The threat of flood-related losses shows no signs of shrinking any time soon. The United States, for instance, suffers major losses due to tropical cyclones—e.g. Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina; and riverine flooding from large-scale thunderstorms causes billions of dollars in damages every year in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
In fact, a recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found that thunderstorms and other heavy rainfall result in an average of more than US$20 billion in economic losses per year in the U.S. alone. A report by the European Environment Agency notes that 37 European countries experienced nearly 3,600 floods between 1980 and 2010. The same study notes that flooding in the region is expected to increase seventeen-fold by 2080 due to greater rainfall as a result of climate change and due to construction in flood plains.
FM Approved solutions are available to help businesses and other organizations protect their facilities against flood-related losses. FM Approvals evaluates flood abatement products under Approval Standard FM 2510, Flood Abatement Equipment, which is also an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard—known as ANSI/FM2510. The standard covers:
- Temporary perimeter barriers—Some examples of temporary barriers include water-filled bladders and barriers, soil-and-sand-filled bladders and barriers, and foldable walls.
- Opening barriers—These devices can be used to protect pedestrian doors, garage doors, loading docks, windows and vents.
- Back water valves – The purpose of these products is to prevent water from backing up into buildings through drains.
- Flood abatement pumps – These specialized pumps are typically used in combination with perimeter and/or opening barriers to remove water from leakage or overtopping.
CE marking now available for flood abatement products
To support manufacturers of flood abatement products wishing to sell into markets that require or are more familiar with the European Union’s CE mark—including the EU, parts of the Middle East, and Asia—FM Approvals has worked over the past years to champion the adoption by the European Organization for Technical Assessment (EOTA) of a European Assessment Document (EAD 180002-00-0706) covering perimeter and opening barriers.
Standard ANSI/FM2510 was the basis for the new EAD, which can now be used by Technical Assessment Bodies (TABs) to issue European Technical Assessments (ETAs) for products covered by the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). This process enables manufacturers of innovative products, such as flood abatement solutions, to obtain the CE mark.
FM Approvals is a Notified Body, a TAB under CPR and, as a member of EOTA, is qualified to issue European Technical Assessments (ETAs) for CE marking of applicable construction products. Manufacturers may now obtain both the FM Diamond and the CE mark from FM Approvals for flood mitigation products, which are within the scope of EAD 18002-00-0706.
“We are now in a position to offer the incremental steps needed for CE marking for Europe and other regions that accept the CE mark,” notes Rich Ferron, FM Approvals vice president and manager of testing and certification. “For both current customers and manufacturers coming to us for the first time, we can offer the option to combine FM2510 and CE marking programs, which will save time and money, and reduce administrative oversight.”
FM Approvals new business development manager for Europe, Jean-Philippe Roisin, says, "We continue to see interest among European manufacturers of flood control products--who tend to be small to mid-size companies and want not only to promote their products in Europe, but also to enter the U.S. market. The fact that we can help them differentiate their products in multiple markets will be a strong motivator. Even small companies typically view their market on a global basis. The interest is definitely there."
For Abby So, FM Approvals new business development manager for the Asia-Pacific region, the potential to increase the availability of both FM Approved and CE marked flood control products is particularly important in the region he covers. “Flooding has always been a huge problem throughout Asia. Gaining recognition of our standard outside of North America is an important step. While awareness of flood mitigation is still relatively low in most parts of Asia, it will surely help to increase awareness and adoption if certified products become more readily available in these areas.”