Preventing Flooded Homes: The Long Term View

The cost of the Christmas and New Year floods is still being counted by those whose homes were affected – and by the government. Applications for European Commission funding to help repair flood damage are still being processed, to the potential benefit of homeowners in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria in England, and in the North East of Scotland.

Heavy flooding in 2008 saw £120m of EU aid directed to Britain, raising hopes that funding will eventually benefit victims of the Christmas floods.

But while many property owners are understandably concerned with obtaining help with repairs, local and national government bodies are working on ways to prevent such serious floods taking place again.

In Cumbria, there is much debate on two possible approaches to tackling floods: higher defence walls and dredging.

However, the Environment Agency’s Keith Ashcroft, area manager for Cumbria and Lancashire, has said that people did not want “higher and higher” defence walls. The possibility of dredging, too, was one often put forward as a solution to a “complicated” issue, said Ashcroft.

Mr Ashcroft said solutions must include a better understanding of the effects of draining upland fields and “how river catchments operate”.

Long term solutions for flood-safe housing

Those who built homes in areas affected by the Christmas floods did not, of course, believe such damage would take place. But modem day homebuilders have access to vast array of information to help them select a suitable housing development site – a quality and level of information that for construction firms of over a century ago simply wasn’t available.

Here at Iceni Homes, a comprehensive range of risks are looked at before a site is chosen.

Subsurface conditions and any groundwater issues are naturally of paramount interest to our team in reference to floodwater risk. Analysis of these, together with any topographical considerations and likely threats from possible natural catastrophes are all taken into account.

When risk assessing greenfield sites, local rainfall is a key consideration. Rainfall is of equal interest when scrutinising a brownfield site, although this site type tends to be better understood thanks to its former use – as an industrial or commercial area. Choosing a brownfield site also offers environmental sustainability benefits, and can reduce costs and inspire less opposition.

Among the risk assessment areas Iceni Homes looks at are:

  • Construction
  • Financial and economic
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Contractual and legal
  • Physical
  • Political and societal

Iceni Homes benefits from years of experience in the realm of housing development risk assessments. The importance of carrying out such an assessment thoroughly cannot be understated, since it supports the safety and wellbeing of future occupants, as well as site workers.

And not least, a thorough risk assessment is crucial so all project stakeholders can grasp any challenges surrounding a given development. This understanding is crucial in the successful delivery of all our development projects.

While the threat of flooding faced by older housing stock – such as in England’s northwest – may take longer to nullify, detailed risk assessments offer assurances that future home building projects will enjoy far more security.

Learn more about Iceni Homes’ proven ability to deliver risk assessments for high quality, affordable housing projects.