The company has been in operation since 1977, focussing on work for local authorities in North London. In particular, they’ve developed a niche for tricky or unusual specialist jobs, where, for example, access might be an issue or where multiple problems need to be tackled in one location. Recent work has included more jobs in one Council’s office spaces to add to their work on roadways and in parks.
“Previously, we have used mostly jetting from our trailer jets to clear blockages, with the addition of Sani Snakes and rods,” explained Mark. “Our client had seen the Picote miller machines at an exhibition and talked to us about where the work would come from for such a machine. Although it seemed like quite an investment for us, I could see where it would pay for itself.
“The Picote miller adds another string to our bow. It’s easy to get it into places where we would struggle with jetting hoses, such as the rabbit warrens that some of the office and apartment buildings can be. Also, we can use it in locations where we don’t want to introduce the large amounts of water used in jetting – I sell it to our client as a form of ‘dry jet system’.”
Mark and his team found an initial job at a prestigious local council building that would benefit from the Picote Miller. Gus Smith of the UK’s largest Picote stockist, Source One Environmental, demonstrated a Super Midi Miller on site, talking through the available tools and the best methods of operation, and then supporting Mark’s team through this first job.
“Gus was very impressive in terms of his knowledge of the equipment and how it works,” Mark stated. “Some of his explanations solidified what we knew about how to operate it from our experience using Sani Snakes, but the Picote machine was a much more industrial and robust piece of kit.”
The Turnford team needed to de-scale pipework that was two thirds blocked with uric acid – reducing the pipe bore from 75mm (3”) to just 25mm (1”). First, the pipework was exposed by removing the ceiling beneath the floor on which the toilets were located. “Access for jetting hoses was very limited and rodding only goes so far,” Mark explained. “We also didn’t want to introduce excessive water which may have caused a flood and damage to the building. The Picote worked perfectly.”
The initial blockage was broken up using a Special Drill Head attachment, designed to tackle tough obstacles. The pipe was then descaled using Picote’s Original Grinding Chains and Smart Sweeper attachments. Any residue within the pipe was then flushed through. The cast iron pipe was restored fully to its original bore in just a couple of hours, with the work being completed prior to office hours so that toilets didn’t have to be taken out of action while workers were in the building.
Since that first job, Mark’s team has found diverse applications for the machine.
“We used the Picote miller in a boiler room in a basement beneath a set of flats where a blockage at the base of a rainwater stack was causing a problem,” Mark said. “During heavy rains, the surcharge within the pipe was backing up to a fracture 8m up the stack within a wall cavity. This was causing a leak that flowed back to the basement and was damaging the ceiling tiles.
“We couldn’t get jetting hoses into position as they would have had to cross a busy foyer and come down and round the lengthy staircase. Additionally, we couldn’t use walkie talkies between the obstruction and the outside man to operate the jetter, as the basement location meant no communication between the two.”
Instead, the team just rolled the Picote miller in and down the stairs. The obstruction was removed and the Turnford team are now confident that the rainwater won’t surcharge to 8m, even during a downpour.
Turnford Pipelines have also used the Picote miller for root cutting and to remove a mortar bed.
“The Parks Department of one local authority had reported that gullies weren’t working properly. When we examined the problem, we found a connection that we hadn’t been aware of. After cutting out 20m of roots, we asked our client whether they’d like us to continue,” Mark reported.
“Being able to quickly cut out the first 20 metres and assess the problem allowed us to discuss the situation properly with the client. This led to more work for us and an improvement to the drainage system within the park.”
At another job, Mark’s team found that the pipeline bore was reduced by a third due to the pipe receiving washdown water from nearby building works. This had created a solid mortar bed. “We told the client that we have just the piece of kit to tackle the job,” said Mark. “A jetting nozzle would have washed over the top of the mortar bed rather than biting into it to break it up. The Picote tools had no problem in tackling it.”
“We know that this Picote piece of equipment adds more to what we offer and we can see lots of uses for it in the future,” Mark concluded.