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New BRE Trust research programme tackles built environment resilience

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The largest UK charity dedicated specifically to built environment research, the BRE Trust, has announced a major three year funding programme to improve the resilience of buildings and infrastructure to the growing threats of flooding, wind damage and overheating associated with climate change.  

In January 2014 parts of the UK experienced rainfall of three times the historic average.  An estimated 7,000 properties were flooded and 750,000 homes were left without power. This added to growing evidence that the early impacts of climate change will be the more frequent occurrence of damaging weather events, ranging from storms and flooding to heatwaves and droughts.

‘Last year’s devastating floods and storms revealed our vulnerability to extreme weather and were indicative of wider resilience problems,’ says Guy Hammersley, BRE Group Board Director, Research & Innovation. ‘Our built environment is struggling to cope with a rapidly changing world, and there is an urgent need to strengthen its resistance to short-term shocks and long-term change – and to improve its ability to quickly recover from crises.’

To this end the BRE Trust, is funding a Resilient Built Environment themed research programme, with a focus on climate resilience. Earlier research and consultations have highlighted three major climatic impacts with associated gaps in existing knowledge – flooding, wind and overheating – which are the priority areas for this programme.

The research will be closely aligned with the work of the BRE Centre for Resilience, created in 2014 to address adverse weather effects, as well as social, security and disaster issues. The BRE University Centres of Excellence are an integral part of the Centre and will also be fully integrated into the programme.

The programme will be begin in April 2015 with five initial projects on:

Flood resilient homes – repair standards.  A project to develop appropriate standards for flood resilient repairs, and technical guidance to help contractors deliver cost-effective measures.

Wind loading on buildings.  More that 90% of building wind damage occurs at wind speeds below the basic design wind pressure – this project will address this serious performance gap.

Tackling overheating in urban dwellings. This project will provide vital guidance and information based on hard scientific data, including a detailed review of the potential risk of flats to overheat.

Resilience to natural disasters.  Builds on the successful BRE Trust and IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) funded work to develop the QSAND Tool for post disaster reconstruction/redevelopment projects.

Community resilience. This will be a precursor to a wider project which is in preparation to develop a tool for assessing and managing resilience at a community level.

For further information please contact Linda McKeown, email mckeownl@bre.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR

Resilience

The BRE Centre for Resilience has defined resilience in this context as:
“The ability of assets, networks and systems to anticipate, absorb, adapt to and/or rapidly recover from a disruptive event or continual change.”

BRE Trust

The BRE Trust was set up 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 and to promote its charitable objectives.www.bretrust.org

BRE Centre for Resilience
The BRE Centre for Resilience was created in 2014 to identify the critical issues that need to be addressed as we develop and improve the homes, buildings and structures that underpin our lives into the future.www.bre.co.uk/resilience

BRE University Centres of Excellence
In collaboration with industry and academia, the BRE Trust provides funding to support research carried out at six BRE University Centres of Excellence, bringing rigorous science to solve the challenges facing the built environment. http://www.bre.co.uk/bretrust/page.jsp?id=2060