Web Tower: Aug – Oct ’19
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State of the Industry Report 2018

Individuals and companies involved in Australia and New Zealand’s trenchless technology sector have once again been surveyed as part of Trenchless Australasia’s State of the Industry Report 2018.

This report, which takes into consideration the views and opinions of more than 170 people in the industry, is designed to summarise the previous calendar year of no-dig activity and highlight areas of activity, growth and development.

Utilities and councils

In this most recent survey utility and council representatives only accounted for 10 per cent of respondents. This was significantly down from 26 per cent in the last survey in 2017.

Of those who did respond, 89 per cent work in the water, wastewater or stormwater industry, an increase from 82 per cent in the previous survey. The remaining 11 per cent were involved in the oil, gas and/or energy sector, up from 7 per cent in 2017.

Surprisingly, there were no respondents from the telecommunications industry, perhaps a result of the majority of the National Broadband Network construction having been completed. In a positive indication for the trenchless industry, 56 per cent said their organisation had increased its use of no-dig methods in the past 12 months, an increase from 48 per cent in 2017.

Another optimistic outcome is that none of the respondents said their use of trenchless had decreased, with the remaining 44 per cent reporting it had stayed the same.


The majority of the responses to the survey once again came from trenchless contractors, making up 44 per cent. Of these, 46 per cent said they worked on trenchless installations, a slight increase from 45 per cent in 2017.

The biggest jump was respondents who said they worked in inspection and condition assessment, up from 12 per cent in the previous survey. Utility location representatives accounted for 18 per cent of responses, down from 23 per cent in 2017.

Only 14 per cent of respondents said they worked on trenchless rehabilitation, down from 23 per cent. This is surprising given the rise of relining practices, particularly cured-in-place pipe, spiral wound and other liners, such as fold and form.

In regards to the location of the contractors, the results were similar to the 2017 survey. Approximately 35 per cent were located in New South Wales, up from 32 per cent, with 27 per cent located in Queensland.

The North Island of New Zealand was home to 15 per cent of the companies, ahead of Victoria (12 per cent), and Western Australia and South Australia (4 per cent). In another positive indication for the industry, 48 per cent said they had taken on new staff in the past 12 months, while only 24 per cent had cut down on staff. Some reasons for this decision included: more work and contracts, increased choice and a reported increase in trenchless activity.

More than 50 per cent of the companies said they met their budgets, with 24 per cent exceeding their targets. Only 10 per cent of respondents said they just missed their budget, with 5 per cent missing their budget badly.

The majority of the contractors surveyed (52 per cent) are considered to be medium sized (20–200 employees), with small contractors (5–20 employees) accounting for 33 per cent and large contractors (200+ employees) making up 14 per cent of those surveyed.

Equipment manufacturing and distribution

The responses from those involved in the manufacturing sector was down from 19 per cent in 2017 to 15 per cent. The majority of these said they supplied the rehabilitation sector (33 per cent), up from 30 per cent in 2017.

Only 17 per cent of respondents said they were focused on equipment for new installation, the same as inspection and condition assessment, utility location and other. In the past 12 months, 75 per cent reported they had increased staffing as a result of the economic climate and succession planning, among other reasons.

Only 25 per cent of these companies reduced staff. When asked about their operations, half of respondents said their trenchless-related work had increased, while the other 50 per cent said the activity had stayed the same. Similarly, 50 per cent said they had exceeded budget, while the other half just missed budget.

This article was featured in the March 2019 edition of Trenchless Australasia. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet, or mobile device, click here.

If you have a news you would like featured in Trenchless Australasiacontact Assistant Editor Chloe Jenkins at cjenkins@gs-press.com.au

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