Safe removal of concrete from underground assets


Live underground gas mains (i.e. pipes carrying gas) must be exposed through excavations to allow Gas Distribution Networks (GDNs) to undertake necessary repairs and maintenance operations.


Whilst carrying out these operations there is a high risk of striking cable clusters which are often encased in concrete.


In an instance where an electrical cable is struck there is a high risk of injury to operatives. Furthermore, additional cost may be incurred from damage to neighbouring Utility’s assets.


Currently, the mitigating actions taken to reduce risk of cable strikes are:


  • Identify buried assets using existing identification tools e.g. CAT & Genny
  • Apply 300mm clearance either side of an identified cable
  • Remove concrete using breaking or fracturing techniques e.g. still saws and concrete breakers (this technique is often “stop – start” in an attempt to avoid cable strikes)


These methods are often aggressive and can be difficult to apply precisely as the equipment may ricochet onto surrounding assets.



Preferred output


A solution is envisaged that will allow gas engineers to safely expose gas pipes and remove the surrounding concrete without damaging the underground assets.


Design specification


The solution must:

  •  Remove all concrete surrounding the exposed assets
  •  Not increase risk to the operative
  • Not damage the assets being exposed
  • Precisely remove concrete from the exposed asset at an exact location


The solution should:

  • Be a light weight solution (ideally a one man lift under 25kg)
  • Be usable by all operatives (not a specialist piece of equipment)
  • Require minimal training
  • Increase efficiency
  • Reduce cost when compared to existing methods




Process for Registering Interest


To register initial interest and request an expression of interest form, please enter your details online. Alternatively, please call the Energy Innovation Centre on 0151 348 8040 and quote the reference number GDN-18-13.


Please note, specific EOI forms are created for each individual Call for Innovation and the matching form will be required to progress any submissions.


The closure date for registering initial interest is 04 April 2019. Please note office open hours are 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.



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