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BRE Flood Resilient Repair House

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Our flood-resistant demonstration home at the BRE Science Park is resilient to the effects of being flooded.

Flood Resilient Repair House details

This former Victorian terraced home has been adapted to resist flood water up to 600mm deep. It is also resilient to the effects of being flooded. It is designed to dry out quickly, so residents can move back in after a flood incident.


In a standard house, after a flood, builders repairing a flood-damaged home would strip off soggy plasterboard, take out the flooring and rip out a saturated chipboard kitchen. But, once the house has dried out, then they’d very likely put plasterboard back in, install a new chipboard kitchen, and use non-water resistant flooring and insulation materials. If the home were to flood again in the future, all of these would be damaged once again.

The BRE Flood Resilient Repair Home aims to show alternative, more resilient products that will not be affected by subsequent flooding. It also shows how simple measures, such as placing electrical outlets higher up walls and using doors and windows with flood resisting seals, can help minimise future damage. And, if water does get in, an automatic ‘sump pump’ connected to drains in the floor quickly gets water out of the house again.


Flood-resistant measures

The measures taken to make the home resistant and resilient to flooding include:

  • Water resistant insulation in the walls and under the floor (such as spray-applied PUR foam or injected foamed cavity insulation).

  • Kitchen units and doors made from resin-bonded board, and fitted with all-ceramic worktops.

  • Waterproof magnesium oxide wall boards instead of plasterboard, or, if plasterboard is used, this is fitted horizontally so that in future only the lower boards need replacement if damaged.

  • Ceramic tiled floor and loose rugs in place of fitted carpets.


Keeping vulnerable items out of harm’s way

The measures taken to help keep vulnerable items out of the way of any future flood water include:

  • Sockets and switches placed higher up the wall, and the wiring to them all coming from the ceiling.

  • Appliances in the kitchen (fridge, oven, washing machine etc) mounted at worktop height.

  • The lower kitchen cupboards fitted with slide-out baskets so that they can be taken out and placed on the worktop if flooding is imminent.

Preventing seepage

To prevent flooding entering the property by seepage from under the floor (which happens as groundwater rises, even if floodwater doesn’t reach the door), the house features:

  • Membranes installed under the floor and in the walls to divert water. The membrane in the wall means that if the adjoining property floods, water that seeps through the wall from next door is channelled away to prevent damage on your side. This allows repairs to start even if the neighbouring property is still affected.

  • Drainage channels beneath the floor around the perimeter of the room to clear any groundwater.

  • A sump in the corner of the home fitted with automatic pumps to remove the water, pumping it outside, before it can reach up to the floor.


Stemming the flow

Finally, to stem the flow of any flooding that reaches above the door sill level, the home also benefits from:

  • Enhanced seals and locks to the doors and windows to make them flood-proof.

  • Air brick covers.

  • One-way valves in the main drains to prevent water coming up into the home via the sewers.

  • Drains fitted flush with the floor connected direct to the sump and pump (and so independent from the ‘mains drainage’). These can rapidly clear any flooding that does get into the home, pumping it out above the external floodwater level.


Building flood resilience into the fabric of Britain

Read the blog below from Chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, and chair of the The property flood resilience action plan, former BRE Chief Executive Peter Bonfield:

Our climate is changing. We are seeing more extreme weather events which could lead to increases in heavy rainfall and significantly increased risks from river and surface water flooding. A growing population means more houses, which means more people will be at risk.

As seen on BBC Countryfile

For the filming for BBC Countryfile (broadcast in 2017), several thousand litres of water poured into the home. Although this only created a shallow ‘flood’, this would have caused severe damage to most homes, and taken days or weeks to properly dry out. Here, just an hour after filming was completed, the water had all been removed via the floor drains and sump pump, the floor was dry and you would not have known that the house had been flooded at all.

Explore the Innovation Zone at the BRE Science Park

Explore the Innovation Zone at the BRE Science Park

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