NUCA Committee Updates: Trenchless Technology

NUCA trenchlessThe Trenchless Technology Committee

In effort to better represent the contractors engaged in trenchless installation and rehabilitation, the NUCA Board approved a Trenchless Contractors Department at convention in March. The new department will focus on and help resolve issues unique to trenchless contractors through education, networking, legislative and regulatory advocacy, legal and consulting services, and other services as identified by the members of the Trenchless Committee.

NUCA TT Committee Chair Jeff Rumer (l) explains to a CT land developer
While working NUCA’s TT exhibit in Washington, DC, NUCA TT Committee Chair Jeff Rumer (l) explains to a CT land developer how trenchless technologies can bring infrastructure to landlocked parcels to facilitate new development.

The NUCA Trenchless Department will focus its activities specifically on issues affecting contractors, as well as their vendor partners, in all sectors of the trenchless industry.

Department’s Kick Off Event Educated Many

In June, NUCA and the Trenchless Contractors Department was one of 16 exhibitors selected by HUD and NAHB for the first Annual Innovative Housing Showcase held on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Barbco, HammerHead Trenchless, Akkerman, and Ditch Witch shipped in their equipment and were onsite to educate attendees about trenchless technologies and their benefits and how the technologies can affect development costs and improve resiliency after a disaster.

Roughly 5,0000 state and local public officials, federal agency officials, congressional lawmakers, and industry stakeholders walked through the exhibit. After the 5-day event, it was clear to each trenchless exhibitor that many attendees, even industry stakeholders, were completely unaware of the trenchless technologies that install and repair underground infrastructure. The technologies caught the interest of both high-level public officials and state and local organizations that manage affordable housing and urban development, of which infrastructure plays a critical role. (Details of NUCA’s TT exhibit can be found here.)

As a result of NUCA’s TT exhibit, HUD published an introductory article about trenchless technology in the “Industrial Revolution” column of Cityscape, HUD’s printed journal that covers high-quality original research on housing and community development issues. The journal is published 3 times annually and is distributed to roughly 10,000 scholars, government officials, and practitioners.

The NUCA’s Trenchless Contractors Department will continue its outreach to the appropriate state and local agencies to raise awareness about the benefits of trenchless technologies and ensure it reaches the key individuals.

Trenchless Technology Manual, 5th Edition

One of the top priorities for the department is the completion of the 5th edition of NUCA’s Trenchless Installation and Methods Manual, which will publish by early 2020. As many contractors know, the text of the manual has not been updated since 2004. Despite hundreds of trenchless documents published since 2004, engineers still turn to NUCA’s 2004 manual to spec jobs. NUCA’s trenchless manuals hold credibility with owners and engineers because of the partnership between Louisiana Tech University’s Trenchless Technology Center and the knowledge and experience well-established, reputable contractors have contributed to each edition.

While the manual will update the technology behind each method, it will also include information to help alleviate two of the most frustrating issues for trenchless contractors: improper methods specified for projects and lack of trenchless field knowledge among design engineers. The technical aspects of trenchless methods were updated by the Trenchless Technology Center. This edition will include considerably more input from contractors, including problems contractors encounter in the field, their root causes, and how they are resolved; known limitations and appropriate methodologies for applications; as well as any other information or adjustments to the technical aspects of the manual to improve engineers’ overall understanding of trenchless technologies.

The Department and Getting Involved

“We established the Trenchless Contractors Department in response to contractors’ request for an organization that primarily focuses contractor issues,” said NUCA TT Committee Chairman Jeff Rumer. “There are several excellent trenchless organizations in the U.S. that will continue to represent NUCA members. But the overwhelming sentiment has been that that the industry needs one unified organization dedicated to resolving issues for contractors, regardless of the type of trenchless work they engage in. NUCA’s Trenchless Contractors Department intends to do that.”

As the Department continues to grow and solidify, the department will provide lobbying in Congress and the regulatory agencies on trenchless-specific issues (provided by Eben Wyman), offer more opportunities to network with trenchless peers, major discounts on well-established, credible education for trenchless contractors, and many other benefits still being established by the TT Committee.

If you would like to be involved as we continue to build the Department and set its priorities, please contact Anne Luzier,, for information. Contractor participation will be critical to the success of the Department and resolving trenchless contractors’ biggest operational issues. Also email Anne if you would like to be notified of Department meetings, activities, and opportunities. We encourage trenchless contractors who are not NUCA members to join and get involved.

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