Ironwork : Rebuild and Reinstate with Ironmaster


Manholes and Gullys


Modular large access covers


New Proteus Gully

The Ironmaster System

Five Year Guaranteed Ironwork

  • BBA HAPAS approved 
  • No quibble 5 year written guarantee
  • Over 1,000 units installed for Transport for London
  • Over 5,000 units installed nationwide
  • Full reconstruction for guaranteed performance

Benefits of using Ironmaster

• Full depth repair system

• No vibrating rollers or compaction equipment required

• Unique shock absorbing and self-compacting surface

• Rapid cure process

• Joint free repair

• Can be trafficked within 60 minutes of installation

• Suitable for all types of ironwork

What makes Ironmaster different?

Ironmaster is installed by our own specialist crews, using only the finest high-strength, quick-setting materials and unique compaction-free surface course, which means you can rest assured that the 5 year Rhino guarantee is not offered without good reason.

Types of ironwork we repair
Ironmaster is a very adaptable system able to accommodate many different ironwork types:

      • Stopcocks
      • Fire Hydrants
      • Gullies both single and double
      • Manholes (single, double and triple)
      • 100mm or 150mm thick ironwork
      • Bridge drainage channels

The system easily accommodates non-standard sizes, unforeseen structural conditions and localised surface deterioration.


Ironmaster tackles all forms of ironwork failure in the highway

In order to offer a five year written guarantee, Ironmaster needs to tackle all forms of highway ironwork failure, these have been identified as:
      • Sub-standard workmanship
      • Inconsistent or inappropriate materials
      • Compaction issues, namely: 
                • Compacting the asphalt surround too early, before bedding mortars have cured
                • Compaction equipment striking the ironwork, disrupting the mortar bond
                • Insufficient compaction, leaving the asphalt out of specification

Whole life cost saving

Whole life cost analysis has shown that highway authorities have saved over £10million by using Ironmaster to repair repeat offending highway ironwork in their network, mainly on principal routes.

This is borne out after independent studies demonstrated high failure rates from traditional repairs in principal routes with ironwork in the wheel track particularly susceptible to failure. An average life of just 2½ years was achieved.

With over 5,000 Ironmaster installations still benefitting from a 5 year guarantee this equates to over £10million saving managing highway ironwork.

Commenting on the finding, Steve Loader, Director of Rhino said “Asset management is critical to our customers. We know that they have to assess the long term benefits on every investment and sometimes make rational decisions based on calculated assumptions – but at the end of the day, they are assumptions. These results confirm that the quality of the Ironmaster workmanship and the quality of materials used makes the five year guarantee a reality.


Recent night work done at Oatlands Drive, Weybridge 

Material performance

The high quality materials used in Ironmaster underpin the 5 year performance guarantee.

Ironmaster bedding mortar:
Achieves greater strength in one hour than traditional concrete can achieve in 28 days.

Ironmaster reinforced concrete shims:
Compressive strength designed to take the toughest loadings.

Ironmaster Infill mortar:
Quick cure for early opening to traffic.

Ironmaster wearing surface:
No compaction required, no void content. Long term performance.


Environmental Benefits From Ironmaster

Noise: Noise from rattling covers is an increasing social nuisance and good reason why Ironmaster is selected for use in urban environments, where the guarantee covers the correct seating of covers and frames.

Recycling: All waste packaging, excavated road hardcore and ironwork (covers and frames) are recycled through licensed waste carriers. Our preferred supplier of new covers and frames, Saint Gobain, make all their highway ironwork from 100% recycled metal.

Energy / Fuel: An Ironmaster installation is energy efficient compared to traditional systems as the installation is carried out just once and will last beyond its guaranteed lifetime of 5 years. Other traditional installation systems will last just half this time before requiring re-repairs.

Hazardous Materials: Our high performance bedding mortar is an environmentally friendly alternative to resin based bedding mortars where high strength quick setting properties are required. The Ironmaster bedding mortar does not have a requirement for hazardous waste disposal unlike resin based alternatives. Our cementitious Infill mortar is also non-hazardous. All materials are compliant with REACH regulations.

Longevity: A traditional repair to highway ironwork on a principal road lasts on average just 2½ years. With Ironmaster guaranteed for 5 years and many still in the road and working well after 10 years, the impact to the environment is significant. Over a 10 year period with traditional methods, 4 re-repairs would have been necessary compared with just one with Ironmaster saving considerable amounts of material.

Disruption: Minimising disruption (see case studies) was the key driver for TfL’s use of Ironmaster on the A23 at Brixton where 330 Gullies were repaired. This formed part of a larger contract including carriageway resurfacing where the client specifically wanted to avoid having to revisit this very busy section of road for a period of 5 years. A decision based upon minimising disruption.

Water Management: The gulley covers supplied by Saint Gobain are engineered for high efficiency to direct the maximum flow of surface water into the drain. These improve water management, removing it from the road surface more efficiently than other gulley covers.


Some of the clients benefitting from the Ironmaster 5 Year Guarantee 

Glasgow City Council

Trialled 6 proprietary systems and Ironmaster was the only one chosen for the job. Ironmaster went on to be used to repair 500 units in the city of Glasgow.

Transport for London

Have over 1,000 units installed across every major route in the city, including the North & South circular, A1, A4, Trafalgar Square and inside the Blackwall Tunnel.

Local Councils

Extensive use by over 100 different highway authority customers including City Councils, County Councils, Motorway Authorities and London Boroughs.

Units over 5 years old
Units installed to date
Local authority savings
Highway authority partners

Main installation sites for Ironmaster in London

Causes of Ironwork failure

Failures of highway ironwork are unfortunately commonplace. Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick identified in a study that on principal routes, half of all of manholes will have failed within 2 years, but why?

The failure modes have been well studied and fall into three main areas:


Traditional Systems: 

Traditional asphalt topping requires compaction. Compacting too close to the recently installed frame and cover could lead to the equipment striking the frame and sending shock waves down through the mortars causing cracking before they’ve even cured. Alternatively, insufficient compaction, or compacting too far away from the frame leaves asphalt with voids, out of spec and prone to failure. 

How is Ironmaster different?

Ironmaster uses a molten, polymer modified asphalt surround, which requires no compaction to achieve zero void content. It is BBA HAPAS approved to achieve required levels of rut resistance.


Traditional Systems:

All sorts of materials have been uncovered when exposing failures. Many of them are highly unsuitable for use in a highway environment. 

How is Ironmaster different?

When installing Ironmaster, we use only high strength quick setting mortars, reinforced concrete shims, best quality cover and frames as well as our unique topping layer. These elements underpin our 5 year guarantee. After all, it is not in our interests to use anything substandard when it's us who'll have to fix it.


Traditional Systems:

Variable workmanship: Standards of workmanship from one crew to the next is notoriously difficult to control, especially when those men have a multitude of different tasks to carry out, patching one day, litter picking the next and then gulley repairs. 

How is Ironmaster different?

Our ironwork crews work day in, day out on repairing manholes, gullies, stop cocks etc. They follow the same procedures each and every day, ensuring excellent quality and a consistently high standard of installation. Once again, this underpins our 5 year guarantee.


The problem with traditional repairs

Traditional repairs fail time and again. Studies of 1,500 highway ironwork failures showed that in 100% of circumstances, more than one failure mode was identified including bedding mortar, packing, brickwork, road surface surround and ironwork. 

The main problems surrounding traditional repairs are:

  • Structural problems
  • Financial problems
  • Litigation problems

BBA HAPAS Approved. The British Board of Agrément (BBA) is the UK and European technical approvals board, administering, assessing and issuing advice on highway products for HAPAS (Highway Authorities Product Approval Scheme) which includes the Highways Agency and other committees.

Ironmaster received a BBA HAPAS certificate in May 2006, number 06/H123. The Ironmaster certificate states that ....“Providing the surrounding pavement remains structurally sound, the system will have an anticipated service life in excess of five years”

5 year guarantee

Guaranteed for 5 years against defects, the Ironmaster system directly resolves the issue of repeat repairs to problem ironwork, a problem which costs the UK economy over £250million every year, as studies show 50% of traditional repairs failing within the first 12 months.

Each and every Ironmaster installation comes with a guarantee certificate which is applicable to both the contractor and ultimate client, guaranteeing the performance of the Ironmaster installation for a period of 5 years.

This issued certificate is your legal right to claim a repair or replacement in the event of a failure of an Ironmaster installation.
There are some obligations on the owner of the ironwork to ensure the validity of that guarantee.


For example;

  • Gullies should be cleaned regularly and kept free of standing water, as the mortars used in the system are not designed to sit in standing water
  • The client should advise as soon as any failure is identified, so that the company can rectify the problem early on
  • New cast iron covers and frames were installed at the outset (the client does have the option to reinstall existing covers and frames but the 5 year guarantee would not apply in these instances)

If a failure is identified, then we will, at our cost, replace or repair the installation without affecting the original terms of the guarantee, which will continue to run until 5 years from the date of the original installation.


Modular Large Access Covers

Large chambers with modular access solutions are often considered a specialist activity due to the size, weight and complexity.

Rhino are specialists in understanding the specialist issues of repairing and re-bedding large modular access covers in environments such as tunnels, ports, car parks and highways.

These large units require lifting equipment, materials capable of fast setting times and supporting heavy loads. They conceal underground services which require maintenance, so accessibility is paramount.

Services we offer:

  • Re-bedding and adjusting modular frames and covers

  • Replacing modular systems in their entirety
  • Inspecting, measuring and sourcing replacement sections
  • Lifting, inspecting and re-greasing to maintain access for your maintenance teams

We work in conjunction with manufacturers of the covers and frames to ensure that the specification is right for your job and that available special features are specified accordingly.

Utilising our knowledge and experience of installing over 10,000 ironmaster units in UK highways, we install these large access covers using the tried and tested Ironmaster systems adapted specifically for use on modular access systems. Rhino enables your project to be installed by fully trained specialists ensuring that a long-lasting solution is in place and suited to the specific requirements of this specialist area. Utilising mobile lifting cranes, high strength mortars and our unique surface finish, the Ironmaster system installed by our own trained crews is the ideal solution to your difficult modular system troubles.

How do we work:

  1. In the first instance we need full access to the site to measure and assess the requirements.
  2. We will then have the units manufactured off-site to the specific requirements of the job.
  3. Our crews will then attend site to install the units

To start the process, get in touch with us and we can arrange a visit to discuss the next steps.


Case Study

Fleet Street, London

Images show Fleet Street in construction these do not portray the final look of the Modular Large Access Cover


Proteus Gully

An innovative solution to Gully clipping failures

The limitation of a standard Gully

Vehicles travel on average 300mm from the kerb edge. So HGV’s, buses and other heavy vehicles clip the edge of the gully top resulting in premature failure


The advantage of the new Proteus Gully

This innovative invention leaves the gully top just 280mm from the kerb face. Vehicles now avoid the gully top extending the service life of the unit. All other functional features are retained.


Top Five elements that make Proteus unique


Rhino is currently undergoing trials for the new Proteus Gully

  • Narrow profile hinged gully grating
  • Avoids excessive clipping by traffic
  • D400 class
  • Retains water clearing efficiency
  • Fits a standard 450mm gully footprint

The new, innovative proteus gully installed using the proprietary Ironmaster system is a solution to continually failing gulley gratings on heavily trafficked roads where the edge of a standard 450mm square gulley is continually struck by HGV’s with its related ongoing maintenance problems.

What We Found

Lorries generally travel with their wheels 300mm from the kerb edge meaning that a 450mm gully is regularly being struck by these heavy loadings.

This ‘excessive clipping’ results in regular, early gully failures.


The Solution

The opening of the new Proteus gully is just 280mm from the kerb edge so that HGV wheels avoid driving over the grate which in turn reduces the impact on the frame.

The unique design retains the minimum waterway area required under HA104/09 by at least double that minimum requirement.

The hollow chamber under the angled section ensures the same water volume outputs as a traditional 450mm gully.

It has been tested and approved by BSi and is a class D400

One of the key elements of the design is that the base plate fits a standard 450mm gully so that this new Proteus Gully can be installed in place of an existing 450mm gully without adjusting the supporting structure.


Case Study

A41 New Chester Road

The Problem

  • Consistent clipping overrun of Ironwork on the busy A41 (near right)
  • Excavation to sound material is vital to ensure the repair will last (far right)
  • The new Proteus ironwork is bedded with Ironmaster bedding compound (left)
  • No adjustment or reduction of the gully pot is required the Proteus gully fits directly over a standard 450mm gully pot (right)
  • Infill Mortar surrounds the Ironwork (far left)
  • Ironmaster IMP patch applied in layers (near left)

Clear opening (AxB)

455 x 455mm

Grating opening

300 x 560mm

Waterway Area cm²


Over base (CxD) 

711 x 565mm 


BS EN124

Performance Class


Water clearing comparison against a standard Watershed 450

x 450mm grating*

50mm from kerb


90mm from kerb



Slot Drains

Innovative Channel Drainage System

  • Manufactured to BS EN 1433 class C250, D400 or F900
  • High-quality polypropylene channel base - lighter than polymer concrete
  • Interlocking channels
  • Smooth internal face for rapid flow rates
  • Range of ductile Iron gratings
  • 6mm Safe-slot gratings/15mm Hydro-slot for wider channel systems
  • 8 point locking per metre
  • Step fall available

Core Features

8 Point Stainless Steel

Anchor System

Pipe Outlets

Sediment Box

Stepped Falls

"T" Junction

Slot Drains up to 50% lighter than Polymer Concrete Channel

This means our Slot Drains benefit from

  • Easier instillation and better ergonomics

  • Savings on transport and instillation costs


Contact us

Give us a call

01273 402 900

Complete the form to email us, found on the contact us page