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Leading the world in effective, passive flood defence, The Self Activating Barrier (SAB), is a bespoke, multi-purpose solution designed to help manage flood risk across the globe.

The SAB is BIM Level 2 Compliant.


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M3 Floodtec specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of passive flood defence solutions and have been installing the self activating barrier range around the world longer than any other company in the industry.

In line with market requirements, M3 Floodtec has further innovated its original design (as installed in Cockermouth) to increase durability and incorporate the option for a secondary ‘Duty Assist Mode’ (DAM) deployment. This ‘new’ generation barrier is known as the ‘Self Activating Barrier’ (SAB).

The SAB’s success can be attributed to its’ simple yet ingenious approach to flood defence, using the advancing floodwaters to automatically raise the barrier; effectively using the problem to create a highly effective solution. As well as activating automatically, the SAB DAM can also be activated by the means of an inflatable airbag remotely operated by a push switch or telemetry system. The DAM allows the end user to have full control over the barrier, enabling deployment in any situation, from pre-empting a storm to routine maintenance checks.

Whilst in its resting position, all operational parts of the barrier are invisibly concealed in the underground basin, sheltering seals from the elements. When the floodwater has risen to within 10cm below the pre-flood level the basin, housing the floating wall, starts to fill up prompting the barrier to rise and become fully deployed. A similar concept is adopted with the use of DAM; rather than using the power of incoming floodwaters to deploy, air is filled into the inflatable airbag replicating the pressure required for the barrier to deploy into position.



  • Passive, long term, cost effective solution
  • Can be installed to any length, with post breaks every 12 metres
  • Invisible when closed, allowing for normal traffic flow and uninterrupted views
  • Whilst in its resting position, all operational parts of the barrier are invisibly concealed in the underground basin, sheltering seals from the elements and human interference
  • Low maintenance and minimal ongoing operational costs
  • Not subject to vandalism


  • Along a waterway, river or coastal terrain
  • Within flood walls
  • To surround a building
  • To protect underground carparks
  • In a roadway
  • To surround critical infrastructure



'No people; no power'

No human, mechanical or electrical intervention: No warning system required. The SAB uses the power of the rising flood water to deploy.


Proven technology

The new generation SAB builds on the passive defence technology that has already been tried, tested and used extensively around the World in actual flood events


Duty Assist Mode

The SAB can be supplied with integrated airbags and compressor so it can be deployed at the touch of a button or via telemetry independent of a flood


Full protection

The system offers full aperture protection to commercial and residential communities as long as necessary or required


High water levels

Optimal protection against extreme high water levels – barrier height up to 2.5m and installed to any length


Long life

Designed to last in excess of 50 years. In its resting position the barrier, its components and seals are fully protected and don’t wear


Minimal maintenance

Remains virtually maintenance free for many years.



In its resting position, the barrier is invisible and fully self-protected



Can be linked to a telemetry system for remote monitoring and control (early warning system alerts people to its imminent deployment)


Long term cost efficiency

No ongoing costs associated with deployment, storage or operation



Resting Position

Following installation and in non-flood conditions, all operational parts of the barrier are concealed in the underground basin.



When floodwater rises to within 10cm (or another predetermined level) below the flood level, the basin housing the floating wall starts to fill up through an inlet pipe from the adjacent service pit.


Fully Deployed

The flood wall floats and rises. When the basin is totally filled, the angled support block will 'lock' the barrier into position making it watertight. The floodwater can now continue to rise without flooding the protected area. 


M3-Floodtec-Self-Activating-Barrier Tech-Doc


As sea levels rise and weather patterns worsen due to climatic changes, there is a real need to ensure that sea defences are constructed to cope with these changing demands. It is clearly not desirable, however, to have big walls built all around our coastline to cater for an event that may be years in the future. A system is needed whereby sea defences that are being constructed now can be built at a reasonable height but with the capacity to be extended in the future to protect against higher sea levels.

That is where the SAB comes in. M3 Floodtec technical staff have developed a system to allow sea walls to be future proofed without the need to commit large capital sums in the present day and without compromising our connection to our beautiful coastline.

The system works as follows:

  • Standard recurved seawall units are constructed with an inbuilt channel.
  • When sea levels reach a point where they are threatening to overtop the existing defences the SAB floating wall can be installed within the inbuilt channel to provide future proofing.
  • The extra height given by the floating wall will then provide the additional protection required for years to come.

The Self Activating Barrier is patent protected.



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