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Lessons from BRE’s flood house

7 January 2019

Fire services test the flood house resilience

The BRE has been demonstrating flood resilience measures at its innovation park.

The property flood resilience (PFR) approach of combining some protection to keep water out, with resilience for rapid recovery, has been demonstrated over the past two years at BRE’s Garston Innovation Park.

The Flood Resilient Repair Home at the park has enhanced seals to doors and windows and has membranes for diverting water seepage through walls and floors towards drainage channels and a sump pump.

Inside there are water-resistant wall and under-floor insulation, plus a waterproof kitchen, wallboards instead of plasterboard and ceramic tiles with rugs in place of carpets. Sockets and wiring are raised and white goods are at worktop height. A large tank of water on the roof is opened to flood the home to show how it all works.

“It’s a fairly low-tech solution, but having this flood resilient home on show is important for aiding people’s understanding, by demonstrating the theory of PFR,” says David Kelly, group director for BRE’s Centre for Resilience and Innovation Parks Network (and member of the PFR code steering group).

“PFR is a sensible approach. In most cases there is a balance to be had between flood resistance and properties’ resilience to flooding.”

BRE is planning an event for February 2019, for “refreshing” the PFR measures demonstrated at Garston. “We want industry to submit their ideas and will be issuing an invite for this in the New Year,” Kelly says.

Testing the resilience of the BRE flood house

1. Waterproof membrane and resilient insulation behind boarding

2. Magnesium oxide waterproof wallboard

3. Flood-resisting window

4.  Flood-resisting door

5. Spray-applied waterproof foam insulation

6. Natural cement waterproof render

7. Sockets placed above flood level

8. Waterproof magnesium oxide wall boards (bottom) and plasterboard (top), fixed horizontally

9. Perimeter sub floor drain

10. Ceramic tiles over insulated concrete screed

11. Floor drains direct to sump pump

12. Sump and twin pumps

13. Sub floor membrane, resilient insulation and concrete screed

14. Water-resisting kitchen cabinets and doors

15. Backflow protection in toilet drain

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