Driveways Take The Strain

Back in the late 1970’s a popular family car choice was the venerable Ford Cortina MkII, weighing in at a mere 860kgs. Fast-forward a few decades and the modern equivalent, the equally popular Ford Mondeo, is a hefty 1510kgs in its latest guise. Both cars would be considered as average family cars to carry the same people and luggage/shopping and serve the same purpose to Mr & Mrs Smith and their 2.4 children, yet the weight difference between them means the newer car is almost double the weight of the old.

In the last couple of decades there has been a rise in popularity of ‘people carrier’ type vehicles – the Renault Espace was one of the first of the breed and later ‘Grand’ versions weigh-in at an attention grabbing 2000kgs. ‘Luxury 4x4’ vehicles are also more popular than ever with the latest Land Rover Discovery providing off-road capability in a very comfortable driving package…but at a whopping 2400kgs.

Mondeo’s, Espace’s and Discovery’s can now be found parked on driveways in suburbia up and down the land, along with similar vehicles from other manufacturers, plus vans of varying sizes, motorhomes, caravans, etc…and even trucks on occasion! We see more and more examples of works vans being brought home and parked on residential drives overnight, and some of these vans are long-wheelbase versions loaded with tools and materials for the next day’s work so tip the scales at 2500-3000kgs. Removals vans, supermarket home-delivery vehicles, refuse trucks, etc, also often use driveways to temporarily park or turn around. Add to this the dynamic effects of braking and turning, which can increase the force exerted through their wheels to a level that is several times the vehicle’s static mass, and we’re way beyond that old Ford Cortina!

All of this means that the often-ignored manhole covers on residential driveways are taking the strain. What may have been installed originally as a manhole cover to take a nominal loading such as a ‘family car’ (which the above demonstrates is not the same as it once was!) is now expected to take the strain of vehicles weighing much more than the manhole cover is capable of withstanding. The results is either severely distorted (i.e. bowed) or broken manhole covers which cost £££’s to have dug out and replaced.

Based on this we recommend to all customers, specifiers and installers that when selecting products for driveways from Clark-Drain’s extensive range, a heavy duty product is always considered, not only on the basis of ‘family’ vehicles being larger and heavier than ever before, but also bearing in mind what could be parked on the driveway in years to come even if it cannot be foreseen at that stage. The choice of a heavier rated product than is initially believed to be needed would be a wise investment to avoid future problems.

Clark-Drain offers a full range of Polypropylene, Galvanised Steel and Ductile Iron covers in a variety of loading-classes to suit all applications.

- Uploaded 08/02/2016