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

Looking forward to sunny days and playing in the water?

It certainly seems to be have been a long, wet spring. There have been a few peeks of sunshine that have maybe bought with them the hopes of summer but many of us have started to yearn for the warm sunshine expected at this time of year. The thoughts of warm sunshine fits nicely with the beautiful surface fountain that has been installed as part of the Granary Square redevelopment at Kings Cross, London. It has 1080 individual jets of dancing water designed for beauty and fun at the centre of this redevelopment of a canal basin site.

Granary Square, Kings Cross Central

Granary Square is now one of the largest urban spaces of its type across Europe and within it are over 1000m of ACO drainage products from the MultiDrain MD range. The fountain looks as though it is level with the surface of the square but the surrounding paving is in fact slightly higher to prevent water overflow. To enable effective management of the surface fountain water, the site uses a customised version of the narrow Brickslot inlet to the channel drainage system. With just a 40mm profile, instead of the standard 105mm, the drainage inlets around the spectacular fountain are covered by surrounding paving. Water is channelled through an open joint between the covering slabs making the drainage invisible to passers-by.

Invisible as the solution is, it has enabled a magical effect for the fountain – helping to create the beauty of this impressive place. All we need now is for the sun to shine so people can laugh and dance with the jets of water!

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.

ACO enters sustainable “green stand” competition

Ecobuild is a highlight in our events calendar each year, but this year is of special importance because ACO have entered the UK Green Building Council Sustainable Stand Awards.
Our aim is to dramatically improve our sustainability credentials within the small and medium business sector.

Sustainability is engrained in our business culture and we are encouraging our employees to contribute to an equitable and ecologically sustainable business.
Looking forward to the awards tonight. Fingers crossed!

ACOEcobuild

What happens when the ground is full?

With the second highest rainfall on record in a year which started with drought, 2012 has certainly bought a lot of comment about changing weather patterns and the challenges we face in dealing with the increase in flooding we have been experiencing. The BBC recently reported on how the ground is completely saturated with water and has nowhere else to go underground. The feature also comments on how the groundwater levels have risen faster than any other time since records began in the 1830s, leaving us in unknown territory as to how the groundwater will respond.

Forecasting our weather has always been a topic of much discussion and it has been particularly difficult to predict over the past few months. Milder air holds more moisture and has the propensity to produce much more intense rainfall. When the ground is already full, however, water simply runs along the surface – causing the excessive flooding we have been seeing. The big concern is that these sorts of conditions become the norm and we see these events occurring more frequently year on year. So what can we do for the future?

The requirement for sustainable drainage schemes (SuDS) provision in Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is scheduled to be enforced in 2014. Where we have continued to urbanise our landscape, issues arise with fast water runoff through conventional piped drainage which overwhelms the sewer capacity – a situation we have seen all too much of during the past 12 months. SuDS require that drainage mimics runoff from the site in its natural state using techniques such as retention and infiltration along with linear channel drainage to provide an effective conveyance mechanism to transfer surface water. The aim is to reduce the rate of rainwater runoff and therefore reduce the risk of flooding.

A SuD needs to be an adaptable and flexible solution to suit individual site requirements. Combining ‘hard’ (or engineered) and ‘soft’ (or natural) components to best effect will certainly help to counter the effects of urbanisation. However in an environment where any system is struggling to cope with volume, will the forthcoming legislation really be effective in delivering all it seeks to? Can it really deliver Quantity management, Quality Management and Quality amenity?

‘Circuit of the Americas’ uses ACO Drainage Products

On 18th November 2012 engines roared into action as Formula One returned to the USA after a four-year absence for the penultimate race of the season. The impressive ‘Circuit of the Americas’ in Austin, Texas is the first purpose built track specifically for Formula One in the USA, and the 10th venue to try to offer a permanent home to the championship in the country.

As the drivers approach speeds of 200 mph over 56 laps on a track with elevation changes, hairpin bends and reverse cambers, rainfall could be a serious hazard. Although Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag without a drop of rain falling, cars can easily aquaplane if excess water lies on the track surface – so efficient drainage is a must for any racing circuit and we are delighted this one uses our drainage products.

The majority of the track drainage uses the versatile ACO Qmax 225 high capacity slot drainage system with a custom ductile iron top. ACO S Range channel drainage, ideal for heavy-duty applications, is utilised in the pit, paddock and grandstand areas. We were pleased to be selected for this prestigious $300m project and excited to watch the first ‘Grand Prix of America’ since 2007 – the race certainly seemed to have a buzz of excitement around it and it was a huge successs!

 

Commencement of SuDS Schedule 3

Defra has announced that commencement of the provisions for Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act for sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) will not begin in April 2013.

M40 services, using SuDS

This decision is based on their reiterated intent to work with stakeholders to address issues raised from the consultation on the proposals to implement the SuDS requirements for new and redeveloped sites in England and Wales, which was held earlier this year.

At a recent meeting of ADEPT they supported the collaborative approach including involvement of Local Authorities. The delay to the implementation of proposals also provides an adequate lead-in before the requirements of the schedule come into force.

ACO StormBrixx featured in CPIA 2012

The Construction Products Association represents the UK’s manufacturers and suppliers of construction products, components and fittings. The innovative design of the ACO StormBrixx geocellular stormwater management system has led to its selection for inclusion in the organisation’s Innovation & Achievement (CPIA) 2012/13 publication. The catalogue showcases the latest innovations from construction product manufacturers across a number of categories. ACO StormBrixx is included within the ‘Improvements in Site Efficiency’ section for its reduced transportation and handling needs, easy assembly and fast installation along with design features that ensure easy maintenance and strength for a reliable, long-term solution.

CPIA highlights new products and processes that have been designed to give the construction products industry a sustainable future. The publication has been running for eight years and is well established as a popular and important showcase for this market area.

The patented StormBrixx design is the first to resolve the real issues faced by customers with handling, installation, strength, longevity and maintenance of underground stormwater tanks. The stackable, modular system brings flexibility in application and installation while significantly reducing storage and transportation costs. Requiring 75% less space in transit than traditional solutions, StormBrixx further delivers a substantial reduction in carbon footprint. Available as a complete, standalone solution or as an integral part of a wider sustainable drainage scheme (SuDS), the system uniquely uses brick-bonding and cross-bonding for unrivalled stability and strength with easy and reliable on-site assembly.

Underground water management solutions need to be viable as effective, long term, manageable systems. Suitable for all types of construction environment, ACO StormBrixx has an open-sided design for practical cleaning and true 3D access for inspection once installed. This ensures it meets the primary adoption needs of Local Authorities while the strong brick-bonding and cross-bonding design still retains the structural integrity of the installation. A facility that enables the system to completely drain down further ensures water storage volume remains maximised while silt can be easily removed from a lower sump in the system.

Commenting on the inclusion of StormBrixx within this important publication, Richard Hill, Managing Director at ACO, said, “We are delighted ACO StormBrixx was included within the 2012/13 issue of CPIA. The design of this product has truly tackled the issues faced by the construction industry in using underground stormwater storage and infiltration tanks. The system is a key part of our SuDS offering and reflects our commitment to develop optimum solutions to benefit the industry and the environment.”

ACO StormBrixx Wins Design Innovation Award

We are still pinching ourselves. StormBrixx, our sustainable storm water management solution, has won the Product Design Innovation award at the British Construction Industry Awards 2012!

StormBrixx, which can be applied in every construction environment, was described as “future focused” by ACO’s Managing Director Richard Hill. The recognition received at this event highlights the superb work that all the ACO team has put towards the development of this ingenious SuDS solution.

ACO StormBrixx

ACO StormBrixx is an advanced, market-leading SuDS system designed to store water more effectively. As part of our new stormwater attenuation and infiltration solution, ACO StormBrixx breaks new ground. An intelligent, stackable design simplifies delivery and installation, while minimising carbon footprint. What’s more, inspection and maintenance is made quick and easy thanks to a host of smart design features, which reduce running costs and prolong system life.

The judges highlighted the innovative nature of the product, which is made from recycled materials, saying that it has “truly reinvented an existing product type. StormBrixx meets clients’ needs and provides a solution that otherwise might have been overlooked.”

The event, which takes place every year, pulled in 900 people from across the country to celebrate the elite minds in the British construction industry.

Even RT Hon Michael Fallon, Minister of State for business, was in attendance to watch our skilled product development team collect their prize at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, on Wednesday 10th October.

Celebrations were also in order for the BCIAs, who marked 25 years of awarding the best minds in the UK construction sector, making them the longest standing accolade in the industry.

Design power to you

Designing a large drainage system can be a challenging task especially when considering the multiple calculations that are required to ensure the correct flow rates and capacity levels across the system. ACO has simplified this task by launching a new cloud based secure development tool called ACO Hydraulic Design Software. Targeted at engineers the software will speed up the design stage and will auto amend a design to take into account revised flow rates and capacity levels.

ACO Hydraulic Design Software on a tablet

ACO Hydraulic Design Software on a tablet

Surface water management system design can often be a complex task. Success in combining products and processes requires a thorough understanding of how these different elements interact. The powerful project based software from ACO empowers engineers to undertake hydraulic design employing ACO components to satisfy those requirements and offers a number of benefits, such as:

  • Easily change design criteria (rainfall intensities, product type, additional runs)
  • Quickly and confidently assess any alterations and/or alternative products
  • Own allocated space to store designs
  • Designs are kept confidential on the server
  • Create/provide PDF summary document

The ACO Hydraulic Design software is exceptionally accurate and uses proven algorithms to calculate the correct flow rates for surface water conveyance across multiple channel profiles. Because the system is cloud based the engineers can be confident that their designs are available wherever they are working. Security of access is closely controlled and all data is backed up on a regular basis.

The ACO Design Services Team is able to work closely with you through the entire design process to ensure accurate and cost effective product selection. Some of the services offered by the ACO design team, include: whole system design, from collection to the attenuation of surface water; specification, design and installation advice; hydraulic calculations & AutoCAD detailing; parts schedules. To see how our new free design software allows engineers to create more effective plans, visit out design homepage.