Together with Thames Water and UK pipe producer GPS, Borealis developed the first model for the Whole Life Costing of a large water pipe system. To allow real comparison between options, the WLC model calculates all costs associated with a project throughout its life cycle, from material costs to installation and maintenance. This pioneering research gives network designers and operators a base to inform decisions and make more sustainable investments.
Large diameter trunk water mains have been traditionally designed using old generation materials pipes because these have provided the lowest material costs. However a complete analysis over the complete life cycle reveals that the cheapest pipe is not always the best investment in the long term. To support more sustainable investments, Borealis cooperated with Thames Water and UK pipe maker GPS (part of the Aliaxis Group) to develop a Whole Life Costing (WLC) model to compare true costs of different pipe materials for large diameter water mains.
The ability of advanced polyethylene (PE) systems to withstand end loads and ground movement was demonstrated dramatically during the Kobe earthquake in Japan in 1995. When Osaka Gas examined their gas system after the earthquake in which 440,000 homes were destroyed, they found a high level of failure in traditional systems but none in the PE part of their network. Such findings made PE extremely popular for gas networks in areas where severe ground movement is an important consideration.