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Developing Flood Resilience in Historic Buildings

As a witness to the devastation caused floods in Whalley, Lancashire in 2015, I saw the direct impact that floods can have on a community including many historic buildings, and the lengthy trauma and disruption to those who have to evacuate, often with few possessions.

Sadly, within an increasingly volatile global climate, more frequent flood events are expected in the future. Government figures suggest that the number of people of high risk of flooding will increase from 1.5 million currently, to 3.5 million by 2080.

With over 500,000 listed buildings in the UK, many of which were built in close proximity to rivers, the challenge for owners, occupants and advisors is to increase flood resiliency in order to protect them, without impacting on the significance of our heritage properties.

Furthermore, with insurers increasing premiums in some higher risk areas, many occupiers of heritage properties are considering what steps to take in order to become more flood resilient.

Therefore, our advice is to be pro-active and look to manage the risks in your historic property by:

  • Establishing the flood risk in your area.
  • Signing up to a free flood warning service such as ‘floodline’.
  • Taking photographs throughout your property and keeping these as record of its appearance, design and materials.
  • Reviewing your insurance and making sure that your cover is adequate.
  • Considering if your property would benefit from a flood-protection survey.
  • Establishing if your property is listed, and if Local Authority consent would be required for any flood-resistance works.
  • Identifying the most appropriate and cost effective flood-proofing measures.
  • Preparing a plan of action if a flood was to occur.

If you need more detailed advice regarding flood resilience in Historic Buildings, why not speak to a Conservation Specialist at AG….

Tim Lynas

AG Chartered Building Surveyor