Choosing a drainage design solution

Mark Ellis Mark Ellis July 19, 2023

3 min read

What are the factors that should lead us to choose a drainage design solution? Or as I am sometimes asked by customers: “Should I use InfoDrainage or InfoWorks ICM for drainage design?”

This might not even be the right question to ask. Perhaps it is more about aligning the right tools with the right problems and leveraging an overall solution of interconnected software to help optimise workflows and enable project success.

Start by considering design needs, SuDS, and regulatory requirements

There is rarely a one size to fit all when looking for any software solution. When you are considering software solutions, it’s important to have a clear definition of your challenges and prioritise your needs accordingly.
When we are thinking about drainage design, often we will discuss ensuring an optimum design, consideration of the SuDS four pillars driving the need to understand more than just water quantity and needing to deliver consistent outputs for submission in line with regional regulations.

Even if you already know your design and local regulatory needs, stepping back to consider the four pillars of SuDS design can help you decide – and help you manage surface water for maximum benefit

Both apps can help you take a more sustainable approach by addressing the 4 pillars of SuDS.

Should I choose InfoDrainage or InfoWorks ICM for drainage design?

In my simplistic terms, you should perform dedicated site level drainage design with InfoDrainage versus wider more detailed 1D/2D catchment level analysis using InfoWorks ICM. This is a huge oversimplification but my attempt at a one-line summary.

One reason there is rarely an exact answer to this type of question is that there is clearly some functionality and usability crossover, which is inevitable when creating engineering solutions designed for the whole water cycle. As such you could use InfoWorks ICM to achieve a level of design, as you could use InfoDrainage to do a level of 2D modelling.

The case for InfoDrainage

I always think it is important to make the distinction that InfoDrainage is a dedicated drainage design tool. It has been created specifically to allow users to produce detailed designs of both traditional and sustainable drainage and provide design outputs for submission to approving authorities.

InfoDrainage delivers an intuitive graphical interface, highly detailed SuDS analysis, intelligent Civil3D data integrations and streamlined workflows to improve design accuracy and efficiency. It’s built to allow you to design creative sustainable drainage structures as true to life as possible, as well as improve your ability to model and communicate increasingly complex drainage solutions.

The case for going further with InfoWorks ICM

That said, InfoWorks ICM offers a significant increase of functionality beyond that typically required for design projects but would not support such a streamlined design workflow as optimally as InfoDrainage working alongside Civil3D.

Likewise, the InfoDrainage 1D/2D capabilities are optimised for modelling exceedance flows from designs but would hit 2D constraints when considering the complex requirements of catchment wide analysis. InfoWorks ICM is built to scale and perform fully integrated river, urban drainage and overland flow modelling for multi-disciplinary teams delivering detailed analysis of urban and rural catchments.

Thinking beyond design in isolation

The outputs from a drainage design project often initiate wider processes across our industry, in disciplines such as BIM, modelling and asset management. Therefore, designs can be easily imported from InfoDrainage into InfoWorks ICM, enabling the notion that site designs can be incorporated into wider catchment analysis. InfoDrianage offers seamless integration with Civil 3D, ensuring your drainage design is fully compatible with wider site or infrastructure developments and reducing time and costs in design interactions and data exchange while helping to satisfy BIM requirements.

Such data integrations help to demonstrate how using InfoDrainage as a dedicated drainage design tool is not a limitation but helps to streamline workflows and maximize efficiencies especially when done as part of a wider solution encompassing several connected solutions.

What are your specific challenges?

As is often the case there is not always a one-size-fits-all solution. Most importantly, and before making your decision, you need to understand your specific challenges to help inform and prioritise the correct choice of solution, to ensure you are set up to deliver success for now and the future. Need help? Reach out to us. We can help you narrow down your choice based on your specific needs.

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