Nicol of Skene apply the latest civil engineering technologies and techniques to projects across the UK. The company has grown over recent years but has maintained the core values of a small, efficient and competitive business.

With determination and expertise, Nicol work continuously to achieve the results that both the client and they strive for in the construction and civil engineering market; employing their years of experience to every project with the same commitment and attention to detail.

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), a type of trenchless technology, is a specialist technique for the installation of pipes, ducts, conduits and cables underground with minimal disruption or need for excavation. Using a surface launched drilling rig, pipes can be installed under roads, rivers, railways, runways and even other pipelines without the disruption of traditional open cut methods. The cost savings resulting from the application of this technology, in both direct and consequential terms can be significant. Environmental impact, traffic disruption are all reduced with the added benefit of faster completion times. HDD is used extensively by the water, gas, telecoms and electricity industries because it is a safe, fast, environmentally friendly and cost-effective method of carrying out maintenance and installation works.

Nicol of Skene established the HDD division over a decade ago when they were awarded a major contract to install several foul pipeline pumping mains between four North East Coastal Villages to allow Scottish Water to disable existing treatment plants and sea outfall pipes with one large new effluent Treatment Plant and pumping chambers at each village. Nicol purchased a small Ditch Witch 35/10 to carry out the works which helped connect the four villages with a new longer sea outfall; horizontally drilled out to deeper water, which resulted in cleaner beaches and coastlines.

Proprietor Derek Nicol identified an opportunity to diversify further into the HDD business and over recent years has invested heavily in Ditch Witch drilling equipment making Nicol, an industry leading specialist that operate an extensive fleet of All Terrain Rock Horizontal Directional Drilling equipment, believed to be the fleet with the most diverse capabilities in Europe. Nicol has the ability to drill from 30m up to a distance of over 400m in one consecutive drill. They also specialise in drilling in rock and have the capability of pulling pipes up to 600mm in diameter.

Nicol are currently undertaking a project involving drilling under the River Lochy, the Caledonian Canal at Neptune’s Staircase, the A830 Trunk Road and the West Highland Railway Line in Fort William. This proves particularly demanding due to the environmental aspects.

Nicol recently completed a project in a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) within the Cairngorms National Park. The works involved two parallel 370m long directional drills under marsh land and installing two 225mm diameter HPPE pipes operating two machines concurrently.

As published in the Press & Journal.