AquaFence: portable flood barrier protects skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan, New York.

30 large properties in Lower Manhattan have now been protected with AquaFence flood barriers since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Water flooded underground car garages, building lobbies and damaged vital switch centres for building operations on the ground floors and basements of many towers in the low- lying area. The costs and inconvenience to owners and tenants caused a re-think in flood protection by the companies owning some of the world’s most valuable real estate and their insurers. Lower floors, basements and sub-ground infrastructure are vulnerable to seeping water at far lower volumes than during Sandy and with higher water level peaks expected from rising tides associated with climate change Lower Manhattan will be an increasingly flood risk zone. Post-Sandy, President and CEO of MHP Real Estate Services Norman Sturer has ring fenced his 41-story, Class A office tower at 180 Maiden Lane with a 2.1 metre FM approved barrier AquaFence. He says the steel and aluminium structure ‘creates a bathtub surrounding the entire property[.…] We’ve made arrangements for everything but an over 7 ft. flood.’ AquaFence has also just been installed by the Rockrose Real Estate Group at 200 Water Street, their 32-story luxury apartment building in Lower Manhattan. The Norwegian flood barrier company custom tailored the barrier for the project by extending their 2.1 metre high flood panels to 2.4 metres high. West Village Houses, a coop with around 4000 apartments in Lower Manhattan managed by Lawrence Properties are installing 4 of their 5-storey buildings with 1.2, 1.8 and 2.1 high Aquafences: during Hurricane Sandy power cut out and flooded the basement and ground-floor apartments, leaving 33 families homeless. Lawrence’s MD Cirulli was particularly concerned about mould starting in the ground floors and rapidly spreading to the upper floors.

AquaFence FM Approved flood protection increasingly deployed in the USA

With certification for the 1.2 metre Aquafence barrier from FM Approvals, part of the world’s largest commercial property insurer FM Global, and other Aquafence barriers undergoing the approvals process, the Norwegian flood protection systems are likely to continue to be increasingly deployed at some of the world’s largest commercial buildings in the USA and abroad.