Safe as houses

A patented solution for a flood-proof house Please see FlodProfHouse.pdf The Environment Agency predicts as a result of climate change the number of people at high risk from flooding could rise from 1.5 million to 3.5 million by 2080, and the annual cost of damage from flooding could rise from the present level of 1 billion to 25 billion Which 2009 news Current ambitious housing plans to build three million houses by 2020 could be in jeopardy unless effective flood-proof measures are put in place to reduce flood risk. Fletcher Priest Architects with Price and Myers Structural Engineers have collaborated to develop and test a cost-effective proposal for a flood-proof house designed and patented by inventor Tom Meere.

The simple and effective idea is comparable to a vehicle airbag. It is an invisible and reliable mechanical device that is activated in an emergency and can be incorporated into a broad range of house types without compromising their appearance. The concept is simple. Traditional external masonry walls are built around a cellar. Lightweight internal timber walls and roof sit on a buoyant foundation. In a flood, the cellar fills and the inner shell rises held by posts fixed to the outside wall. When the water level falls, the house lowers with it. Importantly, the device works with the flood water, not against it and does not affect the flood storage capacity or the movement of water across the site.

Excavated material can be used to re-grade the site and the housing can be built using traditional building materials and construction methods. Houses can be fully DDA compliant. The next step is to test and refine a prototype to illustrate the merits of this approach.