IPBA Launches Fast-Track Agenda For 2012

The International Pipe Bursting Association (IPBA) has ambitious plans for 2012 and got the year off to a good start in January with the introduction of new pipe bursting guidelines at the Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) in San Antonio, TX.

The new guidelines are a key element in the IPBA’s revitalized efforts to educate sewer and water system managers and the engineers who design sewer and water projects about the considerable benefits of pipe bursting as a proven trenchless method of construction, said Matt Timberlake, IPBA leadership team member.

“The guidelines were received very well,” said Timberlake. “Previously-available pipe bursting guidelines date back eight years and longer, and the pipe bursting industry has changed significantly since then. As a true collaboration of people throughout the industry, I believe people recognize real value in a consensus document that is current, brings the technical information needed today, and is supported by sound facts and references.”

The new IPBA guidelines focus on the overall applications of pipe bursting and will be followed with individualized documents that relate specifically to water, sewer, gas, lateral and large diameter pipe bursting.

The guidelines were constantly referenced during IPBA’s two-day view-from-the-field pipe bursting track at UCT, Timberlake added.

“The next step,” he continued, “is to make the guidelines available to those throughout the industry, including utility system owners and operators, design engineers, consultants, contractors and municipal officials. This would provide all with a trusted source for information regarding pipe bursting. Distribution will be primarily through the IPBA website as a free download. In addition, we expect pipe bursting contractors and equipment manufacturers to also distribute the guidelines and help move the industry collectively forward.”

Pipe bursting guidelines are only one element in the IPBA’s efforts to promote the technology.

“IPBA,” Timberlake continued, “has developed a five-year strategic plan that includes municipal outreach programs through technical conferences across North America. In addition, we would approach elected officials to continue educating decision makers responsible for municipal utility systems about trenchless construction alternatives and primarily pipe bursting and the benefits they offer. We also anticipate development of a pipe bursting inspector training program.”

Aggressive goals
The IPBA was founded in 2000 as a division of NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies). The association prepared and published pipe bursting standards and specifications guidelines in 2003 which became widely used nationally and internationally.

Seeds of the organization’s “rebirth” were planted at the Tampa UCT Show in 2010 and have accelerated ever since. Timberlake cites pipe bursting industry history and the need for an active organization promoting pipe bursting.

“Through its first 30-plus years,” explained Timberlake, “the pipe bursting industry developed in Europe, with limited activity in the United States, due in part to restrictions imposed by patents. The expiration of those patents in 2005 opened the door for expansion of the North American market. The IPBA has become the collective voice of industry participants to promote the process and its benefits.”

Timberlake pointed out that pipe bursting contractors and manufacturers in North America have a wealth of knowledge and experience and by harnessing it into a collaborative effort to promote the industry that a better understanding of the capabilities and benefits of pipe bursting will result in a greater share of the underground construction market.

The IPBA is a volunteer membership organization composed of contractors and manufacturers supported by utility system owners and operators, engineers and members of the academic community.

“As a volunteer association, we know that nothing would get done without the hard work of all of our members,” Timberlake said. “Everyone is busy. However, our leadership team has truly stepped up and dedicated the personal time needed to accomplish some very important goals. We have consistently met or exceeded our goals in the last 24 months. I think that is largely due to our members being unwilling to fail. It is very rewarding to work together towards a common goal.”

IPBA leadership team members are Brian Metcalf, Hammerhead, chairperson; George Mallakis, TT Technologies, vice chairperson; Jarrett Cowden, Hammerhead, secretary; Collins Orton, TT Technologies, past chairperson; Mike Woodcock, Portland Utilities Construction; Andy Mayer, Murphy Pipelines Inc.; Troy Freed, Utility Services Authority LLC; Mike Rocco, AUI; Matt Werth, PM Construction; and Matt Timberlake, Ted Berry Company.

Coming in May: Pipe bursting in a low carbon world.

IPBA (NASSCO), (410) 486-3500, www.nassco.org

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