Sustainable Drainage Design Solutions for SMEs

Small to Mid-sized Enterprises (SMEs) can carve out a competitive niche by designing Sustainable Drainage Systems, with the right software and support.

The Challenge

Increasing regulations, a growing population, and a focus on environmental measures have created a challenging climate for SMEs. Where some people see challenges, others see opportunities. Facing up to a tighter regulatory framework around alleviating the risk of flooding in building developments is an area where forward thinking SMEs can build a reputation and create a competitive edge.  

Swale in a urban environment SuDS example
Roadside rain garden sustainable drainage structure

The Opportunity

Designing SuDS is one area where SMEs can make a big difference. Especially as sustainable drainage is now mandatory on new developments, and retrofit projects are increasing. According to Susdrain, property and land next to a high quality SuDS scheme can typically attract a higher price. This makes it more attractive for developers to include well designed SuDS in their plans. Using industry standard SuDS design software means that you, your clients and the approving authority can move ahead with confidence and clarity. 



It's the format that all the water authorities, local councils and other major authorities look for from planning stage through to approvals. It’s easier for them to approve something in a familiar format, that has been designed using proven software and to a standard they have confidence in.

Civil Engineering Design ManagerMidlands, UK

The SuDS Design Solution

  • Engage with technology to accelerate growth

    SMEs in the construction industry rely heavily on the skills of their people. For a business of any size to grow, efficiency improvements and competitive advantage are key. This isn’t always possible through investing in people alone. Technology that improves the productivity and performance of people and supports their skills helps you deliver more with the time and resources available. This helps your business grow. Investing in technology and technical skills provides an opportunity for SMEs to differentiate your business offering.

    Engage with technology to accelerate growth
  • Add value to your projects

    Local authorities look to developers to consider green infrastructure at the planning stages. They are increasingly looking for different design approaches on new developments, in particular. There is little appetite for identical building developments cropping up across an area. Developers too are looking for ways to differentiate their developments to attract purchasers. That opens the field for smaller, more agile companies to bring new ideas and approaches to drainage design. With software that allows you to model different scenarios, SMEs can prove the effectiveness of innovative designs even during pre-approval conversations. 

    New development with SuDS, green roofs, permeable paving and rain gardens
  • Prove the effectiveness of your engineering

    Software is not a substitute for the engineering knowledge it takes to design drainage systems or the ability to be able to modify them to create an optimum design. But adding MicroDrainage to your engineering knowledge gives you confidence in your approach. The software gives you a way of proving that your system works and is the best it can be.

    Designers use MicroDrainage to calculate the storage estimate for the SuDS structures from basic site data and the allowed discharge rate. They can then quickly start to design their system based on these calculations before using the software for more detailed simulation of storm event scenarios, such as 1-in-2yr, 30yr, and 1-in-100 year plus 30/40% for climate change to see if the system meets the requirements.

    MDSuDS screenshot pond calculation
  • Respond to client needs

    In the UK, MicroDrainage is the standard that local authorities, designers, developers and consultancies use when creating and approving planning applications. It delivers a complete design process for SuDS structures; from design concepts to hydraulic flow analysis. As the industry standard, developers know that designs produced in MicroDrainage will be understood by approving authorities - making reviews straightforward. And, when changes are required, your design can be adjusted quickly and easily within the software, and help developers fully comply with local planning requirements for faster approvals. 

    MicroDrainage has helped one SME, WilsonDee, win large-scale contracts for its Civil Engineering Design services to produce designs for a 260-plot site and a second 227 plot site, and have secured design works with a second major housing developer for a 150-plot site within Leicestershire. You can read their story here

When you're looking for software to build your sustainable drainage design projects, check that:

  • The software is widely accepted by clients and local authorities, so your projects get faster approvals 
  • It produces 3D designs that are BIM compliant, so you can work collaboratively
  • The software helps you fit your drainage designs to the project site, budget and timeline
  • It gives you and your clients confidence that the SuDS you design are safe, sustainable and meet environmental regulations