Resilience is the very clear watchword for the UK water industry as we prepare for PR19 and AMP 7.

OFWAT is expecting water companies to develop a systematic approach to identifying all risk factors to service continuity, and mitigate if not eliminate these threats through robust resilience planning.

Marking 25 years of ‘innovation and reliability’ in 2018, Technocover’s continued success is based on its value-adding, Total Service approach to the engineering and installation of physical security solutions – high security access covers, doors, kiosks, mesh enclosures and associated equipment. This not only ensures lowest ‘whole life’ cost in line with TOTEX, it provides intelligent design focused on structural integrity, operational efficiency and zero downtime installation, wherever possible, to underpin network resilience.

Water companies should ensure they take the following four steps in maximising the contribution of physical security to asset resilience.

Step 1: Hardened assets are resilient assets – but total integrity must be assured to avoid weak links

The UK water industry is a long-established adopter of third party approved physical security products, predominantly LPCB certified, to protect water and wastewater assets against assessed risks of unauthorised entry, physical attack and other forms of disruptive infiltration such as contamination of supply.

But the expected performance of an LPCB system can be compromised through inadequate, non-compliant installation or the use of incompatible locking systems, door furniture, vent louvres, or other accessories. An uncertified and inexperienced installer may also make modifications onsite, for example, to the system fixing frame or formwork to adjust to site dimensions, which could undermine structural integrity and LPCB criteria.

It is critical that the installation of LPCB security equipment is undertaken by LPCB approved fitters to ensure the correct fittings, fastenings and procedures are used to maintain system certification level.

As one of the longest serving specialists in LPCB physical security to water clients, Technocover has unmatched experience in surveying sites to ensure equipment is accurately manufactured and installed by LPCB approved installers.

Step 2: Use early consultation to develop functionally sophisticated assemblies that add value to resilience planning

Early collaboration by the client and project team allows the screening of every aspect of the product solution to identify opportunities for efficiency gains and cost savings, and to achieve on-time, on-budget construction.

It allows delivery partners to work proactively and be innovative, combining their individual expertise to anticipate issues and problem-solve, from design to installation and on-going service.

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.

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.

Step 3: Plan installation to minimise asset downtime and service disruption

The refurbishment project especially calls for unusual shapes, such as hexagonal access systems, in hard-to-reach places – the top of reservoir towers or hemmed in between existing structures. With the emphasis on keeping assets live, clients and contractors want ‘plug and play’ solutions which are built and kitted offsite, then craned in and hooked up to services the same day, if possible.

Technocover is adding value to the delivery of physical security solutions by offering offsite construction and crane-in solutions. Where site access is constrained and/or possession is limited, these can be assembled and fully fitted with M&E services offsite for quick and simple lifting into position, minimising if not fully avoiding asset downtime.

Step 4: System durability is essential to resilience by reducing maintenance and prolonging asset life

When it comes to resilient access designed to safeguard lives and critical resources, the longevity and integrity of materials is paramount. Specifiers must ask: what’s protecting the protection?

A defensive and potentially life-critical piece of engineering warrants a high quality finish, which means a galvanised zinc coating to properly corrosion-proof steel. Clients must scrutinise this aspect of a security product as the system finish may not meet service life expectations, or could possibly be compromised in order to lower price. The outcome can be a product that may meet the security specification but needs replacing after, say, as little as three or five years.

Technocover uses high quality steel, galvanising and paint processes to provide 25 years minimum service life of products. This extra margin of engineering resilience becomes ever more important as utility structures bear the brunt of aggravated weathering from storm events and regional peaks in atmospheric corrosivity.

While Technocover also offers the option of a paint finish for aesthetic purposes, galvanised steel is the crucial element to assuring long service life. This underpins a maintenance-free product and extends the time to replacement for reliable cost forecasting, minimal if not zero maintenance intervention, and enhancing outcomes within resilience planning.