Why is drainage design so important?

27 September 2019 | By Keith Oldham

ACO Water Management has developed new, free-to-use hydraulic drainage design software called QuAD. Now it is holding a series of free workshops where attendees can earn CPD points as well as work through a practical, real-life scenario, using the software. Keith Oldham. national technical consultant at ACO Water Management, explains

Getting channel drainage design right is crucial to a project’s success in both the short and longer term. There is real opportunity to futureproof any project by designing the necessary ongoing maintenance and providing an allowance for climate change. If there isn’t sufficient consideration early on for how surface water will be managed, the results can be extremely costly – in both time and money.

Surface water expertise

ACO Water Management has helped pioneer the management of surface water, providing contractors, engineers and specifiers with a complete product portfolio suitable for applications as diverse as retail and commercial development to major national transport and infrastructure projects.

ACO’s surface water design expertise has been sought for a range of applications in significant UK projects, including the Olympic Park in London, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and the current Midland Metro Alliance tram expansion across Birmingham and the West Midlands.

The range of water management services offered by ACO assures industry-leading sustainable drainage performance and environmental protection.

What is ACO QuAD?

ACO QuAD is the latest generation of ACO’s hydraulic design software and will be taken on the road as part of a series of workshops across the UK and Ireland for the first time. The cloud-based software benefits from a host of user-friendly features, all of which can help take time out of – and improve the overall efficiency of – the drainage design process.

With the end application based firmly at the heart of the software, users of QuAD will be invited to first choose from a variety of options which best describes their project (domestic, pedestrian, highways, industrial, and mixed-use). From here, they will be able to select the size of their project and automatically calculate a variety of different hydraulic project data.

Unlike competitor models, ACO QuAD can factor in angled or irregular surface areas – not just rectangular shapes – to provide a much more accurate specification.

Design advice is available at ACO’s QuAD roadshow at venues across the UK and Ireland (Image: Ed Ellis)

Another unique benefit is the ability to integrate Google Maps into the design program, meaning users can input their site’s exact location and automatically receive the rainfall intensity for that area. This is coupled with the ability to calculate the run-off coefficient, based on the permeability of the chosen surface (of which a number can be selected, ranging from grass to asphalt) and surface storage calculation options. Designers will be able to create a highly accurate hydraulic drainage design in a matter of minutes.

QuAD can be used alongside ACO’s Visualiser program, to provide engineers with an insight into the look of the finished installation.

Additional functions include the option to choose point in-flow, calculate channel resilience and anticipated maintenance schedules, and optional attenuation tank volumes where applicable.

Crucially, the software is highly secure, and the designs will only be shared with ACO if the user makes a conscious decision to do so.

With the focus of the tool firmly on design, ACO is also able to offer a consultation service, should the user wish to discuss their project with one of ACO’s Design Services team. Any design can be easily exported for inclusion in the project’s design folder.

What is the ACO QuAD Roadshow?

To help contractors and engineers get to grips with the free program, ACO will be taking its QuAD software on tour for a series of free workshops. ACO’s expert design team will be at five locations across the UK and Ireland:

Attendees will be able to earn CPD credits through the QuAD CPD, while they will also complete a practical session, where they will use the software in a real-life scenario.

Users of ACO’s QuAD software can select the type and size of project and automatically calculate data

The benefits of attending are clear. As well as improving personal hydraulic design skills, the software helps the end user to efficiently and accurately design surface water management schemes for any project. By attending the workshops, users will be able to design drainage to meet the specific requirements of the project in line with any size, shape or catchment area.

The workshop will also allow visitors to understand how to calculate the correct size for attenuation tanks, as well as creating maintenance schedules for long-term resilience. 

How can you sign up to the QuAD Roadshow?

If you are interested in signing up to the QuAD Roadshow, you can book your place by visiting and selecting your preferred location. Each location is limited to just 30 people, so you are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.

The support received won’t end at the workshops. All attendees will be offered the opportunity for ongoing support in their office, via the phone and online.

For more information on the QuAD software, visit

Keith Oldham is national technical consultant at ACO Water Management

This article has been produced in association with


Cant wait to attend.

Stephanie Wigwe-Chizindu, 15 October 2019

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