Pipe-bridge Risk Mitigation


Asset owner did not fully understand Pipe-bridge population such as the location, condition or health & safety issues. Sadly there was a Fatality in the North West involving an eleven year old child. The Coroner recommended to all utilities companies that all exposed pipework should not be available to the public with the Judge ruling that Pipelines are likely to attract children. Health and safety advised that the client failed to assess the risks associated with the pipe to members of the public and as a result they had not put in place any measures to prevent or deter access on to the pipe. The expectation was that such pipes were guarded to prevent such accidents happening in residential locations where there were lots of people in the area. Potential financial implications £2m+ costs for every incident, it was then identified from AIMS that UU had 819 pipe bridges (PB’s) in their asset portfolio.

A Calm Solution

  • Take a sample of sample of 20 PB’s in the North West, and carry out a site survey using an agreed data collection template
  • Complete a desktop asset risk assessment to identify which assets require works
  • Remedials works package requested / CALM Project Manage
  • Following initial assessment RAG status (Amber) had very high numbers
  • Incorporated WRC guidelines and re-assessed them again with an agreed risk score
  • Even with the reduced grading, 8 remediation activities were identified from the 20 surveys (40%) and have since been completed.
  • Risk Assessment compiled in advance of works
  • Completed a ‘desk-top’ Risk Assessment of all the remaining pipe-bridges (approximately 10 queries with United Utilities Field)
  • In parallel with this project, Storm Desmond, Eva, Frank and Imogen. Allowed us to quickly identify which pipe-bridges over watercourses were at risk in a particular area and where there may be future threats to the assets
  • Five pipe-bridges were damaged by the storms and there was no information to mitigate the consequence that the storms may have brought
  • 183 Enhanced Surveys – two metres above existing ground levels completed plus additional information gathered
  • The Risk assessment identified all pipe-bridges over watercourses
  • Ordnance survey levels of the Watercourse relative to the pipe-bridge level
  • Coordinates of both ends of the pipe-bridge to Sub-metre accuracy
  • Material of pipe-bridge
  • Name of the Watercourse
  • CALM promoted to the client the benefits of ‘Point Cloud Scanning’ the Pipebridge Assets
  • UU agree to trial the technology
  • An Asset in Penrith (17PBR001) chosen by the client due to the following reasons:
    – Location close to playing fields, over 2 meters in height and crosses a deep river.
    – Pipe-bridge is the main supply to the local treatment works which serves 15,400 people.
    – Fail safe is a syphon but unused for some time – not guaranteed to be fully operational.
    – Both cross the River Eamont – major tributary to the River Eden.
    – A pollution event would be disastrous to the local wildlife, surrounding Rivers and Farmlands.


– From the scene software, the scans can be viewed, edited, placed and used to create point    clouds and 3D images.
– It can be viewed in full 360 degree images.
– When the scans have been placed and registered. They can be uploaded into software            called ‘Web share 2 go.’
– This software can be shared with the client via drop box so whoever needs it can have            access to measuring capability’s and 3d views.-
– Developed a bolt-on to capture the dynamic data going forward and uploaded the Risk            Assessment from the 800+ pipebridges onto AIMS

Enhanced Maintenance Inspection now includes a Risk Inspection

– Access to pipe ends – level of difficulty
– Height of fall – metres
– Location of the pipe – in a field, embankment
– Safety signs – such as additional safety signs required

– Security devices – whether any fitted
– Vandalism
– What is crosses – motorway, railway, canal et
– Terrain – embankment, field, garden, grass road, principle road

All high risk pipebridges have been identified and mitigation measures put in place.

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