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.

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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

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…

 

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).

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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

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 provides drainage solutions to state-of-the-art Olympics 2012 venues

ACO supported the Olympics build by meeting diverse and complex drainage requirements across six venues and infrastructure improvements. We have been awarded our Licence Agreement as a recognised supplier of the London 2012 Olympic Games recently.

A presentation has been created to demonstrate our active involvement with prestigious Olympics venues and the drainage solutions that have been supplied. In total ACO supplied in excess of 30,000m of channel drainage for diverse and sometimes complex locations, supported by its in depth expertise to various Olympic build projects.

The task set out by the Olympic Delivery Authority was huge. It transformed a run-down area in East London covering parts of Stratford, Bow, Leyton and Hackney Wick with new sports venues, the Olympic Village, the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre. A new shopping centre, Westfield Stratford City was also opened adjacent to the Olympic Park as well as other major works carried out on improved transportation infrastructure and extensive landscaping of areas.

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Olympic Stadium: -

An Olympic track must be precise to ensure any records set during the games are fair. Standing water would also not be acceptable for Olympic conditions and the ACO drainage channel needed to provide guaranteed efficiency as well as fine installation tolerances. Not only did the track need to be up to Olympic standards it also needed to cope with the rigours of the opening and closing ceremonies. In all ACO supplied 850m of Sport Channel Drainage and 2000m of channel drainage systems for areas including the 100m track internal perimeter and warm up tracks.

Aquatics Centre: -

600m of stainless steel drainage channels was supplied for the Aquatics Centre as well as heel-safe gratings for the changing rooms. The drainage was custom built to match the architect’s drawings with complex interlocking channels requiring careful design, expertise and precise installation.

Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre: -

In excess of 800m of drainage channel was provided covering the main shopping concourse, walkways, steps and bridges. Specially designed polymer concrete channels were fitted with discrete Brickslot gratings to meet the specific aesthetic requirements of the project with required hydraulic efficiency.

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA): –

In order to support the increased visitors to the games, significant improvements were also carried out to the surrounding highway infrastructure, town centre, high streets and minor roads – designed to relieve congestion and improve accessibility. ACO RoadDrain and KerbDrain products were used extensively throughout the regeneration project.

Global warming will mean more rain!

A report from Australian scientists declares significant statistical proof that global rainfall is on the increase based on a century of records. The report links global warming with this increase in precipitation and predicts that continued intensification of rainfall events will lead to more frequent flooding throughout the world.

The research, using data from 8,326 observing stations which had collected at least 30 years of record over the period from 1900 and 2009, found the intensity of rainfall was statistically associated with temperature. It showed that increases of between 5.9% and 7.7% in rainfall occurred for each degree of temperature rise.

According to NASA the average temperature has increased by 0.8°C since 1880, with over two-thirds of that rise occurring since 1975. If this trend continues we will see a rise of around 0.15°C per decade.

Picture courtesy of The Independent

Picture courtesy of The Independent

A BBC report in January stated days of particular heavy rainfall in the UK have become more common since 1960, mirroring the increases seen in other parts of the world. It will be no surprise to hear that last year extreme downpours in the UK occurred on average once every 70 compared with the normally expected once every 100 days. If global temperatures continue to rise, however, our air will hold increasing amounts of moisture which statistically means yet more rain and, if we do nothing, the misery of the floods that go with it.

This information only serves to strengthen our viewpoint that the need for sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) is increasingly important. To help in managing more intense rainfall, their implementation must be seriously considered by all local and national governments worldwide. If predictions about our climate are right, then we should maintain the drive for sustainable drainage to help manage the increased rainfall in our built environment. The need to engineer long term solutions that protect environments against the now all too common floods is recognised in the Floods and Water Management Act and we should welcome the careful consideration and subsequent implementation of SuDS in 2014 in England.

Increase in urbanisation leads to flash flooding

Urbanisation is a worldwide phenomenon, which makes it imperative for both national and local governments to fully invest in disaster risk reduction to enable a more efficient adaptation to climate variability and to be fully prepared for the consequences. A recent report by The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) stated that last year the world witnessed record rainfall and Manila, Philippines was amongst the worst affected with at least 50 per cent of Metro Manila flooded in August 2012.

The Making Cities Resilient Campaign led by UNISDR has helped to raise the profile of resilience and disaster risk reduction among local governments and local communities worldwide. So far to date, 1050 cities have signed up to the initiative but, surprisingly, none are from the UK. This raises the question of why we are not involved with such initiatives. Is acting introspectively really the best course of action for us?

Image courtesy of BBC Weather

The article underlines the concern that flood costs are rising with many insurance companies increasing their premiums as a result. The recent flooding in Japan and China, which caused more than 150 deaths in less than one month, has already cost more than £1billion. Over the past 18 months alone, destructive floods have occurred in Pakistan, Australia, Brazil, Japan, The Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United States. In addition to the city floods, here in the UK we have seen the impact of flood devastation across many parts of England and Wales including Somerset and Devon along with large parts of the North East and North Wales. We are clearly seeing that the combination of urban sprawl and the change in our climate is having major disastrous consequences.

In the report Margareta Wahlström, who heads the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is quoted as saying, “As the urban sprawl of rapid urbanisation expands outwards and upwards, it provides ready opportunities for hazards such as floods, storms and earthquakes to wreak havoc. Half the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and that figure is estimated to rise 70% by 2050.” This forecasted rise will mean a figure of over six billion people living in our cities by 2050, exasperating the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall events if we do not adapt how we develop these areas.

The combined evidence should be more than enough to urge governments and communities alike to develop and implement new systems to protect populations from floods. In the UK much has been done towards delivering our own approach with Sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS). Such schemes can make a great contribution to reducing the risks of urban flooding and their need has been well documented in The Flood and Water Management Act 2010. The long overdue implementation of these regulations will go some way in ensuring the government’s commitment to rebuild infrastructure and control flooding – but we need to make sure we do this properly if we want a truly sustainable system to protect us from flooding in the future.

 

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?

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.