It was only some 18 months ago that the Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology went to its Members seeking information on where they saw the future for the Society. In particular, responses were sought on what Members expected from the Society, and the areas of activity that were of most interest to them. 

These planning initiatives were driven by the five yearly cycle of Strategic Planning that the Society has previously undertaken, and the rapidly changing environment that the Trenchless Industry finds itself in. It was also driven by the need to take a more commercial approach to the future direction for the Society, with sound business planning a key requisite. These views were shared by a small group of Members in New South Wales who enthusiastically supported this approach.

The responses from Members were collated and analysed; environmental scanning to determine both International and National trends was undertaken, and a range of business planning activities were conducted. 

Strategic Plan: Trenchless 2K5
The finalisation of the Society’s Strategic Plan, Trenchless 2K5,provided a forward looking view to for the Society’s future direction. It also provided the opportunity to align with the future direction of the International Society, which was conducting its strategic planning simultaneously.

Business Plan 2002:
Trenchless 2K5
has been complemented by an action oriented Business Plan for 2002 (ASTT’s financial year runs from January to December) which aligns with the strategies outlined in Trenchless 2K5. I would recommend a look at ASTT’s web page ( if you wish to see both these Plans in more detail. The strategic framework is outlined in both documents, and is summarised in the diagram below.

Progress on 2002 Initiatives:
The Key Result Areas for the Society were determined, representing  areas of activity which are most critical for the future success of the Society. A strategic direction statement provided the future direction ASTT wished to move in to achieve success in each of the Key Result Areas.

Key Result Areas


Business Direction

Develop a commercial entity which meets the members needs and actively pursues business development opportunities.

Training and Education

Utilise existing training programs developed by others and develop education programs for awareness in tertiary institutions, industry and the community.


Develop Guidelines for microtunnelling, horizontal directional drilling and rehabilitation which are suitable for Australasian conditions utilising current International best practice.


Produce Standards in conjunction with the publication of the Guidelines for microtunnelling, horizontal directional drilling and rehabilitation.


Undertake the promotion of trenchless technology through National Conferences and Exhibitions, publications, internet, seminars and other awareness opportunities as they arise.

Business Direction: A number of entity structures, including affiliations with other kindred organisations were contemplated. It was decided to stay with the current structure, and to review its effectiveness at the end of 2003. The linkage with the International Society for Trenchless Technology remains strong.

Education: ASTT engaged Professor Jonathon O’Brien from the University of NSW to develop a training package for Trenchless Technology. This is CD based and is  suitable for final year engineering students  at Tertiary institutions consisting of:

  • A framework of lecture notes equivalent to a full semester in final year engineering;

  • A self learning guide with fully interactive multi-media support material;

  • A series of practical case examples where students can test their level of understanding of the material.

This material will be the basis for a presentation by Prof. O’Brien at the National Trenchless Technology Conference and Exhibition in Sydney in August.

Training: The Construction Contractors Federation (CCF) has been engaged to coordinate  the development of National competency standards in the field of Trenchless Technology. This will include the fields of rehabilitation, micro-tunnelling and horizontal directional drilling. The latter suite of competencies will be integrated with a similar review of competencies being conducted by the Australian Drilling Industry.

Training Committee. The entire competency framework for Trenchless Technology will then form the basis for a series of training packages to meet the training needs of the industry. 

This project is progressing well, with funding contributions anticipated from both the CCF and the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund (BCITF).  Input from ASTT members into this process is greatly  appreciated, and will ensure a practical, feet-on-the ground approach to this major project. 

Guidelines: It is proposed to seek registrations of interest for a consultancy to undertake the development of Guidelines for Australian and New Zealand conditions for new installations, refurbishment and rehabilitation and related areas of Trenchless Technology.  It is expected that the considerable work already done by a number of national Trenchless Technology Societies and ISTT, will prove a useful starting point.  Proposals will be sought in the next month through the relevant newspapers and contact with known practitioners in the field. 

Standards: The approach undertaken for the implementation of Guidelines will be used to develop a framework of Standards based on appropriate “signposting” within the Guidelines. This will be a major coordination exercise to encompass work already undertaken by a range of industry bodies and agencies. The establishment of the framework will also be based on work already done elsewhere.

                                                                                     By Menno Henneveld.


Last Updated on 4 August 2002