Flood Resilient Construction for Dummies

Flood Resilient Construction for Dummies

27th February 2017

Last week’s Storm Doris brought with it strong winds and heavy rains that have led to some areas of the UK being affected by severe flooding once more.  Whether it’s down to global warming or just part of a long-term weather change the planet is undergoing, flooding seems to have become an inevitable part of life here in the UK and we’ve become used to regularly watching news reports of flood damage as large parts of our country are inundated with water following heavy rains. 

The Environment Agency is responsible for flood and coastal erosion risk management strategies and uses a wide range of different measures to address the flood and coastal erosion risks to both communities and properties.  Each location has to be considered on an individual basis to ensure that the relevant measures are being taken, these include:

·         Floor storage reservoirs

·         Building flood and coastal defences

·         Land management

·         Portable defences that can be easily deployed in areas at risk.

However, the UK government’s Department for Communities and Local Government has responsibility for both planning and building regulations and, as such, has published guidance for both developers and designers on how to improve the resilience of new properties in low or residual flood areas by using suitable materials and construction details.  The guidance document offers practical and simple to use guidance on the design and specification of new buildings (mostly residential property) in order to reduce the impacts of flooding, along with recommendations for the construction of flood-resistant and resilient buildings.

It’s essential that new buildings are designed to cope adequaterly with floodwaters and minimise the time for re-occupation after any flooding event.  There is a range of construction measures that can be useful in reducing the flooding risk at a site

·         Flood Avoidance – constructing a building and its surrounds in such a way to avoid it being flooded.  For example, re-siting outside of the flood risk area, raising the building above flood level.

·         Flood Resistance – constructing a building in such a way to prevent floodwater entering and damaging the fabric of a building.

·         Flood Resilience – construcing a building in such a way that, although floodwater may eventer the building, its impact is greatly reduced.  For example, structural integrity of the building is maintained in the event of a flood so that no permanent damage is caused and the drying and cleaning process is easier.

·         Flood Repairable – constructing a building in such a way that when flood water enters, elements that would be damaged by it can be easily repaired or replaced – this is also a type of flood resilience.

Here at Safety Fabrications, our main interest is in working at height – after all we’re a major supplier of access equipment.  However, we do like to keep our eye on all aspects of construction so that we can keep our readers well informed and up to date with all the latest trends within the industry.  Flooding in the UK seems to be here to stay, so it’s up to us as an industry to adapt to the changing times and changing weather in order to ensure that our buildings (both commercial and residential) can weather the storms in the coming years.