Heavyweight Champion – the headlines explained

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.

To find out more information on why precast concrete is a great choice for your pipeline please visit  http://www.concretepipes.co.uk/downloads

 

 

About the Author: Stuart Crisp

Stuart is a Director at the Concrete Pipeline Systems Association (CPSA) and has worked within the drainage, construction materials and concrete industry for over 30 years and held technical and commercial senior management positions.

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