'We’ve set out a programme of innovation to revolutionise roadworks to minimise disruption to our customers and road users alike.'
Angus McIntosh, Innovation and New Technology Manager, SGN
In 2012, SGN pioneered the use of core and vac technology in the gas distribution industry in Great Britain, with benefits shown across our networks. This was only the beginning - we’re now innovating to widen the use of keyhole technology across our operations.
iCore is one of several projects which aim to deliver an end to end keyhole solution for current operational activities such as flowstopping, mains and service replacement and connection works.
From the 1850s up until the 1950s metallic mains and services were used extensively across the British gas distribution network. We are currently working on a 30-year programme to replace all our metallic pipes within 30 metres of property with new plastic pipes. The plastic pipes are more flexible and robust and if left undisturbed will last for decades, ensuring a continued safe and reliable gas supply for years to come. Currently there are over 7,000 kilometres of small diameter metallic pipes requiring replacement across our network.
Throughout the current eight year price control period (RIIO-GD1), we are focussing on replacing metallic pipes below 8” (tier one) as part of our total operating expenditure targets. Live/dead insertion is a big part of our mains replacement strategy, as opposed to open cut replacement, to minimise disruption to our customers and members of the public. Developing mains and service insertion methods further would help make the process even more efficient.
Through our keyhole technology projects, most notably iCore, we’re developing a more advanced method to minimise the size of excavations and reduce disruption to customers on our tier one mains and service replacement jobs.