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BIM4M2 (BIM for Manufacturers and Manufacturing) group, which our very own Gary Morton is a part of, aims for the UK construction product manufacturing sector to be recognised as a world leader in the integration of BIM. On 3rd February 2015, Barbour Product Search held a really interesting Twitter interview, #BIM4M2chat, with the group’s Chairman, Steve Thompson.  Find out all about it here. 

Much of the drive behind holding the Q&A session was the 2014 Building Information Modelling adoption survey conducted by BIM4M2 at the end of 2014. The UK-based questionnaire saw 188 volunteers take part in answering various questions about their BIM journey and it provided some very interesting results about how manufacturers create their BIM objects.

The Q&A started with Steve providing an overview of the group and how it supports product manufacturers.  Steve was then asked more about the survey where he explained the appetite for manufacturers to get involved in BIM was surprising with 40% already invested in BIM and 50% planning to in 2015.  However, Steve made it clear that international BIM solutions were key, not just UK solutions.

Other key areas for discussion were barriers for product manufacturers to adopt BIM and advice for those just starting the BIM journey including tools being developed by the group.  The Q&A also covered the difference between BIM objects and Products Data Templates (PDTs).  The session was then finished with Steve’s view on what will happen after April 2016.

The BIM4M2 group’s work is really helping BIM in manufacturing to be at the forefront of the industry.  As the first surface water management manufacturer to launch a BIM offering targeting civils and infrastructure projects, being a part of this group is key. The #BIM4M2chat in particular was a great way to give those involved not only a great overview of the group and the survey but also the ideal opportunity to put forward their questions.

To learn more about the BIM4M2 and their survey, see the full interview here in this Storify - https://storify.com/subutcher/bim4m2chat-talking-bim-with-product-manufacturers

Another step forward

ACO floodingIn the 2014 budget, revealed yesterday, the Government announced that an additional £140million would be spent following the damage caused by the recent floods.  This will take the total spend for repairing and rebuilding UK infrastructure up to £340million – £200million to fix potholes and the additional £140million will be used to repair flood defences.

As we are all too aware, the devastation caused by the recent flooding has been significant and it is good to see that more is being done to help avoid this in the future.  In some part, we have already seen the positive results of investing in flood defences and surface water management solutions.  If you compare the recent flooding to that of 2007, there has actually been significant progress. Then, ten times the number of properties were flooded than in recent months and the Environment Agency has estimated that over 800,000 additional homes have been protected by flood schemes this time round.

Funding is therefore just part of the story, it is also essential that there is an exhaustive examination into what has and hasn’t worked and how these situations can be avoided in the future.  We should also be using our experiences to identify best practice – not only in the design solutions but also in terms of the ways of working that have made a difference.

Now, let’s seek collaboration; where planners, designers, manufacturers, policy makers, budget holders, engineers and the general public input into an integrated approach, to ensure that we adopt best practice and spend effectively, within a timely framework of guidance and legislation.

To see how improvements have been made since 2007, take a look at our infographic.

Flood resilience – are we making a difference?

If you look beyond the recent headlines, some may be surprised to learn that, in many cases, the reach of the flooding impact has been reduced.

Our engineering and planning communities have made some progress – with those flood defences and surface water management solutions introduced unquestionably making a huge difference to towns all over the country.

Here’s a simple infographic we’ve put together that demonstrates the progress that is being made and the design solutions that are helping to create sustainable solutions.


Launch of BS 8582 – a much needed step forward for practical, sustainable drainage

The recently published BSI standard provides a hugely useful ‘code of practice’ to those of us involved in the specification, installation or maintenance of surface water management systems.

One of the key topics recognised by the standard is the relevance of proprietary drainage systems, and how they can provide flexible, effective, and complementary alternatives to natural infiltration systems.

With space and ground conditions such a major factor on new urban developments, this acknowledgement of hybrid surface water drainage solutions will be a welcome development to designers and planners.


BS 8582 recognises the use of proprietary drainage elements as part of a sustainable drainage system (SuDS)

And with the forthcoming legislation changes, BS 8582 also provides SuDS Approval Boards (SABs) with a structured methodology to assess drainage planning applications.

For more information on BS 8582:2013 Code of practice for surface water management for developed sites, visit the BSI website

Flood prevention plans delay – new controversy?

With the profile of flood prevention high on the agenda it seems to be the right time to be talking SUDS.

News on the subject has been building gradually over the last week or two and the article by Roger Harrabin on the BBC article makes for interesting reading http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25676973

Extended range of flow control systems lower project costs

Our newly extended range of flow control systems can now regulate any surface water flow before it discharges into a watercourse or sewer network. The updated range includes both Q-Brake Vortex Flow controls and Q-Plate orifice plate systems which are designed for efficient handling of flows, simple maintenance and easy installation.

ACO's extended range of flow control systems

ACO’s extended range of flow control systems

ACO Q-Brake Vortex is ideal for flows up to 100 l/s and minimises maintenance with no moving parts and large openings to reduce blockage risk. The enhanced patented bypass door and emergency drain down facility enables remote access to the bypass inlet and independently drains the upstream system – simplifying access and removing the need for direct man access to sewer manholes.

In situations where the ACO Q-Brake Vortex is not suitable, ACO Q-Plate offers an effective alternative. Our orifice plates are available with or without remote bypass and drain down, and depending on your project requirements, are available with flat and round manhole configurations to simplify installation.

Our design team will provide guidance to ensure the right product specification and both flow control systems are included in the WinDes software to simplify hydraulic modelling. Manufactured from stainless steel, the systems offer high quality, yet robust, reliable and economic solutions. With rapid deliveries to exact site requirements, our range of flow control systems will reduce installation costs, minimise maintenance and will ensure the final stages of a project can be concluded quickly and without hassle.

For more information on our range of flow control system visit the ACO website.


Scottish wildlife protected using our Wildlife Kerbs

Our Wildlife Kerbs have been used on a scheme in a Perthshire town to help prevent local wildlife being washed down the drain.


During migration, amphibians will often follow the kerb line and it’s staggering to hear that in this county alone, an estimated 47,000 could fall down a road gully and become trapped!

Our Wildlife Kerb has a built in recess which allows amphibians to continue on their natural path but avoid the danger of a road side gully.

Watch this video from ARGUK to see how Perth and Kinross Council have been piloting the use of these kerbs to help the local wildlife.

ACO StormBrixx nominated for an award again!

Its smiles all round here at ACO– last month ACO StormBrixx was again shortlisted for an award.

This time it was for the highly regarded Sustainability Leaders Awards in the category Sustainability Innovation: Systems & Software. The awards recognise organisations that are making genuine progress in embedding sustainability throughout their operations and we are thrilled to be part of the cut!


Since its launch in 2012, the success of our geocellular stormwater management system, ACO StormBrixx, has been tremendous. In October 2012, its clever design was affirmed when presented with the prestigious British Construction Industry (BCI) Awards for Product Design Innovation.

Since then it has been recognised by the CPA in their Innovation & Achievement Publication, and has been shortlisted in both the Sustain’ magazine and the Environment and Energy Awards.

The industry recognition of its clever design and successful application in numerous projects confirms it is the special product we were aiming for. Its success has proven that it is something that brings value engineering, delivers real benefit and solves many challenging issues for successful, sustainable surface water management today and for the future.

Head to the edie.net website for more information on the Sustainability Leaders Awards

What impact will the new Water Bill have on SuDS?

The long awaited Water Bill has been published and has started its passage through Parliament. According to the Government website, the bill aims to reform the water industry: from the consumer’s point of view, it will address topics including the UK’s resilience to flooding and drought, the availability and affordability of flood insurance and generally make the industry more innovative and responsive to customers.

But what effect does it have on those of us involved in the specification, installation and maintenance of surface water management systems?

Section 21 of the bill “Drainage systems relieving public sewers” clarifies that the building and maintenance of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) can be undertaken by sewerage undertakers. We welcome this encouragement for the use of SuDS but does this change anything in the design of SuDS?

Bringing the decision process away from the developer – SAB – local authority negotiation into one organisation could change the way that, at least some, SuDS are designed. Even though there is no likelihood of them being included in the SuDS standards, there is a perception that amenity and biodiversity currently have a high weighting in the design of systems for adoption by the local authority. Water and Sewer Companies, coming at the problem from a different direction, could be expected to focus more strongly on demonstrable control of quantity and quality, and how and when maintenance is carried out.

We think that this will help bridge the gap between ‘engineered’ and ‘natural’ solutions (although we all know that ‘natural’ solutions have to be engineered that way) to a more holistic integration of components. What is clear is that access and maintenance will rise up the agenda and we design this into our surface water management solutions. For example StormBrixx, our infiltration and attenuation system, provides full 3D access and significantly simplifies inspection and cleaning.

ACO StormBrixx attenuation and infilitration system

ACO StormBrixx  infilitration and attenuation system

For further details of the measures coverage in the new Water Bill, visit:http://bit.ly/12HJrLm

What impact do you think the new Water Bill will have on SuDS? We would be interested to hear your comments…


How important is Flood Resilience to our cities?

We now live in a world where more than half the population live in cities. This urbanisation is expected to increase, along with changes in our weather and climate. Therefore we need resilience to become a fundamental concept embraced throughout the design, construction and maintenance of our environment.

Image care of the Sheffield Telegraph

Image care of the Sheffield Telegraph

Our research director Martin Fairley will be delivering his views on this subject at September’s International Conference on Flood Resilience at the University of Exeter.

Martin’s lecture will discuss the need for resilience, balanced with the parallel requirement for economic growth and sustainability. Using a manufacturer’s perspective, Martin will highlight recent collaborations with commercial entities, such as supermarkets, to overcome surface water management challenges whilst maintaining a sustainable and economic venture.

For more information about the conference, which takes place 5th – 7th September, visit http://icfr2013.ex.ac.uk/