Guidance on specifying large span steel access solutions for Pump stations, Water and Wastewater treatment plants.

Selecting the correct access covers for water networks can be a daunting challenge with factors such as operator and public safety, ergonomics and asset security requiring equal consideration.

For chamber openings greater than 1 meter x 1 meter the standard BS 9124 applies which provides a clear adherence framework for manufacturers and design engineers to follow. Compliance to this standard is required under section 2.74 of the Irish Water Civil Engineering Specification Notes for Guidance. Document No. TEC – 300-02.

The rigorous test procedures of BS 9124 guarantee a high factor of safety for clients and users, but for surety of compliance 3rd party accreditation should be insisted upon to assure diligence and best practice in reducing risks and identifying non- conformance.

EJ in Birr are 3rd party certified by the NSAI for our steel covers over 1 M x 1 M to the full requirements of BS 9124. Designed and fabricated in Birr, Co. Offaly.

Key elements in the design of BS 9124 compliant access covers to ensure a high factor of safety:

  • Anti-Skid surface: A critical safety requirement is that covers have a suitably coarse skid resistant upper surface with a Polished Slip Resistance Value (PSRV) of greater than 40 rendering them safe to use under foot and wheel traffic.
  • BS 9124 requires that the fall protection safety grids pass a Drop Test which all EJ fabricated safety grids comply with. The safety grid shall be capable of withstanding a 140kg mass applied over a footprint of 300x200mm and dropped from a height of 2m onto any point on the grid.
  • Safety Stay bars: Hinged covers shall be fitted with a positive safety stay mechanism to prevent unintentional closure and keep it stable in the open position. Positive stay mechanism shall be capable of resisting a minimum horizontal force of 250 kg.
  • Welder’s accreditations: Mandatory under the standard is the requirement for welders and fabricators to be qualified to the BS 267-1 standard and tested annually.

To aid in the identification of compliant covers, there is also a mandatory requirement for specific markings to be a permanent, integral part of the cover and frame. To be in full compliance these marking are:

  1. Identification of the Standard – BS 9124:2008
  2. Category of Loaded Area
  3. The resistance to hydraulic surcharge in bar – where applicable
  4. Name of manufacturer
  5. Product identification – Catalogue no.
  6. Each element/ cover over 25kg shall be marked in kg

Please note the BS 9124 standard is complementary to EN 124-3:2015 (steel material) for openings up to and including 1 meter x 1 meter. 

Understandably, there is a lack of knowledge in the industry of the higher performance demands and testing requirements of these standards, and to aid you in the specification of access and drainage solutions for Irish Water capital projects EJ in Ireland can organise an Engineers Ireland approved CPD Lunch & Learn seminar.  This can be conducted online, or we can attend your offices.

As a specialist manufacturer, EJ in Ireland can advise project designers on how best achieve long term value and future proof networks with innovative, compliant access solutions in all material – ductile iron, steel and composite, across all critical infrastructure networks which will help protect Clients, Consultants and Contractors on projects.

Engaging with a reputable manufacturer who will commit to working with you through Design, Fabrication, and Installation phases will safeguard project programmes and budgets. Please contact the Business Development Team on 057 91 23100 for more information.