BRE to showcase new flood resilient home

New project demonstrates how clever design coupled with building, material and product innovation can help homeowners limit damage and recover quickly from flooding.

A housing unit within the BRE Victorian Terrace demonstration project is being refurbished with a range materials, products and innovations that will make it flood resilient.

The project, which is being funded by the BRE Trust and global insurance organisation AXA, (with contributions from a range of other partners*) comes in the wake of recent flooding in the UK that caused significant damage to properties with repair costs that ranging from £30k-£100k per dwelling.

‘There are an estimated 5.2 million homes considered at risk from surface, river and coastal flooding. Preventative measures play a key role but given the scale of our vulnerability, we need to think more practically about flooding and start to adapt to ‘living with water’ says Stephen Garvin, Director of the BRE Centre for Resilience. So fitting a house with resilient technologies and testing its ability to bounce back from water ingress is the first step on this journey.’

The aim of the project is to raise awareness amongst contractors and householders of the most effective ways to repair and refurbish a house that has been flooded which may be at risk of being flooded again.

It aims to show that by adopting resilient materials and products a home can recover quickly and with limited damage helping residents get back on their feet quickly and easily.

The project shows that improved thermal performance and comfort levels can be introduced to bring the properties up to modern building regulations for energy and ventilation.

The project demonstrates both resistance to flood water, as well as the resilience if water gets into the property. Along with flood resistant doors, windows and a resilient kitchen, the project will also include water resistant wall and floor membranes that channel water towards drains and sumps that disperse water quickly.

Different types of water resistant insulation will be applied including injected cavity wall insulation, thermal board and PUR spray foam. Resilient surfaces such as robust boards and cement tanking will also be demonstrated. The floor insulation will also be improved and different types of floor covering will be featured. The project will also feature toilet and sink non-return valves and will address practical issues like where to place the electrics and home appliances.

Once refurbished the home will be put to the test by flooding it with water and monitoring how quickly the home recovers and is functional again, and what damage occurs.

Amanda Blanc, CEO UK & Ireland, General Insurance said ‘As the country faces the prospect of more severe weather striking more often, government, insurers and society need to work together to ensure that our homes and businesses are protected against the worst effects of flooding. Flood defences and the right insurance cover are vital elements of that but increasingly, the use of resilient repairs is a key tool that we can use to reduce the impact of flooding. AXA is committed to investigating all forms of protection for our customers which is why we are working with and funding the BRE to help them carry out this important work. We eagerly await the results of their research and the potential implications for homeowners and businesses across the country.’

The project links to a BRE Trust funded programme for developing appropriate standards for post-flood resilient repairs, and technical guidance to help contractors deliver cost-effective measures.

The BRE Victorian Terrace is one of 13 ground-breaking demonstration buildings of the future on the world renowned BRE Innovation Park in Watford. The buildings address a number of challenges faced by the built environment including climate change mitigation and climate adaption, fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

For further information contact Linda McKeown, BRE, email linda.mckeown@bre.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR

*Partners involved with the project: BRE Trust, AXA Insurance, Property Care Association, Cunningham Lindsey and Natural Cement Distribution

BRE Trust

The BRE Trust is the largest UK charity dedicated specifically to research and education in the built environment. Set up in 2002 to advance knowledge, innovation and communication for public benefit, the Trust uses all profits made by the BRE Group to fund new research and education programmes that will help to meet its goal of ‘building a better world together’. www.bretrust.co.uk