Flood-proofed home is shape of things to come

THIS is what rain-swept Scotland's first purpose built anti-flood home could look like.

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The dwelling of the future would have protective barriers, rapid drainage systems and flood doors all fitted as standard.

As the Thames Valley became the latetst area of England to be devastated by floods,  a company is offering up a possible solution.

The flood resilient home project is being led by Dr Stephen Garvin, construction director at the East Kilbride-based Scottish HQ of the Built Environment Science Centre (BRE).

The group is working in partnership with flood risk management company Aquobex and architectural firm Baca to develop and design a house that can cope with monsoon-type weather.

The project, which has the backing of the Westminster government, has been launched with the aim of developing homes which can be constructed in flood risk areas to help overcome the nation's shortage of traditional building land.

Shocking statistics estimate that one in 20 properties across Scotland could be vulnerable to flooding, with householders in low-lying parts of Glasgow facing greater risk.

In England, one in five homes face the threat of floods, which has been highlighted in recent weeks by the plight of thousands of families in the water-logged Somerset Levels.

BRE chiefs and their project partners are now looking for housebuilders to construct the first flood resilient home, which will be sited at BRE's innovation park in Watford.

The prototype is expected to be surrounded by a water tank, so that the building can be flooded to test anti-flood systems.

The programme is being co-ordinated by Dr Garvin from his office in East Kilbride.

He said: "Resilience remains a key issue for new housing.

"Given the recent floods and their profound impact on people's lives, it is more important than ever to step up research in this area and develop practical solutions.

"The proposed demonstration building will be a fantastic opportunity for developers and stake- holders to see solutions in action."

He added: "Our aim is to create a design and form of construction which will make properties less vulnerable to the devastating effects of flooding in the future.

"This will include the use of innovative technologies and materials to keep floodwater out and also look at ways to remove it much more quickly should it actually get into the house.

"As an example, many household doors are designed to keep out the effects of wind and rain. However, they can be less than reliable when it comes to floods like those being experienced currently.

"We will be looking at options on flood doors using the most innovative designs and new materials available which are much more adept at keeping water out at depths of up to 600mm."

The search for partners to turn the designs into a suburban dream home comes at a time when thousands of residents could be forced to flee their homes after England's flood crisis spread to 14 communities along the River Thames.

There, rising water has reached dangerous levels amid grim warnings of more storms for the rest of the week.

Families have already been forced out of their homes in the Somerset village of Moorland after water levels breached flood defences as fears grow that thousands of others in other parts of England will be left homeless.

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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