Building Resilience to Flooding
A blog by Thomas Lennon
Following storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge no one can be in any doubt that the flooding of our towns, cities and properties is on the increase. Flooding cannot be prevented, it is estimated that in Scotland 284,00 homes and properties are at risk of flooding. Around 229,000 of these properties at risk are homes. This means that 1 in 11 homes in Scotland is currently at risk.
As a response to this risk the Property Flood Resilience Delivery Group (PFRDG) was established in 2019 made up of a range of stakeholders working to ensure Scotland is better prepared for flood events. As part of the PFRDG, the Building Standards Division (BSD) have played an important role in developing how Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures can be incorporated into new and existing homes and properties.
The PFRDG’s aim is to improve the flood resilience of Scotland properties, help raise awareness of the benefits of PFR and encourage property owners, the construction and insurance industries and general public of the benefits of PFR measures. An Action Plan for delivering property flood resilience in Scotland was published in November 2019 ‘Living with Flooding’.
The Action Plan was required as flooding is becoming more frequent and certain properties will flood repeatedly. Unfortunately, the uptake of PFR in Scotland is not very high as people are often unaware that such materials and products exist that may be of use in the defence of their homes and properties. Reliable information is required to help owners make informed choices on how to better protect their properties.
Property Flood Resilience helps make buildings more resilient to the effects of flooding and to lessen the emotional impact for people who have been affected by a flood event. Properties will normally require a mixture of methods which provide resistance measures to prevent water from entering the building, and when water does enter the property, resilience measures to minimise the impact and damage the water does and to assist in speeding up the recover and remedial works that are necessary to allow the occupants back into their properties.
BSD as part of the Action Plan have been tasked with investigating and providing evidence that informs change to the Scottish Building Regulations Technical Handbooks, Standard 3.3 ‘Flooding and groundwater’. To include PFR in policy and guidance to provide consistent guidance at national level. To achieve this objective a survey to be completed by 17 March 2020 has been issued asking for views on Standard 3.3 and associated guidance within the Technical Handbooks and how from a user’s perspective the improvements could be made. In addition to the survey, a Code of practice for property flood resilience has been led by Building Research Establishment (BRE) for Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA). This document will be published later in 2020.
The PFRDG survey takes only 10 minutes and I would encourage you to complete it. A similar survey will be issued later this year that will consider how Scottish Planning Guidance and polices could be strengthened in relation to resistance and resilience measures.