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Servelec Technologies to review UK pipe assets failure database

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A review of UK Water Industry Research’s (UKWIR) National Failure Database (NFD) for pipe assets is being carried out by Servelec Technologies.

The work will examine the business case for continuing development and support of the NFD, which benchmarks failure rates for water distribution mains and sewers in the UK and Ireland.

Data relating to characteristics such as pipe diameter and material are collated via the database, which helps utilities to better understand their assets. It can also be used to validate deterioration models, provide business cases and target investment.

“In its strategy documents Ofwat, the regulator for England and Wales, says that water companies need to better understand the condition and resilience of their assets so that they can target maintenance and replacement activity and reduce the risk of service failure,” explained George Heywood, project director at Servelec Technologies.

“This makes data more important than ever, so we need to find out why use of the National Failure Database has dropped and whether upgrading the user interface will improve engagement with this valuable resource.”

The review has already included two workshops to gather views from UKWIR member companies, which will help assess the business case for the NFD. The work will be use to prepare a user requirements analysis and a high level system specification.

Heywood added: “Servelec Technologies has worked with UKWIR for 25 years and in partnership with most water companies in the UK, which makes us well placed to carry out this review. We have a deep understanding of our customers’ requirements for analytics software and lead the field in designing innovative solutions to meet their specific requirements in water industry asset management.”

“There is a fundamental need to carry out a full review of the database for both water mains and sewerage, including an assessment of its full potential,” commented Oluseyi Onifade, strategic programme manager at UKWIR. “Restating the business case for the database, taking into account learning from over 15 years of use, could provide a sound basis for its development over the next five to 10 years.

“There is no question that better asset management of UKWIR members’ water mains and sewers is necessary and will lead to improved levels of service for customers.”

The review of the NFD began in October 2019 and is expected to close with a report and dissemination event in June 2020. Servelec Technologies will be assisted by the KWR water research institute in the Netherlands and the UK’s University of Exeter.