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Last updateThu, 29 Jul 2021 10am

Why Clark-Drain's access chamber systems set new standards

At Clark-Drain, what we do is always grounded in expertise – but why and how we do it is always grounded in solving the pain-points of those who rely on our products.

When it comes to heavy-duty access chamber systems for cabling, utilities and network protection, we saw an urgent need to address a number of customer-critical issues stemming from the industry’s conventional, and arguably outmoded, design and production approaches.

In response, we developed an innovative, heavy-duty access solution that sets new standards for cost-effectiveness, speed and ease of installation, robustness, longevity, versatility and sustainability.

In short, we saw the challenges customers in this industry faced, resolved them, and added significant value along the way.

Here’s the story of those challenges - and our game-changing response.

Multiple suppliers? Multiple costs and failures

Cost is critical to our customers, but with traditional access products the price tag is only half the story.

Managing the sourcing of multiple components from multiple manufacturers’ inventories, transporting them separately and assembling a final product generates hefty overheads that add considerably to the final cost.

Likewise, complex supply processes of this kind are prone to delay or even breakdown, which stretches delivery lead-in times, causes project hold-ups and erodes overall profitability.

In fact, the hidden financial pitfalls go on and on. Chambers consisting of separate complex components call for specialist skills and lengthy installation times, forcing up labour and equipment costs, and raising the spectre of project overrun.

Fundamentally, it is a broken process – and our customers deserve better.

Versatility, strength, or quality?

To compound the issues our customers faced, whilst complex chambers assembled from many different components can offer a high degree of versatility and customisability in design, they also come with some troublesome trade-offs.

Inevitably, these piecemeal products suffer from a greater likelihood of design and construction weaknesses, typically offer less structural integrity, and consequently, cannot credibly demonstrate full lifecycle strength and durability.

Having to choose just one option from versatility, strength or quality was not a dilemma we were willing to let our customers be subjected to.

Weight and handling: an accident waiting to happen?

The heavier the object, the more labour (and often equipment) required to lift it, the greater the risk it will be dropped and the greater the likelihood that injury – or worse – will result.

Weight is an explosive package of costs, dangers and damage – yet traditional chamber access systems can be very heavy indeed.

Once again, we decided that there was a better way of doing things for our customers.

Environmental impact: a shocking cost

Flowing from many of the other challenges above, the traditional approach to chamber access systems was all too often a black mark on our customers’ green credentials.

Weighty steel, virgin plastics and component transport from multiple suppliers all conspire to deplete resources,  increase fuel consumption and carbon emissions - and all for products that could require replacement sooner rather than later as they are often not as robust or as long-lasting as they should be.

The Clark-Drain Chamber Access System: raising the bar

Ready-made, ready to go in the ground, ready for anything – this was the goal Clark-Drain set itself for its response to customers’ and prospects’ challenges.

The solution had to be produced as one integral, complete, fully built unit, constructed offsite. Yet it also needed to be customisable to meet each customer’s specific needs, and be versatile enough to accommodate all materials and assets passing through it.

It had to be much lighter, stronger and longer-lasting than traditional products, with a far smaller environmental footprint, and – critically – it had to be highly cost-effective in comparison to the alternatives.

The Clark-Drain Access Chamber System delivers exactly this, providing:

  • One supply source – Supplied complete to each customer’s precise requirements, with access covers, all accessories and furniture, pre-configured duct holes, and cable management.
  • Maximum cost-effectiveness - Fully-built offsite; light-weight system, installable in under 30 minutes; saves management, labour and transport costs; eliminates project hold-ups. 
  • Strength, quality, accessibility, durability - Manufactured to BS EN ISO 9001:2008; up to 60-tonne cover loads; polypropylene chambers for exceptional strength-to-weight properties and longevity.
  • Versatility, for all applications – Variants for footway and roadway installations, and applications ranging from defence to fibre optic networks, water company assets, highways and pavements, traffic signalling, street lighting and dockyards – both for virgin sites and for overbuilding on live networks.  
  • Sustainability – Chambers are made from 100% recycled polypropylene, reducing raw materials consumption and producing a lighter, more environmentally-friendly, less costly transport load.

This combination of qualities was a big ask – but one our customers were totally entitled to see delivered.

A proven solution

But the Clark-Drain Access Chamber System is not only an innovative solution – it’s already delivering real benefits to major construction projects like Kier’s new build prison in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Our offsite build for Kier contributed to a 22% faster project completion, a 1/3 reduction in onsite costs, lower fuel use and accelerated installation (read the case study here).

At Clark-Drain, we’re setting new standards for our customers – and the benefits are a matter of record.

For further information visit www.clark-drain.com