As UK pioneers of SuDS since 1996, in the absence of precedence in this country, we have had to innovate from the outset.
We have always sought creative solutions to allow us to follow our philosophy of keeping water flow at the surface wherever possible, keeping designs affordable where appropriate, creating SuDS features that offer multi-functionality and successfully integrating the sustainable management of water into the host landscape whilst seeking to enhance it wherever possible.
This gallery showcases just some of our SuDS innovations.
Click on the links below to read more about the aspects of our work that demand creative and inventive thinking.
In 1996 Robert Bray developed a new approach to flow and volume calculations in conjunction with CRM Rainwater, hydraulic modelling specialists, which involves determining the storage requirements for each square metre of impermeable development for specified rainfall return periods.
This approach makes it much easier to disperse storage requirements throughout the site within integrated landscape features by dividing the site into smaller sub-catchments. This makes it much easier to utilise the typical green-space, roof and paved areas that would be expected of a development as potential SuDS features allowing us to integrate SuDS into a development with little or no impact on developable land.
In addition, by treating the whole landscape as a 'SuDS Landscape', we are able to use the flow of water to create dynamic and interesting landscapes that offer an unusual level of beauty, biodiversity, usability and meaning.
By working with smaller sub-catchments we typically create relatively shallow storage features with low hydraulic heads driving flows. This meant that we had to develop a range of flow control mechanisms to allow us to control flow rates as water passes from one part of a system to another. Please refer to the Flow Control section of this page.
Dividing a site into smaller sub-catchments means that we need to manage flows down to fractions of litres per second and keeping the flow of water on the surface requires flow controls that generate a minimal drop in pipe invert.
Over ten years ago we developed a range of simple and affordable flow control devices that allowed us to do just this. After years of field testing and manufacturing refinements, in which time there have been no failures or blockages, we partnered with SEL Environmental to bring our flow controls to the market as Controflow™.
Controflow™ chambers are a fundamental part of most of our SuDS projects, allowing us to control the flows between multiple smaller storage features, each time bringing the flow easily back out into shallow landscape features such as swales or basins.
In order to manage water effectively within the landscape and keep water flow at the surface we developed a range of simple, robust and easy to maintain inlets and outlets.
These sit comfortably in the landscape without the visual intrusion, maintenance issues and hazards that typical headwalls and outlets have. By creating a large, filtered surface area through which the water has to pass, they are passively protected against blockage and at the same time protect receiving flow control devices from debris that might impart performance. They also help protect against wildlife deaths that are a common problem with conventional drainage features.
Our first SuDS project in 1996, the Oxford Motorway Services, apart from being the first full management train and treatment train project in the UK also included pioneering waste water recycling. Waste water from the visitor building including foul sewage was treated in a lagoon before returning to the building to be used for toilet flushing.
As we are driven by the desire to improve the environment for people and wildlife we often look beyond the usual rainwater management functions of SuDS. We regularly integrate broader sustainable water management techniques into our SuDS Landscapes. For example, at Fort Royal School, we integrated harvesting of the weekly-emptied therapy pool within SuDS storage beneath permeable paving allowing it to be recycled as toilet-flush water or treated through the remaining SuDS treatment train.
We have much experience of integrating SuDS within retrofit schemes and we find that the additional constraints of working within an existing community, landscape and infrastructure demand innovation on our part in order to unlock affordable SuDS opportunities.
Please select the 'Retrofit' filter on our 'Projects' page to discover more about the successful integration of SuDS into existing landscapes.
We design, prototype, test and develop new SuDS innovations to determine their performance. We have close ties with steel and plastic fabricators who are able to construct many of the innovative SuDS features or bespoke detailing that are often found in our projects.