Precast solutions for AMP7

In AMP7, (the water industry’s regulatory asset management period for 2020 to 2025) the Office of Water Services (OFWAT) requires Water Companies to include a set of performance commitments relating specifically to new asset health performance, infrastructure resilience and sustainability.

OFWAT’s expectations for sewerage focus on five outcome delivery incentives

• External Sewer Flooding
• Internal Sewer Flooding
• Pollution Incidents
• Blockages
• Sewer Collapses

Water companies in England and Wales now face major penalties for flooding and pollution events on top of the cost of restoring an asset or repairing any damage.

Typical penalty costs and that of an internal flooding event, where a customer’s home is directly affected, can run into thousands of pounds, and water companies are targeted with a tight score for the number of breaches per years.

The good news is that the Government announced a multi-billion pound investment to tackle long-term flooding in July.

The £5.2 billion plan is to create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties in England by 2027. The plans also include £200 million for innovative projects such as sustainable drainage systems and nature-based solutions like temporary and permanent water storage areas.

A successful water management project recently completed to reduce pollution into local waterways is the Davyhulme wastewater treatment works in Manchester. Where Laing O’Rourke on behalf on United Utilities successfully installed precast box culverts.

The modernisation programme of the multimillion-pound project involved the remediation of previously abandoned land, followed by the construction of six circular primary settlement tanks and a large activated sludge plant with 10 circular final settlement tanks. This work lead to significant environmental benefits for the site, which resulted in outflow improvements, and subsequently the quality of water, entering the Manchester Ship Canal.

Both standard precast concrete box culverts and bespoke ‘made to order’ box culverts were supplied to the project, with Graham Flynn, Laing O’Rourke Project Director saying: “Our ability to maximise the benefits of modern, offsite construction and engineering techniques was central to our solution, meaning that we could deliver this complex scheme in a live environment with minimal disruption.”

The delivery team on the project comprised of design heavyweights Hyder Consulting and Mott MacDonald, who worked in collaboration with Laing O’Rourke; together the team has a proven record of accomplishment of designing and delivering some of the UK’s most complex water projects.

For more information on precast box culverts, please visit

Below Ground Water Management Systems is the right answer

Many sewer systems in the UK can no longer cope with the surge of rainfall and flooding events and with many urban areas increasingly used for housing and commercial projects, below ground water management systems that can be built upon meaning there is no loss of land take are becoming more valuable.

SuDS or Sustainable Drainage Systems that take into account water quality, quantity and climate change look to control the flow rate of surface water run-off, the storage and collection and treatment of below ground water systems.

In April this year, a new code for sewers adoption came into effect, which included SuDS assets for the first time, with water companies taking ownership and responsibility for sustainable drainage systems.  Introduced in 2014, as one of the main measures to control and mitigate flooding through the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), SuDS looks at natural waterways to control, manage and store surface water runoff.

SuDs should ease the pressure on the drainage network and attenuation tanks have been included in the new guidance for the first time.  Where land is scarce, stormwater attenuations solutions such as an underground tank system can be installed using a precast concrete flatpack system, box culverts or large diameter pipes. 

Below ground, precast water management systems can be used in unsuitable ground conditions, such as high water tables or areas where the soil can be a hazard.  The weather can also pose a risk as some systems can be subject to floatation, the heavy nature of concrete means it does not float.  Some engineered systems can also be badly affected by bright sunlight and hot weather during installation, whilst this may not happen often in the UK, it is happening more and more due to climate change.

According to an English Housing Survey (2014/5) over 75% of the 23.4 million homes in England are over 40 years old, over 56% are over 55 years old and more than a fifth of occupied houses are over 100 years old.  Precast concrete pipeline systems have a design life of over 100 years so can easy match the service life required by the housing market.

Do you want to know more?  If so, please contact Billy Fairhurst on 07870 984 109 or email him at

New funding released to protect from flooding

The National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England has identified ways in which we can adjust to the threat of flooding and coastal change. 

This includes a commitment for the Risk Management Authorities to mainstream property flood resilience measures that can reduce flood damages and enable faster recovery for local communities;

As part of this commitment, the Government has set out measures, including investment of £5.2 billion to create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,00 properties in England by 2027.

The plans also include £200 million for innovative projects such as sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and nature-based solutions like temporary or permanent water storage areas, which also boost wildlife.

 These will support 25 areas at risk of flooding to test and demonstrate innovative actions to adapt to a changing climate and improve their resilience.

In addition, up to £170 million is to be spent to accelerate work on shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020 or 2021.

So how can we help with protecting against flooding?

We offer a host of below ground water management solutions, which include the capture, control, conveyance, storage (attenuate), treatment and discharge (release) back into the watercourse and the major benefit of using precast SuDS solutions (Sustainable Drainage Systems) is that you can build on top of them so there is no loss of land-take.

Using a precast concrete solution minimises the growth of algae and therefore doesn’t impact on the efficiency of control systems, such as pumps and valves within the storage tank and those supplied by Marshalls CPM have a 100 year design lifecycle so will not need replacing giving you peace of mind.

For more information, please visit

Above ground, we offer Redi-Rock retaining walls that are designed and manufactured to suit a wide variety of floodwater projects.  These include protecting commercial properties, residential areas, highways, river ways and sea frontages.  

The natural looking stone blocks are ideal for where space is scarce or areas where water may rise to unusual levels, as they can be double sided so look great whatever side of the wall you are on. For more information, please visit

In an age of flooding, what can we do to protect ourselves?

With three major storms this year already, the dangers of flooding, is threatening long-term damage to buildings, infrastructure and life so how can we protect ourselves from floodwater whilst still living our normal lives?

One way is to ensure that our underground stormwater attenuation systems are large enough to ensure that it can capture rainwater and release it slowly, so it does not overflow our systems.

With floodwater plains now used for housing and other infrastructure, we need to build underground systems that cannot only manage the floodwater but can also be built upon, such as using heavyweight solutions like precast concrete storage solutions and pipe systems.

Allowing for greater capacity in the system, concrete pipe and tank systems have the ability to trap and treat surface water and storm water and store it before releasing it slowly back into the drainage system (or watercourse) when pressure on the system has reduced.

Using a smaller footprint area, precast pipes and tank systems can be buried in most areas on an infrastructure site without the worry of creating a SUDS (Sustainable Drainage System) area above ground, such as swales and ponds that may add to the complications of floodwater or become a danger to life, or attract unwanted wildlife, such as rats.

Where attenuation is not the answer, another option to protecting your property, either private or commercial, is to install floodwalls.

These can look decorative so when not needed can blend into their natural surroundings but also protect in times when water may rise to unusual levels such as seasonal or extreme weather. 

Take for instance concrete Redi-Rock flood walling which are double sided so are ideal where space is scarce, or when a wall is needed that looks great either side and will protect you from flooding and the damage that entails, whether that be your home or your place of work or the infrastructure of getting between the two.

With a 100-year design life, the Redi-Rock walling gives you that extra security when flooding hits.

For more information on attenuation systems please visit and for more information on Redi-Rock walling systems please visit

Why use concrete in flood risk areas?

Over the last few years, climate conditions have altered causing widespread flooding across the UK. Developers are now continually looking for solutions to ensure that the disruption caused by flooding is kept to a minimum where possible and concrete has become a real sustainable solution for many.

Not only are concrete products inherently resistant to uplift or floatation due to their weight during flooding and cases of rising groundwater but they are also resistant to the damage from the impact of hard objects carried during flooding and recent developments in product innovation has seen hydraulic features being incorporated into concrete systems such as flow control devices and silt traps etc.

A wide range of engineered concrete SuDS products have been developed that can provide off-site solutions to on-site situations that make life easier and protect against the climate.

For more information on water management precast solutions please visit