There is a flurry of activity among members of the International Pipe Bursting Association (IPBA) as the association accelerates efforts to promote the benefits of this versatile trenchless method for replacing failing underground infrastructure.
Founded in 2000 as a division of NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies), a primary goal of the IPBA is educating engineers and municipal water and sewer managers about the benefits of pipebursting and providing technical data about the technique and its applications.
The association prepared and published pipebursting standards and specifications guidelines in 2003 which is widely used nationally and internationally. However, following publication of the guidelines, association activities declined.
IPBA’s rebirth began earlier this year at the annual UCT Show in Tampa when more than 20 industry representatives met and determined that an independent pipe bursting association was a necessity and that the IPBA needed to be brought to active status.
“The Tampa meeting was our kickoff event and launched the IPBA into an active organization again,” says Brian Metcalf, association chairman. “The meeting was attended by some of the major pipebursting contractors in North America and discussions centered around the need to make the IPBA an active and effective organization focused on the education, promotion and expansion of our industry.”
Committees were organized for marketing, education, specifications and governmental relations.
Also at the Tampa meeting, the decision was made to have an all-day working session in Chicago in May the day before the opening of the No Dig show to begin drafting a five-year strategic plan to meet the association’s objectives. Committee leaders, says Metcalf, were charged with working with members to prepare recommendations for inclusion in the five-year plan.
Following the May meeting, committees have remained active and planning work continues.
“Our immediate goals,” Metcalf says, “are to finalize the five-year plan, expand our member base, develop a long-term plan to expand the industry by double digits annually, and make pipebursting the preferred low-cost solution to replacement of aging infrastructure. We can accomplish these goals by advancing the acceptance of pipebursting through education, training, marketing and encouraging governmental support to replace existing infrastructure using the most cost-effective methods available.”
One priority is updating IPBA pipebursting standards and specifications guidelines written early seven years ago to include advances in technology that have occurred.
Metcalf says the marketing committee is especially active.
“Our marketing strategy is twofold,” said IPBA Marketing Committee Chairman Matt Timberlake, vice president and senior project manager, Ted Berry Co. “First, an effort is under way to market not only the technology and its benefit to utility system owners and engineers, but also promote membership in the IPBA and what members can gain from being a part of the association.
“Second, we want to attract contractors either currently involved in pipebursting or considering adding pipebursting to become IPBA members and gain access to information about cutting-edge technology that is at the forefront of the industry.”
Timberlake says there is a new IPBA page on the NASSCO web site (http://www.nassco.org), IPBA ads will be published in national and international utility and trenchless trade publications, and public service flyers explaining pipebursting to the general public are being developed.
“Education and sharing industry knowledge will grow the pipebursting market,” believes Timberlake. “A technical library is being developed that will give visitors to the IPBA website instant access to case studies, guideline specifications, good practices references, project classifications, typical experience with equipment used for different types of projects, and other useful information.”
Timberlake added that he believes encouraging contractors to become active in IPBA can benefit the industry as a whole.
“IPBA,” he says, “is seeking a balance in its membership to include contractors, engineers, utility system owners, manufacturers and other industry professionals on common ground with the intent of expanding the pipebursting market in North America.”
Gerhard (Gerry) Muenchmeyer, NASSCO technical director and adviser to the group, says now is the time for the IPBA to consolidate its leadership role in the pipebursting industry.
“Even though the rehabilitation industry has been fairly steady,” he explains, “with the downturn in the economy the volume of pipebursting has also diminished in some areas on a region by region basis. The association is needed to promote the pipebursting technology through unbiased training, education and technical support. It is a way to de-mystify and teach engineers and/or municipalities the limits, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of the technology. It is an organization where the contracting community has the primary obligation of providing a high level of confidence for the technology.
“The IPBA is structured to be independent of any one manufacturer, vendor or contractor. The dissemination of non-biased, independent information about the technology will give the engineers and municipalities a better understanding and a higher comfort level for specifying the use of the pipebursting technology. To further provide information on pipe bursting, IPBA is presenting a Pipebursting – View From the Field education track at the Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) on January 20, 2011 in Houston.”
NASSCO is a national organization of several hundred members representing rehabilitation industry manufacturers and suppliers, municipalities and utility districts, engineers and contracting firms.
Current officers of the IPBA are:
Chairman, Brian Metcalf, Hammerhead Trenchless Equipment
Vice Chairman, George Mallakis, TT Technologies
Secretary/Treasurer, Jarrett Cowden, Hammerhead Trenchless Equipment
Past Chairman, Collins Orton, TT Technologies
NASSCO Advisor, Gerry Muenchmeyer, P.E., Muenchmeyer Associates
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
International Pipe Bursting Association, (410) 486-3500, www.nassco.org