In the UK, we don’t have to contend with the same array of natural disaster as some other countries but, with notoriously unpredictable weather, the possibility of flooding is always an issue that you need to be prepared for. Water damage to your property has the potential to be catastrophic for business and extremely costly to repair, so it pays to safeguard your premises in any way you can.
While it’s never possible to eliminate the risk of flooding completely, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact it can have should it occur — a process known as Property Level Protection (PLP). However, to be able to install an effective PLP system, it’s important to invest in reliable products that can get the job done, and this is where flood protection system testing comes in.
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at what flood protection system testing is, as well as why it’s important and how products are examined.
Flood protection system testing is a process that subjects flood protection products to conditions that are similar to those they’d face during a flood to see if they are able to effectively minimise damage to property. In most cases, products are measured against an industry standard for certification that is offered by an independent third-party tester for unbiased and accurate results.
The most prominent certification that flood products can meet is the British Standards Institution’s BSI Kitemark, which tests to their PAS 1188 standard that is recognised in the UK and worldwide. This can be applied to a variety of flood defences, including flood doors, barriers, air vent covers, containers, and flood gates. They also offer a BSI Kitemark for Installation of Flood Protection Products as part of the standard, which can be earned by installers seeking to become certified.
Why is flood protection system testing important?
Here in the UK, flooding is the most common disaster to befall businesses. Over 300,000 million commercial properties are at risk of flooding, as well as many more public and utility service buildings, according to figures from RICS. With so much at risk, it’s easy to see why so many business owners are seeking to improve their PLP with an effective flood protection system.
As we’ve mentioned, to be able to invest in the right defences, it’s vital to have guidance as to which are suitable. And, that’s why flood protection system testing is so important: it ensures that any products on the market meet the requirements set by PAS 1188. With thorough testing by a certified third-party, only quality flood products carry the BSI’s Kitemark. They’re even recommended by the Environment Agency, the public body responsible for flood management in the UK
To ensure they meet the requirements of the PAS 1188 standard, flood protection products must undergo rigorous testing by a certified third-party to ensure they’re of the highest quality.
The aim of the tests for this standard is to gauge how effective the product is at averting water ingress during flood conditions. Units are installed in a specialist rig to simulate the building aperture and water is added. Any leakage is collected and measured. The tests last a set number of hours.
Several types of water flow are tested: static water, waves up to 0.1m high, and currents up to 1.0 m/s. Results are recorded as how many litres of water leaked per hour for every square metre of the aperture. The test allows for 0.5 litres of leakage per hour per metre of aperture.
Each test that the product undergoes needs to be witness tested and the minimum criteria must be attained in line with the demands of the standard. It’s also important to note that PAS 1188 is divided into four areas to cover the different types of product on offer:
PAS 1188-1:2014 — Specification Part 1: Building aperture products
This standard applies to products that temporarily seal apertures and entrances when static flood water rises 540–840mm. These products are made up of one or more pieces and may or may not have a frame. Re-usable and non-reusable units are included in this category.
Products in this category include flood barriers and doors, air vent covers, sealant, and building products with automatic operation to prevent flooding.
This standard is aimed at temporary flood protection products that can be installed before or during a flood, then removed. It covers the testing process, but also specifies requirements for designation, production, installation documentation, and marking. Products that are used away from buildings but can be secured against them are included, as long as they can function in temperate climates.
Products covered by this standard include permeable and impermeable filled containers, air- and water-filled tubes, and free standing and frame barriers.
This standard covers the design and testing of building skirt and wall sealant systems used to temporarily seal buildings when flood waters rise 600–1200mm above ground level, as well as the production, installation, and documentation of such products.
A building skirt system curtains a building to prevent flood waters from entering a structure at or above the ground level, and usually comprises of sections fastened together. Wall sealant is permanently applied to the building’s walls to restrict the flow of water at or above ground level.
PAS 1188 Part 4 applies to the design and testing of demountable flood protection products, in addition to the production, installation documentation, and marking of these units. Items that are used away from buildings but can be secured to them are also included on the condition that they are able to work in temperate climates.
A demountable product is defined as a unit that can be dismantled or removed from a setting but put back together on a fixed mounting. Examples of these products include part pre-installed free-standing and frame barriers, as well as fully pre-installed sectional barriers and flood gates.
We hope this guide has given you a good overview of the flood protection system testing process and why it plays an important role in limiting the damage caused in adverse conditions.
You can find more information about our certifications or contact our team if you have any questions about what’s been covered in this guide.