SuDS: standards, guidance and design tools

A guide to the basis and requirements of current criteria and methods for delivering compliant surface water management systems


This course focuses on giving a detailed understanding of surface water drainage planning and design to meet current standards and best practice guidance.

This course takes you step by step through the basis and requirements of current design criteria and methods for delivering compliant surface water management systems in the UK. You will learn how to use the most popular free tools available on the website; you will have an overview of the inputs, outputs and parameters required for detailed modelling; and you will develop your skills in assessing drainage submissions.

Although this course assumes that you are already familiar with the concept of SuDS and are aware of standards and guidance available in the UK, an overview of both is provided at the start of the course. For simplicity, the course focuses on the requirements for developments in England, but requirements in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also referred to where appropriate.

Course content

The course includes detailed explanation of the technical basis and the requirements of the current standards and good practice guidance in the UK. The course has a particular focus on hydraulic and water quality management of surface water runoff, with an emphasis of setting these in the context of designing schemes that deliver across all four categories of SuDS benefits (hydraulics/water quantity, water quality, amenity and biodiversity).

Hydraulics/water quantity

  • SuDS design criteria relevant to flood risk management
  • Greenfield runoff estimation methods, models and tools
  • Previously developed runoff estimation methods, models and tools
  • Runoff estimates for the proposed development site, models and tools (including climate change and urban creep factors)
  • Attenuation storage volume estimation methods, models and tools
  • Volume control methods
  • Peak flow control methods
  • Interception: rules of thumb and calculation methods
  • Infiltration design
  • Hydraulic considerations for steep sites, flat sites, and sites with high groundwater levels.

Water quality

  • Background and evidence relating to groundwater and surface water risks from urban runoff
  • Methods available for assessing water quality risks and the suitability of proposed mitigation strategies
  • The variation in requirements of the EA and SEPA
  • The SuDS Manual Simple Index Assessment method

The course programme will enable you to become familiar with the most popular free tools hosted on the website – these being the greenfield runoff estimation tool, the storage volume estimation tool and the Simple Index Approach spreadsheet for water quality management.

The course is also aimed at increasing your understanding and ability to evaluate the suitability of key characteristics of a SuDS scheme.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for you if you are a:

  • Developer or consultant – to understand what is required of drainage designs to secure LPA approval and the guidance and tools available to support the design process.
  • LPA SuDS approval officer – to understand how to evaluate drainage submissions in line with national standards and guidance.

However, you may also find the course of value if you are a product manufacturer, a regulator or other environmental consultant, and any other type of SuDS practitioners.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, you will be aware of and understand the key criteria and requirements of current standards, and understand how to design and approve surface water management systems that:

  • ensure that the proposed development does not make downstream flood risk worse;
  • do not put the proposed development at risk in terms of flooding;
  • are functional (i.e. the infiltration, conveyance, storage, flow control and exceedance flow management designs are robust);
  • protect groundwater (in line with the requirements of the environmental regulators);
  • do not pose a pollution risk to receiving surface water bodies (including those with environmental designations);
  • are suitably resilient to future climate change and urban creep risks.

You will also:

  • understand the different ways of estimating runoff rates from greenfield and developed sites;
  • understand the different tools available to help with estimating storage volumes and treatment requirements;
  • understand the different tools available to undertake detailed analysis of the drainage system, and how to ensure that robust inputs deliver robust outputs.
Course structure - online

The course is a combination of recorded and live sessions delivered across an eight week period, and spread over seven modules.

These modules comprise pre-recorded lectures, mini quizzes and exercises using tools. These are available for you to view and complete anytime and at your own pace, and when convenient for you. 

In addition, there will be the opportunity to attend two live sessions at intervals during the course with the course tutors for Q&A and discussion. These live sessions are also recorded and will be made available afterwards.

All course materials will be issued on the course start date, and on receipt of payment of the course fee.

The course fee per delegate is £150.00 (excl VAT).

We will be running these online courses on a regular basis so if you find it’s fully booked, there will be another course happening soon after. You can contact us by email to register your interest.

Course structure – classroom

This one-day classroom course is delivered at our offices in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

The course content is spread over one day with discussion and debate sessions, allowing attendees time to become familiar with runoff and storage estimation tools, and understand and evaluate the suitability of key scheme characteristics.

The course fee per delegate is £299.00 (excl VAT). Discounts are available for multiple bookings.

About this course

12 hours (online)
Rivers drainage and flooding
£150.00 excl VAT ?

Course dates

Dates to be confirmed

Course leaders

Bridget Woods-Ballard

Principal Engineer
+44 (0)1491 822899

Helen Udale-Clarke

Principal Engineer
+44 (0)1491 822899

Excellent course, great content, really enjoyed it being online.

Past delegate

Really enjoyed the course ... Confirmed lots of different applications. Was worried that one day would not be sufficient, one day was perfect.

Past delegate

Fantastic course and thoroughly enjoyed. I feel well-prepared and confident.

Past delegate

I found it all very helpful and well organised ... it is nice to be able to pace it during my normal work day.

Past delegate

Lots of information, knowledgeable lecturers, good to have examples to practice and go through after.

Past delegate

Course very well structured to provide useful guidance for using and providing sufficient background info to ensure correct use.

Past delegate