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Title:
FLOOD BARRIER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2004/038133
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A device for use as a flood protection barrier, comprising a plurality of water-impermeable units wherein each of said units is provided with water-impermeable means for engaging an adjacent unit and characterised in that said device is adapted to be free-standing and each of said units comprises a base portion and a substantially upright portion.

Inventors:
Matthewman, Andrew (Ivy Cottage, Low Mill Farndale Wes, Kirbymoorside York YO62 7JY, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2003/004584
Publication Date:
May 06, 2004
Filing Date:
October 24, 2003
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Matthewman, Andrew (Ivy Cottage, Low Mill Farndale Wes, Kirbymoorside York YO62 7JY, GB)
International Classes:
E02B3/10; E04H9/14; E06B9/02; (IPC1-7): E04H9/14; E02B3/10; E06B9/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2000075434A12000-12-14
Foreign References:
US5470177A1995-11-28
GB731313A1955-06-08
US6164870A2000-12-26
EP1233109A22002-08-21
US6059491A2000-05-09
CA2320009A12000-12-24
US5865564A1999-02-02
DE20109417U12002-01-17
DE29919236U12000-01-27
Other References:
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 009, no. 117 (M - 381) 22 May 1985 (1985-05-22)
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harrison, Goddard Foote (31 St. Saviourgate, York YO1 8NQ, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A device for use as a flood protection barrier, comprising a plurality of water impermeable units wherein each of said units is provided with waterimpermeable means for engaging an adjacent unit and characterised in that said device is adapted to be freestanding and each of said units comprises a base portion and a substantially upright portion.
2. A unit for use in a flood protection barrier wherein said unit is provided with waterimpermeable means for engaging an adjacent unit and characterised in that said unit is adapted to be freestanding and comprises a base portion and a substantially upright portion.
3. A device according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein said base portion is integral with said upright portion.
4. A device according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein said base portion is attachable to said upright portion by means of at least one waterimpermeable engaging means.
5. <BR> <BR> <P>5 : k~devrce~according~to cl=~l~or~clamn2,wherein said water tmpermeableuziit is manufactured from at least one substantially flexible material.
6. A device according to claim 5, wherein said substantially flexible, material is selected from the group consisting of rubber or plastics.
7. A device according to claim 6, wherein said rubber is natural or synthetic.
8. A device according to claim 7, wherein said synthetic rubber is selected from the group consisting of butyl rubber or neopren polychloroprene.
9. A device according to claim 6, wherein said plastic is selected from the group consisting of polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride or polypropylene.
10. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said waterimpermeable unit is manufactured from substantially inflexible material.
11. A device according to claim 9, wherein said substantially inflexible material is selected from the group consisting of fibreglass, metals, plastics or rubbers.
12. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said waterimpermeable unit is manufactured from a combination of substantially flexible and substantially inflexible materials.
13. A device according to claim 12, wherein said base portion of said water impermeable unit is manufactured from a substantially flexible material and said upright portion is manufactured from a substantially inflexible material.
14. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said upright portion of said water impermeable unit incorporates rigid strengthening elements.
15. A device according to claim 14, wherein said rigid strengthening elements are rods. <BR> <BR> lE. Adsvice. accordingto.
16. claim15, whereinsaid rodsareintegralwithsaiduprigh'tr portion.
17. A device according to claim 16, wherein said rods are substantially parallel.
18. A device according to claim 14, wherein the rigid strengthening elements are provided by an integral layer of strengthening material.
19. A device according to claim 1 or 2 wherein said upper portion is a laminate comprising at least one layer of impermeable material and strengthening material.
20. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein means of engaging with an adjacent unit comprises a waterproof zip or material having complementary hook and loops.
21. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein a suspending means is provided on said upright portion.
22. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said suspending means is provided on said upright portion in a position distal to said base portion.
23. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said suspending means is a rod.
24. A device according to claim 23, wherein said rod is preferably attached to the surface of said upper portion or within a sleeve.
25. A device according to claim 21, wherein said suspending means is provided by means of loops, hooks or straps.
26. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said base portion is airfilled. <BR> <BR> <P>27. Adevice.according toc. laiml or 2,.
27. wherein saidbaseportioncontainsintegral weighting means.
28. A device according to claim 25, wherein said integral weighting means is provided by lead discs.
29. A device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the upper portion is stored within the base portion.
30. A method of protecting structures against flood water comprising, transferring a plurality of waterimpermeable units to the site, securing a plurality of said units together by way of said waterimpermeable engaging means provided on said upright, positioning said base on the ground and anchoring said base to ground by a mobile anchoring means.
31. A method of protecting structures against flood water according to claim 30 comprising, transferring a waterimpermeable unit to the site, positioning said base on the ground and anchoring said base to ground by a mobile anchoring means.
32. A method of protecting structures against flood water according to claim 31 or 32, wherein said anchoring means is at least one sand bag.
33. A kit for use in protecting structures against flood damage comprising a plurality of waterimpermeable units according to claim l, a suspending means, an anchoring means and a storage means.
34. A kit for use in protecting structures against flood damage comprising a water impermeable unit according to claim 2, a suspending means an, anchoring means and a storage means.
35. A flood protection barrier substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Description:
Flood Barrier The present invention relates to a flood barrier for protecting a structure against flood damage and a method protecting a structure from flood damage.

As is well known, rising floodwater can cause extensive damage to the fabric and content of a building with alarming rapidity. Heavy rain, snow melts or high tides can cause rivers to burst their banks and inundate a large area.

Traditionally, there has been little contingency action available to premise owners other than building a defensive barrier of sand bags. Whilst such bags do provide some protection against small amounts of water they are not impermeable and in some cases it has been found that they suffer the problem that they merely filter silt from flood water allowing dirty water to pass.

Furthermore, in view of the fact that these bags are merely a temporary measure and are not permanently fixed in place, they are typically not available for an emergency.

In addition other problems associated with the use of sand bags in a flood situation include poor aesthetics, the possibility of the bag splitting with sand leaking, the physical effort involved in filling bags with sand and then carrying them to the site required, the requirement of a high number of sand bags to have effect and rapid saturation of the sand. It has therefore been found that it takes considerable time and effort to build an effective flood defence.

To alleviate the problems associated with sand bags it has been suggested that a temporary barrier of plastic sheet could be placed around doors and windows to stop water seeping through the crack between doors and windows and their frames, examples of this approach can be found in WO 02/40818, GB 2, 327, 971 and GB 2,367, 848. A number of problems are associated with such an approach. Securing the barriers around the windows and door may be time consuming. The barriers typically require permanent installation of fittings (such as mounting channels) to the building in the region of the apertures to which a removable barrier can be connected in use, whilst such barriers can provide an effective flood defence, many occupiers do not wish to have permanent fixtures mounted on their premises. These fixtures may

distract from the appearance of the premises or be. otherwise inconvenient on a permanent basis, while they needed in use only in the event of a flood ; an event that may happen only once in many years. It is also apparent that many of these devices might be subject to theft or tampering whilst in use. Flood water can also enter a building via a number of other alternative routes apart from through doors and windows, via seeping through the bricks and mortar, via the drains, air bricks, ventilation grating, and waste pipe outlet. Failure to close every aperture may have the effect of negating the purpose of closing any aperture. Furthermore, the ability to open doors to enter or leave the building will be limited and thus there may only be the option of remaining either in or out of the building whilst the flood waters regress.

Alternative flood defence systems have been designed which incorporate structurally rigid and heavy barriers to prevent the ingress of water. US 4,488, 386 teaches the use of a one piece, effectively tubular, flood shield assembly comprised of waterproof material of which one edge is fixed to the foundation of a building and the other edge may be drawn up the side of the building and attached to the building. A similar approach is taught in WO 02/44502, in which the flood barrier comprises a resilient trough and a flexible impermeable sheet anchored to the trough wherein the flexible sheet is capable of being stored in the trough but extended during flood conditions and secured to a building. Such assemblies have a number of associated problems, including the need for permanent structures on and around the building, which may be expensive and unsightly, and that unless it is possible to completely surround the whole building they are rendered inefficient.

GB 2,370, 599 teaches a flood protection barrier for a structure which is similar to those described above, in that it requires fixture to permanent structures provided on the building or on the adjacent land. However, the barrier is comprised of at least one flexible, impermeable sheet, and at least one seal means, in which the seal means is a means adapted to reversibly form a substantially water-tight seal between an impermeable sheet and at least one of the skin of the structure being protected, the ground or an impermeable sheet. The impermeable sheet is sufficiently flexible to be elastically deformed by the hydrostatic pressure exerted by water flooding the ground adjacent to the structure to substantially conform with the contours of the portion of the structure's skin overlain by the impermeable barrier. Due to the fact that the

hydrostatic forces exerted by the flood water against the barrier do not have to be resisted by the barrier, but are rather transmitted to the structure, the impermeable sheet can be constructed from material which, unsupported, may not be sufficiently strong to resist the expected hydrostatic forces, thus the barrier may be considerably lighter than would otherwise be the case. However, there is an inherent problem, there may be some circumstances where it is not desirable that the hydrostatic forces exerted by the flood water are wholly or partially transmitted via the barrier to certain portions of the structure, for instance a window. Where this is the case it is suggested that a cover, such as a metal plate or other suitable strong sheet structure may be placed over such an aperture, a costly and time consuming requirement. Alternatively, the impermeable sheet may be designed to incorporate rigid strengthening elements, and expensive approach if each sheet has to be specifically designed for every building. When applying this approach to flood protection the building will be rendered virtually inhabitable during the flood.

Therefore, a need exists for a specialised barrier which can be used to help resist flood water and flood damage, which is easy to assemble and use in an emergency, which can be easily stored prior to use, which can be moved to the required site easily and which does not require any permanent fixtures on or around the building and which enables the building to be inhabitable during a flood.

The present invention addresses the problems set out above.

Thus according to a first aspect of the invention we provide a device for use as a flood protection barrier, comprising a plurality of water-impermeable units wherein each of said units is provided with water-impermeable means for engaging an adjacent unit and characterised in that said device is adapted to be free-standing and each of said units comprises a base portion and a substantially upright portion.

According to this aspect of the invention a plurality of units could be attached together to form a flood barrier to protect a structure. Within this example, the flood barrier could be utilised to encompass a detached property. In this example, the units will be attached to each other by water-impermeable engaging means to form a perimeter fence, and the base will be anchored to the ground by a mobile anchoring

means, such as one layer of sand bags. In the situation where a semi-detached or terraced property is to be protected, the units could be attached together to form a wall to protect front, side or rear aspects of the property. In this example the base will be anchored to the ground by a mobile anchoring means, such as a layer of sandbags and then on either edge of the wall a single column of sand bags could be used to provide a substantially water-impermeable means of holding the upper portion of the unit against the structure. In an alternative embodiment of the invention end posts could be attached to the upper portion of the unit, and these could be temporarily fixed to the property by means of, for example screws or bolts, thereby maintaining a water-tight seal with the exterior of the property. Although in both cases the use of sand bags is required, the number of sand bags used is minimal and so the inherent problems associated with the use of sand bags in flood defence as outlined above is kept to a minimum.

According to a second aspect the present invention provides a unit for use in a flood protection barrier said unit is provided with water-impermeable means for engaging an adjacent unit and characterised in that said unit is adapted to be free-standing and comprises a base portion and a substantially upright portion.

According to this aspect of the invention a single unit can be used to provide a flood barrier for an aperture such as a window or door.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention the base portion is integral with the upright portion.

Alternatively the base portion is attachable to the upright portion by means of at least one water-impermeable engaging means. The ability to detach the base portion from the upper portion of the unit will be facilitate easier storage, the upper portion of the units could be stacked on top of one another or rolled up together in a storage means.

In one embodiment of the invention the water-impermeable unit is manufactured from a flexible material.

Preferably the flexible material is rubber. This may be natural or synthetic rubber.

More preferably the rubber is synthetic, examples of which include butyl rubber and neoprene polychloroprene or composites thereof.

Alternatively the'flexible material is a plastic. Examples of which include polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride or polypropylene or composites thereof. For example nylon reinforced polyvinyl chloride. A composite suitable for manufacture of said unit would be. known to one skilled in the art.

In a further alternative embodiment of the invention the water-impermeable unit is manufactured from an inflexible material such as fibreglass, metals, rubbers or plastics.

In yet a still further embodiment of the invention the water-impermeable unit is manufactured from a combination of flexible and inflexible materials.

Preferably the base portion of the unit is manufactured from a flexible material and the upright portion is manufactured from an inflexible material.

More preferably still the base portion is manufactured from flexible butyl rubber and <BR> <BR> theuprightismanufacturedrf-ominfleXib.ebut-yI-rubber:TlsenaZ esthelaasepo iori- to be moulded to the shape of the ground that it overlies, whilst the use of an inflexible upright portion will be useful in resisting the hydrostatic pressure of the flood water and will also give the upright portion some rigidity which may be a useful feature during rain storms.

More preferably still the upright portion of said water-impermeable unit incorporates rigid strengthening elements which will serve to protect the impermeable layer, such elements are preferably integral, parallel rods.

Alternatively the upright portion incorporates an integral layer of strengthening material. Preferably, the upright portion is a laminate comprising at least one layer of an impermeable material and at least one layer of a strengthening material. This has particular benefit because the strengthening material will serve to protect the

impermeable layer or layers from damage caused by floating or water bourne objects or materials such as stone, grit and mud carried by flood waters, or the hydrostatic pressure of water.

The upper portion has a height of between O. 5m and 2m. Preferably the height is 1m.

The upper portion has a width of between O. 5m and 2m. Preferably the width is lm.

The dimension of the upper portion will vary depending on the structure being protected, but should be of a sufficient size to enable carrying by one or two people.

The thickness of the material used in the upper portion will vary significantly dependent on the material used and the particular embodiment of the invention. If the material is a flexible plastic and upper portion is being suspended from a suspending means on the structure, then the plastic may only need to be of a thickness between O. lcm and 1 cm. Preferably the thickness of the plastic will be between 0. lcm and 0.3cm. Alternatively if the upper portion is manufactured from an inflexible material, such as a rubber reinforced with rods, the thickness of the upper portion will far greater. The thickness will be between O. lcm and 2cm. Preferably the thickness will be lem.

In an alternative embodiment of the invention when the upper portion is manufactured from flexible material it is can be furled and stored within the base portion. This has <BR> <BR> the advantage ofthe upper portion being-able to be iunfurled-to ari appropriate height- dependent on the weather conditions and the structure being protected.

A water-impermeable engaging means can be used to engage the upper portion of adjacent units or the base portion to an upper portion. Preferably the engaging means is in the form of a waterproof zip, located on an exterior edge of the components.

Preferably the zip is of a type generally known for fastening a wetsuit and/or a drysuit. By securing the two zips together on. adjacent units, the units can be sealed together with a waterproof seal. Alternatively the engaging means comprises material having complementary hook, and loops, for example Velcro@.

More preferably still, when the unit is in use, an integral flap is provided on one perpendicular exterior edge of the upper portion. The internal surfaces of this integral flap are provided with water-impermeable engaging means, preferably in the form of

a waterproof zip and a waterproof sealing element as found on food-bags. The opposing edge of another unit fits into the flap and has complimentary parts to the water-proof engaging means provided, thus two waterproof seals are created.

Furthermore whilst the engaging means provide a means to engage units together to increase the width of the flood barrier, it may also be envisaged that it will be possible to engage units together in order to increase the height if the barrier.

In a further embodiment of the present invention the device is provided with a suspending means on the upright portion. Preferably the suspending means is a rod More preferably still the rod is provided on the edge of the upper portion, distal to the base portion when in use. Even more preferably the rod is attached to the surface of said upper portion or within a sleeve. The rod may be telescopic.

Alternatively the device is provided with a suspending means in the form of loops, hooks or straps which can be used to suspended the upper portion of the unit from the structure it is deigned to protect by means of temporary fixtures in the structure, such as nails or hooks located on the brick work, windowsills, doorframes or guttering. In yet another alternative embodiment, the upper portion of the unit is provided with a plurality of holes on one edge of the upper portion, which when in use the upper edge <BR> <BR> of-the--iznitand-through-which hooks can be located-in ord. er fo suspend he unifrom a building.

In a third aspect of the invention provides a method of protecting structures against flood water comprising, transferring a plurality of flexible, impermeable sheets to the site, securing a plurality of said sheets together by way of said water-impermeable engaging means provided on said upright, positioning said base on the ground and anchoring said base to ground by an anchoring means.

As described above this anchoring means may be in the form of a single layer or column of sand bags which anchor the base portion to the ground and hold edges of the upper portion against the structure. In an alternative embodiment of the invention a water-impermeable strip, for example manufactured from rubber, may be positioned

between the base portion and the ground in order to provide a further water- impermeable seal.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of protecting structures against flood water comprising, transferring a flexible impermeable sheet to the site, positioning said base on the ground and anchoring said base to ground by an anchoring means.

In a fifth aspect of the present invention there is provided a kit for use in protecting structures against flood damage comprising a plurality of water-impermeable units a suspending means and an anchoring means.

In a sixth aspect of the present invention there is provided a kit for use in protecting structures against flood damage comprising a water-impermeable unit, a suspending means and an anchoring means.

Additional features and advantages of the present invention are described in, and will be apparent from, the description of the presently preferred embodiments which are set out below with reference to the drawings which show ; Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment Figure 1: A frontal view of the flood barrier.

Figure 2: An underside view of the base portion of the flood barrier.

Figure 3: A side elevation of the flood barrier.

Figure 4: A schematic diagram showing two adjacent units attached together.

Figure 1 represents a frontal view of the flood barrier unit (la) which comprises of an upright portion (2) and an integral base portion (3). Preferably the flood barrier is manufactured from a flexible, resilient and water-impermeable material such as butyl rubber or nylon reinforced PVC, for example a 1100 decitex woven polyester VX12, conforming to BS3424 Part 26 method 29C in terms of its water penetration characteristics. Any material should also be substantially resistant to chemical erosion. In this preferred embodiment of the present invention the base portion

comprises an air-filled section (4), which helps the base portion to mould to the shape of the ground and form a water-tight seal when anchoring means such as sand-bags are placed on top. The air is passed though an air-inlet valve (5) ; The upright portion of the barrier is provided with suspending means (6) for suspending the flood barrier from a structure, such as a door frame or guttering. In this embodiment the upper portion is provided with a plurality of holes at the end distal to the base portion through which hooks can be passed, the hooks can be temporary attached to a structure, for example by screwing the hooks into the wood of a door frame.

Figure 2 and Figure 3 show an underside view and side elevation respectively of the flood barrier (1), with the base portion (3) being integral with the upright portion (2).

The base portion comprises an air-filled section (4) which is filled with air via an air- inlet value (5) and sealed with a removable plug (7). The base portion has a ribbed surface, by way of raised, roughly parallel bands (8), preferably made from a material with excellent gripping characteristics, this will help the base portion to grip the ground and prevent the barrier being washed away with the pressure of the flood water.

Figure 4 shows a schematic diagram of two adjacent flood barrier units (la and lb) attached together by water-impermeable sealing means. An integral flap (9) present at the edge of the upper portion, enables the upper portion of adjacent units to be attached by water-impermeable engaging means. As shown in this diagram, the upper portion of unit lb inserts into the flap (9) present along the edge of the upper portion of unit la. The flap has two internal surfaces (9a and 9b). Two water-impermeable engaging means are represented in this diagram. The internal surface (9a) is provided with a water-impermeable engaging means in the form of a waterproof zip (10) which extends downwards along the length of the flap. This zip engages with a complimentary zip provided on a surface (12a) of the upper portion of unit lb. The other internal surface of the flap (9b) is further provided with a water-impermeable engaging means in the form of a waterproof seal, as generally used in for sealing food bags (11) which again extends downwards along the length of the flap. This seal engages with a complimentary seal provided on a surface (12b) of the upper portion of unit lb.