Are your site conditions right for outdoor power distribution units?

Are your site conditions right for outdoor power distribution units?

If you are considering adding a power supply to an outdoor space such as a courtyard, terrace or enclosed garden, it is vitally important to consider how the site’s characteristics and conditions impact on which types of power units can be installed.

Before undertaking any design detailing, the first question to ask is whether site factors such as the gradient, drainage, ground conditions and level of pedestrian or vehicle traffic will be compatible with the proposed power distribution solution. These factors may override other goals such as the proposed positioning of a power unit within the site to meet the usage needs or aesthetics.

This is one of the reasons why Pop Up Power Supplies® offers three different types of power supply unit – all high quality and capable of adding versatility to a space. The retractable, pop-up power distribution unit and in-ground service unit are designed to be submerged into the ground and accessed only a power connection is needed, and the power bollard is an elegant form of street furniture that offers access to power sockets as required.

Are your site conditions right for outdoor power distribution units?

Drainage and risk of waterlogging

Any electricity supply must be designed in a way that manages risk from water and in an outdoor environment like a garden that is a particularly important design factor. This is why in ground power units or pop up power units must not be installed in areas that are prone to waterlogging. As durable and safe as these units are, they are not designed to be submerged in water but that does not mean a power supply cannot be installed. Such locations would be suited to power bollards – with the right design treatment – which would provide outdoor power distribution for events when weather conditions permit. Alternatively, if additional drainage works to effectively manage the risk of water collecting on the site can be combined with the installation of a power distribution solution, an in-ground unit or pop up unit could then be specified safely.


Could the gradient of the site also be a factor? A sloping site may be affected by excessive surface water run-off which would make it unsuitable for in-ground or pop-up units. So, again, in these circumstances a power bollard could provide the right solution.

Ground conditions – what lies beneath?

Often a great idea can be undone by obstacles beneath the ground. It is vital to understand the potential sub-surface issues of the proposed location for a power supply, especially those that are submerged. For example, what services lie directly below where the power unit is required? Drains, power and telecoms cables, gas and water pipes and numerous other factors will come into play, so prevent an expensive challenge by ensuring a proper survey is done early in the design and specification process. The ground conditions must also allow for the depth of the unit in the case of in-ground and pop up units. This could be as deep as 1050mm for an in-ground unit and 1350mm for a pop up tower unit. This depth allows for the provision of a drainage pit beneath the unit.


If the intention is to install an in-ground power distribution unit or a pop up power supply, consider the traffic in the proposed location if this is proposed for a location such as a pavement, courtyard/plaza or street. Factor in what the likely volume of pedestrians, cycles and vehicles will be in the space (if any) as the submerged unit must be able to withstand the likely flow of traffic safely and in the long term.

For more specification advice and design guidance contact Pop Up Power Supplies by emailing or call 020 8227 0208.

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