Beware inaccessibility, specifiers told

“Don’t leave your client with a non-accessible and therefore non-maintainable system” – that’s what Tubosider has been advising specifiers of stormwater attenuation and drainage systems.

Even with the emphasis on value for money and SuDS (sustainable drainage systems) being actively endorsed by government and industry alike, planners and engineers may still naturally veer towards systems they have specified before or have some experience of – including systems that lack accessibility.

“Without access, without the means to maintain a system, it’s hard to see how a system can be called sustainable,” says Tubosider’s national sales manager.

“Every system of rainwater attenuation or drainage needs checking and is likely to need silt cleaning at certain intervals, otherwise it will perform increasingly poorly and ultimately could block entirely.”

Despite the fact that manufacturers of cell systems endorse the CIRIA report on SuDS, and the SuDS manual and CIRIA 680 (Structural designs of modular cellular dranage tanks) give guidance on this, maintainability remains an issue.

The size and open construction of Tubosider’s helibore steel pipes, strategically fitted with manholes for access, mean they can easily be monitored physically or using a camera. Any silt can be easily removed using a gully cleaner.

With cell systems, though, it is a different matter. True, the soakaway pipe with the geotextile can be jet cleaned, but not the geotextile itself, trapping silt and eventually allowing the cells to clog.

“We are stressing to specifiers that sustainability needs to be seen as integral to whole of life performance, and to consider their options carefully. Every client expects a system which is serviceable in the fullest sense of the word.”