Posted by & filed under Sustainable Drainage.

Published by the Treasury in late 2013 the Infrastructure Carbon Review documented the prospect of infrastructure value chain participants to collaborate in the expansion of low carbon infrastructure developments.


PAS 2080:2016 Carbon management in infrastructure was commissioned to facilitate this into reality. Mott McDonald and Arup developed the standards with support from the Green Construction Board (GCB). Figureheads within the infrastructure sector described the new standard as a ‘game changer’ which will pave the way for ‘consistency of methods and reporting’ across the supply chain.

It is specifically targeted to decision makers (asset owners/managers, designers, constructors and material suppliers) PAS 2080 provides a regular framework on how to manage whole life carbon when delivering infrastructure assets.

Manufacturers should take note that PAS 2080 introduces a new requirement for providing precise carbon data for their products, which ideally is 3rd party accredited. This puts emphasis on the whole life evaluation and through its adoption of boundary defined modular approach, carbon assessments now need to be more inclusive than ‘Bath University ICE database’ assumptions. In order to become a more reliable, representative and transparent format, similar to the one used in standards such as EN 15978 and ISO 21930.

You can also find PAS 2080 is available at the BSI Website for £100 HERE


In 2010 we commissioned Carbon Clear consultancy to consider the performance of precast concrete pipes and manholes with their plastic counterparts. The study concluded that concrete pipes’ carbon footprint was 35% lower than the plastic alternative.

Other links:
Credited to: Hafiz Elhag, Sustainability Manager, British Precast

Posted by & filed under Sustainable Drainage.

In 2015 the planning regulations in England and Wales were amended to ‘expect’ Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) to be included in all new housing developments of 10 or more homes.

SuDS is about dealing with rain where it falls, this is in contrast to conventional drainage solutions which carry run-off from a development to an outfall as quickly as possible.suds-article-2

To deal with the surface water where it falls clients, designers and installers have the option of using hard and soft SuDS solutions. Hard SuDS include proprietary engineered products installed underground such as precast concrete soakaways, attenuation tanks and treatment chambers whereas soft SuDS are generally landscaped, vegetated features such as swales and detention ponds.

Soft SuDS are a useful starting point when considering design options because they can provide amenity to a development. The downside is that vegetated features often require larger areas of land, land that could otherwise have been used for development. By contrast, proprietary solutions such as precast concrete underground systems help ameliorate run-off without using valuable land. A balance of both hard and soft SuDS components is often the most appropriate and cost effective sustainable drainage solution.

Hard SuDS solutions can help developers manage surface water run-off without using up valuable development land explains Stuart Crisp, Business Development Director at the Concrete Pipeline Systems Association (CPSA).

To help introduce customers to sustainable drainage principles and precast concrete SuDS components, the CPSA has produced an accredited, free CPD seminar entitled Surface Water Management using Proprietary Precast Concrete SuDS systems.

For further information please visit the CPSA’s page on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems


Posted by & filed under Innovation.

The Concrete Pipe Lifter is a safer way to offload, handle and install pipes whilst simultaneously speeding up operations and reducing costsYou simply attach it to your excavator using the quickhitch coupling. The Pipe Lifter has no slings or chains that hands could get trapped in, and requires no additional power requirements or hydraulic links. By removing people from the process, the risk of harm is eliminated. Nobody is needed on the vehicle during offloading and nobody is needed in the pipe trench during jointing. We’ve published a factsheet on the risks of manual handling in accordance with HSE’s best practices. It concludes that pipes of any material DN300 and over should be mechanically lifted.

Download Concrete Pipe Lifter brochure.

View Pipe Lifter videos.


Posted by & filed under Hydraulic Drainage Design.

Concrete pipeline systems have been part of the backbone to the UK’s sewerage network for over 150 years for good reason. The inherent strength of precast concrete products, their durability and their availability in a wide choice of sizes and cross-sectional shapes has made them a favourite choice. This blog adds some of the detail behind the headlines in our Heavyweight campaign.

The reasons concrete products were selected for use in drainage systems over a century ago are as valid now as they were then. But in today’s competitive drainage market the lower installed cost and whole life cost benefits resulting from their long service life coupled with excellent environmental credentials is ensuring precast concrete drainage products are still in favour with today’s engineers, contractors and asset owners.

Installed cost savings can be significant. For example, because concrete pipes are structural elements they can often be laid without the need for a full granular bedding surround. This may also save on installation time. It also means the quantity of imported granular material can be kept to a minimum while providing the opportunity to reuse excavated material, saving on disposal costs. And, once placed in the pipe trench, the inherent weight of concrete products ensures that they offer a natural resistance to flotation.

Despite the heavy weight of concrete pipes, using the award-winning pipe lifter can make unloading pipes from the delivery vehicle and the installation process up to half the time of traditional methods and, most importantly, safe as no-one is required on the vehicle or in the trench during the operation.

In addition to saving money, the inherent strength of concrete pipes makes them the preferred choice where loads from traffic running over the buried pipeline are significant. Their strength also makes them the preferred choice for deep installations where greater ground loads are imposed on a pipe.

Once installed the advantage of concrete pipeline products is immediately apparent. They do not deform or lose shape over their service life which ensures their hydraulic efficiency and structural integrity is maintained. They are also more resilient to damage from maintenance using high-pressure water jetting compared to many lightweight systems.

Concrete pipes also offer some major advantages when it comes to environmental sustainability; for example they are made from responsibly sourced local materials. In fact, a study by the CPSA and Carbon Clear demonstrated that a DN2100 concrete pipe has up to 35% lower embodied carbon on a like-for-like Class S cradle to site basis compared to the same size HDPE pipe.

Modern drainage asks for so much from its materials that it is clear that this is not a job for a lightweight. What is needed is Concrete, the Heavyweight Champion of the Drainage World.


Posted by & filed under Hydraulic Drainage Design.

The introduction of asset management period six, known as AMP6 by industry regulator Ofwat has seen water company costs measured on a total expenditure basis for the first time, which requires the proper consideration of the long term performance of assets in addition to capital cost efficiencies.

The five year period of AMP6 between April 2015 and March 2020 aims to increase the efficiency of asset management without increasing costs for consumers.


Under previous asset management periods, water companies have tendered contracts to construction firms to update some of the company’s assets and to keep existing infrastructure properly maintained for the five-year duration of the AMP. Ofwat, however, was concerned that under these AMPs water companies may have been using capital expenditure (capex) to build assets, such as water treatment works, to make a business more valuable for its shareholders rather than on reducing operational expenditure (opex) to deliver better value to customers.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Hydraulic Drainage Design.

main_image_v2This blog focuses on deflection of flexible (e.g. plastic) sewer pipelines and aims to inform the reader so that appropriate decisions can be made when designing, specifying, buying, installing and operating a sewer pipeline.


It is vitally important that users understand the differences between flexible pipes such as plastic and rigid pipes such as concrete and to appreciate how these materials perform in terms of structural integrity and hydraulic efficiency.

CPSA has produced a number of publications covering this subject, all of which can be downloaded free of charge on our web site.

What do you know


Posted by & filed under Sustainable Drainage.

The latest issue of Pipelines, CPSAs eNewsletter focuses on sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). It contains an excellent case study at where a residential development in Leicestershire used a combination of soft landscaped SuDS features and precast concrete SuDS components. Also featured is information on latest SuDS technical guidance and standards in England and Wales plus other useful references and case studies from the CPSA.

For more information on the use of concrete for sustainable urban drainage systems visit our website. If you would like to receive regular updates in the concrete drainage industry you can register to receive our free monthly eBulletins and quarterly eNewsletters!

Posted by & filed under Industry Updates.

Stuart Crisp, Business Development Director of the Concrete Pipelines System Association explains the advantages to be gained from working with precast concrete pipeline manufacturers to deliver the optimum drainage solution.

The more challenging a pipeline project the more important it is that contractor, distributor, manufacturer and client work effectively together to deliver the optimum drainage solution. This was the case with construction of the Chelmsford Effluent Pipeline. Here the project team had to overcome a lack of site storage, a high water table and, most challenging of all, a delivery date which was abruptly brought forward by six months and yet were still able to deliver the project on schedule.

This £9million project for Essex and Suffolk Water, part of Northumbrian Water, was constructed to almost double the capacity of the existing dual sewerage outfall from 828l/s to 1524l/s with the installation of a third pipeline.

The 1.4m diameter gravity pipeline was installed by civil engineering contractor Roadbridge along an 11km route from the Chelmsford sewerage treatment works to an existing outfall location on the River Blackwater Estuary. Buried between 3m and 5m below the surface, the pipeline connects to existing concrete pipelines both upstream and downstream. This made precast concrete the obvious material choice for the new pipeline.

Roadbridge worked with consultant RPS Group to develop the scheme’s detailed design. One of the challenges the team had to overcome with the pipeline’s route through the low-lying Essex countryside was dealing with a very high water table. To enable the pipeline to be installed in the low-lying ground, Roadbridge constructed a series of de-watering boxes 200m ahead of the pipe laying team. These temporarily lowered groundwater levels to keep the trench free of water during construction, while the self-weight of the concrete pipes helped guard against flotation during and after installation.

It was, in fact, because of the high water table and the likelihood of winter flooding that the project’s delivery date was brought forward by six months to ensure its completion by November.

Suddenly bringing forward the project’s delivery date by six months placed an increased onus on precast concrete pipe manufacturer and CPSA member Stanton Bonna Concrete to deliver. To meet the revised deadline Stanton Bonna introduced double shift working to significantly increase pipe production. Alongside increasing output the manufacturer also arranged storage for 4000m of pipe to enable the pipe supplier Keyline to meet a just-in-time delivery schedule. Keyline’s Gareth Twohey said the company did “a fantastic job” in working with Keyline to ensure it met the revised completion date.

Delivery of the precast concrete pipes was also a challenge. Access to the pipeline was predominantly from narrow, single lane country roads with limited space for delivery vehicles and storage. To ensure the operation ran smoothly, Keyline took the unusual step of pre-booking the haulage three months in advance.

This project demonstrates the benefits that can be gained from working closely with precast concrete pipe manufacturers and the advantages of pipes with high inertia (due to high self-weight) to counteract the risk of flotation in high groundwater. For the Chelmsford effluent pipeline, the efforts of the supply chain and precast concrete pipe manufacturer were essential in helping deliver this challenging project on schedule.

Posted by & filed under Industry Updates.

Wikipedia defines inertia as the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion (this includes changes to its speed, direction or state of rest). It is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant velocity. P08 Pipe Stabilitycropped copy

So, why is inertia important for buried sewerage structures? Without (lots of) inertia, pipes can become more easily dislodged from their intended position during and after installation.

  1. Most sewer pipes are jointed using a push-fit design where an elastomeric seal is compressed between the interlocking ends of two pipes being joined together. If the receiving pipe has low inertia and insufficient resistance to the jointing force applied from the pipe being laid, additional restraint may be required to hold the receiving pipe steady and to maintain the correct position while the pipe being laid is pushed home. This additional effort during installation can increase construction time and means that operatives are working in the trench for longer periods and can be subject to higher safety risk exposure.
  2. Backfilling and compaction. Pipe embedment should be placed and compacted evenly around the pipe to the correct specification. Unbalanced forces acting on each side of the pipe due to uneven backfilling and compaction can lead to a greater tendency for the displacement of pipes with low inertia.
  3. After installation, if the surrounding ground is subject to a high water table or if the ground is saturated, for example during a flood, pipes of low inertia are at greater risk of flotation. Take a look at the video below demonstrating a stunning failure of a corrugated steel culvert in Maine State, USA due to flotation during a flood. In known areas of flood risk or high groundwater levels, resistance to flotation can be designed into the installation for low inertia pipes, at extra cost and requiring a more complex, longer installation time.

Why does concrete outperform other pipeline materials?

Concrete is the Heavyweight Champion of the drainage world. The intrinsic self-weight of concrete provides high inertia to pipeline systems and a natural resistance to being moved out of position during jointing, backfilling, compaction and against flotation.

High inertia concrete pipes are the only sensible choice for a strong, stable, robust and durable wastewater pipeline system.

Posted by & filed under Industry Updates.

Have you ever wondered the comparative flammability of different drainage pipes?


Polypropylene pipe, reinforced concrete pipe and high density polyethylene pipe. We look which drainage pipe will be crowned champion with this unedited test conducted in October, 2015!

Dry hay is ignited in three 18/18 in pipes and allowed to burn safely. What happens next? Which pipe will survive?!

For more information on concrete pipes please visit the CPSA website in the link to the left.