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Quality control analysis of downtime and time to repair for water supply pipes

Amarjit Singh (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)
Stacy Adachi (Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)
Megan Inouye (Engineering Concepts Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)

Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X

Article publication date: 8 July 2011




The purpose of this paper is to investigate performance times from a quality engineering perspective for response and repair of pipes at a public utility. The objective is to scientifically determine the pipe that offers the most desirable downtime (DT) and time to repair (TTR).


Four types of water supply pipes – concrete cylinder (CC), cast iron (CI), ductile iron (DI), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – in prevalent use at the City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply were analyzed to determine the pipe type that is most consistently repaired to desired performance specifications. Data for mean downtime (MDT) and mean time to repair (MTTR) were used to evaluate the stability and capability of the repair processes for each pipe type. The analysis was completed through the use of control charts, operating characteristic (OC) curves, and process capability indices.


The results of the analysis indicated that CI pipes were the worst material in terms of DT and TTR. The control charts for MDT for all pipe types, and the MTTR for CI and CC pipes, were found to be out of statistical control, but the control charts for the MTTR of DI and PVC pipes were discovered to be in control. According to the OC curves, in which the hypothesis stated that the average MDT or MTTR was between the specification limits, there was a high tendency in all pipe types to accept the hypothesis when it was true. However, the probability of type I errors was high from operational standards at the USL level. Process capability analyses found that only CC pipes were able to meet performance design specifications; however, repair times are extremely large for CC pipes. Overall, it is recommended that CI pipes be replaced when the opportunity arises.

Practical implications

This investigation serves to address a major query in asset management at the public utility, that of which pipes should be selected during design and procurement from a maintenance perspective. In addition, the study helps to understand the trend of DT and TTR for the various pipes.

Social implications

Quality water supply is of paramount social importance in modern cities.


A quality engineering approach to asset management for pipe systems at public utilities that serves to add a new dimension to asset performance analysis is adopted.



Singh, A., Adachi, S. and Inouye, M. (2011), "Quality control analysis of downtime and time to repair for water supply pipes", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 75-90.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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