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.

Record UK rainfall highlights the need for SUDS solutions

Back in March, a blanket hosepipe ban was imposed following a prolonged period of winter drought. This naturally unwelcome move threatened to make the summer of 2012 a season of barren lawns and empty paddling pools. But in the second week of June, three of the country’s biggest water companies finally lifted their individual bans, following a period of what has been called ‘exceptional’ rainfall.

‘Exceptional’ rainfall

Hosepipe ban

On reflection, ‘exceptional’ is perhaps a tame term to use in describing the fluctuating weather patterns and record-breaking levels of rainfall experienced across the UK since April. The opening weeks of June alone have seen unseasonably heavy, ‘monsoon’ rainfalls, across parts of the nation – with areas of Wales and southeast England worst affected.

Older residents of towns such as Worthing and Bognor Regis have spoken of witnessing flood levels previously unseen in their lifetimes, while the Met office has confirmed the record-breaking extent of recent rainfall measurements. March, April and May saw increases in average monthly rainfalls of 40%, 242%, and 86% respectively. April’s rainfall levels broke all standing UK records for the month, and we will explore some of its key implications of this in our next Drainage Journal post.

A wet, wet summer

The joint importance of sustainable drainage solutions for multiple-applications, and the creation of SUDS legislation, is never more apparent than when volatile weather patterns threaten to disrupt the nation’s best-laid plans. Final preparations for the long-awaited London Olympics now hunker nervously under the threat of further heavy rainfall. Over the past few weeks alone, a number of pre-Olympic horse trial events, invaluable in terms of team GB preparations, had to be cancelled due to venue flooding.

Yo-yo weather patterns

June Floods

Following a dismal April, a heat wave gladdened hearts in the dying days of May, but just a week later the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee bank-holiday weekend was intermittently drenched by further heavy rainfalls. With flash flooding and scenes of street submergence returning in June, just as the Olympic torch flickers precariously on its pre-Olympic relay around the nation, a worrying, general weather pattern appears to have formed. If the historic summer of 2012 proves to be predominantly wet, with spot flooding and sporadic periods of sunshine and spiked temperatures, it will reflect to varying degrees many of our recent summers; most notably 2007, with its record-breaking summer floods.

Sustainable, infrastructural change

The key difficulty with heavy rainfall is managing a high volume of storm water on the ground at once – time is of the essence in preventing the development of a destructive flood scenario. Of course, even in a natural setting, storm water attenuation takes time, and the interim period therefore constitutes a flood. In an urban environment, the impact of flooding can be moderated to prevent the kind of destruction to businesses and homes recently experienced, through investment in intelligent, sustainable storm water management drainage systems.  Therefore, flood scenarios can be moderated as quickly as possible, reducing the length of the ground flooding episode and minimising the potential for damage.

Jubilee Rain

Potential disruption, through heavy rainfall and flooding, to events like the Diamond Jubilee or the London Olympics, or to the day-to-day lives of people during the holiday season, certainly causes pause for thought. It arguably highlights the urgent need for a focused reexamination of how the nation manages its water infrastructures, and for the systematic adaption of sustainable drainage and flood alleviation systems. We might not be able to control weather patterns, but we must be cognisant of them in anticipating our future surface water management needs.  

We will be exploring the instances, patterns and implications of recent British weather, on the Drainage Journal, soon. So, drop back for further updates.

The Drainage Journal from ACO

Welcome to the ACO Drainage Journal, a new forum for the exploration of drainage, water related issues, and sustainable solutions in rainwater management – the central focus of which is Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS).

This blog is a platform for the discussion of drainage in terms of a broad range of subjects and perspectives. Its key aim is to highlight the exciting new developments taking place in drainage, and to explore the positive impact they will have on our society.

We will examine the issues that are affecting drainage development today, such as changing weather patterns and urbanisation. And we will look at the lessons to be learned from the limitations of traditional drainage systems in coping with these challenges.

The launch of the Drainage Journal comes at an exciting point in the development of standardised sustainable drainage systems and practices in Britain, with the creation of legislation to guide the future deployment of SUDS as a key component of the nation’s water management infrastructure. Through this forum we will monitor and contribute to that important process.

The Drainage Journal is brought to you by ACO, Britain’s leading exponent of SUDS, and the pioneering creators of an integrated proposition for surface water management, with the ability to lead and facilitate the creation and implementation of the emerging legislation on the issue.

ACO’s products are reshaping how developers approach surface water management systems’ design in new building projects, and facilitating retrofitting for the alleviation of the dangers resulting from the inability of established systems to cope with emerging environmental changes

So, to begin with, let us explore SUDS, gain an understanding of how this new concept in water management is defined, and look at why its development is so relevant to British life today and to the nation’s future wellbeing and prosperity.

Understanding SUDS

Water management is a subject that most people rarely reflect upon; hosepipe bans, domestic drain blockages, and the appearance of veritable duck ponds on public roads, not withstanding.

In the public mind, water management systems generally amount to a network of dank drains and unseen pipes carrying rainwater from our streets, and miraculously delivering fresh tap water to our homes.

What’s new in drainage?

If asked about what’s new or different in today’s approach to water management, most people would probably murmur vaguely about ceramic, lead or copper pipes being replaced by plastic products – but then assert that systems and concepts of water management are essentially the same today as they’ve always been. Right?

Wrong! Such an uninformed view could not be further from the truth, and would surely serve to reflect a predominant lack of public awareness about the revolutionary developments currently taking place in drainage and surface water management.

Classic street drain

A changing world

Our built environments have changed greatly over the past 50 years, as urban landscapes have grown exponentially; likewise, global weather patterns and climates have undergone transformative changes. As a result, our predominant concepts of water management have to change too.

Rising SUDS

Arguably, the most intelligent concept to emerge in response to the new environmental realities is sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), also called sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS).The term was coined in the UK to refer to sustainable urban drainage systems; in due course, the ‘urban’ emphasis has been eased with the emergence of an all-encompassing approach. The SUDS concept has been adopted in a number of forms internationally, using a variety of emerging technologies. Among these are the Australian Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) model, and Best Management Practice (BMP) or Low Impact Development (LID) in the US.

Understanding SUDS

The essential principle underpinning SUDS is deceptively simple: it replicates how the porous earth naturally absorbs rainwater, and so prevents or alleviates flooding. In our cities today, mass developments with vast acreages of sealed surfaces has meant that rainwater is trapped and gathers above the ground; this frequently results in sustained surface flooding as conventional drainage systems become overwhelmed.

SUDS systems don’t attempt to flush away surface water in the manner of traditional drainage systems. Instead, in the manner of natural rainwater absorption, they collect storm water at source; stores and cleans the surface water, before gradually releasing it back into the environment through a controlled process of attenuation.

The value of SUDS

The positive environmental impacts of SUDS include a marked reduction in the possibility of pollution – for example, from sewage overflow during flooding, protecting groundwater sources, ecosystems, and wildlife and their habitats. Authentic SUDS systems are innately sustainable and cost-effective in terms of their material structure, long-term capacity, management and maintenance; and requiring no energy input – although some varieties harness solar power.

The growing need for SUDS

The necessity for SUDS innovations is thrown into stark relief when it is considered that April 2012 saw the highest UK rainfall figures for the month of April in a century. Severe flooding in England during 2007 – the UK’s largest civil emergence since the second world war – led to the Pitt review (2008)

Carlisle flooding 2005

Sir Michael Pitt’s finding is part of the basis for a new generation of legislation pertaining to surface water management. This includes the Flood and Water Management Act for England and Wales (2010), and the Flood Risk Management Scotland Act (2009)

Further SUDS legislation is in development in the UK, to govern new build and retrospective surface water management; and to underpin emerging systems procedures, legal requirements, and industry standards in drainage infrastructure implementation.


ACO is Britain’s leading exponent of SUDS, and has pioneered an integrated proposition for surface water management with the ability to lead and facilitate the creation and implementation of emerging legislation on the issue. ACO’s products are reshaping how developers approach surface water management systems’ design in new building projects, while facilitating retrofitting for the alleviation of the dangers resulting from the inability of established systems to cope with environmental changes