Martin Lambley, UK, Northwest Europe and Ireland Product Manager for Urban Climate Resilience at Wavin, explains how the latest sustainable solutions make builders’ lives easier and add value to their projects.
Innovative stormwater management solutions are vital for building flood resilience into new and existing projects. Below ground attenuation tanks are gaining in popularity as part of a broad shift towards sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in the built environment, but their bulk and size can often make installation seem like a big undertaking for builders – particularly those working on smaller-scale projects.
Builders are often pressed for time and space on projects, which can make the installation of SuDS tricky. There are a multitude of SuDS products available on the market, and anyone who has worked with below ground drainage will be familiar with the crucial role that attenuation tanks play – as well as the potentially extensive installation process required. That’s why the next generation systems have been designed to be easier to store and quicker and safer to install.
As the market for SuDS matures and becomes more mainstream, manufacturers are more focused than ever on how they can make their installation process as straightforward as possible.
Push-fit connectivity, for example, is an important development that removes the needs for clips and pegs. This is the case for Wavin’s AquaCell NG attenuation crate, which features push-fit functionality and integrated connectors and hand grips. These seemingly small changes to the design have been made with usability front-of-mind, making the new generation three times faster to install than its predecessor.
Modular design is another phenomenon that’s making a splash across the built environment when it comes to reducing installation times, and it can make a big difference with below ground drainage as well. Attenuation tanks made from smaller modules give builders crucial flexibility to adapt to whatever conditions they find on site and ensure that these powerful solutions are still an option, no matter the size or shape of the space available. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to SuDS, so systems have to be adaptable to the huge variety of worksites out there.
Safe and ground
Many builders, particularly those working in urban environments, don’t have the luxury of spacious sites with straightforward access arrangements. Crowded sites can pose serious health and safety risks to workers, while having to close roads to receive deliveries incurs costs and has a negative impact on the local community.
AquaCell NG is designed to thrive in a tight spot. The nested design allows it to be easily stacked; it requires four times less storage space than the previous generation, contributing to a safer site and meaning it can be delivered in a quarter of the number of trips. The end result is a less cramped worksite and fewer health and safety risks for builders to manage.
Quick and easy installation also has its benefits when it comes to site safety. There are some risks that can’t be avoided, such as having workers in the trench to install the system. However, push-fit technology that doesn’t require tools, and modules that are easy to handle with one pair of hands, can reduce the number of personnel needed in the trench, and with it the risks to operatives.
It’s important that SuDS aren’t just seen as another thing added to already busy workloads; they offer genuine, commercial benefits to a build. New research by Wavin found that flood resilience is a high priority for homebuyers – with more than 73% of those surveyed saying they would be willing to pay a premium for flood resilience in a new property.
This goes beyond artificial below ground solutions. Some of the benefits of soft SuDS solutions such as ponds, swales and tree pits were also a hit with buyers, with 43% and 55% willing to pay more for increased biodiversity and water quality, respectively. It highlights the value that sustainable drainage can add to a project by directly appealing to buyer wants and needs.
As SuDS increase in importance, making them as adaptable as possible will be crucial in ensuring they are accessible to a wider range of projects. This is where innovative solutions that are built to be easily, quickly and safely installed will help builders use them to add value to their offering.
For more information about AquaCell NG visit Wavin UK – AquaCell NextGen Attenuation
To access Wavin’s research on the value of SuDS to new homebuyers visit: The value of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to new home buyers (wavin.com)