This autumn Technocover marks 25 years at the forefront of innovation in the physical protection of water assets.
As the industry gears up for AMP 7 with talk of asset optimisation, operational efficiency and a hefty focus on ‘value’ rather than ‘cost’, the company believes its founding principle of ‘Total Service’ is more relevant than ever before. Technocover’s Managing Director, Michael Miles, explains.
The security landscape within the UK’s water industry has evolved beyond recognition since the advent of dedicated legislation twenty years ago.
From the upgrade of service reservoir protection that rolled out from the late 1990s, to the mature and sophisticated levels of security that ramify through today’s network, UK water sets a world-class standard in its approach to water asset hardening.
It has seen nothing less than a revolution in the water security product market dominated by LPCB certificated equipment, from upstand covers and security louvres, to large security kiosks - built offsite and craned into place. Today, security hardware is being seamlessly integrated with today’s digital technology including electronic access control, wireless alarm networks and CCTV.
Technocover stepped on the scene in 1993, intent on establishing a market-leading specification for the water engineering access cover that would offer a more robust performance and broader functionality for points of entry to potable water. Structural integrity was paramount in helping a privatised industry protect critical assets from the on-going scourge of vandalism and emerging spectre of terrorism.
Technocover worked closely with water engineers on an improved blueprint for the upstand access cover, a ubiquitous feature of clean water sites where infiltration of supplies could have the greatest impact on service and the customer. Setting a robust new bar in structural integrity, the Technocover UItraSecure DV Reservoir Cover was a double skin cover system with dry moated frame manufactured from mild steel plate and hot dip galvanised after manufacture. It also incorporated a shrouded high security locking system to receive LPCB approved padlocks.
This first product and collaborative approach with the customer embodied the core principles that define the Technocover brand today: product strength, reliability and operational convenience that closely address customer needs and provide long-term value for money.
Responding to Asset Management Plan (AMP) Needs
With the introduction of reservoir security legislation in 1997, Technocover was one of the first to market with a double-skin upstand access cover tested and approved to LPCB’s exacting LPS 1175 standard for security performance. It is the only company still trading of the three manufacturers that were first to gain upstand cover certification from LPCB 20 years ago.
From this first LPCB product, Technocover’s range has responded to and anticipated the water companies’ security needs through AMP 3, 4, 5, 6 and soon 7.
AMP 3 was dominated by the implementation of substantial programmes to unify and tighten the security of the industry’s potable water supply.
Technocover led the way with the development of high security aperture access products aimed at securing all areas of sensitive sites. The range included spindle covers, single, twin and triple leaf access hatch covers, as well as single and twin leaf doors and vents to meet the needs of LPCB security rating (SR) 4. Ahead of the pack, Technocover was also developing LPCB SR 2, 3 and 4 products for applications outside of the potable water network as early as 2003.
Extending Protection Across All Sites
AMP 4 saw new security legislation requiring secure storage of toxic chemicals/gases. By now, water companies were also fully invested in extending protection across their waste water networks. Technocover was already prepared with its UltraSecure modular cabinets/buildings to LPCB SR 4 together with SR 3 doors and modular enclosures for the protection of chlorine dosing, telemetry, alarm systems and other sensitive plant.
By AMP 5, water companies were implementing extra layers and the finer detail of security in areas such as chemical storage and sampling facilities as Water UK guidelines evolved. Technocover responded with further LPCB solutions: more options in key entry doors, water sampling and telemetry cabinets, cylinder clamps, isolator housings, enclosures, cages and modular buildings.
A shift in regulatory focus for the current AMP 6 has posed new challenges. Applications have become more specialised as the drive for greater cost efficiency is being seen in building hardening upgrades and refurbishment of older assets to extend service life. This has seen Technocover engineering increasingly larger and more complex buildings, mesh enclosures and multiple cover assemblies within the LPCB performance envelope.
Today’s Physical Protection Challenges
Today, water specifiers need look no further than the Technocover UltraSecure portfolio for solutions to its physical protection challenges, right up to extreme risk level (terrorism/extortion).
As well as every variation of high security access cover for dry or wet wells on potable and wastewater sites – upstand, flush fitting, single or multiple leaf – Technocover offers a diverse choice of high security doors and compatible ironmongery entry and exit control options.
Complementary product lines include water sampling and telemetry cabinets, valve inspection covers, escape hatches, cylinder clamps, plus enclosures, kiosks, mesh cages and modular buildings. They come with all the features expected of secure access, such as the latest anti-contamination, manual handling and fall protection solutions.
Delivering Best Value Through Total Service
While LPCB has been critical to Technocover’s success, the company has maintained its lead by also focusing on project and customer support through ‘Total Service’. This includes site surveys, risk assessment advice, design with value management input, specialised logistics and delivery, installation, maintenance, even removal and recycling at end of service.
Total Service takes a holistic view of the product’s ‘journey’, from concept to decommission, to ensure it provides the best value, whole life solution focused on customer needs and cost efficiency.
While maximising customer satisfaction, it tailors UltraSecure solutions to the long-term outcomes, operational efficiency and ‘optimised asset intervention’ which have become the imperative of AMP 6 and AMP 7.
The emphasis is on close cooperation, listening to needs, and dovetailing products and site services to make life as easy as possible for clients and their delivery team, as well as avoiding under- or over-specification.
The current AMP focus on transformative innovation and operational and cost efficiency is relying heavily on improving supply chain interaction, including closer collaboration between water company delivery parties.
Early involvement is a crucial part of this approach.
Through close partnership and early engagement with the water company and their chosen tier 1 or tier 2 contractor, Technocover as a technology supplier is better able to support the delivery of high quality, timely and cost-effective solutions compliant with security needs.
Close collaboration with the client and project team at early planning stage allows the screening of every aspect of the product solution – its design, installation and operation - to identify opportunities for efficiency gains and cost savings, and achieve on-time, on-budget construction.
With this level of technical and service input, operational issues can typically be identified and resolved in the design that might otherwise lead to delays or difficulties in completing routine inspection and maintenance tasks, or even emergency procedures.
Early Involvement: Getting it Right First Time
The importance of early consultation with suppliers is highlighted by a recent upgrade project.
The client placed an order for a twin-leaf LPCB SR 4 upstand access cover to harden the security of a borehole chamber.
As shown in Image 1, the cover was fitted on a high plinth which was accessed from the road via steps. To unlock the cover, the operative would need to climb a further 950mm using a ladder to gain access to the borehole. Due to the chamber height from the ground, it was not possible for an operative to open the cover leaves standing at ground level. More hazardous still, it meant using a ladder at the side of the chamber introducing the added danger of a fall from height.
Image 1. Early consultation with the supplier could have identified the need for a more appropriate access solution to secure the borehole and protect operatives.
Under normal circumstances, the cover would have been entirely fit-for-purpose if installed on a conventional upstand at typical ground level. However, in this case the client did not stipulate when ordering that the cover needed to be raised almost a metre above ground height.
To overcome this initial oversight, Technocover proposed a new physical security access solution (Image 2).
Image 2. Technocover devised a half-height kiosk to fully secure the borehole while providing personnel with safe access to the chamber via a full height door.
The twin hinged cover was removed and replaced by a 1335mm high, half height UltraSecure modular kiosk. Measuring 2300mm x 2300mm on plan, it features a single piece, removable roof sited in place of the upstand cover unit. The refit was done by one of Technocover’s installation teams within a morning. This included the cutting of a new 940mm x 900mm opening through the existing 200mm thick wall for integration of the SR 4 security door where the ladder had previously been.
The new assembly was hot dip galvanised after manufacture to BS EN ISO 1461 and then painted with a forest green finish. This enclosure also has high and low louvre vents with internal insect mesh, the SR 4 door has rim lock with external ‘T’ handle entry and shrouded hasp and staple locking to suit LPCB approved padlock.
Clearly, early engagement could have avoided the additional costs of remediation.
Cost-efficiency Through Collaboration
Fully resourced project support, like Technocover’s Total Service, will become increasingly important to an industry tasked with working in more efficient and collaborative ways in AMP 7 and future spending programmes.
Early planning and supplier involvement can have a significant impact, in both the short- and long-term, on the cost and other important outcomes of security procurement. It allows delivery partners to work proactively and be innovative, combining their individual expertise to anticipate issues and problem-solve, from design to installation to in-service operation.
As well as avoiding specification errors, early collaboration helps to ‘design out’ risks associated with health and safety and asset failure. There is also scope to ‘build in’ maximum functionality and necessary contingencies so that reactive maintenance, unplanned interventions and service disruption are minimised. After 25 years, Technocover offers leading capability in harnessing value engineering and operational efficiency in the increasingly innovative security solutions demanded by the industry while maintaining LPCB compliance.
With the opportunity to add value and optimise performance, early planning of physical security work enables greater transparency and control/forecast of cost throughout the asset life-cycle. Its role should not be underestimated as the water industry strives for better outcomes within the supply chain and customer service.
Image 3. Multiple upstand access cover, with five single span drop-on covers each having a pair of personnel access points with fall protection grids, value engineered for savings in excess of 20%.
Image 4. Twin leaf Sentinel door with blanking plate above, the primary outward opening leaf having a vision panel and panic bar exit.
For further information on the full range of Technocover physical security solutions please telephone 01938 555511 or E-mail our Business Development Department.
This article was first published in Water Active, July 2018 and is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher.