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Following the recent EFRA report highlighting 3bn litres of water is leaked from the networks every day, a heavy focus has been placed on tackling leakage across the industry. Severn Trent Water are showcasing a commitment to reducing leakage and have evidenced that their network quality has been significantly improved, working closely with its contractors and quality assurance partner, ControlPoint.
Severn Trent Water has implemented a formal quality improvement plan working in unison with ControlPoint, which provides quality assurance products and services that are proven to help utilities and contractors improve the longevity and safety of their networks and save millions of pounds in unbudgeted remedial work.
ControlPoint provides real time inspection of electrofusion joint installations on the Severn Trent Water network to monitor the preparation of the joints to key industry standard criteria. Joints that do not meet the required standards are flagged to site managers and operators who can then remove and replace these non-conformant joints prior to commissioning and ensure a defect-free installation.
Through collaborative working and implementing a holistic Quality Improvement Plan alongside its key contractors Amey, Barhale Construction and North Midlands Construction, Severn Trent are proud to showcase their improved network quality.
The Quality Improvement Plan consists of regular performance reviews, strategy meetings, a Joint Quality Governance procedure, utilisation of standard criteria for all contractors working on the network and audits by partner ControlPoint.
Joints that do not meet the required standard are cut out and replaced to meet the criteria set out by the scheme. Mandatory cut-outs and weekly quality reports supplied to all stakeholders in the initiative have helped to drive up quality across their networks.
The results of the Quality Improvement Plan currently show that Severn Trent Water has seen consistent increases in quality across its network and is now at 98.9% conformance.
Speaking of the successes of the Quality Improvement Plan, David Benson, Quality Manager at Amey notes that taking a holistic approach and aligning all teams involved with the Plan, including sub-contractors, helped to achieve the current successes. David adds that “The use of ControlPoint helps us to demonstrate to our clients the quality of our workmanship and expertise that our supply chain brings. Thus providing [to our clients] a level of assurance on their assets for years to come.”
Wlodzimierz Kaczmarzyk, Capital Assurance Technicians Manager at Severn Trent Water adds “The quality improvement plan implemented and maintained by the team, helped water infra contractors to achieve the best quality performance ever. By ensuring high workmanship standards we minimise risk of future joint failures, and contribute to Severn Trent Water leakage reduction and supply interruption targets.”
Read more ControlPoint Case Studies here.
Despite improvements in recent years, joint failures and leakages are still a major challenge for the water industry.
The quality team at eight2O are taking great strides to meet that challenge – with the help of ControlPoint.
eight2O are an alliance of partners, all working to the same long-term aim – zero leakage across the Thames Water network.
They knew there was an issue around the strength and integrity of certain sections of their polyethylene pipelines, but they didn’t know the full extent of the problem. In order to drive improvements, they needed to scope out the situation and develop a strategy for dealing with it.
In order to deliver this insight, eight2O began a trial with ControlPoint, which recently culminated in a contract to work together in the long-term in order to drive up quality and improve installation across the whole network. The team describe the comprehensive approach they’ve adopted:
‘Firstly, we’re using ControlPoint to deliver on-site training to all operators, as well as a quick response, on-site coaching service. This has been well received in the field, as our operators are keen to make improvements to their own working practices.
‘Secondly, using ControlPoint’s inspection system, we’ve implemented clear pass/fail criteria. If a joint falls below an agreed standard it gets cut out and sent to ControlPoint for testing and reporting, so that we can capture as much data as possible about the quality of our network.
‘We’re raising the agreed standard in incremental steps every 3 months, until we eventually reach our target of zero leakage.’
Northern Gas Networks deliver gas to 2.7 million homes and businesses in the North East, Northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire.
Following a successful year-long pilot, they signed a contract with ControlPoint in 2017. This will see ControlPoint inspect and assess some 1.18km of polyethylene pipes per year, in order to prevent future leaks and breakages.
ControlPoint is also rolling out a comprehensive programme of training and onsite coaching to NGN’s operational teams right across the North.
As one of the UK’s ‘big five’, Northern Gas Networks are committed to first class customer service. It was this commitment that led them to trial ControlPoint, and it was soon clear that the system was getting real results.
Nick Mark, Director of ControlPoint comments:
‘As a forward-thinking organisation, Northern Gas Networks recognised early on that ControlPoint offers a unique opportunity to innovate, to do business differently and ultimately, to deliver a better service to their customers.
‘Northern Gas Networks have been quick to adopt best practice such as the use of groundsheets on-site, and league tables to reward operator performance. These innovations are previously unheard of in the gas industry and although they may seem like small changes, they will make a big difference to the quality and strength of Northern Gas Networks’ pipelines.’
By using ControlPoint’s cutting-edge service, Northern Gas Networks will extend the operating lifetime of their pipeline network to up to 200 years. This will result in significant cost savings as well as reducing the inconvenience associated with repairs, for domestic and business customers across the north.
Richard Hynes-Cooper, Innovation Delivery Manager at Northern Gas Networks, explains why he believes ControlPoint ticks all the boxes when it comes to business improvement and customer satisfaction:
‘We are delighted to be working with ControlPoint. ControlPoint helps us to be 100% sure that we get it right first time, helping us to maintain our high level of accuracy.’