RIBA: UK must build flood resilient homes

May 8, 2018 / Isla MacFarlane
RIBA: UK must build flood resilient homes

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published a new report outlining what the government needs to do to help create homes and communities that are resilient to flood damage.

RIBA’s The Value of Flood Resilient Architecture and Design report stresses that the UK can no longer base its approach to managing flood risk on simply keeping the water out. The government needs to enable communities to manage their risks. This means better equipping people and businesses to live with water; being able to stop water entering their properties and speeding recovery if it does.

The RIBA report advocates building flood resilient homes and buildings. To do this it recommends that the government develops a new approach to decision-making and regulation in tackling flooding threats, encourages innovation in flooding resilience in the housing and urban design sector, and introduces specific building regulations for flood resilience and resistance – ensuring that these are taken up by any building owner exposed to flood risk.

The report concludes that embedding flood resilient design will help future-proof new developments and deliver greater value for money when investments in new flood defences are made. In addition, there is room for the UK to become a leader in this area, paving the way with innovative responses and solutions to flooding.

RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said, “In the next 30 years, the number of homes at risk of flooding is expected to double. Now is the time to adapt and think creatively about how to tackle this threat. The RIBA urges the Government to step up and encourage the collaboration and innovation needed to create new homes and communities that are resilient to the devastating effects of flooding.”

The report makes five key recommendations for government:

  • Improved decision-making processes which address a broader range of factors and potential solutions to water management issues;
  • Pilot ‘Licences for Innovation’ to examine the effectiveness of new approaches to managing flood risk in new development to flooding and ensure all new buildings incorporate appropriate measures;
  • Examine the potential for regulations on flood resilience to be linked to Flood Zone Designations through Building Regulations and planning policy;
  • Regulate to ensure that all new developments in flood risk areas demonstrate reduced exposure and vulnerability to flood damage as well as broader benefits to the resilience of the local area;
  • Encourage greater uptake of flood-resilient design by home and building owners exposed to flood risk.
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