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BSI Kitemark

Patcham, Brighton & Hove City Council

Flood Defender Barrier using nutsert to wood fixing in door frame.



properties protected in Patcham

  • Protection to Listed Buildings within a Conservation Area
  • Collaboration with Planning Agencies and Consultants
  • Significant conservation parameters addressed


The village of Patcham, about three miles north of Brighton, is at risk of groundwater flooding from an underground stream, The Wellesbourne. In the winter of 2000/01, groundwater flooding in Patcham cost £800,000 and cut off the London to Brighton railway line. More recently in 2014, groundwater levels rose again to dangerously high levels and caused flooding in two significant streets, Old London Road and Church Hill.

UKFB was appointed to work with a partnering consultancy, Peter Brett Associates, who were employed by Brighton & Hove City Council to provide flood mitigation measures to 25 properties in the at risk area of Patcham.

The main challenge of this project was that Patcham is a Conservation Area, which is protected by law against undesirable changes, and many of the properties that required protection are listed buildings.

The scheme had initially looked at a larger scope solution to manage the flooding, however both topography and location had hampered these designs. Therefore it was quickly identified that a product based solution at property level was the most economical and feasible solution.

Involving 25 properties, the project, although relatively small in volume, was significant in that the mixture of commercial & residential properties presented particular challenges in how to provide appropriate measures to the varying degrees of occupation, especially as the conservation parameters deemed only reactive, rather than passive, measures to be viable.


When presented with a scheme there are a variety of end users to consider and address as early on in the process as possible. With this scheme, the area had a Flood Warden, who helped to facilitate communication and engagement with the community (end users).

This was evident when we held a local drop in session and the attendance was high. This allowed the Client, any relevant Consultants, and Contractors to introduce themselves on a personal level. More importantly it provided a platform to be able to present, explain and discuss the benefits of the type of products that were initially proposed for install.



Working with listed buildings means there are parameters and permissions to consider when submitting design for the product installation. This required the surveys, undertaken by UKFB, to be conducted with high levels of both conservation and building knowledge. This knowledge enabled a bespoke design to be agreed easily between the planning, conservation and consultancy departments involved in the project.

Flood Defender Barrier using nutsert to wood fixing in door frame.

The main directive that governed our approach as to what type of products we proposed was that of, ‘minimal harm to the building while allowing its continual occupation while under the threat of flooding’. Given the restrictions the listed building and conservation area presents, Flood Defender Barriers were the most viable option to protect doorway apertures.

The  Flood Angel Flood Defender Barrier is Kitemark certified and offers a range of seven different fixing systems, including nutsert to wood frame which is discreet and virtually invisible so a preferred fixing option where the aesthetic look of a property is important.

For some of the properties, where there was no suitable building fabric to accommodate the Flood Defender Barrier fixing system, we installed Oak Packers. This is a natural product that is most in keeping with the building fabric. We were requested to paint them after install, in a colour that was agreed between client and homeowner and which best enhanced the existing building.

Oak Packers
Oak Packers painted black, to match the existing door and frame.

Oak Packers on the front of this domestic property. Before & after images of them being painted black, to match the existing door and frame.

Oak Packers
Oak packers installed and painted to match existing paintwork

Oak packers installed and painted to match existing paintwork

Another fixing option of the Flood Defender Barrier is into vertical rails, which is used when there is no door frame exposed. There was a requirement on a property with a boundary wall to use the rail fixing system.

This option requires the ironmongery element (the rail) to remain in place permanently, even while the barrier is not deployed. To reduce the aesthetic impact, the rails were powder coated a suitable colour (refer to images below).

Flood Defender Barrier Rails powder coated a suitable colour
Flood Defender Barrier Rails powder coated a suitable colour

We worked with the project’s consultancy company, Peter Brett Associates, who produced a proposal submission sheet. This included a site plan and barrier images superimposed as appropriate, which provided a visual image of the barrier and fixing system in situ. This was a very worthwhile exercise as it enabled the barriers to be seen in location ensuring clear communication between the design teams.

The Flood Angel Barrier has been thoroughly tested in simulated flood conditions in a British Standards Institute (BSI) approved testing facility in order to gain its BSI Kitemark Certified status under PAS 1188-1:2014.

If deemed appropriate by the Client/Homeowner, an onsite product ‘wet test’ can be undertaken. UK Flood Barriers has pioneered the concept of ‘wet testing’ to give the customer peace of mind that their Defender Barriers and/or Flood Doors will perform as expected in the event of flooding.

The ‘wet test’ involves a bund being formed to create a water holding chamber between the Barriers/Door & the bund wall. In the unlikely event of unacceptable leak, this can be quickly identified at this stage.

On the Patcham project, the Client selected two properties at random to be wet tested. Both installation passed with no leakage issues.

Airbrick replacement is required for most properties requiring flood protection, as they are often a main source of flood water ingress due to their low position near to street level. For this project, conversations with the Conservation Officer highlighted that there were two parameters that we had to meet;

  • Firstly we had to ascertain that none of the airbricks we were replacing had any implications from a Gas Safe perspective. UK Flood Barriers has been instrumental in ensuring all flood sector stakeholders are fully aware of the safety issues surrounding the blocking/replacement of airbricks so airflow is impacted in flood conditions. Airbrick covers or vent covers are specified as an alternative in these situations

  • Secondly we had to remove any existing grills acting as airbricks, install an Anti-Flood Airbrick behind this grill, and then reinstate the grill.

  • Thirdly if there was no historic grill/fabric to replace we were to replicate the position of the existing airbrick, for example, some are ‘set back’ into the wall, as per images below. This was done sensitively and sympathetically to the building, allowing a modern product to be installed into existing historic fabric. Flood Angel Anti-Flood Airbricks come in a range of colours, to best match the colour of existing brickwork.
Existing Airbrick to listed property
Anti-Flood Airbrick fitted

Existing airbrick (left) and the new airbrick (right) was fitted to mimic the existing one

Another of the limitations of this project was that only one property was suitable to have a sump and pump installed. As a matter of course, the other properties were provided with puddle pumps.

Other flood mitigation products installed included Anti-Flood Airbrick Covers, Backwater Valves and Push Fit Valves. For re-pointing, mortar mixes were lime based and matched to the original colour.

Anti-Flood Airbrick Cover

Anti-Flood Airbrick Cover

Upon completion of the installation, the UK Flood Barriers installer undertakes deployment, maintenance & product storage training with each property owner. Each property owner is also left with a personalised copy of the Flood Angel Homeowner Guide (also appropriate for small business owners).

The Homeowner Guide includes important information on product deployment as well as crucial information on mandatory post flood actions eg. The immediate removal of airbrick covers once flood water subsides; the use of PPE when handling contaminated materials and; the cleaning and inspection process for all flood defence products.


Spring 2017

The workmen who installed them [the barriers] were excellent. It’s always a worrying time when it pours with rain. I feel I can sleep well at night again!

Property Owner, Patcham.
iso 14001

ISO 14001:2015

ISO 9001

ISO 9001:2008

bsi kitemark

Kitemark Certified Survey & Installation

chas accredited

Chas Accredited

Guarantee Protection through GGFI

Guarantee Protection through GGFI


UK Register of
Pre-qualified construction services

UK Flood Partnership
Business In The Community