Steve Leigh’s approach to business reflects his personality – pragmatic, down-to-earth and honest.

He has over 40 years’ experience in the UK water industry, having spent the first half of his career with Anglian Water where amongst other things, he ran a developer services team as well as being a key account manager dealing with new developments.

For the last 23 years, his company, Groundbreaker Systems, has specialised in creating original water management solutions.

Steve’s products are highly popular in the water and construction industries for their simplicity, ease of installation, cost efficiency and effectiveness. In 2018, the company was named Utility Company of the year by the Home Builders Federation.

Groundbreaker also enjoys close, long-standing partnerships with water utilities across the country, and Steve is always open to new collaboration through networking, knowledge sharing and product innovation.

“Whilst we may be small, we are very flexible and responsive to client needs, therefore we can offer a quick turnaround for prototypes etc. We continue to work with the numerous parties within the water and construction industries to offer cost-effective solutions to environmental issues.

“When we sit down and discuss commercial requirements, the beauty of being a small company means we don’t carry the overheads of a large organisation. Many of our best ideas have come from an informal chat on ‘Can you do this or that for us.’”

Groundbreaker’s award-winning product range includes:

The patented NRv2 plug and play system, which upgrades backflow protection up to fluid category 3 and corrects failing boundary boxes without expensive excavation work.

NRv2 LoFlo, another patented product, is designed to reduce per capita consumption and is proven to save the average household roughly up to 25% in water usage, needs no excavation or access and is fully approved by the water industry.

Groundbreaker, an above-ground secure water management system. Its award-winning leak-proof design is installed directly onto buildings with no need for street furniture, thus negating the need for – and any liability – of apparatus in the highway.

Furthermore, if you can design out the joints on a PE pipe, as Groundbreaker does, then you are also designing out leakage – a major issue in the delivery of water to a property.

Designing out joints can also be cost-effective – for example, as Steve points out, given that the cost of PE pipe is approximately 25 pence per metre (at the time of writing), it seems odd to continue with the risks inherent in street furniture and liability on the highway, particularly when data shows that boundary boxes fail quite regularly, and remedial work can cost anything from £250 to £1000.

Looking to future technologies, the signal from a new generation smart meter when located within a Groundbreaker unit could be up to 3 miles, whereas such apparatus underground could be a little as 3 metres!

The current bestseller however, is a great example of Steve’s unique insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by today’s water sector.

INSUduct is bang in line with the government’s latest drive to regenerate the UK’s ageing pipework infrastructure. Designed to enable quick and easy pipe replacements, and used in conjunction with Groundbreaker or on its own, this insulated ducting speeds up the replacement of lead or leaking water pipes in new and existing buildings.

“One contractor completed over 40 lead pipe replacements in a week,” Steve points out. “He reckoned a job could be done within two hours, so the savings in cost and labour are obvious.”

He continues, “You could say our solutions are cheap and simple but they offer big returns in terms of time and money. They are not eye-catching or complex, but they are definitely designed to deliver maximum impact with minimal disturbance.”

Steve concludes, “I’d go so far as to say that Groundbreaker is probably the only really sustainable water management system on the market. And with the current supply and demand issues faced by some water companies across the country, I’m confident that we can work alongside new partners as well as existing ones, to help solve some of the industry’s most pressing and immediate problems.”

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