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Richard Wilks

Building for flood resilience

November 24, 2016 | Posted by
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Flood resilient building under construction

Flood-resilient buildings are designed and constructed to reduce the impact of flood water entering the building so that no permanent damage is caused, structural integrity is maintained and drying and cleaning is easier. The Department for Communities and Local Government has published guidance on how to improve the resilience of new properties in low or residual flood risk areas by the use of suitable materials and construction details and many local authorities in the UK now require specific measures to be designed into any new property that is proposed to be built in a potential flood risk area, as part of the planning conditions.

Charcon Integrated Solutions have recently been involved in two separate projects built on the banks of the river Thames and both incorporating flood resistant construction using a series of bored concrete mini-piles together with a raised precast concrete podium deck on which the house is constructed using Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF) to a very high level of insulation values. Once planning permission has been granted and the need for flood resistant measures identified by the LA, a site survey and soil investigation report is undertaken to establish the ground conditions and to identify any potential problem issues with sub-strata across the footprint of the building.

This data is collated and discussed with the Charcon design team to establish a provisional design strategy for the groundworks and foundations package. A costing exercise is then undertaken and presented to the client based upon this information in conjunction with the site specific guidance issued by the local authority, this normally includes a specific raised datum level that the finished floor of the new property has to be built above the existing ground level. In the case of the two projects built recently by Charcon, this required a raised floor level some 1.5m above the ground level.

The concept of this type of design is to recognise the fact that the river will at some point burst it’s banks and flood over the adjoining land and simply allow it to do this, but by designing the ground floor level of the new house to be raised up on a structural podium deck, this allows for the river to flood underneath the house preventing any direct damage within the dwelling itself. Services and utilities into the new house are designed to have non return valves to prevent any likelihood of flood water being able to enter via these connections. Designing with these measures allows development still to take place on land that would previously been viewed as unusable and/or uninsurable and allows prime river frontage plots to still be developed successfully. For further details please contact our Charcon Integrated Solutions team.

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