Project & proposal information

CIRIA delivers a programme of research projects that are identified and prioritised by CIRIA members and industry practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds. These projects are steered and their results approved by leading industry specialists.


Current proposals 


Actively being fundraised

Proposal 3084 - Guidance on the delivery of blue roofs

A blue roof is designed to allow attenuation and management of rainfall, managing water at its source. They are becoming a common approach to deliver SuDS and manage local flood risk, particularly in dense urban environments. Despite their popularity there is a lack of high quality, independent guidance on their planning, design, construction, evaluation and maintenance. This project will provide guidance on blue roofs and the delivery of multiple benefits to improve confidence in their specification, design and delivery.

Click here to download the proposal. If this is of interest or you would like to know more please contact Paul.


Proposal 3137/RP1074 - Making B£ST better – improving functionality

CIRIA’s B£ST tool and guidance has been used to assess the benefits of SuDS for over two years, both in the UK and internationally. Feedback on B£ST’s quality and functionality has been very positive, with benchmarking suggesting it is the most robust tool freely available to assess the benefits of surface water management, particularly SuDS. However evidence and approaches to the valuation of blue and green infrastructure have evolved and it would now be beneficial to update B£ST with this information and also include other Natural Flood Management measures (NFM) and make it more useable. The update is split into three distinct but related phases of work:


  1. Assessing and including new evidence related to the outcomes and monetary benefits of SuDS and NFM.

  2. Including additional functionality around Natural Capital accounting and reporting  (in line with WaSC processes and Defra’s 25 year Environment Plan) .

  3. Accounting for spatial variation in benefits with an integrated GIS user interface, and improving the overall user interface of B£ST.

The project has already started and is currently on the later stages of Phase 1. However, we're still looking for funds for Phase 2 and 3.

Click here to download the proposal. If this is of interest or you would like to know more please contact Paul

Proposal 2970 - Guidance on the delivery of Natural Flood Management

There is growing interest in the application of natural flood management (NFM) in the UK with some notable examples in Pickering, Belford, Stroud and elsewhere. For NFM to have any significant impact schemes need to be technically robust and simple to deliver to enable the approach to have an impact on flood risk management and deliver multiple benefits. This guidance building on existing case studies, high-level guidance and research (eg SEPA’s handbook, Environment Agency and NERC research) will present case studies, develop a design philosophy, design objectives and criteria to ensure the right outcomes are delivered. The guidance will also signpost how designing for multiple benefits can unlock different funding sources.

Click here to download the proposal. If this is of interest or you would like to know more please contact Paul

CIRIA proposal 3141 Improving infrastructure performance and efficiency through integrated Green Infrastructure (phase 2)

CIRIA released C771 Delivering green infrastructure along linear assets - Scoping study (phase 1) in 2017. This presents good practice to support integration of green infrastructure (GI) into linear assets (rail, highway, water and energy networks). The proposal for phase 2 includes the development of more detailed guidance to facilitate wider uptake of sustainable and resilient approaches to infrastructure planning. It will support the creation of multifunctional networks of GI, underpinned by evidence on the quantified benefits of GI and asset performance.

Click here to download the proposal. If this is of interest or you would like to know more please contact Paul


Currently being considered and developed

Proposal 2802 - Accreditation and/or assessment of SuDS – scoping

The non-statutory standards for SuDS (March 2015) have introduced minimum requirements for the design of SuDS schemes, while the new CIRIA SuDS Manual (C753) expands on this, focussing on delivering good practice and multiple benefits. CIRIA’s guidance will lead to well considered and robust schemes, however evaluating what constitutes a good SuDS scheme is likely to remain challenging. This project would therefore explore the potential and methodology for an accreditation and/or assessment scheme to asses SuDS designs and designers supporting both the approval process and the delivery of high quality multi-beneficial SuDS.

Proposal 2866 - Guidance on the inspection and maintenance of SuDS

As SuDS become more commonplace and experience in undertaking maintenance grows, there is an opportunity to capture good practice in terms of institutional arrangements used and simplifying the presentation of maintenance requirements. This project will assess the need for updating, repackaging and re-presenting guidance to improve maintenance and reflect changes in organisational arrangements that have developed in recent years.

Proposal 3043 - Scoping study on innovative funding and financing for Integrated Water Management (IWM)

Following on from the development of CIRIA’S B£ST tool and the growing constraints on funding for capital and operational costs there is a growing need to understand the role and effectiveness of different funding and financing models for IWM delivery. This project will scope out national and international approaches (bonds, reverse auctions, insurance incentives) that might support UK IWM and SuDS delivery by different stakeholders (including individuals and the community). CIRIA will also look to work with other organisations with an interest in this, including BiTC.

Proposal 3083 - Resource pack to improve SuDS construction

CIRIA’s guidance on SuDS construction will be produced in the autumn of 2017. It will be a guidance document, with accompanying presentation that can be freely downloaded. Market research will be undertaken to inform the format of the resource pack that would further support good practice. The aim of the pack is to enable enhanced dissemination on site, improve the communication between the designer, site supervisors and those involved in the day-to-day construction of SuDS components and schemes with the aspiration of reducing construction mistakes and improving SuDS performance.


P3085 - Guidance on cost effective SuDS delivery

This guidance will help those designing and managing SuDS (primarily for residential developments) to deliver costs effective schemes. The land, capital and maintenance costs of SuDS are often presented as a barrier to delivery. This project will help overcome these challenges by augmenting the SuDS Manual, collating case studies and disparate research on costs to provide advice on practical approaches to improve the cost effectiveness of SuDS, particularly small-medium residential developments. The guidance will cover new build and retrofit SuDS delivery, it will also focus on what can be done during planning and design of SuDS to make them more cost effective, as well as ensuring that construction and maintenance costs are effectively managed.

Proposal 3138 - Presenting the evidence base on SuDS performance

Evidence has underpinned CIRIA’s guidance on SuDS and there is some limited, but dated information on SuDS performance available as well. The industry is generally becoming increasingly comfortable that SuDS work.  However, despite this evidence on performance is still often required by key stakeholders to convince them of the specific contribution SuDS can make and support their delivery. Sharing information on SuDS performance was also highlighted as a priority in the UKWIR SuDS research roadmap. This project will collate previous literature reviews, information summarised as part of the SuDS Manual update (2015), and where relevant review other international database as well as undertake engagement with UK universities to obtain relevant peer reviewed papers on performance.

The evidence for all SuDS components will be collated electronically (enabling searching) and presented to directly tackle some of the common questions raised by stakeholders and will also be reviewed with a view to assisting the development of some useful rules of thumb for SuDS planning, design and evaluation. The evidence base will be disseminated and shared via susdrain.

Proposal 3139 - Development of a consistent SuDS monitoring specification

There is limited observed SuDS monitoring from the UK and the data we do have is often unique for that site, scheme and component. There is a wide variability in observed performance between events, seasons, sites due to the complex natural processes and differences in monitoring methodologies. The differences in monitoring approaches can make the comparison of SuDS performance data challenging, even for the same SuDS component.

Following a literature review and engagement with researchers this project will develop a specification for monitoring all SuDS components that provides baseline parameters and characteristics (primarily for hydraulic and water quality performance) that should be published and shared for monitored sites to enable robust and consistent comparisons. This specification will be disseminated and shared via susdrain.

Proposal 3142 - SuDS adoption hierarchy and framework

The adoption of SuDS remains the main barrier to SuDS delivery. The English non-statutory SuDS Standards request that Local Planning Authorities secure the longer term adoption of SuDS at the start of the planning application process. However, this seldom happens, or when it does there is a reliance on the use of land or SuDS management companies.

This project will build on the SuDS Adoption and maintenance options (2015) fact sheet developed for Susdrain by Arup. The guidance will explain current approaches for SuDS adoption, include case studies, provide some critical success factors in making the options work and provide a hierarchy of options. This should facilitate SuDS adoption and delivery of multiple benefits as well as reduce the risks of failure. The project will also be flexible to accommodate any relevant outcomes from “Sewers for Adoption 8” that may facilitate the adoption of some SuDS components by sewerage undertakers and suggest a framework to enable the maintenance for the complete SuDS management train (including source control components).

The detail of these proposal are yet to be developed but if you have any interest please contact Paul









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