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.

Posted by & filed under Sustainability.

CPSA has direct experience of the Supplier A Vs Supplier B claim/counter-claim culture.   We embarked on an  embodied carbon audit of precast concrete pipes and manholes in 2010 to PAS 2050 methodology, possibly the most “stringent” of the recognised methodologies at that time.  This work was independently validated by Carbon Clear and reviewed by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).  As a result of this study a further analysis was undertaken comparing the embodied carbon impacts of concrete pipes with a number of common plastic sewer pipes.  The results were generally favourable to concrete pipes.

A recently published study by a plastic pipe manufacturer refers to the CPSA embodied carbon data for concrete pipes and attempts to demonstrate that their product has a substantially lower embodied carbon than equivalent size concrete pipes.  The CPSA has not been able to get access to the full details of this work.  However, there is sufficient information to be confident that the work is fundamentally flawed, despite the involvement of a UK university.

CPSA has attempted to work with the university involved in “Supplier B’s” study to validate the comparison.  Unfortunately, the university  was not able to provide the level of expertise required to undertake such a detailed examination!

Benchmarking studies such as Supplier B’s is unhelpful. Whilst work is ongoing to consolidate carbon accounting theory and practice, there will remain a degree of variability of the data produced and the way that it is promoted and interpreted.

To cut through the numerous anomalies that currently exist, an up skilling of construction industry professionals in carbon accounting (and other environmental audits) is desperately required.  This will help users to differentiate between information that is developed in an appropriate way from the spurious “Supplier B” type claims that appear to be based on tenuous data and applied in a dubious way.

I hope that my simple checklist in part 1 of this blog will help you make an informed decision. For more information on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems follow the link or give CPSA a call today!

Posted by & filed under Sustainability.

Ask a random sample of ten construction industry professionals to define a carbon footprint and you will get ten different responses.  We seem some way off agreeing a single definition of what a carbon footprint actually is and establishing a carbon auditing process common to all activities.

There are a number of alternative carbon footprint definitions.  We also have a number of alternative carbon auditing methodologies to choose from, many recognised at national and international level.  Despite the plethora of recognised options, some will create a carbon footprint to their own, unrecognised methodology.

Call me cynical, but wouldn’t it be tempting to apply the methodology that presents the most competitively attractive results?

Unless you are an expert, you stand a good chance of being hoodwinked into believing anything that appears credible.  So how does the layman decide which results to believe, if any?

Nothing can be better than genuine expertise in this complex field of applied science, but as a first step, to help you screen the wheat from the chaff, I’ve put together a simple three-step checklist which highlights the most fundamental factors to consider:-

  1. Is the raw data generic (=secondary data) or specific only to the material, activity or process under evaluation (=primary data)?  Generic data may produce considerable errors if there is a wide divergence of data.  Primary data should be more reliable, provided  it is assembled, calculated and independently validated in accordance with recognised methods.  Consider the reliability, representativeness and accuracy of this data.
  2. Is the data compiled to a recognised methodology (e.g. EN 15804, PAS 2050, ISO 14040/14044) and has the information been assessed and validated by an accredited third party?
  3. If the data includes a comparison (e.g. Supplier A vs Supplier B), are the data sets aligned in terms of the Product Category Rules (PCR), methodology, boundary conditions, to make the comparison meaningful?

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

Posted by & filed under eNewsletters & eBlasts.

This Issue: Proprietary Sustainable Drainage Systems and Components

Welcome to the Spring 2013 edition of Pipelines. As we head towards a new National SuDS Standard – anticipated in April 2014 – sustainable water management is now a major consideration in construction and the design and operation of surface water drainage systems (SuDS) continues to gather momentum. CPSA members have been actively involved in the development of proprietary SuDS components and systems and CPSA has compiled useful new information and guidance. Innovation has never been stronger at CPSA and two excellent examples include circular precast base manhole systems and the award winning concrete pipe lifter. See below for important updates.

The CPSA website is continually adding helpful new material including free downloadable pdf documents on a range of topics. Recent additions include Factsheets on structural design and classification of pipes; joint integrity; a case study relating to liability when things go wrong and a case study on product design optimisation for a storm water storage and attenuation scheme. And don’t forget to keep your professional development up to date by registering for one of our free CPD seminars.

Stuart Crisp, Business Development Director, CPSA

Proprietary Sustainable Drainage Systems and Components

Sustainable drainage systems usually consist of a combination of natural and proprietary systems. Natural systems require space and can provide amenity value. Although some proprietary systems can provide amenity, they are often installed underground which enables the surface to be used for other purposes.

They are also particularly suitable for retrofit purposes.CPSA members offer a wide variety of proprietary SuDS components and systems suitable for use within a sustainable drainage system.

A new section has been added to the CPSA website and to the Technical Design Guide incorporating the latest information on SuDS components and systems. A helpful lookup table is included to help customers select an appropriate solution based on the function of the element within the Water Management Train, i.e. Collect, Treat, Re-Use, Infiltrate, Attenuate, Convey. For further details click here

Manholes Update

Demand has been brisk since the launch of CPSA member’s range of modular off-site circular precast base manhole systems. It’s hardly surprising as clients, designers and installers begin to recognise the site safety, installed cost and time efficiency benefits. Further advantages of up to 40+% reduced embodied carbon compared with traditional manhole construction and an improved, watertight joint design means that the old problem of extra energy consumed during pumping and water treatment due to infiltration can be eliminated.

Many of the water utilities and private developers have issued information bulletins to their staff and supply chain partners encouraging the use of these new systems, but despite an apparent universal acceptance of the many benefits that these manholes provide, awareness is not as strong as it could be and it is still important to spread the word.

If you have already experienced the many advantages of circular precast base manhole systems, please “spread the word. If you are yet to become part of the brigade of new circular precast manhole designers/installers/users and don’t want to be left behind, click here for more information.

Concrete Pipe Lifter Update

In the last issue of Pipelines, we mentioned the numerous industry awards won by the Concrete Pipe Lifter including the Water Industry Achievement Award for Safety, inclusion in the Construction Products Association’s prestigious Innovation and Achievement publication and finalist in the Highways Magazine Excellence Awards.

Of course, awards and public recognition is nice, but the really important thing is for the innovation to bring real, tangible benefits. The ever-increasing demand for the Concrete Pipe Lifter clearly demonstrates that the improved safety, time and cost savings achievable during the offloading, handling and installation of concrete pipes speak for themselves.

The Pipe Lifter is suitable for concrete pipes up to DN1200. Customers are keen to get their hands on the Type 2 Lifter – which is designed for larger pipes – and extend the advantages of safer, easier, faster and cheaper concrete pipe handling and installation. The Type 2 Lifter is still in development. To find out what people are saying about the Concrete Pipe Lifter and for news on Type 2 lifter availability, visit

Posted by & filed under eNewsletters & eBlasts.

This Issue: 7th edition of “Sewers for Adoption” now available

Welcome to the Autumn edition of Pipelines. In this issue, our lead article covers an important industry milestone with the recent publication of “Sewers for Adoption” 7th Edition. You will also learn about some useful on-line design tools that can help reduce the installed cost and embodied carbon of sewers. And there’s an update on the hugely successful concrete pipe lifter. You can also keep right up to date by signing-up to a CPSA social network and don’t forget to maintain your professional development by registering for a free CPD seminar.

Stuart Crisp, Business Development Director

7th edition of “Sewers for Adoption” now available

On 1st October 2011, water and sewerage companies in England and Wales became responsible for existing gravity private sewers and lateral drains that connected to the public sewer system.

This change means that pipelines adopted in the future will include a significant proportion of small laterals and sewers that were previously excluded and as a result, were not considered in previous editions of “Sewers for Adoption”. The 7th edition of “Sewers for Adoption” (SfA7) provides extended guidance to cover these smaller sewers and lateral drains and introduces further changes designed to reduce the differences in requirements between the water companies.

Other important updates have been introduced to reflect the technology now available and current industry Best Practice. These include:

  • Alternative construction details are included for Manholes Type 1A, 1B and Type 2. These details reflect the recent introduction of circular precast manhole base systems available from CPSA members. They have many benefits designed to satisfy designers, contractors and operators alike. The new design offers:-

– Reduced construction time
– Decreased installation costs
– Improved Safety on site
– Superior quality
– Watertight system
– Reduced carbon footprint

For more details on circular precast manhole base systems click here

  • Good engineering design should minimise or eliminate the risk of defects or failure. Clause E6.4.3 “Precast Concrete Manholes, Chambers and Wet Well” states that “Joints shall be made so that the required jointing material fills the joint cavity. Concrete to concrete contact across the joint shall not be permitted.”
    This requirement has been included to ensure that point loads are avoided at joints between units and to prevent over-stressing of sections as a result of localised concentration of loads. SfA7 states “Precast concrete manhole sections and cover slab to be bedded with mortar, plastomeric or elastomeric seal conforming to BS EN 1917 and BS 5911-3.”
    All CPSA members provide systems fully compliant with Clause E6.4.3


 Concrete Pipe Lifter Wins Industry Plaudits

Since it’s launch earlier in 2012, the Concrete Pipe Lifter has picked up the Water Industry Achievement Award 2012 for Safety and shortlisted for the Highways Magazine Excellence Awards 2012. The Lifter has also been recognised by the Construction Products Association and will be included in the prestigious Construction Products Innovation and Achievement publication, CPIA 2012.

Demand for the Lifter has been brisk. So much so, CPSA’s supply partner MGF has begun development of the Type 2 Lifter for concrete pipes larger than DN1200. Type 2 Lifters are expected to be available early 2013.

Further details on the Concrete Pipe Lifter can be found at


Posted by & filed under eNewsletters & eBlasts.

This Issue: Safer, faster handling and installation solutions

Concrete Pipe Lifter launched.

Loading and offloading delivery vehicles and installation of pipes and manhole components requires great Health & Safety guidance and care. It is reported that more than 75% of major fall-from-vehicle incidents occur during loading and unloading activities. The HSE estimated in 2004/05 that the human and economic cost of reported fall from-vehicle incidents was over £36.5 million.

The award winning* Concrete Pipe Lifter is a new, simple-to-use, inexpensive system introduced to the UK by CPSA. It is a collaboration across all members of the Association who are actively driving to improve site safety and increase efficiency during the delivery, offloading and installation of sewer pipes in open cut trenches.

The Concrete Pipe Lifter is connected to an excavator via a quick hitch attachment and uses no motorised parts making it easy to maintain. The lifting arm is inserted horizontally into the barrel of the pipe and raised to make contact with the internal crown of the pipe. The clamp arm will press down onto the top of the pipe at the socket end and hold it in position. The pipe may now be lifted and transferred to a suitable storage location or placed into the prepared trench and jointed following the application of a suitable joint lubricant. The pipe may be tilted up to 30 degrees from horizontal and manoeuvred between struts on trench support systems.

It can also be used to push the pipe home to ensure formation of the correct joint gap. It can be used to lift concrete pipes from DN300 up to DN1200.

Concrete Pipe Lifter can be hired for £150 per week or purchased for £6000 from CPSA supply partner MGF Trench Construction Services.

With a Concrete Pipe Lifter fitted to an excavator you can offload and lay concrete pipes with greater safety, in around half the time, with potential cost savings and less hassle.

  • Safer. No operative needed on vehicle during offloading or in trench during installation.
  • Easier. Simple to use and maintain. No special equipment and minimal training required.
  • Faster. Around 50% saving in installation time.
  • Cheaper. Fewer operatives plus greater productivity.

See the video and find out what people are saying at

Is your site implementing manual handling Best Practice?

Lighter weight products made from other materials may initially appear easier to use and some suppliers have suggested that these items can be used without the need for mechanical lifting equipment.

In fact, according to Health & Safety Executive guidance on weight limitations for manual handling, many lighter weight pipe products are in excess of the upper limit for safe lifting. In many cases, this means that HSE guidelines and Safety Best Practice are not being followed and the use of “light weight” as a marketing tool could lead to lack of appropriate risk assessment and safety management on site. CPSA’s Information Sheet on Manual Handling

*CPSA’s Concrete Pipe Lifter has been crowned Winner of the Health & Safety Initiative of the Year at the Water Industry Achievement Awards 2012.

The event is organised by sister journals WET News and Water & Wastewater Treatment to reward outstanding innovation in the UK water industry. There are 13 categories covering all aspects of the water industry which are open to the water companies, their contractors, consultants, sub-contractors and suppliers. The awards recognise outstanding innovation and best practice across the industry. Entries were judged by independent panels of industry experts. They considered achievements that clearly demonstrate innovation and best practice.