, Maintenance, Standards & Specifications.

On 28th September 2014 fire-fighters were called to a fire at a building site at Cargo Fleet Lane, Middlesbrough after reports that 20 large plastic sewerage pipes had deliberately been set alight. The blaze resulted in the streets surrounding the site having to be cordoned off after the area was blanketed in a cloud of noxious black smoke.

Similar incidents have been reported in America. One such example is where children playing in a 42” diameter storm culvert built a fire to keep warm; this then set light to the HDPE pipe which resulted in fire damage spreading for over 800’ along its length.

It is not just arson that pipe users need to be aware of, brush fires, vandalism, fuel spills and industrial accidents all have the potential to initiate fires in pipelines. As a result, designers, installers and asset owners should consider combustibility and the risk of fire when selecting pipe materials, gully tops and drain grates.

Plastic burns. If these pipelines had been constructed from a non-combustible material, such as precast concrete, it is unlikely that either of these fires would have occurred, simply because concrete does not burn.

Where a fire has occurred in a drainage pipeline a secondary consequence of a fire is the impact of the fire on the pipe itself. Fires in concrete pipes generally do not affect their structural strength, flow capacity or corrosion and abrasion resistance, whereas plastic pipes can melt and collapse.

All of which raises the question: is the use of drainage pipe materials other than concrete really worth the risk? Concrete has inherent strength and a proven service life of over 100 years … and it is non-combustible.

Posted by & filed under Training.

The construction CPD RoadSeminar Tour continues in October visiting Cambridge and Nottingham. The tour will visit Menzies Cambridge Hotel on 1st October and at the Novotel in Nottingham on 2nd October.

I will be presenting a seminar on ‘Surface water management using proprietary precast concrete suds systems’ at these locations. I see this as an important opportunity to provide leading edge, expert information relevant to our industry.

The subject matter itself is of particular interest at the moment especially since the release of Defra’s consultation document which I referred to in my last blog.

Whether you are involved with the construction of new or existing developments surface water management is something that you will be required to deal with. As such, this CPD will appeal to stakeholders with a particular interest in construction projects requiring surface water drainage.

The aim of the seminar is to provide an understanding of the legal framework driving changes in the design and construction of surface water management systems. I will outline the basic principles associated with sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and their ownership, operation and maintenance. I will indentify proprietary precast concrete SuDS components and systems and their specific uses will be examined.

You can view the full programme and download your booking forms for both the Cambridge and Nottingham seminars online here .

If you can’t make these dates or locations then please refer to back to the CPSA website.  All of my presentations can be offered as a free seminar at your local office or at a suitable location. You can use the CPSA online booking form to book a CPD of your choice.

Posted by & filed under SuDS, Sustainability.

On 12th September a joint consultation document was launched by Defra and DCLG it can be viewed here. The consultation offers just six weeks to formulate responses with a deadline for returns by 24th October 2014.

The consultation sets out an alternative approach to that indicated in The Flood and Water management Act 2010 to deliver sustainable drainage systems that will be maintained for the lifetime of the development they serve.  This represents a modified approach to that seen previously and does not align entirely with the “final” draft National Standards for Sustainable Drainage published by Defra on 7th July 2014.

There appears to be a particular emphasis on changes to the current planning system to ensure that sustainable drainage is the system of choice for new development (there are exceptions and a size threshold, i.e. 10+ properties / 1,000+ sq metres floor area / 0.5Ha+ land area), that maintenance arrangements are put in place and that maintenance costs are ‘reasonable’.

The need for appropriate planned and costed maintenance fits precisely with the CPSA’s message regarding asset lifetime value and the importance of selecting proprietary SuDS components and systems using durable materials that offer a long, low maintenance service life.  Precast concrete provides a perfect answer with proven long asset life and authentic sustainability benefits

It will be interesting to see what feedback comes back to Defra / DCLG and what, if any of the proposed changes that will go through.

For more information on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems follow the link or give us a call today!

Posted by & filed under SuDS, Sustainability.

In the past year extreme weather events have led to devastating flash floods and the occurrence of current global climate change has caused previously rare environmental issues in the UK.

As urban areas become increasingly developed, continued water management is a necessity. Although these urban drainage systems are complex networks it is possible for sustainable drainage to be achieved if a broad approach to the issue of drainage is adopted. Implementation of sustainable design techniques will ensure that a drainage system is a long-term viable option.

Surface water drainage systems which consider quantity, quality and amenity issues are referred to as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS). These drainage systems are more sustainable than traditional systems for many reasons.  Firstly they control the flow rate of surface run-off, reducing the impact of urbanisation. They also give consideration to the natural environment and community needs creating new wildlife habitats among the watercourses. SuDs also protect and / or enhance water quality and promote natural groundwater recharge.

The success of this sustainable approach to urban drainage is due to the system aspiring to deal with surface run-off at the point of which it occurs and to manage potential pollution at its source. The introduction of SuDS into an area means that future development can take place in areas where the capacity of the traditional drainage system is full.

SuDS are designed using the same principles as traditional drainage systems, but using different methods of application. Equal consideration must be given to the issues of quality, quantity and amenity resulting in a multi-disciplinary approach to drainage. It is essential that planners, designers, installers and operators of SuDS drainage systems take into account the importance of whole life maintenance and the use of suitable components that deliver authentic sustainable drainage performance and longevity.

In regards to how a sustainable drainage system is structured, this is underpinned by the Surface Water Management Train. The Management Train can be divided into the following processes: Collection, Treatment, Re-use, Infiltration, Attenuation and Conveyance. There are various vegetated and proprietary manufactured components that deal with these processes including precast concrete pipes and culverts. The management train recommends using a variety of techniques to deal with the issue of drainage. Drainage systems are part of a wider cycle of water and consideration of this is a must in terms of the development process.

If you would like more information on sustainable drainage please visit our main site.

Posted by & filed under eNewsletters & eBlasts.

Welcome to the Spring 2014 edition of Pipelines, your eNewsletter from CPSA.

An important step forward has taken place with the recent publication of of BS 5911-3 2010+A1 2014 “Concrete pipes and ancillary concrete products. Specification for unreinforced and reinforced concrete manholes and soakaways (complementary to BS EN 1917:2002) – incorporating the latest Amendment (AMD 1).
The latest changes include the specification of precast manhole base units, including provisions for benching arrangements along with some other significant changes. CPSA members’ innovative
circular precast manhole base systems are a water industry success story, providing a safer off-site construction solution combined with reduced installation costs, time savings, a consistently high quality build with durable, watertight joints and up to 43% lower embodied carbon compared with traditional manhole construction. The introduction of BS 5911-3 2010+A1 2014 along with the current Sewers for Adoption 7th Edition and the soon to be published revised Sewers for Scotland will complete the suit of industry specifications recognising the attributes of circular precast concrete manhole base systems. For more information, read Technical Bulletin 4 – BS 5911 Part 3:2014 – Important Changes

Have you seen our new
Blog Area? Please take a look and join the discussions. We also have news of the new Type 2 concrete pipe lifter, details of winners at the recent Water Industry Achievement Awards 2014, CPD News and details of the new “20 Reasons to use concrete” booklet.

Hopefully there’s something of interest for everyone!

Stuart Crisp, Director CPSA

New Type 2 concrete pipe lifter

CPSA is pleased to announce the introduction of a new Type 2 concrete pipe lifter, suitable for offloading and installing larger pipes DN1350 to DN2000. The Type 2 lifter is available from, Klepp Mek AS, a manufacturer working in collaboration with CPSA and Basal, a Norwegian supplier of concrete water and drainage products.

Klepp Mek’s contact details can be found on the main
concrete pipe lifter web page

Watch the video

Klepp Mek Type 2 concrete pipe lifter (DN1350 – DN2000)

Water Industry Achievement Awards 2014 – Winners announced

The largest and most prestigious Water Industry Achievement Awards to date took place on Tuesday 1st April where 470 of the water sectors finest came together at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole for an outstanding night of celebration, networking and entertainment.

CPSA is pleased to have supported the event as sponsor for the Most Innovative Use of an Existing Technology category, won by APEM and United Utilities. Congratulations to APEM’s Stuart Clough and United Utilities’ Dave Champness seen collecting the award from CPSA Director Stuart Crisp (left) and host Patrick Monahan (right).

Congratulations to all 2014 winners:

  • Carbon Reduction Initiative of the Year: Thames Water
  • Community Project of the Year: Northumbrian Water Group
  • Customer Satisfaction Initiative of the Year: United Utilities
  • Data Project of the Year: Wessex Water
  • Engineer of the Year: Anthony Thomas, 4Delivery
  • Health & Safety Initiative of the Year: Thames Water
  • Most Innovative New Technology of the Year: Severn Trent Water, Echologics and Loughborough University
  • Most Innovative Use of an Existing Technology: APEM and United Utilities
  • Partnership Initiative of the Year: Southern Water, PN Daly and RPS Water
  • People Initiative of the Year: Balfour Beatty
  • Sustainable Drainage & Flood Management Initiative of the Year: Morgan Sindall plc, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water & Ove Arup
  • Water Resource Mananagement Initiative of the Year: Balfour Beatty
  • Outstanding Innovation 2014: Severn Trent Water,Echologics and Loughborough University
  • Outstanding Individual Contribution to the Water Industry: Geraint Williams, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

vidual Contribution to the Water Industry: Geraint Williams, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Posted by & filed under Pipes & Manholes.

The development of circular precast manhole systems was introduced by the precast concrete pipeline industry in collaboration with the supply chain to provide a value engineered solution. The new manhole system comprises a circular, precast concrete base unit and new thicker-walled chamber rings with watertight flexible joints. These have the benefit of superior quality as a result of being factory manufactured off-site; they can be installed in less time, for less money, they improve safety on site, are watertight, and need no concrete backfill surround. In addition they have up to 43% lower carbon footprint.

An award-winning innovation is the concrete Pipe Lifter. Fitting a concrete Pipe Lifter to an excavator enables precast concrete pipes to be offloaded and installed quickly and economically in around half the time with less cost and less hassle than traditional means. Vitally, using the concrete Pipe Lifter significantly improves site safety because there is no need for anyone to stand on the bed of the delivery vehicle during offloading, there is no need for anyone to stand in the trench during installation and there are no slings or chains to trap hands and fingers.

Take a look at our video showing the concrete pipelifter in action.

These recent innovations help to ensure that precast concrete gravity foul water and storm water sewer systems continue to deliver best value.

Posted by & filed under Design.

The longevity of concrete and the inherent robustness of precast concrete pipes has become an increasingly attractive characteristic as regulatory changes have focused increasing attention on the whole life value of assets.

Concrete pipeline systems have been in use for over 160 years. This has given us evidence of what has worked and what has not worked so well so that, over time, it is possible to eliminate problems and achieve higher and higher performance levels. This evolution over time has allowed concrete pipeline systems to deliver a lower risk construction solution.

In addition, in the White Paper “Water for Life”, published December 2011, DEFRA noted that 0.125% of public sewers were replaced each year between 2000 and 2008. If that rate of replacement continues, sewers installed today will take around 800 years to be replaced. Our own research indicates that the implications of this are only now starting to be recognised and the need to look at service life expectation for all pipe materials is an essential part of the design and procurement process.

Sustainability is also becoming increasingly important with government targets behind a relentless drive to reduce carbon emissions and other environmental impacts across all aspects of construction.

The CPSA has put down a sustainability marker by investing in independently certified research, using a recognised methodology, to assess the carbon footprint of concrete pipelines. The report concluded that concrete pipes have a CO2e per meter of 17.8kg for a 225mm diameter pipe and up to 592.1kg for 2100mm diameter pipe, which is up to 40% less than the generic figures for precast concrete given in many industry databases.

Of course, the carbon footprint of the manufactured pipeline product is only one part of the carbon footprint of an installation. Once on site, another critical factor is the installation process. Because concrete pipes are structural elements they are less reliant on the quality of the installation on site to create a structurally sound solution and will usually require less imported granular bedding material (compared with flexible pipes), which further reduces the carbon footprint.

On the CPSA’s main website there is a structural design calculator and a material cost calculator, which can help optimise pipeline designs to the lowest cost and make the job of the engineer simpler and faster.

Posted by & filed under Construction, Design, Pipes & Manholes.

A very interesting article in Water Active March 2014 edition “Identifying and Minimising Premature Pipeline Failure” by

The article makes a very strong and logical case for the use of laser profiling to determine the installed condition of flexible pipes, specifically ovalisation and degree of “out of shape” of the pipeline. The article explains the inherent differences between rigid and flexible pipes and the additional precision and care required during installation to ensure adequate long term performance of flexible pipe systems. It outlines how flexible pipe deformation can affect the performance of the system in terms of structural integrity and hydraulic efficiency. The inconsistent priorities of the installer (short term, profit) and the adopting client (long term, operating & maintenance costs) are highlighted and the need for more prescriptive requirements to be laid down by the client that go beyond the current 7th edition of Sewers for Adoption.

The CPSA Factsheet “The impact of pipe deflection on structural integrity, hydraulic performance and suitability for adoption” first created in April 2011 echoes the sentiments of this article.

Posted by & filed under Construction, Health & Safety, Innovation.

Concrete PipelifterCPSA’s award-winning concrete pipe lifter has proved a great success, improving site safety whilst reducing time and cost during offloading and installation.  The pipe lifter range has now been extended with a Type 2 lifter suitable for larger pipes DN1350 to DN2000.

Available to hire or buy, pipe lifters have such a significant impact on construction time that installers will need to recalculate their pipe laying costs, opening up new opportunities to win new work and improve profits, whilst working safer.

The Type 2 lifter is available from, Klepp Mek AS, a manufacturer working in collaboration with CPSA and Basal, a Norwegian supplier of concrete water and drainage products.

Klepp Mek’s contact details can be found on the main concrete pipe lifter web page

Watch the video Klepp Mek Type 2 concrete pipe lifter (DN1350 – DN2000) 

Posted by & filed under SuDS, Sustainability.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) have been evolving for at least two decades as a science.  Meanwhile, over the last 4-5 years the development of government policy into a set of workable strategies and standards seems to be repeatedly hitting the buffers.

One key sticking point is a belief, upheld by many SuDS protagonists, that the preferred and most effective approach to managing surface water and to reduce flood risk is to provide a vegetated SuDS solution and to keep all runoff at the visible surface.

The use of engineered proprietary products or “grey infrastructure” typically means units buried underground.  This is seen as a second-rate solution by some “purists” who would not even recognise these products as SuDS components.

This view ignores the ability of proprietary products to beneficially impact water quantity and quality, possibly to a higher degree of consistency than vegetated SuDS.  It also ignores the fact that the performance of such products can be accurately validated.

Developers will no doubt seek the lowest cost solution that will be the easiest to implement.  Underground proprietary SuDS systems free valuable land space and can help increase (or at least preserve)  the developable area of a site compared with vegetated-only SuDS solutions.

Terms and definitions may be seen as a nuance, but the vocabulary used is vital if a comprehensive toolbox of ALL the SuDS solutions is made available to the developer so that the standard can be met using any suitable combination of vegetated SuDS and proprietary SuDS.

For more information on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems follow the link or give the CPSA a call.