Flood protection products such as door barriers, flood doors and mobile flood barriers can be a significant investment, but with enormous benefits. The trouble has been that no full national standards have existed anywhere in the world, and so confidence in products has been under question. In the UK a publicly available standard (PAS1188) has been in existence since 2003 whilst in the commercial world a standard (FM2510) promoted by FM Approvals in the commercial property insurance sector has been the most recognised standard. Now, a fully-fledged national standard (BS851188) is finally available; published in the UK but designed to give full confidence to buyers and specifiers all around the world.

The standard was drafted by a team of experts including the Environment Agency, DEFRA and HR Wallingford, with the perspective of the flood protection industry being represented by Aquobex co-founder Gavin George. The aim was to offer realistic but practical testing for the widest range of flood protection products, improving on both PAS1188 and FM2510.

BS851188 brings in dynamic impact testing and overflow testing to reflect FM2510. It also adds checks on operating forces and cycle testing of flood doors (5,000 open-close-lock cycles) as a clear improvement on FM2510 as well as demanding superior leakage performance in a logical series of tests to explore the products for weakness or failure.

Why are these improvements so important?

Flood doors are more often than not primarily used as a door, with flood resistance being a secondary function perhaps performed once in 10 years. Flood door manufacturers have for years been able to side-step good product design by adding numerous or difficult secondary locking operations such as sash-jammers or extra handles. In the case of residential doors, they could over-compress on their seals and over-work the locks. In either case, this may lead to a product which is not practical to use or prone to failure.

BS851188 will drive the industry and buyers toward higher standards, and will crucially engender the confidence of insurers and planners.

Other national standards bodies and governments are already looking at the new BS851188 and industry-leading companies such as Aquobex will be meeting the demand for reliable, confidence-inspiring products certified to BS851188.