by Michael Miles, Managing Director at Technocover
access cover assembly proving cost effective solutions but
maintaining the clients safety and operational needs
two decades of working to legislated levels of security for
physical access, the UK water industry has ushered a revolution
in certified physical protection. While meeting this critical
and immovable benchmark of resilience, solutions in AMP6 are
pushing the envelope in design and functionality as never
before. Security performance, of course, remains king, but
criminal attack, extortion, infiltration, and terrorism in its
many and increasingly unexpected forms are all a constant threat
to lifestyle and the national infrastructure that underpins it.
But applications are becoming more specialised as the drive for
greater cost efficiency is being seen in upgrades and
refurbishment of older assets to extend service life.
With the introduction of
reservoir security legislation in 1997, water companies were
initially immersed in the widescale upgrading of service
reservoirs with a new staple - the double-skin upstand access
cover approved to LPCB (Loss Prevention Certification Board)
In successive AMPs,
security programmes have been rolled out to all areas of the
industry, prompting the development of a raft of high security
access systems, doors, cabinets, and other physical protection.
Alongside a tranche of equipment evolved to CPNI criteria, a
vast range of needs have been met by significant growth in LPCB
certified products. These have taken the form of largely
standardised designs with little differentiation, giving rise to
a crowded market for these water security staples over the last
AMP 6, however, has
heralded different, more complex challenges which can be met
less and less by off-the-shelf commodities.
are focused on the hardening of existing infrastructure and its
adaptation for new process technologies. These retrofit
challenges run the full gamut of the UK’s water heritage, from
Victorian waterworks and towers to the post-war development of
the 1950s and 60s.
The procurement of high
security access covers, buildings and enclosures to both protect
and support the operational efficiency of the complex
refurbishment project is rarely met by standard product
solutions. While new build assets offer scope to accommodate
standard products, each refurbishment site poses unique
challenges - spatial, logistical, operational, and health and
Invariably, needs will not be met by a hotchpotch of standalone
products. With the ‘whole life’ cost efficiencies of TOTEX in
mind, the best value solutions being delivered by Technocover
are typically in the form of fully integrated access and housing
LPCB certificated SR4 UltraSecure mesh cage system being
installed by Technocover
Many are built off-site
and devised with exhaustive functionality which clients are
often unaware they should or can demand, though is crucial to
providing lowest whole life cost. This functionality embraces a
range of considerations, some obvious and others more subtle,
which can have significant impacts on site safety and
For example, do covers
within a multi-cover assembly meet manual handling criteria
where required? Does the frame provide sufficient shielded space
for the installation of alarm equipment? Will you need to
purchase and retrofit additional items to heighten a cover frame
to allow access to the padlock?
The refurbishment project
calls for unusual shapes, such as hexagonal access systems, in
hard-to-reach places - the top of reservoir towers or hemmed in
between existing structures. With the emphasis on keeping assets
live, clients and contractors want ‘plug and play’ solutions;
built and kitted off-site with full M&E, then craned in and
hooked up to services the same day, if possible.
The challenge is
delivering these more complex and increasingly super-size
solutions within the scope of LPCB performance parameters. Water
UK’s vision for AMP6 has pointed to the role of innovation in
However, innovation in
the physical protection of water is not always possible through
thinking ‘outside the box’. More often than not, it relies on
the manufacturer’s ingenuity to problem-solve within the
constraints of certification. The move from off-the-shelf
products to complex, tailored systems that meet certification is
like charting new territory, where design credentials and track
record truly come to the fore.
Now more than ever, the
industry is turning to the engineering know-how of time-served
LPCB specialists like Technocover to execute intelligent and
complex solutions that fully exploit, but do not breach, the
envelope of their security certification. As a trail-blazer in
LPCB solutions for water, we are ahead of the game. Our
designers and installers are already well versed in the
discipline and finer detail of configuring successful bespoke
systems within the performance scope of LPCB.
It is no coincidence that
Technocover’s Total Service approach has been evolved for over
20 years around the whole life cost-efficiencies embodied in
TOTEX. Based on the premise of providing the lowest cost
solution, it addresses every possible aspect of the product’s
life cycle to ensure the best return on investment.
This goes from maximising
the buildability and operational advantages of the design, to
ensuring a high quality system finish for long, low maintenance
Service response comes down to the rigorous application of value
engineering principles through early consultation and close
Will the system be easy
to install, operate and maintain? How can it be constructed to
overcome access constraints on site, or reduce construction
time? Is the design configured in every aspect for site
compatibility and functions such as water-shedding, installation
of site alarms and client locking suites? Can components be
hoisted to give access for inspection and replacement equipment
where it is needed? Can bespoke interfaces between security
enclosures and impinging cover frames be resolved within the
certification parameters, or does the assembly need modifying?
The industry must be wary
of pursuing short-term savings through low product price.
Specifiers and procurers must get to grips with the whole life
implications of equipment choices. While LPCB certificated
products conform to a defined series of security ratings, there
can be wide differences in their operational sophistication and
system finish. Meeting a security rating alone is not enough.
especially the bespoke systems highlighted in this article, will
result in significant outcomes in terms of cost-efficiency
across service life.
A study of the
operational costs, health and safety risks, and labour input of
running and maintaining a complex access system would be
revealing. If poorly designed, you would undoubtedly see cost
impacts accrue from retrofit work, unexpected maintenance and
longer cycle times for personnel using the systems. These could
dramatically affect the bottom line for site operations over the
life of the product, especially if it required premature
When it comes to
equipment designed to safeguard lives and critical resources,
the longevity and integrity of materials is paramount.
Specifiers must ask: What’s protecting the protection?
A defensive and
potentially life-critical piece of engineering warrants a high
quality finish, which means a galvanised zinc coating to
properly corrosion-proof steel. Clients must also scrutinise
this aspect of a product as it may not meet service life
expectations, or could possibly be compromised to lower price.
The outcome can be a product that may meet the security
specification but needs replacing after, say, as little as three
or five years.
advancements in the performance of modern paint systems, few if
any will give much more than 10 years complete protection.
Technocover uses high quality steel, galvanising and paint
processes to provide 25 years minimum service life of products.
While we also offer the option of a paint finish for aesthetic
purposes, galvanised steel is the crucial element to assuring
long service life.
functionality, every component and accessory should be included
within the LPCB certification for the product to be security
compliant. Photo shows a Technocover LPCB certified twinleaf
door, with a primary door leaf, entry and exit ironmongery, and
an arched head blanking plate.
the LPCB approved service reservoir cover certified to
LPS : 1175 Issue 7, Security Rating 4
With its early adoption
of LPCB certificated equipment, the water industry has led the
way in operational resilience and set a bar for other utilities
to follow. As the originator of the LPCB approved service
reservoir cover and numerous innovations since, Technocover
remains committed to leading the way in meeting the industry’s
security and operational needs.
Our success in delivering
solutions that achieve the full continuum of functional needs
within the LPCB performance envelope provides the only truly
robust foundation for total cost accountability in this TOTEX
era. We firmly believe it can help water companies and their
design/construction partners to better control ‘whole life’ cost
in the pursuit of lower prices for customers.
information on Technocover’s range of physical security