26 September 2017

Building timber homes to withstand extreme weather

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The destruction wreaked by hurricanes on the other side of the pond is a timely reminder of the dangers of unpredictable weather patterns. TRADA’s Wood Information Sheet Timber frame design for flood-prone sites is the definitive guide to building with timber in a flood zone.


Britain is lucky not to have hurricanes on its shores, but in 2014 large swathes of the country, including huge sections of the Somerset Levels, were devastated by flood waters, destroying infrastructure, damaging homes and even claiming lives.


The combination of extreme weather, rapid expansion of development on river floodplains, and Briton’s penchant for paving over gardens with patios, decking and concrete, means severe flooding is on the increase.


For many people, the pleasure of living close to a river - breath-taking views, easy access to swimming and water sports, and the sense of wellbeing that comes with living close to nature – outweigh the risks.


Flooding in the UK is not new. Tewkesbury, where 810 homes were deluged in 2014, has flooded regularly for hundreds of years. So too has Evesham. In 1770 the Vicar of nearby Bengeworth recorded that floodwaters “reached almost to the keystone of the arch of the bridge…. So that inhabitants were compelled to pass out of their houses, through the upper windows, and were thence conveyed by boats along the street.”


As Britain braces itself for downpours this winter, many local authorities are reassessing the criteria by which they deem land suitable for development.


Building timber houses on stilts is one solution outlined in TRADA’s WIS Timber frame design for flood-prone sites.


Written with new build construction in mind (but also relevant to flood betterment), it summarises the practical steps that can be taken, often at very little additional cost, to build resistant and resilient timber structures that comply with ever-evolving building standards.


From advice on raising buildings off the ground and specifying materials that resist moisture intrusion, to implementing sustainable urban drainage systems and steps that can be taken to avoid flooding in the first place, TRADA’s WIS is the definitive guide to building with timber in a flood zone.


Members can download a free copy of the Wood Information Sheet Timber frame design for flood-prone sites. If you are not a member, WIS sheets are available to purchase online in PDF and hardcopy at the Bookshop.



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No timber question is too big or too small for TRADA’s friendly panel of experts. Members can pick up the phone or email us for free, confidential advice on +44 (0)1494 569601 or advisory@trada.co.uk