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Climate, Environment, Buildings & Energy

Flood Resilient Construction
Improving the Flood Performance of New Buildings through Improved Materials, Methods and DetailsProject Reference Number CI 71/8/5 (BD 2471)

The recent instances of severe flooding in the UK together with predictions on future flooding from the OST Foresight project have given rise to significant interest by Government, financial institutions, insurers, the construction industry and the general public for the need to improve the local flood protection of buildings. This has been driven by the requirement to protect the health and safety of the individuals living and working in affected properties, as well as the need to reduce the economic cost of flooding. The location of developments and buildings and their height above ground and local water levels are planning issues covered in Planning Policy Guidance which encourages development away from areas at risk of flooding. However, there is a level of residual risk for developments in marginal areas and in areas that become at risk as a result of climate change. Accordingly, it is essential that new developments are constructed appropriately to minimise the risk of flooding to occupants and users of buildings. The flood protection industry, regulators and other stakeholders in the management of flooding are concerned about the lack of detailed knowledge on the resistance and resilience to flood waters of building materials, construction methods and building designs, and also the effective use of flood protection measures. There is a lack of both field performance data and also science-based information on how buildings, walls and floors behave in flood conditions. The use of inappropriate building materials could result in poor performance and in the extreme could affect the structural performance of buildings and the health of occupants. Current guidance on improving the flood resistance of new and extended buildings has, in the main, been developed on the basis of expert opinion and there is now a clear need to enhance our knowledge through scientific analysis. The aim of this project was to identify how existing and new knowledge could be incorporated into the Building Regulations and to produce guidance for new dwellings consistent with Government initiatives and common construction practices. A wide variety of individuals and organisations were consulted and contributed to the final outputs.

The role of Leeds Metropolitan University in the project was to provide support to the other team members in terms of specialist knowledge of construction materials, construction forms, construction technology and building regulations. Leeds Met also had specific responsibility for the background literature survey.

Key Project Tasks

1. Review of Existing information – A review of worldwide literature and guidance on flood resilience and flood resistance of new and existing building. (Carried out by Leeds Metropolitan University)
2. Health and Safety Implications –Investigation of the health and safety factors that will feed into the relevant Building Regulations with respect to flooding in order to prioritise factors that might reduce the health and safety impacts of flooding through inclusion in Building Regulations (Carried out by Waterman Group)
3. Laboratory Research – Test programme to determine the flood resilience and resistance of common construction materials and construction forms to static hydraulic loads. (Carried out by HR Wallingford)
4. Development of a new guidance document for the construction of flood resilient dwellings (Carried out by HR Wallingford and CIRIA)

Project Partners

CIRIA – Project Manager
HR Wallingford – Lead Research Partner
WRc – Research Partner
Waterman Group – Research Partner

Project Reports and Refereed Publications

Wingfield. J., Bell, M. & Bowker, P. (2005) Improving the Flood Performance of New Buildings through Improved Materials, Methods and Details - Report Number WP2c – Review of Existing Information and Experience (Final Report), Interim Report to ODPM Building Regulations Division under the Building Regulations Framework, Project Reference Number CI 71/8/5 (BD 2471), Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds
Improving the Flood Performance of New Buildings

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