Anyone that lives in the UK knows that the weather can be more unpredictable than the England football squad at a major tournament. Unfortunately, this means that businesses, facilities management teams and landowners, as well as residents, can be caught unawares as to the dangers and damage that rain can bring – floodwater.
Met Office data released in December highlighted the mass rainfall experienced by England in autumn (www.is.gd/ejajit). It found that rainfall records were broken for South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, and Lincolnshire, with the previous records set in 2000, while England as a whole had its fifth wettest autumn.
And last year, like most years, also saw several incidences of flooding across the country. In November, for example, South Yorkshire village Fishlake became submerged after the River Don burst its banks (www.is.gd/ovivok).
Fortunately for facilities management teams, businesses, and landowners facing flood water scenarios, there are a variety of products and services available to help deal with the problem. Selected products and solutions follow.
DOORS & BARRIERS
Typically, when flooding is predicted, residential and business properties can be seen with sandbags stacked against doors and windows. One alternative option, however, is flood defence doors.
OE reported last month that environmental and risk reduction specialist Adler and Allan has partnered with steel door and physical security solutions provider Bradbury Group to supply and install its range of flood security doors to businesses in the UK. Specifically designed to meet the needs of the utility sector, the M2MFL range is said to provide an ideal solution for unmanned and critical locations where both security and flood protection measures are required.
According to the Bradbury Group, the range has a designated maximum water depth of 840 mm, and doors are available as outward opening single, leaf and a half, or double doorsets, with fixed side and/or top panels.
Another company that offers products to mitigate flooding is The Flood Company in West Yorkshire. For commercial properties, it offers the Buffalo Barrier and the Buffalo Steel Flood Door.
The barrier, it says, has been factory tested to BS PAS 1188-1:2014 and is available in any length and up to 1600 mm high. Said to provide flood control with easy deployment, the barriers are ideally suited for loading bays, commercial buildings and driveways.
The flood door, meanwhile, has been designed to offer protection against both flooding and unauthorised entry in a hard-wearing commercial environment, while also being tested to full-height flood protection and PAS 1188 standards, with self-close engage, single and double door designs available. Key features are said to include a threshold height of 80 mm and replaceable and serviceable Buffalo flood seals. The steel flood doors are ideally used for external applications and suitable for warehouses, store rooms, electrical sub-stations and retail outlets.
The Flood Company is also looking to launch the Buffalo Airbrick this month, which aims to replace a standard airbrick by allowing greater air flow to minimise the impact of conditions such as dry and damp rot. Under flood conditions, the self-activating floating seals automatically to prevent floodwaters from entering the building.
When floodwaters happen, businesses and landowners typically have to work with the relevant authorities in dealing with the clean-up. This is where the flood pump can come in handy. Xylem Water Solutions UK is one provider of such a solution. Among its products are Flygt and Godwin portable drainage pumps.
Last year, OE reported how the company provided pumps to drain water from a reservoir. The move was in response to an emergency situation aiming to prevent the collapse of a damaged dam wall above the town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire (www.is.gd/lisuqu). While this wasn’t specifically a ‘flooding’ scenario, the pumps were still used to move tonnes of water, with five 55 kW 2250 Flygt submersible dewatering pumps drawing water out of the reservoir at a rate of 250 litres per second. As well as installing the submersible pumps, the team set up six large diesel pumps and numerous smaller ones.
According to Aggreko, a provider of mobile modular power generators, temperature control and energy services, an often-overlooked part of flood incident management occurs after the water has been pumped out of affected buildings. Water that isn’t visible – that is, soaked into materials such as wood, plaster and paint – can prove just as damaging in the long term.
“Once flooding has occurred in an industrial environment and the floodwater has been pumped out of the building, many people can be forgiven for thinking the final step is to assess the damage and replace the equipment,” says Ryan Stanley, sector development manager for temperature and moisture control at Aggreko. “In the past, we have seen many building and facilities managers heat the flood-affected premises to aid the drying out process. However, this can infact impair [the restoration of] water-affected materials, resulting in further damage that can be expensive to resolve.”
Additional damage, such as mould growth behind the walls, can also occur, placing the health of the building’s occupants at risk, he explains. So, how can these hidden issues be overcome? By utilising dehumidifiers (example pictured), he says: “Dehumidification should occur in any industrial setting after a flooding incident, as it ensures the surrounding air is dried appropriately and unwanted high moisture levels are eliminated.
“An important step for any facilities and building manager after a flooding incident occurs is managing moisture levels by drying both rooms and equipment in a controlled environment.“
Another tool used to find water damage is the moisture meter. However, while these devices are easy to operate, according to Rob Raymer, strategic business development manager for premium products at Flir Systems, hunting down the source of moisture leaks can be tedious. “For significant moisture remediation, neither a simple moisture meter nor a thermal camera is sufficient alone, but together they improve effectiveness, limit costs, and ensure peace of mind,” he says.
One advantage is said to be the ability to record and share thermal images - helpful for insurance purposes. Another is the ability to pinpoint cold spots. Among Flir’s products is the MR176 infrared guided measurement moisture meter, an all-in-one moisture meter and thermal imager.
Raymer concludes: “Combining the benefits of thermal imaging and moisture meters ensures no water damage is left undetected. With both systems in play, rapid source detection and damage determination become easily reachable remediation goals. Together, these tools improve remediation effectiveness, ensure savings, and help customers and contractors feel peace of mind that water damage can be located and treated.”
BOX OUT: Engineering report gives warning
Governments must step up their preparations for a minimum sea level rise of one metre this century and be planning for up to three metres, according to a report (www.is.gd/uzapar) from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. ‘Rising sea levels: the engineering challenge’ warns that technical, logistical and economic factors mean that much infrastructure is located on the coast or on tidal estuaries, and when coastal flooding happens at these facilities, supplies of energy, food, medicines, goods and services are put at risk.
It warns that, even with the knowledge that these facilities are of central importance to economic well-being, there is little evidence that owners and operators have awareness of the challenges of future coastal flooding or are making the investment necessary to implement adaptations or build resilience.