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Innovated by Nature, Inspired by Customers: How Clark-Drain Delivered a Superior Chamber Solution

In almost 60 years of business, Clark-Drain’s ‘grounded in expertise’ ethos has instilled in us not only the importance of delivering cutting-edge designs and products, but also the value of drawing inspiration and innovation both from our customers’ pain points and from the natural world around us (like all great engineers do!)

There are probably fewer better examples of this than our UK-designed and -manufactured B125 Clark-Chamber solution, which enables easy access to piping, cabling, street lighting, traffic signalling, and communications networks.

Built around an exceptionally strong, light honeycomb core that is found in many structures in nature, and delivers maximum durability with low life-cost, this solution’s unparalleled value for our customers is also defined by its total focus on responding to their everyday operational challenges – and therefore on making their jobs easier, quicker to complete, and more cost-effective.

It’s a perfect illustration of how innovation and expertise must always be tempered with the reality of what customers are trying to achieve and how those challenges are best solved.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these challenges, and how this solution – the first polypropylene B125 chamber ever manufactured in the UK - rises to them.

Installation: lighter, quicker, easier = better!

When it comes to installation, Clark-Drain is at the vanguard of confronting traditional product shortcomings to achieve a closer fit with customers’ operational needs.

The B125 Clark-Chamber, for example, is supplied as an easily assembled panel and lid solution that can be rapidly built, ready to go into the ground. Apart from the obvious time gains that this confers, it also addresses multiple other customer pain-points.

For example, the assembly requires minimal on-site labour, there is no lead-time creep caused by components arriving from different suppliers at different times, and none of the administrative overheads that dealing with disparate suppliers entails. Plus, the panels are easier to drill for duct access than conventional pre-built models.

Actually lifting and shifting the solution becomes much easier too, as the lightweight polypropylene construction (weighing only 9kg) requires far less labour and equipment than alternative materials, and is put in place much more rapidly and readily.

Gone, too, are fiddly and difficult attachment and assembly methods that, apart from taking up valuable time, also increase the margin for levelling and alignment error. Instead, T-slot corners and a clip-together design - plus clear cutting guides inscribed on the chamber itself - make assembly and fitting quick, easy, and accurate.

Versatility & adaptability: inbuilt, not extra

Equally critical is the ability of a chamber product to solve a further customer challenge: deploying a solution in a version that is truly suited to the application in question, but without the need for case-by-case ‘extras’ and customisation that are time-consuming and, ultimately, costly.

Here again, Clark-Drain has focused its expertise on providing the options that work best for customers ‘on the job’.

The B125 Clark-Chamber offers a wide choice of ready-trepanned duct sizes (63mm to 178mm) to quickly accommodate both electricity and utility assets, multiple clear opening sizes, stackable panel construction to enable the solution to be easily scaled up, and non-ferrous lid options specifically for telecommunications and electrical utility applications, as well as others.

And whilst bespoke chamber design and production for particularly specialist applications is always available from Clark-Drain, there is sufficient versatility built into this range to enable customers to comfortably tackle the majority of installations confidently and efficiently, with no customisation required.

Stability, strength, safety, resilience: a job well done

Clearly, quality and longevity are of paramount importance in the work that our customers deliver to their customers, so once again Clark-Drain’s expertise has been guided by this imperative.

With the B125 Clark-Chamber, the name speaks for itself: the B125 rating confirms a load-bearing capability of 12.5 tonnes. This is sufficient to comfortably withstand, over time, heavy traffic moving over it, braking on it, and turning on it, and is therefore a far superior load-bearing rating to the alternative A15 designation, which is rated only for static, rather than moving, load forces. 

Its polypropylene material and honeycomb construction also deliver immense structural strength and are rust-free and resistant to corrosive chemicals.

Its concrete surround ensures stability sufficient to meet Highways Regulations, and its covers are tested to Clauses 8.1 - 8.3 of EN124:2015 for vehicular areas.

Safety and security, too, are all part and parcel of the B125 design. The unique, slip-resistant surface tread pattern delivers sure-footedness for pedestrians and workers alike, whilst the dual-locking format ensures the cover locks to the frame and the frame locks to the chamber, for maximum structural integrity and protection against unauthorised access.

For the contractor, all this means a satisfied customer that will stay satisfied, and for the customer it means long-term resilience, low life-cost, and optimised return on investment.

Environmental credentials: a growing requirement

Whilst taking innovation from the natural environment often fuels Clark-Drain’s expertise, respecting that environment is also critical – and this is not just a question of ethics.

The exponential growth in regulatory initiatives to improve the construction industry’s environmental credentials, and the adoption by customers of environmental policies and commitments, are all intensifying the focus on suppliers with ‘green expertise’.   

Again, Clark-Drain is ahead of the curve here. In many of both our chamber and channel products, including the B125 Clark-Chamber, our material of choice – lightweight, tough polypropylene – is not only 100% recycled, but also recyclable itself at the end of its life, where facilities exist.

And the environmental benefits don’t stop there. Being far lighter than traditional drain and chamber materials, these solutions greatly reduce the fuel consumption involved in transporting them – which, in turn, reduces our customers’ operating costs.

Strength, resilience, ease of installation, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability, all in one lightweight. polypropylene package. That’s the kind of expertise customers appreciate – and Mother Nature herself would be proud of.


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