What are the relevant Standards and industry specifications for manhole steps and ladders?

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The key product Standards are:


  • BS EN13101 Steps for underground man entry chambers. Requirements, marking, testing and evaluation of conformity.


  • BS EN14396 Fixed ladders for manholes

Other industry Standards and specifications that cross-reference with the above and define requirements within an assembly or system include:

  • BS EN752: 2017 Drain and sewer systems outside buildings. Sewer system management
  • BS EN1610:2015 Construction and testing of drains and sewers
  • BS EN476:2011 General requirements for components used in drains and sewers
  • BS EN1917:2002 Concrete manholes and inspection chambers, unreinforced, steel fibre and reinforced
  • BS5911-3:2014 Concrete pipes and ancillary concrete products. Part 3 Specification for unreinforced and reinforced concrete manholes and soakaways
  • BS EN13598-2:2009 Plastics piping systems for non-pressure underground drainage and sewerage Part 2 Specification for manholes and inspection chambers in traffic areas and deep underground installations
  • Sewers for Adoption 7h Edition
  • Sewers for Scotland 3rd Edition
  • Welsh Standards for new gravity foul sewers and lateral drains
  • Sewers for Adoption Northern Ireland 1st Edition
  • Civil Engineering Specification for the Water Industry 7th Edition (CESWI)
  • Building Regulations 2010 Approved Document H Drainage and Waste Disposal
  • Building Standards (Scotland) Part M Technical Handbook 2017
  • Building Regulations Part N Northern Ireland
  • Specification for Highways Works Series 500 Drainage
  • Highway Construction Details (HCD)

In a changing environment, the list above is what is believed to be the current situation. If this information is not correct, your feedback with the correct reference material would be appreciated.

Many designers and asset owners specify products that comply with the relevant Standards and leave the purchase decision to the installer. Products that comply with such Standards meet a minimum requirement and are intended to provide assurance that the construction is completed using components of an acceptable quality to satisfy the design specification.

In the United Kingdom, there are harmonised product Standards relating specifically to manhole steps and to fixed ladders. There are also Standards and industry specifications relating to manhole assemblies and Standards relating to complete drainage systems where requirements for manhole steps, ladders and associated access systems are included in the specification. For innovative products that fall outside the scope of these Standards, independent assessment and third-party certification is advised.

Standard Caswick steps and ladders conform to the key product Standards. In most cases, other industry specifications require compliance with the key product Standard as a minimum. Additional requirements falling outside the Standards will need to be defined and agreed by the client noting that this may result in bespoke product design and manufacture with longer lead times and higher costs.

The requirements in some industry specifications may demand different values for steps and ladders than the minimum requirements of the product Standard; these can be more onerous than the product Standard or they can be less demanding. Industry specifications are also sometimes inconsistent with each other and it can be confusing trying to decide on a suitable value to apply to a design. In these situations, it is advisable to consult the contract documents and confirm with the client which specification should take precedent.

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