Game On: Montreal-Based GAME Consultants Offers Engineering and Water Main Condition Assessment Services
October 5, 2014
Piero Salvo has been involved in the trenchless industry for more than 20 years, experiencing the highs and lows. He thoroughly enjoys the trenchless world and the effort to expand its reach to new audiences.
With his new firm — GAME Consultants — he is able to do just that in Canada and now in the United States and he is having a blast. The firm marked its first anniversary in September.
Salvo is no stranger those in the trenchless community, having worked closely with many industry associations over the years, including the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) of which he served as its chairman, No-Dig program chair and a member of the NASTT board and continues his involvement on the No-Dig program committee. Between 1997-2009, Salvo headed up his own company, WSA Consultants, and then in 2009, sold WSA to Montreal-based engineering firm GENIVAR (today known as WSP Global) and became director of its trenchless department. While there, the firm acquired the Canadian rights and equipment for the U.K.-based JD7 condition assessment technologies for drinking water mains.
“I decided to go off again on my own last September. I wanted to focus more on the service side of engineering using the JD7 technology,” Salvo says. “I also wanted to expand into the United States. I had a great time at [GENIVAR] and we are still doing consulting work with them and other firms. For me it was a personal challenge to expand into the United States with the JD7 technology.”
The GAME in GAME Consultants is derived using the trenchless buzzword “asset management” and stands for Global Asset Management Engineering. Home base for the 100 percent trenchless firm is Montreal but GAME also has an office in Ottawa, as well as one in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
“The majority of our consulting engineering service work is in Canada, but as far as using the JD7 technology, we’re using it both in Canada and the United States,” Salvo says.
Leaving GENIVAR with Salvo were engineers Sandra Gelly and David Gosselin, as well as technician Francois Gelly. Another key individual who joined the GAME team is firm co-founder Natasha Hughes, running the firm’s administrative and financial activities. This key group has worked with Salvo from two to nine years.
Salvo says that GAME Consultants fills a need that some of the larger engineering firms do not — it provides trenchless expertise. “Many large firms do not have the in-house [trenchless] expertise and that’s why we get hired often by the large consultants,” he says. “They don’t have the in-house [trenchless] expertise.”
What GAME does is get in and solve a problem and then get out as quickly as possible. “We joke about being like a SWAT Team that is called in for a quick and clinical action,” Salvo says. “Another of our philosophies is to keep sharp and up-to-date with the new technologies in the industry in order to be able to assist our clients when dealing with newer rehabilitation methods. Our goal is to have our clients have the reflex of calling GAME Consultants when dealing with rehabilitation issues and live water main condition assessment.”
What Is JD7 Technology?
GAME provides specialized trenchless rehabilitation engineering — feasibility studies, budgets, design, contract administration, QA/QC for predominantly rehabilitation projects such as water and sewer cured-in-place pipe (CIPP), water and sewer condition assessment, pipe bursting, tight fit liners, etc. However, it is the JD7 condition assessment technology for live water main inspections that is setting GAME apart from its competitors.
GAME uses the Investigator+, the PipeScan+ and the LDS1000 technologies. The Investigator+ and PipeScan+ technologies are designed for pipes up to 300 mm (12 in.) and access is done through a fire hydrant, causing minimal disruption. The LDS1000 is designed for larger diameter pipes greater than 300 mm. Both the smaller diameter condition assessment tools have a range of inspection up to 100 m (330 ft), with the LDS1000 going as far as 1,000 m (3,300 ft).
Salvo explains that the LDS1000 and Investigator+ both provide CCTV leak detection from inside the pipe without any service disruption, while also being able to locate the pipe from the surface. The PipeScan+ tool — which was awarded NASTT’s Innovative Product Award at the 2014 No-Dig Show — is more to identify pipe wall thickness using ultrasonic technology and provide CCTV inspection while the pipe is in service.
The farthest that the Investigator+ technology has gone is 90.2 m (296 ft), Salvo says, noting that GAME has completed six projects in the United States using the Investigator+, with testing going on in Montreal using the PipeScan+.
Canadian and U.S. Markets
With GAME looking to expand into the U.S. market, we asked Salvo for his thoughts on the trenchless markets for the two neighboring countries — were there any significant infrastructure differences between them? The answer was no.
“In my opinion, there are more similarities than differences with respect to the two markets,” he says. “Both markets are under financial stresses and therefore getting funding for rehabilitation or condition assessment projects can be difficult. Both markets are dealing with underground infrastructure that is nearing or beyond its design life and they need to be addressed to avoid major surprises. The one major difference between the two markets is the sheer volume of municipalities and underground infrastructure that the United States has over Canada because of population centers.”
The market that is on the rise, he says, is drinking water, especially with the technologies that are available to address its condition needs without taking the pipes out of service, which is significant. “Up until a few years ago, we didn’t have the option of going into the water main while it was in service,” Salvo says. “The fact is that now we do and it opens up so many opportunities.”
Assessing the firm’s first year, Salvo says that it has gone through the normal growing steps and he plans to open offices in different parts of the United States and Canada in order to serve their clients and reduce their turnaround time with respect to the services the firm offers.
“I wish I had a crystal ball that would tell me but since I do not, I can only see our company growing in size,” Salvo says.