NUCA trenchless assessment guide

The National Utility Contractor Association (NUCA) Trenchless Assessment Guide (TAG) outlines the development of a comprehensive, yet straightforward and easy to use interactive web-based software for the evaluation and ranking of alternative construction methods that can be employed in the installation, rehabilitation or replacement of buried pipes.

The proposed software is based on the software developed for the NUCA by the Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University. The decision – making algorithm used emphasises simplicity and practicality, and limits input data to those readily available to utility engineers at the design stage of the project.

Based on the specific characteristics of the problems facing the decision-maker, the software will perform a preliminary screening, eliminating technologies unlikely to meet the project’s requirements. In most cases, a number of construction methods listed in the database will have the capacity to address the problems under consideration.

A technical evaluation is then undertaken during which the technical capabilities (e.g. drive length) of the various technologies identified in the first step are compared with the project’s attributes. A risk analysis is performed based on the characteristics of the project’s environment and the anticipated soil conditions. Technologies that successfully pass the evaluation are then ranked based on preference attributes, including risk and environmental impact.

Other key elements in the proposed software are the ease of expandability, updatability and customisation. New construction methods can be added and the capabilities of existing methods updated as technology develops and new innovations are introduced into the trenchless market. The software is therefore expected to serve its purpose for years to come, incorporating technological changes and remaining a useful and relevant decision support tool.

After a short period of negotiation, in January 2007, the ASTT signed a contract with Louisiana Tech University to provide this program to the ASTT. The program in its current format will need to be modified to suit our conditions and will be subjected to a thorough evaluation period before being released to ASTT members.

Progress in regards to this initiative will be reported in future editions of Trenchless Australasia.

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