Access point advice

Envirotec Sept/Oct 21

There are benefits to using inspection chambers to access drains and sewers for cleaning, testing, inspection and maintenance, says the BPF Pipes Group in lieu of releasing a new guide on the topic.

It’s all about prioritising the safety of the public and personnel working on the drain or
sewer. There is a diminishing need for manholes to be installed. Above-ground working is now the default, and only specific situations call for below-ground working (for example, deep installations and intersections of multiple property drains).

Inspection chambers are recommended for many points of access to the sewerage network, in Water UK/OFWAT’s Code for Adoption, Annex C Design and Construction Guidance.

The BPF Pipes Group has published a new guide which summarises where, what and how many access points are required for the construction of drains and sewers across all parts of the UK.

The document – called ‘Selection and installation of plastic inspection chambers for underground drain and sewer systems’ – emphasises the importance of product choice and correct specification for operational efficiency and asset longevity. It looks at choice of chambers and covers, their suitability for use in different application or loading situations, in addition to practical design and installation tips.

In the guide’s preparation, pipe manufacturers seemingly shared their technical knowledge to provide practical recommendations on the use of chambers in brownfield sites; the choice of bedding and sidefill including recycled materials; layout of pipes and chambers to minimise blockages and ease maintenance requirements; and construction.

BPF’s Richard Eddy said: “Our new guidance looks at the different aspects that should be considered when selecting access points and installing plastic inspection chambers and accompanying covers and frames. Correct specification ensures products are suitable for their intended application or loading situation, whilst facilitating ease of installation and a long service life.”

More information is available at