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Matching manhole covers to the right specifications

Stuck on what manhole cover to choose for a driveway, patio, precinct, car park, pavement or a general paved area? Here’s our quick guide to specifying the right manhole cover for the application.


Standard vs Recessed manhole covers

A standard manhole cover – such as those featured in our FAB TOPS™ product range – is the access cover you will probably be most familiar with. These have a solid top and a steel, iron or plastic cover. Standard manhole covers provide no-fuss, practical access for a variety of applications and are most commonly specified for industrial sites – such as service areas, dockyards and airports – and on grass verges too.

If you want your manhole cover to provide practical access but want a more aesthetically pleasing finish, a recessed manhole cover is the better option. Recessed manhole covers, like our FAB PAVE™ or FAB TRAY™ ranges, feature a steel tray system which allows the top of the manhole cover to be filled with your choice of non-structural material. Once its installed, the manhole cover blends seamlessly into the surface design while still allowing easy access to the drainage or telecommunications system below.


Filling a Recessed manhole cover

You can fill a Recessed manhole cover with almost any non-structural material you want. For paved areas such as a patio or pavement you could use brick paviors, slabs or flagstone to match the surrounding area. For driveways or car parks, tarmac would better fit the bill. FAB PAVE™ is the product you need for these applications.

You can also fill the Recessed manhole cover with concrete. For this, our FAB TRAY™ product range would be the answer.


Retaining a one-person lift

A filled Recessed manhole cover will weigh more than a standard manhole cover, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be easy to access what’s underneath. If ensuring a one-person lift for contractors or a homeowner is important for your specification, we would advise going for a SOLO SLIDE™ manhole cover.

Part of the FAB PAVE™ portfolio, SOLO SLIDE™ is a Recessed manhole cover ideal for driveways, patios and other landscaping projects. Approved by BSI Kitemark and meeting BT Openreach and Virgin Media specifications, it is used in conjunction with our ergonomically designed key to make it simple to access by one person.

You can watch our manhole lifting key in action here.

Loading considerations – know your FACTA grades

When finalising the specification of your manhole cover – whether standard or recessed – you need to consider the load it will be required to take. For foot traffic only, such as in a pedestrianised precinct or a patio, a grade FACTA A cover is perfectly acceptable. For a driveway, a grade FACTA AA cover with a safe working load minimum of 1.5 tonnes should be used.

If the manhole cover will need to withstand higher loads, such as from 4×4 vehicles or vans, FACTA B is much more suitable, while heavier applications in public areas will always require class FACTA B, C or D covers. Our product ranges cover all loading scenarios. Contact for more details.

Fabweld SOLO SLIDE™.

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