It's in the Pipeline: How to Select the Appropriate Access Covers for Your Project

One of the most important areas of any building project is drainage grating and access cover placement. Most Australian municipal councils adhere strictly to the Australian Standard for Access Covers and Grates, AS3996 - 2006. However, many builders of residential, industrial or commercial projects often overlook the importance of grating or access covers in their building designs.

Safety is, of course, the number one consideration when placing grating or access covers. However, safety isn't the only concern. If you are trying to decide on which style of access cover will best suit your project, the following questions will help you come to a decision.

Do Pedestrians Have Access to the Area?

If you are placing an access cover in an area through which people pass, safety should be a priority. Access covers with grills are dangerous to foot traffic and to those on bicycle. For instance, last year in Melbourne, a cyclist was thrown from his bicycle when its front wheel lodged in a slatted grate.

Likewise, raised access covers cause fall injuries. In Australia, 40% of all injuries result from fall injuries. When placing an access cover somewhere such as a car park, walkway or factory floor, you should opt for something inconspicuous, safe and attractive.

How much Weight Will the Access Cover Bear?

Industrial projects, such as factories and warehouses will likely experience heavy vehicular traffic, often with heavy loads. As a result, you must ensure that your access covers are at least load class D, for areas of heavy traffic. For areas subject to extremely heavy loads, such as airports and docks, load class G is most appropriate.

Keep load classes in mind when selecting an access cover for areas of traffic. Access covers can buckle and cause accidents. Don't choose based on price, choose based on safety.

Will the Access Cover be Subject to Regular Traffic?

Traffic isn't just heavy, it is wearing. Over time, although a class D access cover can take moderate loads, it will eventually fail if traffic is constant. Therefore, for areas of steady traffic, a class E cover or above would result in more longevity.

Where is the Access Cover Positioned?

The design of an access cover should depend on its location. For instance, access covers being placed in pedestrian areas such as shopping malls or schools should be seamless to guard against trip and fall injuries. You should also consider the access cover's effect on the aesthetics of an area.

For locations located in commercial areas, a recessed access cover is the most attractive and unobtrusive option. You can also add decorative edging and cover materials to ensure the cover doesn't stand out like an eyesore. Ensure too that the access cover's position doesn't cause water to pool over the cover.

Security is Important

No matter where an access cover is, there is always a chance that unwanted intruders may force it open to get at whatever is hidden within. The last thing you need is for something to get at your wiring or plumbing. That could lead to thousands of dollars worth of damage. Invest in an access cover with a lock to prevent unwanted incursions.

Don't choose an access cover based solely on price, find a reputable supplier whose products meet the Australian Standard for Access Covers and Grates. Choosing the wrong access cover could cost you thousands in repairs that could have been avoided, or personal injury cases. Consider the team at HYDRO CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS for your access cover installations.

Choose your access covers wisely. Safety should be your first priority, followed by functionality and aesthetics. Even something as seemingly insignificant as an access cover can cause chaos if installed incorrectly or with little thought.