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 3219 - Asset management of blue green infrastructure – guiding principles

Blue-green infrastructure (BGI) is being implemented to deliver multiple benefits including flood risk management; air quality improvement; amenity provision; carbon sequestration; increased biodiversity; and health and wellbeing.  A framework for efficient management of BGI is needed to document location, cost and maintenance needs.

To efficiently manage BGI it is important to have an appropriate asset management framework that documents its location, cost, required maintenance, risks and potential consequences of its failure, its functional life expectancy and means of disposal or renewal. 

This project will produce a set of principles and guidance on asset management for the efficient delivery and management of blue-green infrastructure. 

For more information, download the proposal and contact
 Louise Walker.

Proposal 3235 - Enabling community maintenance of flood risk management (FRM) infrastructure

Community resilience to flood risks is essential, support is required for communities to become climate champions and get actively involved in the management of their flood risk.

This project will explore approaches to enable and empower local community groups to undertake appropriate and routine maintenance of local flood risk management infrastructure (surface water and ordinary watercourses).

This will improve resilience and relationships between Risk Management Authorities and communities, recognising they can have a key role in flood risk management and the delivery of better places and spaces.

For more information, download the proposal and contact Louise Walker


Proposal 3255 - Getting SuDS right from the start

Considering SuDS at the earliest stage of land acquisition, or assessment for inclusion in the local plan is beneficial for all those involved in the planning and land/development process.

This project will provide principles for the cost-effective integration of SuDS within developments that makes efficient use of available land and informs the earliest stages of the development process.

This will be presented in an engaging animation with associated succinct guidance for those making early and key decisions that impact the ambition of the development and the SuDS outcomes achieved.

For more information, download the proposal and contact Louise Walker.

Proposal 3256 - Scoping the SuDS Manual update

The SuDS Manual (C753), 2015 is a compendium of good practice and widely recognised as a trusted and comprehensive ‘one-stop-shop’ reference document covering the SuDS philosophy and approach as well as technical detail for the major SuDS components. 

Since it's launch in 2015, the knowledge base for SuDS has evolved as their implementation increases and relevant scientific research continues. This has strengthened practical experience and empirical evidence to inform good practice and an improved understanding of key principles. In light of these advances and policy changes over the last six years, it is now timely to work with stakeholders to map out how the SuDS Manual should be updated to support continued good practice in the delivery of SuDS and broader environmental outcomes.

For more information, download the proposal and contact Louise Walker.


Proposal 3270 - susdrain 2022 - 2024

susdrain has been running for nearly ten years. During this time it has become the UK's most trusted source of information on Sustainable Drainage Systems. It's website, events and other resources support those involved in the delivery of high quality SuDS schemes, particularly approvers, designers/practitioners and developers.

Supporting susdrain provides organisations with an opportunity to get access to the latest regulatory and industry news as well demonstrate thought leadership and a commitment to SuDS good practice. 

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


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

CIRIA’s Benefits Estimation Tool (B£ST) and guidance has been used to value the benefits of blue-green infrastructure (with a focus on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and Natural Flood Management (NFM)) for several years. Feedback on B£ST has been very positive, with benchmarking suggesting it is the most robust tool freely available to assess the benefits of SuDS. However, it is now beneficial to update B£ST to account for spatial variation in benefits with an integrated GIS user interface, which involves migrating B£ST to an online application to improve usability and the user experience.

We're exploring the opportunity for funds from Innovate UK and have the Environment Agency, Highways Agency and nearly all the English and Welsh WaSCs providing funds. We are looking to see if other organisation wishing to support the delivery of BGI is able to fund the project and benefit from priveleged access to evidence and steer the development of B£ST.

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


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.


Proposal 3085 - 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 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 Louise.









Our Partners
Our Supporters