UKWIR failure database revamp gets underway

broken water main

A review of UKWIR’s National Failure Database for pipe assets is being carried out by Servelec Technologies. The work will examine the business case for continuing development and support of the NFD, which benchmarks failure rates for water distribution mains and sewers in the UK and Ireland.

Data relating to characteristics such as pipe diameter and material are collated via the database, helping utilities better understand their assets. It can also be used to validate deterioration models, provide business cases and target investment. The database has facilitated collaborative research in the UK and internationally, as well as driving in-house data quality improvements.

Project director George Heywood, Servelec Technologies said, “In its strategy documents Ofwat, the regulator for England and Wales, says that water companies need to better understand the condition and resilience of their assets so that they can target maintenance and replacement activity and reduce the risk of service failure. This makes data more important than ever, so we need to find out why use of the National Failure Database has dropped and whether upgrading the user interface will improve engagement with this valuable resource.”

The review has already included two workshops to elicit views from UKWIR member companies which will help assess the business case for the NFD. The work will be used to prepare a user requirements analysis and a high level system specification.

Oluseyi Onifade of UKWIR said, “There is a fundamental need to carry out a full review of the database for both water mains and sewerage, including an assessment of its full potential. Restating the business case for the database, taking into account learning from over 15 years of use, could provide a sound basis for its development over the next five to 10 years.

“There is no question that better asset management of UKWIR members’ water mains and sewers is necessary and will lead to improved levels of service for customers.”

The NFD review project began in October 2019 and will close with a report and dissemination event in June 2020. George Heywood is working alongside Luke Hart, Servelec Technologies’ project manager. Input is also being provided by the KWR water research institute in the Netherlands and the University of Exeter in the UK.