Plan ahead – rain or shine

Oliver Collins of ACO Water Management explains why implementing an effective surface water management system is integral to delivering long lasting value for any new residential development.

The build quality of any housing development is always the most important aspect of any project. Having a poor infrastructure can lead to untold issues with the future performance of the house. As such, ensuring that all elements are painstakingly planned is of the utmost importance.

We all know that drainage should not be an afterthought when it comes to this process. However, what many people do not realise is that drainage can play a role in increasing the value of a home.

So, how can you increase your development’s worth? Ultimately, creating a better place to live will raise the value of any home, such as improving kerb appeal through the selection of high quality products which complement and benefit the design. Ensuring that drainage is structurally sound and in the right place is essential here. Landscaping and gardening features can also help improve the value of a home. Outdoor living spaces remain popular with homeowners, and some figures suggest that a well-maintained garden can add between five and 20 per cent to the value of the whole property (data from Yopa).

Ultimately, a well developed and designed home goes hand in hand with a higher quality build. Housebuilders and developers must bring in drainage specialists at the earliest stage of the project to ensure that this function runs smoothly and as efficiently as possible.

Four key areas

As alluded to above, each individual area within the home presents its own unique water management challenges. From the driveway and entrance to patios and gardens, there is definitely no ‘one size fits all’ fix when it comes to drainage, especially if you want to maintain a high quality finish.

There are a plethora of solutions that can be mixed and matched, but having a true understanding of the key requirements for each area of the house is key.

For many homes, the driveway is the first point of ‘aesthetic contact.’ Having a well-planned driveway that is both spacious and functional is very important. When working on a development that includes domestic driveways, selecting an aesthetically attractive drainage solution can not only help add value, but also increase customer satisfaction.

There are a range of drainage systems available which can complement garage threshold and the driveway entrances, helping to create an attractive space. However, it is important that the drainage is able to withstand the rigours of everyday pedestrian and vehicular use.

Housebuilders and developers should look to utilise a channel which has a load class of B125 or higher, which would be suitable for most driveways. This is due to the increased likelihood that delivery vehicles will drive over the gratings, meaning a structurally sound channel is used. Additionally, when trying to ‘mix and match’ gratings and channels, it is imperative that builders are not tempted to pair an A15 grating with a B125 channel, or vice versa, as this will result in the load class of the system defaulting to the lowest grade.

Patios and pathways
Unlike driveways, patios and pathways can utilise an A15 load channel assembly, unless it is likely that they will be driven over by a vehicle. Patios are an area where a developer can really deliver an aesthetically pleasing solution, to help provide an elegant and modern finish.

From slate or porcelain to natural stone, the intricacies of patio projects should not be undermined by a poorly selected, or lack of, drainage solution. Some options to consider here are domestic drainage channels with contemporary stainless steel or discreet brickslot grating styles.

With patios and driveways, the entrance of a house offers another opportunity to blend finishes with substance via the installation of threshold drainage products. Helping to create an attractive entrance to the home, threshold drainage is important here because it removes any risk of water ponding, which both looks unprofessional and can degrade the brickwork over time.

The use of threshold drainage can help enhance the aesthetic appeal when combined with slimline stainless steel channels, or doorway mats with anthracite carpet gratings.

Garden spaces can also provide opportunities to housebuilders and developers. For domestic driveways and paths where a natural grass or decorative aggregate finish is required to complement the landscape, for example, utilising a landscaping and attenuation system will help reduce the risk of potholes, rutting or grass damage.

If installing domestic soakaways, it is important to ensure they comply with current Building Regulations concerning run-off from drives. If unsure, it is recommended that you speak with a drainage expert, who will be able to provide advice and guidance on the best option.

Final thoughts

When working on a housing development, it can be all too easy to go to a local merchant and select one channel drainage system and grating for the whole of the project. However, to achieve the best finish, developers should seriously consider the different systems and types of grating that can be paired. Understanding the environmental impact, as well as the load requirements, is also crucial.

Oliver Collins is product marketing manager at ACO Water Management