What it involves

Pipe bursting is a trenchless method of replacing buried pipelines (such as sewers), by breaking and pushing the existing pipe outwards and pulling or pushing a new pipe through the void created. In some cases it can also be used to increase the diameter of an existing pipe.

Our Service 

  • The process fractures an existing pipe and displaces the fragments outwards while a new pipe is drawn in to replace the old pipe
  • There are a number of variants, the difference being the way the old pipe is fractured and the fragments displaced
  • Typical bursting methods include pneumatic, hydraulic expansion or static pull
  • The set-up requirements vary in relation to replacement, pipe diameter, length(s), existing access chamber size, bursting equipment size etc.

Our Process

  • Prepare the manholes to be used as appropriate for the technique selected – frequently involves removing the invert in the chamber
  • Prepare the replacement pipe and locate appropriate to relevant manhole
  • Set-up the bursting equipment
  • Connect replacement pipe/pipe section
  • Commence bursting and feed pipe/connect pipe sections as appropriate
  • Monitor surface heave as appropriate to your site
  • Complete the pipe replacement and remove the bursting equipment
  • Make good pipe ends and manholes.


  • Existing pipe material and condition
  • No connections that cannot be accessed to reinstate (bursting will damage)
  • Known ground conditions, including likelihood of concrete surround other obstructions that would hamper pipe expansion
  • Knowledge of acceptable ground displacement/movement tolerable at surface
  • Services, structures and surface finishes above the pipe
  • Pipes 100mm to 1200mm

When to use pipe bursting

  • A very effective trenchless technique for known ground, for runs with no or few connections and with no movement sensitive structures or services above the pipe. If a degree of upsizing is required, this is the best trenchless technique
  • The bursting method can be adjusted according to the available access, the host pipe conditions, diameters and lengths

Why choose the McAllister Group for Pipe Bursting

Experience – Pipe bursting is an activity that has a historically high failure rate where proper planning and preparation are not carried out and experience not applied. The McAllister Group possesses the necessary experience in-house supported by a number of specialist partners who have a broader range of equipment and vast experience

Approach – Our approach is to work in tandem with the client and their objectives. We always conduct a rigorous site investigation before recommending pipe bursting; depending on the diameters, site situation and most appropriate bursting technique, we will either install a new run ourselves or manage the schedule of works carried out by an appropriate partner.