What is a No Dig Show?

By Denise Sullivan
Published: April 12, 2018 | Last updated: July 5, 2023
Key Takeaways

A no dig show allows professionals to come together to learn about new innovations in trenchless technology.

A no dig show is a way to help others understand the trenchless technology industry. Held across the globe, industry leaders have a platform to share new information and research. A more in-depth look at these conferences can help you understand the benefits of attending one of these events.


What Is a No Dig Show

A no dig show is an event hosted by leaders in the trenchless technology industry. The primary objective of one of these conferences is to educate and inform property owners, municipalities, and utility companies in trenchless technology applications. Attendees walk away from the seminars with a better understanding of how the technology can help maximize investments in trenchless tech services and applications.

The first ever no dig conference was held in London in 1985. It was after this international event that the International Society for Trenchless Technology, or ISTT, was formed. Since then, different countries, including the United States, have developed their off-shoot of this society.


What Happens at a No Dig Show

Attendees at a no dig show are treated to a vast array of educational, and sometimes promotional content. These presentations are designed to inform not only on new technological advancements in the field, but also new methods of achieving the goals of trenchless construction, repair, and rehabilitation.

While each no dig show has its own agenda, all of them offer a platform for industry leaders and innovators to share their knowledge with attendees. Speakers share their research into the area of trenchless technology, with a focus on new techniques and equipment, like the Elon Musk tunnel boring machine.

They also share the benefits of using no-dig applications in a variety of settings.

The information shared includes money and time-saving techniques with a focus on municipality infrastructure and new construction as well as trenchless rehabilitation for existing construction.

There are specific groups who benefit from attendance to these events including public work officials, gas or electric utilities, pipelines and energy groups and contractors working with sewer, water or gas.


Part of the networking and lectures at no dig events include advice on how to proceed with difficult scenarios. This includes how to bid on city projects and how to manage problems like deviation and bore collapse. (Learn more in "How to Avoid Tunnel Collapse When Boring Big.")

Each no dig show has an exhibition hall to promote exhibitors in the field of trenchless technology. Each booth contains information from both local and nationally known businesses. Attendees can gather information about each exhibitor’s products and services for repairs, installation, and replacement techniques. Here you'll find information on proper maintenance for drill rigs and equipment as well as where to purchase replacements and more.

No Dig Show Meals and Formal Dinner

Most no dig events have a formal dinner to present awards for those participating in the show. Typically, this meal is a formal affair and requires a separate ticket to enter. Some of the awards included at the formal dinner are a Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement nods.

For those uninterested in the formal dinner, no-dig shows have closing lunches and opening breakfasts for those registered for full access to the events.

No Dig Show Dress Code

Usually, there is no official dress code to attend the events at a no-dig show. However, attendees should remember they will meet industry peers. It is encouraged that those in attendance should dress comfortably, but appropriately to network with industry professionals and new colleagues.

Those who are attending the Gala Awards dinner must wear formal attire as this is a black-tie event.

Who Attends a No-Dig Show

Speakers for a no dig show are traditionally leaders in the trenchless technology industry. Often, they are vice-presidents, CEOs and chief development officers of companies dedicated to trenchless technology.

Leaders in the industry can include top-construction company CEOs that specialize in trenchless construction, mayors for cities open-to and that have a long-standing trust and usage of trenchless tech in their city projects and engineers specialized in the study and application of trenchless technology, its equipment and the development of new techniques.

Leaders in the field can also include attorneys who specialize in public and private-public contract development for projects involving cities and property owners. These individuals manage concepts like easement, easement access and assist in the implementation of regulations as the technology advances. (Learn more in "Easement and Contract: The Legalities of Trenchless Projects.")

On occasion, other speakers may include experts in the technological field that contributes to developing equipment used in trenchless applications. These speakers often include engineers and manufacturing companies in the stages of RND or presenting concept machinery. During these talks, explanations of how equipment works are conducted. (Read on in "How Tunnel Boring Machines Work.")

Speakers also include those presenting a paper on related subjects at the conference.

Anyone interested in trenchless technology can attend a no-dig event. Attendees to the North American Society for Trenchless Technology show do not have to be members of the NASTT. Registration of non-members does include a membership. Some events have individual press registration for members of the press interested in attending.

As anyone interested in the trenchless field can attend the event, invitations for attendance are not necessary. However, those interested in publishing, and potentially presenting, their research in the conference proceedings do need an invite to do so.

Qualified authors receive their request several months before the conference. However, not all invited authors’ papers are selected for publishing or presentation. A peer-review of the article determines which ones make-the-cut.

Registering for a No Dig Show

Each no-dig show has its registration protocol. Most begin registration approximately six-months before the event and have different registration levels, depending on the attendee's needs.

NASTT offers discounted registration up to six weeks before the event, after which registrants must pay full price to attend. In person, registration is limited but allowed during the conference. The preferred method to register for the event is by mail or fax or through the online site. Online, mail and fax registrars receive an email confirmation containing a barcode to present at check-in to receive a name badge for the show.

How Do No Dig Shows Help the Trenchless Technology Industry

As the primary objective of a no dig show is for educational purposes, these conferences help municipalities and utilities understand how trenchless technology works. The offered solutions help save time and money on repair, rehabilitation and new construction projects. Mostly, it opens the door for officials to learn about an alternative to traditional open trenching for the infrastructure repairs and installations they require. Here discussions about pipe bursting, sliplining, CIPP, HDD and when these options can and cannot be used. (Also read "When Trenchless Technology is Not Feasible.")

In addition to educating the public and helping trenchless technology grow into new areas, it also serves as an educational tool for those working in the industry. Many of these seminars have continuing education credit classes available for those in the field to take advantage.

Finally, no dig shows give industry leaders a place to share their advancements. These new techniques and equipment can immediately be put into practice.

You don’t have to be an industry insider to benefit from attending a no-dig conference. Anyone who is curious about the field or wants to learn more to determine if it is the best course of action for their construction business, utility firm or city planning office can benefit from spending a few days listening to the experts.

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Written by Denise Sullivan | Technical Writer @ Trenchlesspedia

Denise Sullivan

Denise Sullivan is an accomplished freelance writer from Louisiana, with a Associate's Degree in Journalism from Eastern Oklahoma State College. She also graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's in Biology. Denise began her writing career writing operations and maintenance manuals and software utility manuals for flight simulators. Since, she has expanded her writing to a broad spectrum of topics.

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