Dedicated to Infrastructure Inspection

Canadian pair parlay experience and skill into a specialized shop focused on quality pipe inspection and assessment.
Dedicated to Infrastructure Inspection
Infrastructure Intelligence Services owner Paul Fleischer on the job in Whitby, Ontario.

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In 2011, with more than 45 years of combined experience in environmental consulting and fieldwork, Paul Fleischer and his partner pooled their knowledge and skills and opened an inspection company focused on providing more than videos of faulty pipes.

Infrastructure Intelligence Services (I2S) serves southern Ontario, Canada, providing sewer inspections and related services. The company sets itself apart with expertise in providing thorough assessments and clear, thoughtful recommendations.

“We are both well versed in municipal and engineering requirements when it comes to providing meaningful reports and accurate results,” Fleischer says. “We believed we could provide our clients with reports that would be easy to understand and get right to the findings of the assessment. We believed we could be service oriented and could differentiate ourselves for our clients. We believed we would be able to promote our individual strengths, provide value to clients, and have fun doing a great job.”

As with any new business, there were the typical risks and some long hours getting things going.

“We started out renting and operating a mainline CCTV system out of the back of a cargo trailer, working on evenings and weekends as we helped a friend fulfill a contract to identify I&I issues in the Greater Toronto Area,” Fleischer says. “We were doing a lot of the investigation at night and on weekends to get I2S off the ground. We would be working in rain events — precipitation events where we had to go in the middle of night. We still had our day jobs. We learned quickly there was a strong business case for a full-time firm to conduct these sorts of assessments. We quickly justified the hiring of two to our staff and sent them for training to acquire their NASSCO certification. We have one of those initial two employees with us now, and another three.”

Fleischer points out that they were fortunate to have contacts within the industry that they could call on to help build a customer base.

The partners were able to settle on reasonable rates for their services and have been awarded some large contracts, all the while developing the staff with extensive training and mentoring.

To handle their newly launched enterprise, I2S added a Vacall combination truck with a 1,500-gallon water tank, 12-yard debris tank and a Myers pump producing 2,500 psi at 80 gpm. They have since added another Myers-equipped Vacall combo unit with a 1,000-gallon water tank and 9-yard debris body.

These trucks have water wand packages for washdown operations, and both have vacuum capabilities with remote booms and water decanting.

The company is in discussion with various suppliers to acquire a third combination truck.

Their CCTV equipment consists of Aries lateral and mainline systems in a 14- by 7-foot cargo trailer, complete with finished studio and work areas. There are also 2012 Ford E-450 and E-350 cube vans, each outfitted with Aries Industries mainline systems.

In 2011, they purchased a complete 2011 CUES lateral launch system installed in a 1999 Ford E-350. They also added a CUES mainline tractor for versatility, with plans to soon move the system into a newer cube van. Each van is a fully equipped unit with a designated studio and work area with all the equipment for any inspection job.

The CCTV tractors that are part of each mobile unit are equipped with pan-and-tilt cameras and locator beacons that allow for locating the tractors and lateral launch cameras from grade. Built-in inclinometers also provide helpful slope data. The tractors can be used in pipes as small as 150 mm (5 3/4 inches) in diameter, or they can be built out as large as required to assess pipes in accordance with NASSCO specifications.

Technicians also use smoke testing equipment from Hurco Technologies on some I&I investigations.

Strategic standards

Fleischer and his team always try to establish a clear line of communication with the client and identify all objectives and expectations before beginning any work.

“There will be kickoff meetings to ensure that we fully understand the objectives, and we want clear lines of communication,” he says. “Do they want regular updates? Do they want verbal, email or submitted reports, and how often? We want to work together.”

Fleischer says the company is built around a culture of service, and providing a high level of training is an important part of ensuring that service, from those initial conversations to the work in the field and right through to the final report.

“We currently have four technicians running the systems and two in training,” he says. “It takes from three to six months to get a technician fully trained. We start out by putting a man on the back of the truck, whether the CCTV van or the flusher truck, and make sure they understand all the functions, and then they can move into the operator’s seat. We send them for NASSCO training, and always oversee their work.”

Their CCTV operators are NASSCO-trained under the Pipeline and Lateral Assessment and Certification programs, including the most recent CSA PLUS 4012 Technical Guide training.

“Initially, we screen a person closely to make sure they fit into our culture,” he says.

Staff is trained to function as if it is their own business while out in the field, but also to understand the scope of the project and make sure there is a single point of contact with the client on the job as well.

“We want them to be professional and to provide the reports as determined by the client. We strive to provide 100 percent perfection. We don’t want to have to redo our work, and we make every effort to support the staff in the field with whatever is needed in terms of involvement in their performance.”

Technicians are cross-trained on the CCTV vans and the flusher trucks, but they also specialize in their specific area. The idea is that they understand all procedures because they work in tandem, but at the end of the day the flusher truck operator and the CCTV operator stay within their own operation modes for safety and efficiency.

“Safety is paramount; specialty training is a necessity,” Fleischer says.

Developing employee loyalty is another imperative.

“Because some of our crews are required to work out of town on projects, we set our schedule so these technicians can work four days on and three days off. In addition, we listen and collaborate with our staff,” he says. “We work as a team and encourage active participation in all aspects of the work, from planning, to execution, and final reporting and client follow-up. I might add we also provide competitive wages.”

Assessing the damage

I2S currently holds several contracts with municipalities and engineering and construction firms to complete sewer condition assessments. About 20 percent of the company’s business is coming from assumption work for consultants and contractors when a new sewer system requires inspection before the municipality will take ownership.

The company has also been assisting consultants with dye and CCTV assessment services in a large scale I&I investigation including verifying cross connections to sewers. The assessment also includes plugging specific sewers to create “no-flow” scenarios to assess the pipes for groundwater infiltration.

Other projects have involved flow monitoring assessment services, including installing and maintaining flow monitors. After determining I&I levels and the location of problem areas, specific means of remediation can be suggested.

Networking reboot

Fleischer considers his competitors to be peers, and when the workload is heavy he’ll sometimes bring in another service company to help. This works both ways, as I2S is sometimes called on to work as a subcontractor.

“It is happening more and more frequently that we require additional services, because I’ll tell you right now, we are overwhelmed with business,” Fleischer says.
Fleischer sees potential for the company to continue growing beyond its current capabilities.

“We focus on maintaining our good relationships with other more mature companies in our industry, and as I pointed out earlier, we call on them when we need assistance and are there for them as well. We absolutely will grow.

“We’re all just trying to perform and, at the end of the day, earn a living."

Tackling tough assignments

Infrastructure Intelligence Services (I2S), an inspection company in southern Ontario, Canada, has tackled its share of municipal projects.

Co-owner Paul Fleischer describes one particularly challenging project, a municipal job where the company was hired to inspect a sewer and provide a condition assessment.

“This involved the inspection of a 36-inch-diameter, 2,500-foot-long sewer segment that had a large sag that allowed excessive amounts of debris to accumulate over the years,” Fleischer says. “In addition, the sewer was also 100 percent full of water because of the sag. As a result, we knew that bypass pumping was necessary in order to properly flush and clear the line of debris before we could inspect it.

“We quickly determined that we needed the assistance of a contractor that specialized in dewatering, and we hired the best to get the job done right. The bypass system was set up on a residential street, and access to residents’ driveways was maintained at all times. In addition, our usual attention to safety and traffic control proved invaluable as curious residents and busy commuters were routed without incident. We completed the work in three days, removing dozens of loads of debris so that we could inspect the sewer to the client’s requirements.”

On another job, the I2S team was called in to investigate a leak in a new water main.

“A water main that had been recently installed had been pressure tested, which identified a leak. The location of the leak was unknown and the contractor was faced with excavating various sections of the 1-mile-long water main in an effort to identify the leak,” Fleischer says.  

“Using a dedicated small-diameter camera, we were able to quickly locate the leak location at a faulty connection within the water main. The contractor was then able to conduct a focused spot excavation to repair the connection, and the water main was put into commission shortly thereafter.”

The partners bring their critical thinking and planning expertise to the table on these jobs. Providing a value-added service — and getting the job done right — has allowed them to continue expanding their customer base.


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