5 September 2012 – Having pioneered the launch of trenchless technology in South Africa in the early 1990s, subsurface pipeline construction and rehabilitation company Trenchless Technologies says this branch of technology has become one of the fastest growing sectors within the country’s construction and civil engineering industry.

Trenchless Technologies managing member Sam Efrat says that the deterioration of South Africa’s underground infrastructure systems and the ever-increasing demand for utility services is driving a greater need for subsurface utility construction and rehabilitation that causes minimal disruption to surface traffic and business.  

The company was established as one the first contractors in the South African market to offer pipeline rehabilitation through the use of subsurface technologies, including slip lining and pipe bursting.  As the market grew, Trenchless Technologies expanded its offering to include the installation of new pipes through subsurface technologies such as pipe ramming and directional drilling. “Traditional open-cut construction methods have adverse impacts on the surrounding communities, businesses and commuters owing to undesirable noise and dust pollution, traffic disruptions and safety concerns. In addition, direct costs are greatly increased as the excavation of continuous trenches often requires the restoration of surfaces such as sidewalks, pavements and landscaping,” Efrat says.
When compared to traditional open-cut construction methods, trenchless pipeline construction and rehabilitation applied in the correct application offers quicker turnaround times and cost savings of up to 20%. A vast majority of the technologies have the ability to undertake piping installation or rehabilitation work underneath existing services such as buildings, roadways, railways, rivers and established forestry, while keeping a small work footprint. With micro tunnelling, a more sophisticated trenchless technology, it is possible to install pipelines with the same or even greater accuracy than by open cut methods.  

Technologies such as directional drilling have experienced phenomenal growth in South Africa. In the last three years alone, the number of directional drilling machines in the South African market has grown to close on 90 machines.