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Is concrete the answer to flood-proof buildings?

Architects and builders are developing ways to protect homes and commercial buildings from floods, including using concrete flooring.

The UK Climate Projections, published in 2018, warned that in the next few years, Britain is likely to experience higher summer temperatures, the sea levels will rise, and there will be more extreme weather, including flash floods.

Large amounts have been invested in building flood defences by the Environment Agency, but this is not enough to protect all property. The Agency has therefore called on housebuilders to construct more waterproof homes.

If a building has wooden floors or joists, the floor will need replacing after a flood. Most power cables are at floor level and these will also need renewing. Flooded floors can easily be dealt with by using concrete flooring and raising power cables as high as is practical.

In flood risk areas, property could be lifted off the ground with stilts. This is common in South East Asia, Brazil and Central America. Another method used is to construct buildings on large raised concrete platforms that keep the buildings above floodwater levels.

Flood-immune buildings are more expensive, but if they are constructed on flood plain land that is usually cheaper, they can be cost effective.

Concrete flooring is one element in making homes and commercial properties cope with the threat of flooding. We may not be able to prevent climate change-related flooding, but we can prepare for it by making buildings withstand flooding better with the help of concrete flooring.

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