Choosing your drainage and access products
When choosing drainage and access products, you often have a whole range of competing considerations and demands. There is a budget for the project, but you also need to balance this with the design and specification details. Some clients may request you consider other factors too, such as appearance and environmental considerations. The most crucial factors to consider are the specification and design of the product. Not only does the product need to be “up to the job” you’re asking it to do, and compliant with regulations, but it will also need to do it safely. This is the one area where you cannot make compromises.
Considering the crucial specifications
One of the most important considerations with drainage and access products is the loading class. Whichever product you choose must have a rating which will cope with the loads that it will be under. For example, drainage on a domestic driveway has very different requirements to those in an airport or dock, which have to endure the heaviest loads regularly.
It is always best to err on the side of caution and choose a higher loading class if you have any doubts. These loading classes are a safety feature and it’s therefore paramount that this takes priority over other considerations such as cost.
Another important consideration is the capabilities of the product. Will it be able to deal with the environmental pressures it is under? These can vary depending on where you are fitting the products. For example, you might fit drainage to an area which experiences extreme temperatures or high rainfall. Alternatively, it might need to be kept hygienic or be able to cope with a range of chemicals.
Not taking these factors into consideration could mean you end up with a product that fails to work in the environment it’s used. This has both cost and safety implications.
Deciding on design
Once you’ve found the right specifications, you can then consider design factors. Your client might be keen to choose aesthetically pleasing or eco-friendly products. However, design features which ensure a product can perform at optimal levels should be the priority. For example, products such as drainage channels will need to offer you the flexibility you need to fit it correctly. They will also need to be the right size for the amount of water that will flow through the area. The last thing you want is to order a product and then discover it’s not suitable or won’t perform at its optimal level. Not only will this cost more money in the long run, it can also put people, vehicles and buildings at risk.
Only then, once you’ve ensured a product meets safety and performance requirements, should you then move on to other considerations, such as costs.
Why getting it right is paramount
Sometimes, competing factors can cause you to consider downgrading safety or performance features of drainage and access products. For example, if you’re on a tight budget, you might choose a linear drainage channel with a weight load class that suits the area 99% of the time. Perhaps you might choose one which has a through-flow rate that just covers the rainfall or water flow the area has seen to date.
However, not having the right specifications and design can lead to catastrophic consequences. For example, global warming means we are experiencing more extreme weathers with floods becoming ever more common. A through-flow rate that is sufficient now might not be adequate in just a few years’ time. It’s not just floods that create risks, either. For example, even small amounts of standing water can increase the chances of someone losing control of a vehicle.
Ultimately, when a product is not “up to the job”, it puts people in danger. Even in less extreme cases, a product with the wrong specifications or design will cause issues and eventually, need replacing. The costs involved in this are far more significant than those involved in choosing the right product in the first place.
Don’t forget, Clark-Drain is ‘grounded in expertise’. We understand how fundamental it is to choose drainage and access products with the correct specifications and design. Therefore, we are always on hand to advise you on the best product for your project. Download our technical information or get in touch via our website www.clark-drain.com or call the sales team on 01733 765317 to find out more.