ACO – Six-Part Series – Part 4 | Putting Product Knowledge into Practice
When it comes to water management, reliance on technical information alone can lead to unsatisfactory results.
In part four of this six-part series, authored by Terry Wilkinson, Specialist Design & Application Engineer at ACO Water Management, we look at the need for highways engineers to augment their technical knowledge with an increased understanding of product applications.
Recently, ACO surveyed infrastructure and highways engineers and found a worrying degree of uncertainty about which elements of drainage design are most important. While those surveyed had responsibility for drainage design in many vital parts of UK infrastructure, when asked to identify the most crucial component of drainage design from a multiple-choice list, the results did not provide a consensus.
Though each project has differences, the principles of good drainage don’t change. The design process must carefully consider the surroundings that will impact (and be impacted by) the drainage system put in place. Having a clear and comprehensive knowledge of drainage design, including how to properly apply products, will vastly improve the quality and longevity of many drainage systems in UK infrastructure.
Reference points for professional
For highways engineers, the Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works (MCHW) and Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) stand as reference points for the specification and design of surface and subsurface drainage on the strategic road network, as well as providing further detail into specific systems.
Volume 1 of the MCHW contains the Specification for Highway Works (SHW), which details specific requirements for products used in the construction and maintenance of the network, with Series 500 focussed on drainage.
Similarly, the DMRB, document CG 501 – Design of highway drainage systems lays out design principles and requirements for highway drainage, discussing flooding, pollution and climate change. Familiarity with these documents is key to understanding how to apply the drainage solutions on the market.
Why getting it right matters
The benefits of having a robust understanding of drainage principles, legal requirements and product applications means the design process will be more efficient and solutions can be chosen to fit the project, rather than having to retrospectively rework designs to fit the available solutions.
Improved knowledge of how drainage products are best applied, in compliance with the standards mentioned above, will enable highways engineers to save time and money in the design process. Not only that, but by prioritising product application knowledge, engineers will be able to incorporate environmental issues and changing regulations from the very beginning stages of all future projects.
Applying product knowledge to achieve better outcomes
An example of product knowledge benefitting the project was seen in Somerset, where engineers needed to widen a junction and add additional lanes. While careful planning had seen ACO’s combined kerb and drainage system, KerbDrain, specified, as the project continued, it was noticed that channel capacity would likely be exceeded. Often, an issue like this would require a lengthy – and costly – process to fix due to the assumed need for additional outlets, pipework, gullies and chambers.
Thanks to in depth product knowledge and consultation with ACO’s technical representatives, an appropriate solution was found in ACO’s KerbDrain E+ Class range. By applying expert understanding of drainage principles combined with a strong understanding of products, it became possible to implement a solution that avoided drawn out and expensive alteration.
What engineers can do now
Ultimately, highways engineers need to blend technical skills with knowing how to use products most effectively. By following this plan, highways engineers will provide practical and robust solutions for the highway network. Engineers can discover firsthand how this seamless integration of knowledge and application enables resilient and sustainable infrastructure by learning about the products currently available.