Maintenance? It’s an open and shut case

As in other industries, sustainability is now one of the defining features of responsible construction – with everyone working in it keen to show the appropriate credentials.

All well and good, except that some claims of sustainability really don’t hold water, to use a handy phrase – including those for stormwater and drainage systems!

By definition, anything sustainable means you can maintain, renew and support it. But without ready access, a system is impossible to maintain.

Consider the inbuilt manholes and large diameter steel pipes of a Tubosider system compared with the honeycomb cells of a crate system. Any silt or more serious blockage which might occur would be impossible to jet out of a crate, only out of the receiving pipe below.

From their original development, Tubosider’s stormwater attenuation and drainage systems have given engineers and contractors all the access and maintenance advantages of a large bore pipe system. Plus of course the loadbearing strength of steel that plastic pipes can never offer.

“Our galvanised helibore pipe, the product from which our systems are built, is actually designed to be maintenance-free,” says Tubosider’s technical manager Paul Rawcliffe. “But any system does need to be inspected and may need to undergo cleaning and maintenance once it’s been in service for a period.

“As stated in the 2007 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations for stormwater retention tanks, this requires man access to the inside of the tank over a 50 year design lifetime. Tubosider recommends that such inspections take place at least every 10 years – an easy process with all our tanks.”

The CDM regulations also require a suitable provision of properly designed access shafts for the capacity and pipe length of the tank.

That means having tanks where no point in the structure is more than 50 meters from an access shaft – in line with Sewers for Adoption – but we can also place a shaft wherever the specifying engineer may want or need.

Here again, the nature of our product lends itself perfectly to the creation of access shafts – typically using 900mm diameter pipe for a tank access or 1200mm on request.

Sustainability, meaning readily maintainable systems, is an issue which engineers are increasingly aware of. As one said recently after switching from crate to Tubosider steel pipe:

“We see the deviation in specification as a benefit to the client, as it provides a robust storage system that also has the ability to be maintained and cleaned out in the future, which the specified system did not.”