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Self Activating Flood Barrier

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

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

In line with market requirements, UKFB International 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 Flood Barrier’ (SAFB).


The SAFB’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 SAFB 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.


How it works:

Self Activating Flood Barrier - Resting Position

Resting Position

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

Self Activating Flood Barrier - Deploying


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.

Self Activating Flood Barrier - Fully Deployed

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. 

Key benefits

  • 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

At a glance


‘No people; no power’
No human, mechanical or electrical intervention: No warning system required. The SAFB uses the power of the rising flood water to deploy.


Proven technology
The new generation SAFB 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 SAFB 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. UK Flood Barriers can offer a 10 year inclusive maintenance package on its installations


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

Watch the Self Activating Flood Barrier Video:


Self Activating Flood Barrier - Sea Wall

In coastal locations, the Self Activating Flood Barrier can be used within a sea wall. 

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, and
SAFB floating wall is places in the in-built channel.
• The extra height given by the floating wall will
then provide the additional protection required
for years to come.

The Self Activating Flood Barrier is patent protected.