Jul 2014
Gas Distribution
Mains and Service Replacement through Keyhole
Jul 2014
Dec 2020
Alex Stewart, Innovation Support Manager
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Mains Replacement
Commercial, Environmental, Health and Safety and Gas Distribution Networks
The scope of this project is to carry out detailed technical assessments, designs, development and field trials of keyhole tooling method and equipment for mains and service replacement activities that have the potential to be distributed and utilised safely and efficiently in Great Britain (GB) with minimal disruption to customers.

The objective of this project is to develop an innovative solution to be utilised in conjunction with SGNs keyhole excavation techniques, to allow the trenchless replacement of PE mains and services by both live and dead insertion methods. In order to address the scope, the work has been divided into two specific Elements, which represents sub-projects under the Project scope. The objectives of each Element are as follows:

Element 1: Design, develop and manufacture a keyhole located and operated pipe installation system  that will install PE pipes in the size range of 25mm through to 90mm, but specifically will be provided with a range of Long Handle Tooling (LHT) designed and manufactured to install and remove a service connection as

Element 2: Design, develop and manufacture a mains replacement insertion system for live or dead insertion of pipes (63mm through to 180mm diameter) inside existing metallic pipes from a 600mm diameter cored keyhole excavation.


The Project will evaluate the effectiveness of both Elements against current replacement methods to determine the potential cost benefit.

The project will be deemed to be successful if the following outcomes are achieved:

  • Carry out design, development and manufacture of mains and service technology and keyhole tooling to meet industry and SGN standards and specifications.

  • Produce operator guidelines detailing the correct operating procedure of the equipment for the trials.

  • Development of an associated training packages for field trial

  • Assess the potential benefits of this technology solution against current mains and service replacement activities.

Produce and disseminate learning based on final project report.