UK Flood Barriers: Flooding the Market UK Flood Barriers is a leading flood defence specialist offering end to end project management services supporting all stages of the contract delivery process including survey, product specification, installation, client/customer communication and ongoing maintenance. Frank Kelly, CEO and Founder of UK Flood Barriers, talks us through the firm and how it aims to offer the very highest quality of service to clients in this vital sector. Established in 2007, UK Flood Barriers has since grown to become one of the UK’s leading specialist flood contractors, project managing multiple high profile contracts across domestic property schemes for both public and private sector organisations at any one time. Frank, who has over 30 years’ experience in the construction market, believes that the reason for the firm’s market leading status is this strong industry knowledge. “Back in 2006, when I was exploring the market prior to founding UK Flood Barriers, I could not see a single product that holistically addressed the issue of property flooding and infrastructure, exploring the idea that buildings can be better built to withstand flooding, rather than exploring preventative measures after the building is constructed,” he proudly states. “I noticed that many firms in the sector had a limited background in construction, and having personally witnessed firsthand the misery that flooding causes I used my considerable construction industry experience to design a range of solutions which addressed the issues of flooding for both new builds and older properties requiring ‘retro’ fitting.
20 BUILD / February 2017
“Drawing on my industry experience, which spans over three decades, I understood how properties are constructed, and was therefore able to develop products which prevented the water from entering the building.” The firm’s range began with redesigned airbricks, back flow valves and door barriers. Over the years Frank developed the firm’s service offering as he gained a greater insight into it. “During my time as CEO of UK Flood Barriers I have noticed that the biggest issue in the UK flood prevention sector is human intervention. Insurance figures show that there is a 60% failure rate for manually operated systems, as well as electrical systems. As such, I developed a process of harnessing the power of the water itself, and started designing our product range about this idea, which we call ‘Passive Protection’. Once we had designed the products we had them tested to the highest possible industry standards, and we have adapted this innovative technology over the years to ensure that we are always offering the very highest possible standards and were definitely able to ensure the protection of our clients’ properties.”
When he originally entered the market Frank faced stiff competition from many firms who were keen to keep the market small. “When I first started UK Flood Barriers most companies only offered one product, predominantly door barriers,” Frank explains. “Many companies wanted to keep the market small and reduced to single product firms, whereas I was keen to open the market up in order to support the next generation of flood prevention products.” As a pioneer in the industry Frank has driven not only the development of innovative products, but also the creation of standards in the form of Kitemark certification. Despite the fact that in the UK, buildings are more likely to flood than to burn down, and therefore the prevention of flood damage is critical to ensuring the continued safety of the country’s population there was, until recent years, no standards for flood prevention, whereas there are fire safety regulations which all buildings must comply with. Frank supported the introduction of industry wide standards, always supporting the British Standards Institution (BSI) but he did not restthere. , He set about aiming to instigate additional regulation to ensure that products are
installed to the highest possible standards. “Poor installation is key issue in the construction industry currently, and I have felt from the beginning that standards must be raised. It does not matter how effective the product is, if it is poorly installed it will not work. I had approached BSI in 2012 to attempt to introduce a Kitemark style certification for installers, but they felt, at the time, that it would not be well received by the industry. “However, we created our own installers scheme, independently verified by the British Plumbers Employers Council, which provides best practice verification and training on how water enters a property, different types of
“Ultimately, UK Flood Barriers has developed innovative solutions which have made it not only a UK leader, but a world renowned expert.”