Case Studies
Protecting the Defenders: Securing Communications Assets at RAF Cosford

At a Glance:

  • Critical underground communications cabling required a secure manhole cover upgrade
  • Existing covers failed to offer appropriate asset protection, presenting a significant security risk
  • Covers needed to be securely lockable, and robust enough to meet the specialist MOD specification
  • Approved MoD supplier Clark-Drain conducted extensive requirements assessments on-site
  • Double Triangular and FACTA Class D solutions delivered enhanced security, safety, and robustness, quality-assured, with long life and low whole-life costs

The Client

RAF Cosford is a military base in Shropshire, UK, and is a major part of the Defence College of Technical Training (DCTT), which delivers modern and effective training that meets the needs of the UK’s Armed Forces now and into the future. Security of communications is of paramount importance on any government site, especially on Defence sites. 

The Challenge

In a busy, strategic, high-traffic defence environment, below ground assets must be secure and robust, so quality products that are certified and demonstrate their ability to meet these dual demands is crucial. 

At RAF Cosford, it was recognised that an upgrade was needed to address several issues. The existing covers had been installed 15 years previously, and no longer offered appropriate asset protection. In the grass areas, for example, five concrete infill manhole covers needed to be upgraded to a more secure solution that would more effectively prevent unauthorised access.

Security had also been potentially compromised by damage to some of the covers, for example in the private car park, where a large two-part cover that was incorrectly rated had, inevitably, been degraded by the weight of heavy vehicles.

But in replacing the existing covers, security and robustness were just two factors to be considered amongst many others.

Safety, for example – in terms of how easily the covers can be operated, and how effectively they prevent accidental closure – was critical. And whilst immediate cost was a key short-term consideration, so was the longer-term requirement for low whole-life cost, and therefore for solutions that would be both hard-wearing and durable.

The Solution

RAF Cosford turned to approved MoD supplier Clark-Drain for a solution that would meet, and exceed, the latest and most stringent requirements for the covers that protect its mission-critical communication cable chambers.

Working closely with RAF Cosford and contractor Wulfrun Building Solutions on site, Clark-Drain conducted an extensive assessment to establish each cover site’s exact requirements with regard to dimensions, locking functions, weight rating and standards specification, materials durability, fixing and stability, and operating safety.

  • Clark-Drain supplied its approved D400 Double Triangular Manhole Covers with inner security solution including MoD approved locking system.

These covers are certified to BS EN124-2:2015, and incorporate three-point suspension covers to ensure there is no rocking or movement that could facilitate an attempt to compromise them.

  • Clark-Drain supplied its bespoke FACTA class D galvanised steel, spring-assisted, two-part flush cover, including MoD approved security locking system.

Design consideration was given for operator safety, using the cover Safety arms to protect operatives working inside the access pits and provide additional protection against accidental closure, whilst a spring-assisted lift enables the lid to be safely opened with ease.

Both these solutions are highly durable and hard-wearing, offering long life with low whole-life costs.

Outcomes and Results

Adrian Rice, Site Manager for Wulfrun Building Solutions, says: “We were looking for quality products which would offer the utmost security and be long-lasting.  Clark-Drain have provided us with exactly that.  Their solution was very cost-effective, and their service was second-to-none.  The Clark-Drain team were extremely knowledgeable, and the site visit was invaluable to re-measure the covers for complete accuracy.  Clark-Drain has provided us with solutions that give us complete faith that they will last for many years, with no risk of damage or security breaches.”

Clark-Drain’s thorough site assessment, combined with its proven, secure cover solutions designed and manufactured in the UK, has enabled RAF Cosford to protect its communications infrastructure against both the wear and tear of heavy traffic, and - in an era of mounting global threats - against deliberate compromise.

In fact, in protecting what is underfoot, Clark-Drain has helped the RAF to continue securing our skies.

For more information on how Clark-Drain can help your business deliver robust, cost-effective, environmentally responsible drainage, no matter how big or small your project, get in touch.