Overpipe: Pipeline protection served on a plate

Overpipe plates are easy to install and easy to remove to allow for inspection or repair of a pipeline.

As urban development increases, sections of gas and other utilities pipelines that were once beneath unoccupied land are now adjacent to existing infrastructure. 

The costs of moving or relaying these pipelines is extremely expensive for asset owners, as they are normally protected by concrete slabs that can be up to 200 mm thick.

Overpipe was developed in France as a reliable, economical and environmentally friendly alternative to concrete slabs. Designed to provide a protective barrier for buried pipelines and a visual warning for machinery operators, Overpipe plates resist the assault of a 32-tonne shovel to protect buried pipes from any encroachment.

Lightweight but tough (30-40 kg depending on the model), Overpipe plates are easy to install and easy to remove to allow for inspection or repair of the pipeline. The system is designed to connect multiple plates together so that if one plate is pierced or hooked by an excavator, the plates it is connected to will also lift from the ground.

Overpipe installation diagram.

Overpipe is made from injection moulded HDPE with bevelled edges and non-slip pins on both sides, to facilitate handling and avoid slip and fall accidents.  There are non-slip dimples on the surface of the plates to reduce slip risk and facilitate grip during manual handling.  Overpipe plates come standard in UV-resistant hi-vis yellow with an embossed warning message (e.g. Danger Gas Pipeline Buried Below), but are fully customisable in size, colour and warning message.

Overpipe comes in various dimensions to suit different pipe and trench sizes and the plates are connected using HDPE clips or an Australian designed rope connection system.

Other features and benefits include:

  • Range of widths 500mm – 1800mm.
  • Overlapping plates with simple joiner.
  • Light weight, but tough 15mm thick HDPE.
  • Hi-Vis Yellow, embossed warning.
  • 30 sheets to a double pallet – low transport cost.
  • Holes for drainage and CP monitoring.
  • Easy to install, 2-man lift.
  • Anti-slip surface.
  • 50-year warranty.

Installation of Overpipe is quick and easy. Plates are laid in the trench once the appropriate volume of compacted, level cover has been backfilled onto the pipeline (to a minimum of 300 mm). The trench should be benched to a sufficient width for the Overpipe and so that the plates lay flat within the trench. 

The plates should be positioned so that there is a minimum of 300 mm overhang either side of the pipeline below.  Spray-painted guidelines on the backfill will assist in correctly positioning the plates.

Overpipe is used by major gas, power, telecom and rail utilities in both Australia and overseas to protect critical buried infrastructure.

About Tapex Industrial and Dig Safe

Tapex Industrial is part of the Tapex Group of companies.  Dig Safe was established because there should never be compromises when it comes to excavation safety. Third party strikes on buried infrastructure are an increasing issue, accelerated by more utilities going underground and the increased use of trenchless installation technologies. At best, pipe or cable strikes are costly and disruptive. At worst, they can cause catastrophic damage and loss of life.


Dig Safe provides solutions that reduce maintenance costs, unintended pipeline and cable strikes and, ultimately, aims to save lives.  

Dig Safe is the industry expert in excavation safety with a comprehensive suite of solutions available throughout Australasia, to help WARN, DETECT, PROTECT & MANAGE buried infrastructure.

For sales and further technical information, please contact Michelle Moreira (Business Manager, Dig Safe®) M: +61 411 104 981 E: mmoreira@tapexindustrial.com.au

This article is featured in the September edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

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