The amphibious home: don’t be afraid of the waterPosted: January 26, 2014
The Building Research Establishment has commissioned Aquobex, a flood-risk consultancy, to build a demonstration home incorporating the latest defences — including barriers that rise out of the ground, a floodproof garage door and other innovations to minimise the damage from water seeping in. Among these are fittings and flooring that absorb the minimum amount of moisture, as well as rapid drainage channels — meaning the interior dries out within four weeks of a flood, compared with a year for most properties.
Aquobex, together with the architecture firm Baca, is constructing the prototype for completion in the autumn, at a cost of £400,000. Called the Aquobex Resilient Property, the hybrid building is divided into three zones: a house, a business and a shop. It will be open to the public, with live demonstrations showing visitors how each type of property can be protected.
To simulate flooding, a large glazed tank will be built around the perimeter of the property, which will have water rapidly pumped into it. As the level rises, flood barriers will automatically be triggered. Water-resistant glazing, door guards and a specially designed garage door will also keep the floods out, while one-way drains stop water from backing up in the lavatories. To demonstrate how interiors can cope if water does get in, the kitchen has been made fully floodable, with water-resistant units.
The idea was conceived last year, when Aquobex and Baca met at an industry seminar that dealt with flood-risk management.“The Aquobex Resilient Property is only a first step in improving the safety of peoples’ homes and property from flooding,” says Richard Coutts, director of Baca. “We hope that this will be the first of several innovative properties that can combat flooding and adapt to climate change.”