Referencing AS3996 load classes in channel drain selection

Linear channel drainage systems provide an excellent solution for effectively removing surface water from large areas and openings such as driveways, paved areas and driveways. When selecting a system, application and load class requirements should be considered.

Commercial projects often see more traffic, especially heavy traffic like delivery vehicles. To ensure that a drainage system is adequately designed for heavy vehicles, load classes (AS3996) should be referenced. Concrete cover and different grid designs will have varying load classes depending on the material from which they are constructed and the level of engineering that has gone into the design and manufacture.

General load classes range from Class A to Class E. Typical light vehicles such as cars and vans in a residential situation will be Class B (2670 kg wheel loads). A commercial situation may require load capacities ranging from Class C (wheel loads of 5,000 kg) up to Class E (wheel loads of 13,700 kg). Channel drains also derive their strength from the concrete enclosure, therefore, while the grid load class is imperative, so is the concrete enclosure.

Allproof channels are designed to have a minimum of 100mm of concrete enclosure for load class A up to a minimum of 200mm for class E. This encasement is often checked by an engineer as the trench created by the channel and its cover can have an effect on structural slabs.

Below are some what-if scenarios to help identify how this may impact product selections.

Scenario A: Common space intended for pedestrian circulation outside an office complex.

In this situation, the Allproof commercial channel with mesh grating would be an excellent choice. The wire mesh is load class B allowing any maintenance or light service vehicle to access the area. It is also anti-slip according to R11 (AS4586), anti-heel (openings less than 8 mm) and resistant to penetration by bicycle tires (AS3996). The use of gate locks will prevent slight movement and reduce the risk of theft. Australian CBDs are often located near ports; Manufactured from 316 stainless steel, the mesh screen is recommended for use in marine environments and spray areas. Installation details are available for alternative embedment for asphalt and cobblestone finishes.

Scenario B: Loading dock of a shopping complex such as a mall.

A 200mm clear opening Polymer Concrete (PC) channel with a cast iron grate would be prudent in this situation. Polymer concrete drainage channels use polymers to complement cement as a binding material, creating a durable product that is highly resistant to a wide variety of chemicals and has extremely low permeability. Cast iron gratings have excellent physical properties and are rated up to class E with a concrete outline of at least 200mm. Cast iron resists dynamic wheel loads such as truck maneuvers or forklifts turning over it, as well as good vibration damping, which helps protect the surrounding concrete. Grate interlocks are imperative in this situation to prevent small movement of grates hitting channel edges under heavy wheel loads.

Scenario C: A residential garage with internal access to the dwelling.

Allproof’s Household Drain made from 100% recycled plastic has been designed for residential applications, making it a durable and economical choice for areas subject to light vehicle access. Alternatively, for garages that expect heavy vehicle access or are looking for a high end product specification, the 100mm Clear Opening Polymer Concrete Drain Channel would be an excellent choice. A plastic or stainless steel grate would be recommended as it retains its finish and suits the aesthetics of modern buildings. A concrete contour of at least 100mm is required, therefore it should be removed from the building slab by at least 100mm to achieve full encasement. The 100mm distance from the garage entrance allows for a level change in the direction of a small ramp to direct water away from the opening and towards the channel drain.

When selecting a channel drain solution, consideration of the expected loads, application and local environment will ensure a durable and functional solution.

About Octavia A. Dorr

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