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Flexseal Coupling innovation set to save Highways England project £240k

Date: 2018-04-23


Here are the details of how our Icon internal coupling innovation saved a Highways England Smart Motorway project three to five hours per pipe connection and is set to save nearly a quarter of a million pounds.

 

Site:
M6 Junctions 16-19

Problem:
Existing main pipelines needed connecting into new manholes/catchpits, however they were surrounded by concrete providing no external pipe surface for a traditional coupling.

Objective:
Provide a quick and cost-effective solution for connecting exiting pipes without the need to break away the surrounding concrete from the existing clay pipe.

Solution:
Flexseal’s Icon Internal Couplings were used to connect pipes using their internal surfaces.

A contractor had started a major Smart Motorway project on the M6 between junctions 16 and 19. Part of the critical path for the project involved extensive works to the motorway’s existing drainage network, including the addition of new drainage sections.

The original drainage network for this section of the M6 was installed in 1963 and contractors working on the project came across several outdated methods when digging up the old pipelines.

For example, in most cases, pipes had been encased in concrete, causing significant problems when new sections were required or the old pipes needed connecting into new manholes and catchpit chambers. Contractors had been breaking away the concrete by hand to expose the external surface of the pipes to connect a traditional coupling. (pictured below)

Pipe encased in concrete with LC

However, the combination of the extremely old and therefore hard concrete and brittleness of the old clay pipes meant that the pipe would often break after hours of hard labour, meaning the contractor would need to chase back the concrete even further down the line. The outlook for this method was project delays and project overspend.

After hearing about the problem, UK-based flexible coupling manufacturer Flexseal suggested using its range of Icon Internal Couplings, which are designed to connect to the internal surfaces of two pipes to make a secure and watertight connection.

The contractors were advised to make a clean cut through the concrete and old pipe using a Stihl Saw instead of excavating the concrete surround. (pictured below)

Pipe encased in concrete sheared off

The contractors could then insert the coupling into the bore of the existing clay pipe, insert the new pipe onto the opposite end of the coupling and tightened to the correct torque. (See picture below)

Icon coupling into catch pit

The project is ongoing. To date 363 Icon Couplings have been purchased for it and it was originally anticipated that 400 will be used, which would mean cost savings of approximately £240,000.

Project benefits:

  • Reduction of installation time from 4-6 hours using traditional methods to just 1 hour using the Icon Coupling
  • Health & Safety risks were reduced, with requirements for concrete excavation eliminated
  • Planning improvements for future projects identified as the Icon ensures a near certain design can be achieved and unexpected problem pipe have less impact on the project
  • Savings of each connection on average £600
  • Product approved by Highways England and endorsed as best practice for this scenario on future projects

 Find out more about the Icon internal Couplings here