Use of the Fluvial Design Guide

The Fluvial Design Guide is aimed at professional staff engaged in the design process, from the early stages of looking at alternative solutions, to the delivery of the outputs of design for the construction, maintenance, refurbishment or alteration of flood defence or land drainage assets. The guide is thus intended to be used by both designers and asset managers. Indeed, in the fields of flood defence and land drainage engineering, which are the primary focus of the guide, the management of existing assets is just as important as the design of new works. The guide is also available to support the training and professional development of practitioners in these fields.

This guide is not a substitute for expert advice. It presents an overview of all the relevant subject areas, and provides ready access to more detailed design guidance. The aim is to give you enough information to enable you to understand the fundamentals of the problem that you are facing, and thereby to appreciate when you can solve it yourself and when you need to seek advice from an expert. If you have to take the latter course, the guide should give you enough understanding to ask the expert the right questions, and to make sense of the advice that you receive.

Many of the detailed references included in the guide have been prepared on behalf of Defra or the Environment Agency, and represent good current practice. However, it should be emphasised that it is the designer’s responsibility to ensure that any designs are appropriate for the conditions to which the works will be subjected during their life. In this context, the word ‘appropriate’ refers not only to the hydraulic performance and engineering stability, but also in the context of ecology, landscape, amenity, health and safety, and public acceptability. If in doubt, seek the advice of an expert in the relevant field.

This diagram below illustrates the broad processes of fluvial design and the scope of support provided by material in the guide. However, it must be appreciated that the process of design in the fluvial environment is both complex and iterative, and the user should not expect to navigate a straight course!