A common practice for builders and contractors are running utilities to the buildings or other facilities they construct. Each utility has its specifications for the needed trench width and depth. These specifications typically cause different trenches for each utility. With today’s new demands, solo trenching can cause issues and unnecessary costs. That is where Joint trenching comes into play.
What is a Joint Trench?
First used in 1960, joint trenching is a practice of placing all utilities in one trench. So pipes for water gas, electricity, telecommunications all find themselves in one channel. The only exception is sewer lines. They have different regulations and are usually on their own. Placing multiple utilities in one ditch is more economical and creates less underground congestion.
Do the Utilities Need to Separated?
Gas and electrical lines mustn’t run too closely together. They need to maintain a proper distance from each other to prevent the possibility of explosions. As a rule, the following separations are good guidelines to follow for the sake of everyone’s safety.
- 24 inches between electric and gas lines
- 12 inches between water and electric lines
- 12 inches between electric and communication lines
Care has to is taken to see that all-electric line trenches run at least 24 inches away from any sewer line. These distances must be maintained both horizontally and vertically. Each utility has its standards for its depth, which needs to be part of the standard trench design.
Designing a Joint Trench
Now that you know both depths and separations requirements for most areas of the world. It becomes easy to decide both the width and depth of the joint trench. All that you need to do is to determine its alignment on the ground. It is best to decide on a common entry point for all the utilities as they come into a property from the street where the mains live. Now that all of those design aspects are collected. A professional designer will draw out a plan to be approved.
Carrying Out Joint Trenching Work
Once the design is approved, the joint trenching work will start. Supplies, people, and equipment are called upon to dig the trenches and lay the pipe. All work goes through tests, inspects, and then covered up and if done correctly. The utility lines will last for decades.