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Academic Medical Centre, New York City


30m x 2.5m
Self Activating Flood Barrier

A state of the art, academic medical centre in New York City.

In order to make the Science Building sustainable for the long term, effective flood management was high on the list of priorities from day one. 

During March/April 2017, a 30m wide Self Activating Flood Barrier is being installed at the medical centre. The passive barrier, designed by our specialist technical staff and manufactured in New York State, will be ready to deploy at all times, providing 2.5m high flood protection to the main entrance of the new building.

The barrier is self-contained underground when not in use. This brings the benefits of minimal maintenance, being vandal proof, having no restrictions to vehicle or pedestrian access and having no costly storage and delivery charges in times of flood.

This project has been several years in planning and by getting our specialist technical staff involved in the early design stage, allowed the foundations of the building to be designed to include the installation of the Self Activating Flood Barrier.

This is Phase One of the New York project - Phase Two is a 68m Self Activating Flood Barrier installed at another key location of this new facility.


SAFB being delivered to site in NYC


Installation work begins


72m wide SAFB protecting medical centre entrance




68m long Self Activating Flood Barrier
90° turn included


Following the successful installation of a 30m long Self Activating Flood Barrier to protect Phase One of this Academic Medical Centre complex, our specialist technical staff embarked upon Phase 2 of the project – the installation of a 68m long Barrier to protect another key location of this new facility. 

This new academic medical centre has been designed to provide both staff and patients alike with the most innovative, state of the art academic facilities available anywhere in the world. the Medical Centre is set to open in 2018. 

It’s little wonder therefore that this innovative approach to the patient experience was adopted across all infrastructure elements with effective flood management high on the list of priorities from day one.

The need to make this critical public facility sustainable for the long term, enabling services to remain operational even in a serious flood situation was fundamental. It was, therefore, the passive, non-intrusive nature of the SAFB technology that made it a natural choice. 


Working with local contractor Commodore, the main project contractor, our specialist technical staff designed a 68m long SAFB, the first ever that had to accommodate a 90-degree turn. 

Such a major project required intensive liaison between all contractors and sub-contractors and our specialist technical staff provided their specialist flood expertise 24/7 be that in the UK or onsite in New York.  Adopting a ‘partnership’ approach with both Commodore and Turners teams was invaluable to the smooth delivery of the project.  

Like the SAFB recently installed to protect the first phase of the medical centre development, this wider design treatment is self-contained below ground when not in use making it vandal proof. It will provide 2.5m high flood protection, require minimal maintenance & will not restrict vehicular or pedestrian access.

Learning from the first installation, our specialist technical staff recognised that an all-embracing delivery/logistics programme was crucial to delivering this project efficiently and effectively.

The Medical Centre’s location in the centre of New York City meant tight delivery schedules had to be adhered to. Manoeuvring the large barrier panels on to site whilst still maintaining full access to the rest of the building was particularly challenging. Working to a comprehensive logistics programme however, the team succeeded in installing the 68m long barrier in a little under 8 days. 

Another key challenge was the need to retain an important fire exit situated along the route of the barrier.

This was overcome by creating the Barrier in 3 sections – 2 large sections making up 66m of the total span and a separate 2m section designed to protect the fire exit.  Whilst all 3 sections will effectively operate ‘passively’ together in the event of a flood incident, the 2m section can also be operated manually for fire certificate testing purposes.  

Clearly, the entire design & installation had to adhere to stringent New York Building codes and given the building’s high level of vulnerability, the SAFB needed to meet hydrostatic and wave load protection standards.

Ensuring that the ‘local’ US installation team was appropriately trained and fully understood these nuances of effective flood defence was also a task that was successfully delivered on site by our specialist technical staff. 

Working with the US manufacturers and suppliers and having our specialist technical staff on the ground throughout the manufacture and installation ensured a smooth process from kick-off to final delivery.  


Barriers transported to NYC


Barriers delivered to site


Installation work