What are the differences between FACTA and EN 124?
Fabricated Access Covers Trade Association (FACTA) is a specification that allows fabricated access covers to be made from a variety of materials and offer flexibility in its design, something that isn’t achievable for cast covers.
EN 124 was initially introduced to bring clarity to loading expectations of access covers that were manufactured and supplied to the market. But instead brought about concerns and questions on how the standard determined such important details and caused confusion between manufacturers and suppliers alike.
The test loads for both specifications are different, FACTA takes into consideration the elastic nature of steel, whilst EN 124 includes allowances for dynamic effects caused by fast moving vehicles (FACTA specifies this isn’t required as steel covers are only used in slow moving areas).
What are the similarities between FACTA and EN 124?
FACTA have produced a classification table that outlines what each of its loading classes can withstand (in terms of both gross laden and slow moving) as well as show the equivalent loading of the EN124 specification as comparison.
For example; FACTA B is seen as a direct equivalent to B125. The typical application for each loading on both specifications is also detailed, please see the PDF below.
How do I know when to specify FACTA or EN 124?
Historically, access covers were designated in three wheel load categories:
50kN (5.0 Tonne)
115kN (11.5 Tonne)
The first two of these align with the guidance on the application of BS EN 124 contained in the FACTA publication ‘Specification for Fabricated Access Covers’ as follows;
A15 Slow Moving Pneumatic Wheel Load of 5kN B125 Slow Moving Pneumatic Wheel Load of 50kN
The FACTA specification indicates a 6.5 Tonne rating for a C250 cover and 11.0 Tonne for a D400 cover, the latter being the closest to the upper ‘historic’ requirement. However, the load factors applied to these covers include allowances for the dynamic effects caused by fast moving vehicles, a condition that has been specified as not usually relevant on sites, due to speed restrictions.
A typical application for a D400, for example, is indicated as “Heavy duty plant areas, carriageways and industrial service roads where fast moving HGVs reach speeds of 20mph max.”
Moreover, the maximum wheel load currently allowed on a British road is 6.5 Tonne. Abnormal loads may only impose a higher load by special arrangement and even then, the abnormal load tends to be distributed over a large number of axles to keep the wheel load within acceptable limits.
Consequently, it is considered more practical and economic to specify a C250 cover as the standard maximum requirement in access roads.