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VAPAR provides CCTV solutions to asset managers


Avoid the backlog

A common industry challenge is how to effectively manage the increasing volume of CCTV pipe inspection data that accumulates over time. Backlogs occur when inspection projects reach completion, but the packaging of the subsequent required programmed work is delayed.

A CCTV backlog can then grow larger when the pace of condition inspections continues at a faster pace than the review and decision process. This dilemma is often exacerbated by resource challenges where engineers are spread thinly across multiple asset management tasks, and when efficient data access is not in place to support the decision-making process.

The receival of CCTV inspection results should not be considered the final delivery of a program, but rather a point in the circular process of pipe asset management. Each step should be designed to synchronise and complement the one that follows.


Pipe condition assessment process. Image: VAPAR

Acquiring the 1 to 5 condition gradings is only one part of managing a pipe network. Questions to consider when implementing a successful asset management strategy include:

  • Do I have confidence that I’m inspecting the right percentage of my network, and the correct pipes within it?
  • Do all relevant stakeholders in my organisation have access to data from past inspections?
  • Am I updating my GIS and asset management systems with condition results?
  • Is my process designed to inform asset risk, value, and future inspection programs?

No silos in the cloud

Having a suitable storage option for the large amount of video files that CCTV inspections generate, while retaining access for stakeholders to view reports and make maintenance and rehabilitation decisions, presents both storage and software challenges for councils and utilities.

Greater Western Water (Victoria) and Richmond Valley Council (NSW) are two such organisations that have turned to the VAPAR.Solutions platform to significantly improve the access and management of their inspection file libraries covering the last 5 years.

Moving to a cloud-based solution provides options to keep both GIS mapping and asset management systems up to date, while removing the reliance on portable hard-drives and messy network folder structures that can lead to data silos and unintended information barriers.

Same storage for pushrod and zoom footage

Traditional CCTV pipe inspection software and processes have been designed to work with pan-tilt-zoom crawler cameras. This often leads to inspections collected using pushrod and pole-mounted zoom cameras being poorly catalogued and lacking a common approach to access and compare condition information. In many cases, a video is captured but soon after the footage and data disappear due to poor storage and reporting options.

2021 saw VAPAR successfully run projects that provided the opportunity to import, analyse and produce inspection style reports for a range of camera hardware. The opportunity to store, map, report, and track decisions for crawler, pushrod, and pole camera inspections all in the one location has significantly increased the value and useability of this type of footage for asset owners. Having access to more condition collection methods allows for greater flexibility and increased coverage of a network to better manage risk and improve the understanding of pipe infrastructure.

Mildura Rural City Council sought options to economically survey a significant percentage of their stormwater network that would provide condition data to inform their operational and capital works programs. They recently engaged Interflow, a VAPAR Partner, to complete this package of inspection works using pole-mounted zoom cameras with results available directly through VAPAR’s browser platform. This has seen the value and detail of the collected data increase with better access to videos, images, condition results, and inspection reports. This data is formatted to import directly to GIS for thematic mapping and broader user access. Over 80km of inspections are scheduled to be completed during this project.

VAPAR began the new year processing footage for Muswellbrook Shire Council, with inspections completed by Mullane, a Central Coast / Hunter based VAPAR Partner. Some of the earliest of adopters of advancing technology for the CCTV pipe condition assessment process have been rural and regional councils.

One of the primary influences for this trend has been the demand for engineers and project managers to spend less of their time watching videos and become more focused on managing pipe risk. Understanding this risk using targeted defect frames and open data presentation has been designed to make the pipe condition assessment workflow smarter with improved outcomes.

Gunnedah Shire Council have a large inspection program that began in January. Michael Ludlow (Project Manager Water Services) explains some of the reasons that led to new solutions for managing their sewer network.

“We were looking for an innovative solution that could evaluate CCTV footage and give an accurate assessment of our sewer infrastructure that took the human factor out of the evaluation process, Council required VAPAR to be able to integrate with CCTV contractors to give us the best possible result that was accurate and cost effective we believe that VAPAR ticked all those boxes.”

Regional councils aren’t alone in realising the benefits of VAPAR’s new technology. In Sydney, both Blacktown City Council and Campbelltown City Council have adopted VAPAR to drive improvements in workflow and decision-making. Campbelltown is one of the faster growing areas in Sydney and have found that VAPAR’s AI processing and data outputs don’t just improve their condition assessment program. They now use VAPAR.Solutions as part of their new pipe acceptance and end of warranty testing, this has enabled them to reduce the turn-around time from weeks to days.

Implementing iterative machine-learning updates to the AI processing engine and the further development of automated solutions, VAPAR continues to roll-out this advanced technology to councils and utilities in 2022.

For more information visit the VAPAR website. 

This article appeared in the February 2022 issue of Trenchless Australasia. Click here to view the digital edition of the magazine. 

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