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.

ACO_flooding_infographic_SMALL

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/

Construction Products Regulation (CPR)

From July 1st 2013, the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) has made it compulsory for all manufacturers to draw up a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and apply CE marking to any of their construction products covered by a harmonised European standard (hEN) or a European Technical Assessment (ETA).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With the implementation of this regulation, designers and contractors can be confident that they are choosing products that are compliant and permitted to be sold in the UK as well as the rest of the EEA. To demonstrate their compliance products must bear the internationally recognised CE mark.

ACO is proud to state that all its products covered by the CPR comply and have the relevant supporting documentation available. Although CPR compliance legally permits the product to be sold throughout the EEA, it does not signify a mark of quality.  ACO takes product quality very seriously and believes that quality standards are vital for any product used in permanent works. Therefore, ACO operates a quality management system which complies with requirements of BS EN ISO 9001:2008, and the ACO KerbDrain and ACO RoadDrain products are BSI Kitemarked, demonstrating that both the product and its production control meet high standards on an on-going basis.

To find out more about the requirements of the CPR and to access ACO’s compliance documentation, please visit www.aco.co.uk/DoP.php

“We Made 2012”

Starting this evening The Building Centre’s latest exhibition takes a look at the 2012 Olympic Games one year on as it remembers the various challenges and accomplishments of staging a monumentally successful event in our capital, as well as looking towards its legacy for Britain.

TBC

“We Made 2012” gives the people who made the Games the chance to show the results of their ingenuity and tell their story. ACO supported the Olympics build by meeting diverse and complex drainage requirements across various venues and infrastructure improvements and are thrilled to be a part of this exhibition showcasing our involvement.

For more information on the event visit The Building Centre website

Central Europe on Flood Alert

Current weather patterns are causing serious problems throughout Europe. According to a recent BBC news piece, Central Europe is on high alert with emergency operations under way in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic in order to deal with record levels of rainfall and the evacuation of thousands of homes. The German cities of Passau and Rosenheim have declared a state of emergency and in Austria, the meteorological service said that the country has witnessed two months worth of rain in just two days.

Now may be the time to highlight the importance of water management at every level in order to help protect our environment. As Central Europe experiences on-going urbanisation, each country’s population continues to grow and migrate towards larger settlements, with towns and cities continuously expanding. As a result, the natural landscape is replaced by hard, man-made surfaces leading to potential problems with water quality and safety, as pollutants mix with the rainwater run off as well as altering the natural drainage patterns. Coupled with the ever-changing weather pattern, a more extreme climate rainfall is expected to increase year on year according to the Met office.

375605-central-europe-floods

This increased risk of flooding during high rainfall will have a significant and widespread impact on people, businesses and essential services. Addressing these flooding issues will inevitably not be easy, and it is likely that numerous different initiatives will be required to help alleviate the dramatic and disastrous effects impacting people’s lives and livelihoods. However, by turning to more considerate and innovative approaches to drainage we will have a better chance of over-coming the challenges of rapid climate change now, as well as in the future.

Since the introduction of the Pitt review and the Flood and Water Management Act, we are seeing greater urgency to introduce more sustainable solutions on the micro level that will help manage surface water in a macro context. The SuDS concept is one that looks to deliver effective management of quality and quantity whilst also recognising some of the real positive aspects of water – sustaining biodiversity, improving local amenities, the re-use of water and of course the replenishment of groundwater.  As urbanisation increases so does the urgency for drainage technology to address and support natural processes; ACO are working hard to deliver solutions that integrate with effective natural elements to best manage surface water. Years of experience in dealing with surface water all over the world has put us in a favourable position to provide product and advice with regards to managing surface water.

ACO ready to ‘Rock n Roll’ in the 2013 Jukebox Rally

For the third year running ACO are pleased to announce their involvement with The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Jukebox Rally. The aim of this challenge is to raise £100,000 for the charity by completing an epic journey to Barcelona and back over 4 days.  With music the inspiration for this year’s rally, around 60 people will be driving a variety of cars and taxis disguised as their favourite band or musician.

ACO’s very own Commercial Director, Steve Hollamby will be participating with his wife Rachel in their ‘Pink Floyd’ 1991 TVR. ACO are thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event and hope Steve and Rachel put pedal to the metal to make us proud!

Car Wrap Vis

Please show your support by donating at our Just Giving page.

 

The Abraham Darby Academy

As part of the new Abraham Darby Academy, developed for Telford’s Building Schools for the Future scheme, on-site contractors Kier invited ACO Water Management to provide a sustainable drainage solution for the management of surface water in car parks 1 & 3.

It was imperative that the solutions provided by ACO were a cost-effective alternative to the porous paving solution that had been used in the construction of car park 2, which had subsequently incurred high construction costs.

The proposed solution used the Collect, Clean, Hold and Release drainage system’s principle. Consisting of four stages, the process begins with the efficient and effective collection and conveyance of surface rainwater. The water is then clean using a hydrocarbon separator, which processes any problematic substances such as silt, whilst also removing pollutants such as oil. This water is then stored to await a controlled discharge. The water is then released into the environment via and ACO Q-Brake vortex flow control, which in turn allows the system to fill the StormTank attenuation units.

IMG_1200

ACO worked closely with Kier to ensure that all design criteria were met, and to show the versatility of the ACO product range. Kier chose ACO products due to their considerable cost savings compared to the original porous paving design, which amount to a 30% overall saving.

Speaking about ACO involvement in the project, Graham Tait, Senior Project Engineer at Kier, commented. “The ACO design made good commercial sense for the car park and the support ACO provided helped this project to run smoothly. The products were quick and easy to install and dealing with a single supplier was a real benefit.”

The ACO products use recycles materials to provide an environmentally sound solution and their compact lightweight design further reduced the carbon footprint, as there was less need for shipping of both materials to the site and of haulage waste material away.

To download a full PDF of the case study please visit our website: www.aco.co.uk

Elliotts StormBrixx Competition FINAL

On sunny Bank Holiday Tuesday 8th of May the Elliotts head office in Southampton hosted the ACO StormBrixx Challenge Final. Established in 1842, family owned Elliotts is Hampshire’s leading independent Builders Merchants with 11 branches located throughout the county. Each Elliott’s branch has been busy hosting competitions since March, encouraging their devoted customers to construct an ACO StormBrixx soakaway configuration in the fastest time possible.

32

With the fastest time of 55 seconds and cheered on by the lovely staff of the Elliotts head office, Ben Penny, qualifier from the Totton branch, was successful in constructing the StormBrixx soakaway configuration system winning a fantastic iPad mini!

ACO’s Business Development Manager, Graham Barton has been following the competitions progress closely and reports that there has been a steady stream of builders at the trade counter keen to have a go! Customers have loved the concept of the new product and found it incredibly easy to construct, making for very competitive construction times.

27

ACO are thrilled that Elliotts have hosted the competition as it has provided the perfect platform to demonstrate the easy to transport benefits of the StormBrixx system, with its stackable design, the traditional 1m3 soakaway installation can easily fit into the back of a car.

Progressing Water Sensitive Urban Design

Progressing Water Sensitive Urban Design

Water Sensitive Urban Design provides towns and cities with the opportunity to create beautiful, successful and resilient places. It can be said that we can no longer deny the importance of the relationship between water and our urban areas, which must be given a higher priority in providing integrated solutions to flood risk management, sustainable water use and supply, and the improvement of water quality in our treasured watercourses.

In March this year, the Mayor of London and RoDMA announced a tender to create the UK’s largest floating village in London’s Royal Docks, on an area one and a half times the size of Green Park. In a recent article Sue Illman, from The Guardian highlights the concern of built environment professionals that water management is considered too late in the planning and design process of development.

“We already know, for example, that sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) can be a cost-effective way to prevent surface flooding while creating valuable public amenities. But we need to go further than SuDS and start joining the dots between flood risk management and water resource management, and start putting water at the heart of discussions about what makes places great to live.”

Water-Sensitive-Urban-Design_benefits

ACO have helped fund a CIRIA led project aimed to draw up guidelines for designers, planners and architects for use in Water Sensitive Urban Design – the process of integrating water cycle management with the built environment through planning and urban design. Two main principles are essential to its application:

1. All elements of the water cycle and their interconnections are considered concurrently to achieve an outcome that sustains a healthy natural environment while meeting human needs.

2. Consideration of the water cycle is made from the outset, and throughout the design and planning process. Accordingly, water management solutions seek to meet the expectations and aspirations for design of successful places.

Benefits of Water Sensitive Urban Design are endless, providing greater security of water supply with a reduction in flood risk, improvement of water quality in watercourses, a reduction of carbon and energy associated with water management, increased support of local food production and a creation of more attractive places.