ICE and Riba call for changes to building regulations and planning guidance to improve the flood resilience of future developments
Industry leaders have urged the government to make changes to building regulations and planning guidance to improve the flood resilience of future developments in the wake of recent flooding across the country.
The Environment Agency estimates that around 1,600 homes have flooded in storms since late December 2013.
David Balmforth, flooding expert and vice-president of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), said politicians were “pretending we can defend against flooding” rather than preparing to deal with the consequences.
He said: “It’s pretty rare but the consequences of it can be huge and that’s the bit we have not really got a handle on. We haven’t put enough effort in our view, into alleviating the consequences.”
He said building regulations and planning guidance had “a part to play” in ensuring homes were better prepared to be flooded.
He said requiring entrances to homes to be up to 1m above ground level; specifying doors that have water tight seals; and reducing the use of timber and gypsum materials that can be easily damaged by water were all things that could be put in regulations to improve flood resilience.
Emilia Plotka, sustainability officer at Riba, backed Balmforth’s comments. She said: “I think that a lot of the time flooding is not a consideration that’s being made unless the planning department specifies it.”