Tele-robotic operation, which allows an operator to control a mechanical tool from a safe distance, provides a technical alternative to installing buried pipes within the confines of a hazardous trench. However, the handling as well as the jointing of the many different types can't be easily replaced by remotely controllable devices. While large concrete drainage pipes are heavy, plastic pipes for sewer and water systems require careful handling to guarantee that they are properly sealed by the O-ring gasket inside the bell. This paper will discuss the differences in control schemes that have been developed to enable the necessary operations for the two most common pipes. The paper will not only describe the designs of the many innovative components but also discuss how the many field trials with construction personnel led to successful final functionality tests for each prototype. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.