To ensure opmum rainwater drainage and minimise flood risk, a largescale business park in Silverstone, Northamptonshire, has been fied with a stormwater management soluon from GRAF UK. The system was customdesigned to comply with strict water runo requirements set by South Northamptonshire County Council.


ith its main entrance right opposite the

famous Silverstone Circuit, the developers of

Silverstone Park designed the facility to attract engineering firms and high tech companies to the area. Comprising four industrial buildings with 12 individual office and warehouse units, contractors Readie Construction were tasked with finding an efficient and compliant stormwater

management system – one that would provide long-term protection against flooding. Having previously worked together on a number of projects, Readie Construction approached GRAF UK for a reliable, futureproof solution that would comply with the strict run-off requirements of just nine litres per second set out by the council. To do this, the GRAF UK team specified, designed and installed a bespoke 945cu m EcoBloc Inspect Flex system, comprising five tanks made of around 4,458 heavy-duty crates.

Climate change

In line with DEFRA and Environment Agency guidelines (outlined in the ‘Rainfall runoff management for developments’ document), the system was also built with enough capacity to resist the kind of extreme storm only likely to appear once in a 100-year period, with an additional 20% contingency buffer for climate change on top of this.

Matthew Mayfield, Site Manager at Readie Construction, says: “This particular job wasn’t a traditional drainage project. The challenge here was to find a stormwater management

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Silverstone Business Park in pole posion for flood protecon

solution that would allow us to drain the water through the natural stream that runs through the middle of the site. “The EcoBloc Flex crates were ideal for this, as they have a really straightforward, modular design. We also needed a system that would withstand the load of the heavy traffic coming in and out of the site, and prepare us for the eventuality of flash flooding. GRAF’s EcoBloc Flex modules fit the bill.

“It was also handy to work with a local company based just 10 miles down the road from Silverstone. As GRAF UK was able to get on site quickly, it meant we were able to stagger the install. We were responsible for all the preliminary excavation work to prepare the ground for the tanks, and installing the hydro- brakes, which regulate the speed of the water flow coming out of the system. The GRAF UK team then came in to install the water management system. They were absolutely first-class, and as a site manager, I couldn’t have asked for more!”

The EcoBloc Flex modules used at the Silverstone Business Park are made in Germany at one of the most modern production facilities in the world. They have a lorry-bearing capacity of 60 tons with an 800 mm (2' 7.5") earth covering, making them the obvious choice for the site, which will see a continuous influx of lorries coming in and out of the warehouses. Each crate boasts a gross volume of 205 litres and can be installed at a depth of up to five metres.

Environmental credenals

Matthew Rolph, Managing Director at GRAF UK, says: “This project is a very good example of the real flexibility and environmental credentials a well- designed stormwater system can offer.

The tanks’ outlet and inlet being at the same level means we were able to install them at a very shallow depth of just 1.78 metres (with a 1,100 millimetre earth covering) – considerably reducing the amount of excavation work required, but maintaining durability for heavy traffic overhead. This also allows for extra storage space, as water can back up into the pipework where needed.

“The large void ratio of the modular blocs also means they can hold more water, without requiring as much valuable space. They can easily be stacked inside each other, saving twice the volume per truck, halving transport costs, and reducing carbon emissions in the process. In fact, we were able to load enough blocs to build five tanks in just eight lorries from our factory in Germany direct to the Silverstone site. It’s been brilliant to be involved in such a high-profile project so close to home.” Polluon, polics and producvity in focus at BESA Conference Riverbank Hotel, London.

The one-day event focused on the need to “reboot a broken process” in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster; a plea from the deputy Mayor of London for industry support on indoor air quality; and the promotion of a “productivity led change agenda” by industry guru Mark Farmer.


The evening also saw the presentation of more than 20 BESA Awards for excellence including the national apprentice of the year which went to Lewis Buchanan of Hargreaves Ductwork.

Deputy Mayor of London Shirley Rodrigues gave the keynote address, announcing that indoor air quality would be a priority consideration in new planning laws for the city.

London Plan

She urged BESA members to respond to the current consultation process on changes to the London Plan and to share their expertise with policy makers.

he first Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) national conference and awards took on a wide range of political, technical and business issues at the Park Plaza

Learning the lessons of Grenfell was the subject of an open discussion led by BESA’s Head of Sustainability, David Frise. He said the specific causes of the fire were still not clear, but that everyone “recognised the culture and the systemic failings that made it possible”.

He cautioned that the enquiry and independent review should not focus exclusively on fire safety as regulators would then miss the wider opportunity to improve a construction process that delivers “broken buildings and broken people”. The conference also featured technical streams and seminars.

BESA’s legal and commercial director Rob Driscoll introduced Mark Farmer, the author of last year’s seminal ‘Modernise or Die’ report for the construction industry by making the point that, unless the industry embraced digital methods, it would continue to suffer from poor productivity. Trailblazer apprenticeships were also widely welcomed as another opportunity to embrace new techniques and tackle falling productivity while also improving the sector’s image. BESA’s training director Tony Howard urged employers to embrace the new schemes and consider becoming training providers to plug a serious provision gap across the country.


uThe stormwater management system used EcoBloc Flex crates, which were ideal as they have a straighorward, modular design.

Apprentices were also the focal point of the Association’s awards dinner. The winners of regional awards held earlier in the year were nominated for national prizes with top apprentices named in five industry sectors culminating in Lewis Buchanan taking the overall award.

Fifteen individuals were also honoured for giving up their time to help develop Trailblazer apprenticeships on behalf of the industry and the first ever BESA Award for Excellence was won by Fife Council for its work on creating a forum for local authorities in Scotland supported by the Association. The BESA Contractor of the Year award was

uBESA Naonal Awards – BESA President Tim Hopkinson welcomes guests to the BESA Naonal Awards.

given jointly to Boulting Environmental Services and End Systems for their work together on AstraZeneca’s state of the art Sterile Products Plant in Macclesfield. The Alfred Manly Management Award went to Faye Pinder of Bouygues and the Ann Noblett memorial award went Custis Castledine from Briggs & Forrester. For a full list of award winners go to: VISIT OUR WEBSITE:

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