Balfour Beatty – United Utilities Contract

PSS HIRE long term supplier to Balfour Beatty on United Utilities Water Contract.

Customer Name

Balfour Beatty

Project Location


Products Used

MegaMc PolyHorse Pipe Loading System, Excavator Pipe Handlers, BDI (Bead Diagnostic Instrument), Welding Containers

The Challenge

As the latest Ofwat determinations came into force on water contracts, contractors working on Water Utility contracts were faced with a fresh set of challenges – requiring them to find different ways of looking at how they went about their business in order to find additional cost savings.

With costs having been driven down over a number of years, simple price reductions have been achieved – what was required was a new approach and closer collaboration to identify increased productivity and efficiencies and the BDI unit was a key part this review.

The Solution

Balfour Beatty’s gas and water business took an innovative approach and engaged with key suppliers to work collaboratively. This fitted with the PSS ethos and track record of working closely with its customers.

Early engagement led to a different way of approaching projects, including utilising the PSS projects team to review jobs including at quotation stage. Where appropriate pre mobilisation site visits were/are undertaken and the best processes and use of equipment for each individual project is reviewed and agreed.

One of the products introduced was the BDI (Bead Diagnostic Instrument) which was used on a number of high profile projects. The BDI (Bead Diagnostic Instrument) is a unique, onsite tool that gives you real time feedback as to the quality of your butt fusion welds. As well as ensuring Balfour Beatty were compliant with the latest WIS standards (that requires the ‘bend back’ test to be carried out every 100mm) the unit has also provided the company with additional reassurance in real time, and allowed any issues to be rectified before it’s too late – delivering confidence in the weld quality, and delivering valuable data.

By using the BDI tool with a smart phone, operators were also able to link the results of the BDI bead test to the butt fusion machine’s weld records in real time to the JointManager website (hosted by ControlPoint) where the two records are shown together for ease of reference.

The JointManager website allows full analysis and reporting of all operator, machine, material, GPS location and weld data, and the system can be used to alert managers in real time to any issues identified with weld quality, ensuring that potentially problematic joints are reviewed before being buried.

The Results

  • Confidence from contractor and client relating to joint quality
  • Assists in the culture of getting it right first time
  • Improved productivity
  • Identification of efficiency measures and issues
  • Improved relationships and culture – alliance led approach – Buy in from all parties

"As part of a wider review into working practices with key suppliers on our United Utilities Water contract and as part of the ‘get it right first time’ approach adopted, one of the innovations introduced by PSS HIRE was the BDI(Bead Diagnostic Instrument).

This tool allows us to carry out a non-destructive test of the bead and record the results via a smart phone, providing real time quality assurance and removing the potential for poor joints to be buried. In addition to this the bead test can be linked to the joint data from the machines, which can then be used as part of our wider quality documentation to our client."

Stephen Delaney, Balfour Beatty’s Delivery Manager (Advance)

"PSS HIRE has a proven track record of working in partnership with customers and we welcomed the opportunity to work alongside Balfour Beatty to identify improved working methods and also introducing new products that provided solutions to some of the challenges and issues on the contract.

The BDI has been particularly well received by the contract as it has allowed them to conform to the new WIS specification and identify potential issues at source."

Nick Eakins, PSS HIRE’s Strategic Accounts Manager

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