Phil Windus of ACO Water Management takes a closer look at how housebuilders can ensure homeowners get the exteriors they desire while effectively managing surface water run-off.
One area of home design that has continued to grow in popularity in recent years has been the blending of internal and external living spaces, with homeowners starting to pay extra attention to their exterior landscapes. Implementing an effective surface water management system is central to the longevity of any new-build. Not only will it prevent any rainwater collecting and potentially impacting the structural integrity of the brickwork, it can also ensure gardens and driveways are able to drain freely and avoid any long-term damage associated with excess standing water.
In many instances, channel drainage has been specified primarily on the loading requirements for each section of the property. In gardens and non-vehicular applications, where the channels are only likely to be subjected to pedestrian loading, A 15 channel systems are the go-to products. At a driveway entrance, a B 125 system should be installed, given its ability to withstand the rigours of frequent vehicle traffic. The second consideration has traditionally been price. While specifying the most affordable product that meets the required Load Class can help promote affordability, it should not be viewed as a one-size-fits-all solution.
“Including a variety of channel drainage options in different materials and finishes as an optional upgrade as part of any housebuilding project could prove to be lucrative.”
The range of aesthetic drainage solutions has vastly improved in recent years, and homeowners are becoming well aware of the options open to them. For developers, including a variety of channel drainage options in different materials and finishes as an optional upgrade as part of any housebuilding project could prove to be lucrative – not only for securing a sale, but also as an opportunity for making extra margin. The opportunities for profit are far greater on high-end finishes compared with a standard plastic or galvanised steel grating.
By offering additional channel drainage options, housebuilders can give homeowners the option to add a personal touch to their finished garden. Crucially, opting for a finish such as polished stainless steel or ATec coated cast iron will ensure it retains its professionally-finished look for a number of years. Furthermore, having a variety of grating options can enable the drainage system to complement any decorative brickwork or paving.
Completing the look
The ‘Complete the Look’ offering from ACO is a grating package which housebuilders can use to upsell the finishing touch to prospective homeowner’s gardens. Available in a variety of finishes, including Polished Stainless Steel, ATec coated Intercept and Mosaic cast iron, Stainless Steel Wedge Wire and Anthracite, all gratings are compatible with ACO’s HexDrain and RainDrain channels.
For housebuilders who are looking for a discreet finish, slot drainage channels offer the ideal solution. The product design allows the system to fully complement the surface finish of any landscaping project, without compromising the drainage effectiveness. Threshold drainage products such as DrainMat provide a range of decorative solutions that fully complement the landscape architecture of the building’s entrance, all while eliminating the risk of water ponding.
Given the growing desire for aesthetic yet functional water management systems, housebuilders should stay true to the intended specification for each channel. For example, when installed on driveways, any channels used should be a B 125 or C 250 Load Class to accommodate vehicle traffic. Ultimately, if an underspecified channel system is used in the incorrect application and then becomes damaged due to overloading, then any aesthetic benefit the chosen grating design was intended to provide will be nullified.
Water management systems have often been viewed as a commodity product during the housing specification process. However, they can be a real opportunity for housebuilders to upsell more stylish finishes and increase their profit margin. While it may not be applicable for each and every project, giving the homeowners the opportunity to upgrade their external fittings prior to moving in could prove be a lucrative addition to any housebuilder’s product roster.