The pipeline construction process is not as simple as welding some pipes together and burying it. Experienced pipeline construction companies understand that there is a very significant amount of planning, engaging, surveying, land preparation, excavation, and pipeline preparation that needs to happen before any pipeline construction can begin. Then, once the pipeline construction is completed, the job still isn’t over. At that point, the pipeline must be tested, buried, and the pipeline ROW, or pipeline right-of-way must be restored environmentally. Below, you’ll find a general overview of the pipeline installation steps, from pre-planning to restoration.
The first step of the pipeline construction process involves designing a plan for the project. This not only requires mapping out the proposed pipeline route but weighing environmental and engineering concerns as well. Before moving forward with any other part of the project, it’s crucial to know that the proposed plan will function correctly if it were to be approved.
The next step of the pipeline construction process requires companies to engage landowners who will be impacted by the pipeline. This is a requirement set forth by many government entities. Pipeline construction companies may be required to not only talk to landowners whose property they may need to access, but to those whose property will be affected by the surrounding construction. If landowners do not allow access to their property, companies will need to go back to the drawing board to come up with a redesign.
Once the final route of the pipeline has been agreed upon, the construction firm can start the surveying and fencing stage. Thanks to advances in technology, companies can now access 3D images of proposed job sites within a matter of hours. After surveying the land, companies can fence off areas that will be under construction. Companies may be required to post warning signs on these fences, depending on the nature of their project.
Once the pipeline contractors have fenced off all areas properly, they can begin clearing the pipeline path. Typically, contractors will use graders, excavators, and bulldozers. When clearing the land, companies should be mindful of the fact that they will need to account for restoration efforts later. They should make an effort to preserve as much of the existing topsoil and vegetation as possible, which can help mitigate the risk of erosion and runoff.
Once the area is cleared, the pipe will then be transported to the construction site and laid out next to the location where the trench will be dug. The pipe is delivered in sections, and will eventually be welded together. If necessary, the pipe will be bent at this point so that it fits the contours of the proposed route.
At this point, it’s time to begin welding the pipeline together. It’s critical that companies test all welds for quality control purposes. Otherwise, the pipeline could eventually crack or leak. Once it’s confirmed that the welds are good, companies should clean the welds and cover the entire pipeline with a coating designed to prevent corrosion.
Once the pipe has been put together, the pipeline installers will use a trenching machine to dig the trench. Then, they’ll use side booms to lower the pipe into the ditch. The tube will be covered with a layer of protective padding to keep it safe from rocks, stones, and other sharp objects that could scratch the coating or puncture the line.
After the pipeline has been put into the trench successfully, the company will backfill the trench. To do so, they should use the topsoil that they removed while digging the trench. When refilling the trench, companies will compact the subsoil so that minimal settlement occurs.
At this point, the pipeline should be thoroughly checked and tested to make sure it is ready to put into operation. Pipeline contractors run hydrostatic tests, or pressure tests, with water. If the pipes hold sufficient pressure without leaking, the pipeline is ready for full use.
At Hanging H, we work with pipeline owners and operators to deliver all needed pipeline construction services. Although the steps of the pipeline construction process listed above provide an excellent overview of the process, the process can vary from job to job. No two projects are alike, and there are regulations that differ from state to state.
We’ll work with you to come up with comprehensive construction solutions for your pipeline project. Before we begin, we’ll provide you a breakdown of every step so that you remain “in the loop” about your project. Working together, we will construct a quality pipeline solution to serve your needs.