What levels of productivity can be achieved in PE pipe installation?
PE can normally be installed much more quickly than most other pipe materials.
The productivity of laying PE, from excavation to reinstatement and commissioning, depends on a number of factors; environment (urban or rural), ground type and condition, surface reinstatement (road or unpaved), etc. The most important influence is the installation technique employed;trenchless techniques and chain trenching in particular can increase productivity significantly.
Factors that improve productivity are:
- Ease of site handling of PE pipe due to its flexibility and low weight
- Use ofcoils andlong lengths of pipe, minimising the number of joints
- Ease of jointing bybutt fusion or electrofusion
- Ability of pipe to be jointed above ground to provide long pipe strings
- Use of narrow trench techniques
- Use of trenchless or minimum excavation techniques
In urban environments using conventional open cut techniques, laying rates (excavation to reinstatement and commissioning) are typically in the following ranges:
- 100m per week per installation team for larger diameters
- 200m per week per installation team for smaller diameters.
The equivalent rate for Ductile Iron or Steel in similar circumstances is typically 60m per week per installation team. Generally for open cut installation there is at least a 50% increase in installation productivity for PE compared with Ductile iron or Steel for the equivalent pipe sizes and environments.
Using alternative installation techniques, for example trenchless techniques and chain trenching, which are ideally suited to PE pipes, the laying rates can be significantly increased with up to 500m per week per installation team easily achievable in certain conditions.
The increased productivity also leads to lower cost of installation. This cost advantage of PE is more significant at smaller diameters.