AutoFloodguard recently attended a workshop focused on the proposed changes to PAS1188 (Publicly Accessible Standard 1188) which has been the standard for testing flood barriers in the UK for almost 20 years.

The review of PAS1188 will assess the overall value of the specification to the user community as well as changes and updates to the technical content. Following this review, a new standard will be introduced and it will be a full British Standard called BS851188.

The event was very well attended by a range of stakeholders from across the industry.


What is PAS1188?


The British Standards Institution (BSI) have developed their BSI Kitemark logo to demonstrate their quality of assurance of flood products and services through testing against their standard PAS 1188:2014 – Flood Protection Products. This standard was established to help give flood-affected property owners a reliable and trusted seal of approval to use in order to protect their assets from future events. A new specification of the standard was released in 2014, requiring for lower leakage from the certified product. The product that is to be certified must be independently witness tested and meet a minimum criteria in order to attain the standard. This is often done either annually following the initial testing or more than once a year.

There are 4 product areas covered by the standard:

  • PAS 1188-1:2014 – Flood Protection products. Part 1: Building aperture products
  • PAS 1188-2:2014 – Flood Protection products. Part 2: Temporary and demountable flood protection products
  • PAS 1188-3:2014 – Flood protection products. Part 3: Buildings & building skirt systems
  • PAS 1188-4:2014 – Flood protection products. Part 4: Demountable products

In addition to this, installers of these products can also be certified. Property surveys and installation services of the Kitemarked products have a separate scheme and have to meet certain requirements but can also be certified by BSI. This Kitemark holder is then regularly audited in order to ensure that minimum compliance standards are being met.


The Problem with PAS1188 & BS851188 –  a manufacturers perspective


PAS1188 was by no means perfect and initial proposals for BS851188 are also flawed.

While there were some very interesting points raised from FolaOgunyoye, Andy Tagg, Phil Foxley, & Steve Hodgson throughout the presentation. There were lots of points raised around past and future testing being ‘Fit for Purpose’.

Future certification needs to be pragmatic and robust. Testing should not be a binary pass/fail of certain criteria within a controlled test tank facility, it should factor in real-world situations and ultimately protect the occupants and properties of those who install kite marked products to their property.

Proposals for BS851188 highlighted on the day included; not subjecting stick-on air brick covers to a wave test, this is nothing short of crazy. In the real world you would want to know that a stick-on item is truly fit for purpose and therefore it should be tested in a practical manner.

Another point raised (by me) was in relation to the leak rates in relation to product testing. Currently a product could pass a BSI Kite Mark test as long as it doesn’t leak more than 500ml per hour per meter of seal. That sounds fair – until you consider that a test could be in excess of 72 hours and that same barrier might constantly leak the entire test meaning a theoretical 36 litres of water getting through to the property (This will never be detailed as current and proposed testing will only measure the leak rate at 4 or 5 individual points throughout the test – total leakage is not recorded)

I highlighted that until this leak rate issue is addressed; no innovative, self deploying flood barriers will ever achieve a Kite Mark – despite the fact that the global insurance sector have repeatedly stating that passive/automatic barriers are going to be critical in the future fight on flooding.


AutoFloodguard Test Performance


In pre-tests carried out over the summer – We fully admit that our self-deploying barrier does leak a little in the initial stages of deployment but once deployed it performs brilliantly – in particular the design of our barrier in the wave test is very impressive. Over the entire test duration it is estimated that the total leakage wouldn’t exceed 10 litres, which, when we put this in context is less than the volume of a mop bucket. From a barrier that deploys – even if you are not at home!

We would urge that future testing is carried out in a pragmatic and robust way (similar to NCAP – where cars are tested to destruction) that way people know that in a real-world impact – what protection is provided by each vehicle. This same level of real-world performance should be introduced into all flood protection products.

It was lovely to get a chance to catch up with a few familiar faces too @FloodMary, Paul Cobbing & Jo Wood.

To learn more on BSI Standards for flood protection, visit their website.