Frequently Asked Questions
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Ductile Iron Access Covers & Frames
Is an access cover sealed?
A15 B125 and C250 ductile iron access covers have single seal as standard (tongue and groove) joint when filled with a suitable grease with will prevent foul smells form escaping the drainage system , D400 E600 and F900 have no seal unless otherwise stated on the product specification sheet.
Why are access covers painted?
Eccles’ ductile iron access covers, gratings and surface boxes are supplied as standard with a black bitumastic transit coating unless otherwise stated.
Iron is arguably one of the world’s most important metals, making it an effective ideal material for access covers.
In its natural state, however, iron is highly susceptible to oxidisation over time, the surface will become corroded, resulting in the formation of iron oxide, which is more commonly known as rust.
The iron rusts because of a chemical reaction known as oxidation. When iron is exposed to moisture or oxygen, oxidation occurs. During this chemical reaction, iron is converted into iron oxide.
The thin layer of iron oxide typically has a reddish, flaky appearance.
When iron is exposed to air or moisture, oxidation will convert it into iron oxide, the does not cause any noticeable to the performance, integrity or function of the casting.
It should be noted that BS7903:2020 clause 5.4 states: “Coatings provided for decorative purposes can be specified but offer no lasting product enhancement or protection. Advice should be sought from the manufacturer of the manhole top/gully top about post-production application of coating materials.”
It therefore should be noted that the casting is in a trafficked area, either by pedestrians or vehicular traffic, the surface oxidisation with be polished off the surface.
However, should an aesthetic appearance be more desirable eccles has a range of composite access covers which are by nature corrosion resistant.
Please refer to our FAQs on composite covers for further information or alternatively contact a member of the team who can advise on a suitable product for the desired application.
Why are only specific sizes of ductile iron access covers and gratings available?
Ductile iron access covers and gratings sizes are mainly dictated by the applicable and standards, however, bespoke fabricated steel access covers can be custom designed to suit almost size and configuration within manufacturing and standard constraints.
Can access covers and gratings be modified?
Many of our access covers and gratings can be locked, vented, sealed or badged. This option will be specified on our product datasheet.
Any modification required must be advise at time of enquiry, Eccles will not accept any responsibility for modifications or alterations to any product by a 3rd party.
How are double triangular covers fastened?
All eccles double triangular covers are fitted with coupling bolts to loosely join the covers, the main purpose is to allow each triangular cover to perform independently as our engineering department designed during trafficking.
It is vitally important that the covers are always loosely fastened.
Coupling bolts have a further function to prevent the possibility of the covers dropping into the chamber below.
What specific product data can you provide?
We can provide data sheets, measuring guides, category guides and product specific guides for all of our access covers, gully gratings, surface boxes and composites covers. In addition we can provide hydraulic flow data for our bridge drainage units.
When should I replace an existing access cover?
Most modern access covers and gratings are manufactured from high strength ductile iron; older cast iron access covers are more brittle than ductile iron.
If the access cover is cracked this will be compromising to the performance, to the point that this could be structurally dangerous and should be replaced immediately.
Unfortunately, if the access cover or grating is damaged it may be that the frame will be compromised also, so it is always recommended to replace the complete unit with the appropriate load clad.
How do I know which size of access cover I require?
When you are choosing a new access cover we will generally ask for a clear opening size, by measuring the hole in the ground.
This dimension refers to the internal dimensions of the access chamber, its length and width.
With a circular opening the dimension to measure is the inside diameter.
Please refer to the applicable data sheet for all dimensions including the base size – the performance of the access cover relies on the frame being fully supported to transfer the weight to the structure below.
Are the frame depth of access covers and gratings different?
Frame depths vary and are dependent on the application, road type and traffic intensity.
Usually a frame depth of 150mm is specified for use on roads where traffic intensity is higher usually in excess of 1500 vehicles per day in each direction as recommended in CD534.
A member of our team can advise the most suitable product for the application.
Composites Access Covers
What are composite access covers?
Composite access covers are made from two or more materials with different chemical or physical properties, which when combined produce a chemical reaction resulting in an incredibly strong but lightweight product when compared to traditional materials.
Composite access covers are commonly known as Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) which is made from a polymer matrix that is reinforced with an engineered fibre.
The matrix protects the fibres from environmental and external damage and transfers the load between the fibres.
These fibres, in turn, provide strength and stiffness to reinforce the matrix and provide resistance to fractures.
What are the advantages of using composite access covers?
Composite materials are very popular and used today for a wide range of applications from construction to the aerospace industry.
When it comes to manhole covers and access solutions, Eccles’ high-quality composite products now offer many benefits including:
- Low weight – lightweight composite is easy to handle and install
- Anti-theft – composites have no resale value in the scrap market
- Corrosion-resistant – composite products will remain unchanged, even in the most aggressive environments. This can apply to areas with exposure to sewers, petrochemicals, diesel, de-icing solutions, and salt water.
- No signal interference – wireless communication devices remain unaffected by composite material, which makes them particularly suitable for applications associated with water metering automation or electrical switching for smart technology.
- Does not conduct voltage or heat – can help shield pedestrians from the underground environments.
Steel Access Covers
Why are steel covers galvanised?
Steel access covers are hot dipped galvanised after fabrication to protect against corrosion. Galvanising is a barrier protection and the basic and most popular method of rust protection. It works by isolating the base steel from its surrounding environment. As long as the barrier is intact the steel is protected.
What is the life expectancy of a galvanised steel access cover?
Galvanising self-repairs when damaged, sacrifices itself to protect the base metal, is environmentally sustainable, has good impact and abrasion-resistance and has a maintenance-free life of approximately 50 years.
Can I have a decorative edge on a recessed access cover?
Recessed access covers can be supplied with either a brass or stainless-steel decorative edge with a polished, brushed or mill finish, however the decorative edges are for aesthetic purposes only and can be subject to damage in certain environments.
Can I have an access cover size that is not a standard clear opening?
Yes we can design and fabricate non-standard sizes to suit your specific application.
Can you manufacture multiple part access covers to cover larger clear openings?
Yes we can design and fabricate large size covers to almost any clear opening. Generally these will be supplied with central support beams to support the covers’ underload and will be removable to provide access for maintenance.
I need to replace my access covers around my swimming pool, what material should be used?
The environment in swimming pool areas are extremely corrosive therefore it is always recommended to only use a fully stainless-steel grade 316 recessed or solid top access cover.
I can only take the dimensions of the access cover and frame at ground level, can you calculate the clear opening sizes?
We can design and fabricate a cover and frame to the same dimensions as the ground level; however, the clear opening size may differ from the original frame size depending on the supporting structure below and loading required. Please ask a member of our staff who will be happy to advise.
CE Marking & Certification
What is a CE marking?
CE marking is an administrative marking with which the manufacturer or importer affirms its conformity with European health, safety and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area.
It is not a quality indicator or a certification mark.
Which products require a CE Mark?
Only product categories that are subject to specific European Regulations that provide for CE marking.
For example, the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), which are covered by a Harmonised European Standard, should be CE marked.
However not every European Standard is harmonised and therefore not all products carry a requirement for product CE marking.
What is a UKCA marking?
The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) mark is the new UK product marking that will be required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland).
It covers most products that previously required the CE mark.
The UKCA mark will not be recognised in the EU market; products that require CE marking will still require a CE mark to be sold in the EU.
What is a notified body?
A notified body is an independent body appointed by an agency within one of the European countries, in a lot of cases governmental, being capable of performing the duties of a notified body as defined by the relevant regulation.
For example in the UK – BSI, SGS, and LRQA are a recognised notified body for many testing and inspection duties.
Who safeguards that the controls are in place and the products conform?
Responsibilities for different AOC levels regarding CE marking reside between the product manufacturer and a notified body as below:
How long does product delivery take?
All our standard range of products are available on a fast turnaround generally 3-5 days from receipt of a confirmed order.
Do bespoke items take longer?
Bespoke designed products will be subject to specific lead-times dependant on the complexity of the product configuration. We will be transparent with these lead times with you.