Giant training day graphic reveals secrets of leak detection


Catalyst’s Head of Technical and Network, Paul Duddle, used a giant graphic of a house to demonstrate the detective work needed to detect leaks at the Subsidence Forum Training Day.

His presentation – ‘Water Main Leak Detection for Subsidence Claims’ –  used the eye-catching floor graphic to lay out, literally, the challenges of leak detection and how to overcome them.

Paul was one of five experts delivering training for 150 insurance, engineering, and subsidence industry professionals at the annual event, held in Hertfordshire on Thursday 13th October 2022.

Difficult to detect

He said: “I wanted to create a way to creatively engage the minds of some very experienced professionals in a practical way. I think it went very well. Feedback from visitors was positive.

“Everyone was asking questions and taking notes, which was a sign I was giving information people found interesting and useful, and that’s what I set out to achieve.

“Drainage or water main leaks are significant contributors to subsidence claims. Locating underground leaks can be difficult. A range of techniques are needed, along with sound judgement.”

Paul used the floor mat graphic to show delegates how to determine if a leak was coming from a drainage pipe or a clean water pipe, where it was most likely to be located, what might have caused it, and what impact it could have on the property.


Detection equipment

In each of his five 25-minute sessions he also demonstrated the leak detection equipment and techniques needed to pin-point leak locations, including listening sticks, ground microphones, and cat and sonde.

Finally, he was able to reveal the source of the leak at this particular graphic property, by lifting a section of the pavement to show a real pipe with a real leak. He then explained how it could be repaired.

Paul, a member of the Subsidence Forum’s executive committee, said: “It was a bit of theatre to make an important point, that water leaks have multiple factors, so you have to be prepared to think on your feet at every location, and apply skilled investigation work.

“Otherwise, you can waste a lot of time, resource and money, and upset the property owner doing a lot of work, including digging up their drives, paths, and gardens, before the leak is found and the subsidence risks are controlled.”

Sharing expertise

Catalyst Services UK is a leading provider of specialist services to the insurance industry, including drainage unblocking and repairs, subsidence investigation, water supply pipe services, and home emergency response.

Catalyst Managing Director Brad Jackson also attended the training day. He said: “Paul did a brilliant job of bringing leak detection to life.

“It defines what Catalyst is all about, sharing expertise and helping clients deal with their most challenging problems. It was also great to be at the training day to learn from the other expert trainers.”

The Subsidence Forum is a national group of organisations, experts and practitioners who raise public awareness about subsidence and encourage competent responses to the issue.

Members include subsidence consultancies, arboriculturists, law firms, surveyors, subsidence repair specialists, engineering companies, claims service providers, like Catalyst, and public bodies.

Find out more

Do you want to know more about Catalyst’s subsidence investigation and leak detection services? Contact us today. Telephone: 0800 870 8080. Email: [email protected].

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