Proactive Maintenence of Communication Pipes

A proactive approach to analyse and help schedule communication pipes for South West Water
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Supporting investment decisions in asset planning by determining the locations of poor-performing assets and creating a schedule of work for proactive maintenance. B&V provided information management services, using GIS and statistical analysis to review performance and environmental data related to communication pipes, to determine the location of poor-performing assets.


Need: South West Water had funding to invest in the maintenance of communication pipes but no robust and auditable method for determining where to invest.

Challenge: B&V needed to find a balance between delivering a robust and auditable method to the client, whilst also meeting the challenging project budget. This required B&V to communicate closely with the client regarding their aims and objectives, to ensure that we delivered an appropriate solution.

Solution: B&V used key experience of working with clean water network data and performance analysis of assets to review the communication pipes company-wide. Pipe characteristics and environmental data were analysed and used as risk criteria which, together with work order data, were used to produce failure rates for all communication pipes. These failure rates were then used to create cohorts, or groups of pipes, which were performing in a similar way. A GIS hot-spot analysis was then performed to spatially identify locations with a cluster of high risk pipes These locations were grouped into sensible packages of work and prioritised into the final schedule of work. The method provides SWW with an auditable, transparent method, such that the reasons for investing in specific locations can be easily provided.

Benefits: Being able to prove why certain mains require maintenance is key in building a successful business case and the work that BV undertook provided a clear path for where SWW should invest. As a by-product of the analysis, B&V undertook a data gap review of all data used on the project and performed a number of tasks to infill missing data. In particular, South West Water did not have a complete communication pipe dataset and GIS was used to create a spatial dataset to represent the communication pipes using address points, existing communication pipe data and distribution main data.

Key benefits
  • SWW now have an auditable method of deciding which communication pipes should be replaced
  • Provides a work schedule for which mains should be targeted throughout the AMP period
  • A cost-effective repeatable methodology where newer data can be loaded in and the analysis re-run


Key features:
  • A prioritisation method for a planned and proactive pipe renewal
  • Creation of repeatable models to clean and process the source data and perform spatial analysis
  • Failure analysis using Install Year, Pressure, Soil Shrink Swell, Material (soil corrosivity) used to target mains
  • GIS hot-spot analysis to spatially identify clusters of high risk locations
  • Repeatable tool and method that can be adapted for future use

Communication Pipes, Proactive Maintenance