Recent reports have shown that one of the biggest causes of damage to vehicles on new developments are non-regulation manhole covers being used by developers on type III* roads.
Whilst these covers technically are “fit-for-purpose”, they have to comply to the Sewers for Adoption (7th Edition) Regulations which state that manhole covers on this type of road should be “600mm x 600mm with a frame depth of 150mm”. This will then ensure they comply to BS EN124, BS7903 and HA104/09* standards.
- BS EN 124:2015 – The standard for gully tops and manhole tops for vehicular and pedestrian areas
- BS 7903 – The selection and use of gully gratings and access covers for installation with the highway
- HA104/09 – Chamber tops and gully tops for road drainage and services: installation and maintenance
On the face of it, using manhole covers that do not meet these standards doesn’t seem a massive problem as long as they cover the holes, but the problems lie deeper than on the surface.
For example, there are issues around the awareness of the different regulations that govern manhole covers, so it may be that they meet one regulation but not another. A cover may be used that is the right size but is not embedded using HA104/09 standards for compliant mortar.
If a cover is fitted without using compliant bedding mortar, this could lead to the groundwork surrounding the cover disintegrating at a rate quicker than what would be expected. This would then lead to cracks or the manhole cover sinking into the ground, leading to a pothole effect for drivers – and thus causing damage to their vehicles.
Fully Compliant Covers
Groundworks company Scott Parnell are working in conjunction with civil engineering firm Wrekin to produce specified, ‘own-brand’ manhole covers. These will be fully compliant to all standards and have the developer’s logo on the top, which will signify to housing developers that they can be used alongside compliant mortar. Overall, not only will this be safer for drivers, it will stop costly repair work having to be carried out in the future.
*Type III roads are defined as being trunk roads, dual carriageways, A roads, and bus lanes/services.