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New flooding standard published

Groundwater Flood Risk 3x2

Department for Communities and Local Government

A new standard for flood resistant construction and guidance on improving the flood performance of buildings has been published by the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The BSI said that the new standard – BS85500:2015 Flood resistant and resilient construction – Guide to improving the flood performance of buildings – looked at the growing risk buildings faced from flooding, and was based on the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) publication Improving the flood performance of new buildings: Flood resilient construction (2007).

The institution said that the document had been brought up to date and focused on the flood performance of buildings constructed using modern methods of construction (MMC).

Following the widespread flooding of recent years, flood resistance and resilience concerns have continued to be of importance to both local and national government. The BSI said that although current policies did not advocate the building of dwellings in areas with a significant risk of flooding, the current lack of affordable housing in the UK could lead to an increased likelihood of development on low or residual flood risk areas.

“Virtually every winter in the UK we seem to face the problem of flooding,” said BSI head of sector, built environment Anthony Burd. “This can have an adverse effect on both the domestic and commercial sector alike, and we are keen to help mitigate the damage it can do.

“There is not just the matter of the economic health of the construction industry to consider, but how to alleviate the considerable anguish experienced by many UK inhabitants too. Using BS 85500 should enable sound preventative flood safe construction to occur, and bolster consumer confidence to build as a result of that foresight.”

The standard provides guidance on how to improve the resistance and resilience of buildings to reduce the impacts of flooding from all sources, by the use of suitable materials and construction measures.

BS85500 benefits:

  • Promoting the use of materials and construction elements that are more resilient to floodwaters
  • Minimising delays in reoccupying properties after flooding, which can have a profound impact on the health and livelihoods of those affected
  • The potential to reduce business losses as a result of reducing the impacts of flood events
  • The potential to reduce the risk of mould and other health risks related to flooding impacts which have been shown to be likely to increase as a result of climate change
  • The potential to save energy as a result of reducing the need for excessive drying and restoration of flooded properties.

The new standard was developed using a consensus-based approach with input from flood risk and watercourses experts, including representatives from the Association of London Borough of Planning Officers, BRE, DCLG and Defra.

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