The main difference between flood resistance and resilience is that resistance aims to prevent water entering a building, whereas resilience aims to reduce the damage that is done when water has to enter a building, and speed up the recovery process. Here Emma Lofthouse, Flood Engagement Officer at Newground, takes a closer look at the differences and gives examples of what you can do to protect your property.
There are a number of routes through which floodwater can enter a property, for example, through doors and patios, airbricks on exposed walls, or via backflow through drains and pipes. A number of flood resistance measures can be put in place to try and prevent water entering a building, but they are only effective to a limited water depth. These measures can either be permanent or temporary.
Permanent resistance measures
These are already in place so no action is needed to install them at the time of the flood. Some examples are:
• Flood doors and windows
• Non-return valves fitted on drains and pipes
• Repointing cracks in brickwork and applying water-resistant paints
• Fitting automatic anti-flood airbricks
• Gardens made flood resistant with permanent flood barriers or gates,
or landscaped to divert water away.
Temporary resistance measures
These need to be deployed before floodwater arrives. You can use a trigger to indicate when to deploy them, this could be flood warnings or a private flood level alarm system. Examples of temporary resistance measures include:
• Demountable door and window barriers
• Freestanding barriers
• Covers for airbricks, pet flaps and appliance vents
• Alternative sandbags
• Toilet plugs and pipe bungs.
Sometimes, individuals are unable to protect a property using flood resistance measures due to cost or building restrictions, or they will have to let floodwater in to prevent damage to the structure of the building. Unfortunately in these cases, they will have to accept that water will enter their property. However, there are resilience measures that can be put in place to attempt to reduce the damage that the water does.
Flood-resilient buildings are designed and constructed to reduce the impact of floodwater entering the building so that no permanent damage is caused, structural integrity is maintained and the drying and cleaning process is quicker and easier.
A number of flood-resilient measures can be put in place to reduce flood damage, such as:
• Raised electrics and sockets above the likely height of floodwater
• Sump and pump systems
• Water-resistant materials in kitchens and bathrooms such as stainless steel, plastic or solid wood
• Valuable items kept upstairs or placed on higher shelves downstairs
• Replace fitted carpets with tiles or replace timber floors with concrete or treated timber.
Ideally, properties in flood risk areas should consider both resistance and resilience measures if possible, as well as having a flood plan, to reduce the impact of potential future floods.