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Surveying Westminster's Drainage System

Description of Works
FM Conway is working with Westminster City Council to develop a data-led approach to drainage asset management.

It’s part of a three-year data gathering exercise to inform a predictive rather than reactive approach, which provides certainty of cost management for Westminster. The innovation will improve the network’s long-term performance and reduce the risk of incidents that can cause disruption, such as blockages or flooding. 

Services used on this project Highways Maintenance Water and Drainage Management
Delivering Innovation

FM Conway is responsible for 14,200 gullies and other drainage assets across Westminster. Traditionally, cleansing contractors would clean these assets on a cyclical basis and respond to incidents like floods as they happen.

Joe Meakin, Contracts Manager at FM Conway, explains:
“We’re using technology to build a smarter works programme, mapping the drainage network for the first time to assess its overall health. This allows us to adapt our cleansing schedule and adopt a ‘risk-based’ approach to asset management to prevent potential issues before they cause problems for Westminster’s businesses and residents.

“London’s drainage assets will come under increasing pressure in the years ahead, both from climate change and the city’s growing population. Building a bank of data about our infrastructure will help us to understand where and when potential challenges could arise, making sure that the vital services beneath our feet continue to play their role in keeping the city running.”

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We’re using technology to build a smarter works programme, mapping the drainage network for the first time to assess its overall health.

Joe Meakin - Contracts Manager at FM Conway

Since summer 2017 FM Conway has surveyed 1,269 gullies using push-rod cameras. The footage reveals if there are any issues occurring within the current or future state of the gully. If a pipe is damaged, FM Conway’s lining team pump in a liner and resin, which solidifies to create a new lining that will last for up to 25 years. The company has also identified 585 Victorian ‘trapped’ or swan-neck gullies, the design of which makes them hard to access and clean using high-pressure jetting.

The surveying programme includes monitoring flooding hotspots – for example, geographical low points and areas which silt up regularly and cannot easily deal with heavy rainfall. With climate change increasing the frequency of heavy storms, these hotspots could potentially cause major disruption for the borough. FM Conway is identifying at-risk areas so that when heavy rainfall is forecast, teams can be mobilised to clear any build-ups, making sure they operate at full capacity to minimise the chance of floods.