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UK must build flood resilient homes says RIBA

More flood resilient homes need to be built in the UK as currently one in six are at risk of flooding, a number that is expected to double by 2050, according to a new report.

Flooding causes an average of £1.4 billion of damage each year to businesses and households, says the report from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

It is calling for innovation and regulation change, to ensure both new build and existing properties are flood resilient and future proof as the nation can no longer base its approach to managing flood risk on simply keeping the water out.

RIBA believes that 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 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.

‘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,’ said RIBA president Ben Derbyshire.

The report makes a number of key recommendations, including improved decision making processes which address a broader range of factors and potential solutions to water management issues.

It also suggests a ‘Licences for Innovation’ scheme to examine the effectiveness of new approaches to managing flood risk in new development to flooding and ensure all new buildings incorporate appropriate measures.

It says the Government should examine the potential for regulations on flood resilience to be linked to Flood Zone Designations through Building Regulations and planning policy and to 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

Overall, it suggests the Government encourages a greater uptake of flood-resilient design by home and building owners exposed to flood risk.