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Do you have what it takes to enter Drilling and Tapping 2016?

A fixture in the calendar since 1989, the UK Drilling and Tapping competition takes place at Utility Week Live on 17-18th May. With entries now open, hone your technique with our step-by-step guide

The Drilling and Tapping competition is a test of skill and dexterityThe Drilling and Tapping competition is a test of skill and dexterity


A routine task for many in the industry working with clean water networks, making a new service connection to a water main nevertheless requires great skill and dexterity. Throw in the requirement to complete the task against the clock and in competition with other teams, and you have yourselves a contest – and a spectacle. Thinking of entering? Here’s our step-by-step guide to what’s involved.

1. The event is a team time trial, each team being made up of two contestants, and is open to anyone connected with the water industry.

2. The aim of the exercise is to complete the task of a simulated house connection by drilling and tapping a 150mm diameter ductile iron main under pressure together with the installation of a service connection in the shortest possible time. The pipe to be drilled and tapped is cement lined, capped each end and pressurised to a pressure of 50-70 psi.

3. To complete the task, teams must use a combined drilling and tapping machine (Hy-Ram No.1) which incorporates a 25mm ferrule. The machine must be attached to the main in such a way that a watertight seal is made between the machine and the main; then the machine is cranked by hand to drill and tap the main.

4. Once the drill bit enters the main, the machine cylinder needs to be rotated 180 degrees in order for the gunmetal ferrule to be inserted into the hole in the pipe. Be careful – any leaks that happen while doing this will incur a time penalty.

5. Once the ferrule is inserted, the drilling and tapping machine can be removed from the main and the ferrule tightened.

6. Meanwhile, the other team member is preparing the service connection, which must lead from the boundary box (a transparent plastic box containing a meter) 1m away. A portion of PE plastic pipe must be cut to the right length and fixed securely at both ends, meeting the main at a neat right angle.

7. When the two team members have finished their respective tasks, the service pipe needs to be attached tightly to the ferrule outlet, completing the connection. The service tap is turned on and water should flow.

8. The quality of the work is then judged and seconds are added to the running time for leaks, safety and other technical violations. The team with the fastest time wins and a prize is awarded for a ‘quality tap’ i.e. no penalty points incurred.

Entry Information

- The UK Drilling and Tapping competition is organised by the Institute of Water. The competition takes place at Utility Week Live (formerly IWEX) in Birmingham’s NEC, 17th & 18th May 2016.

- Teams of two are invited to enter the competition. There are categories for contractors as well as water companies, and a ladies competition. As well as receiving their trophy on the day, the winners will be celebrated at the Utility Week Stars awards on 17th June.

- Last year’s winners were Jason Barrett and Lee Maddock of Anglian Water with a time of 2 minutes 16 seconds. Ronnie Baker and Alison Ramsey of Bournemouth Water won the ladies competition, while Morrison Utility Services won Best Contractor
- Entries can be made online at www.drillingandtapping.co.uk or contact Lucy Archer (Institute of Water) at lucy@instituteofwater.org.uk 0191 422 0088.

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