Resisting floods

One in six homes in the UK is at risk of flooding. This number is set to double by 2050 as rainfall increases due to climate change and urban expansion continues to provide homes for a growing population.

Concrete is inherently water resistant and its built-in flood resilience is key to coastal and river defence systems that protect our communities and critical national infrastructure. Its durability means that it is perfectly suited for these aggressive and exposed environments.

However, it’s not only property near the coast or rivers that needs to be defended from flooding.  Surface water flooding from heavy rainfall, burst water mains and blocked drains are all flood hazards in urban areas.

Where excluding water through flood defences is not possible, concrete can help us to build resilient homes that take less damage from water when the worst happens. This makes it easier and quicker to repair buildings after a flood, ensuring people can get back into their homes faster.

Concrete and masonry construction materials will not warp or rot when exposed to flooding and absorb very little water. By comparison, some properties made of materials like chipboard and dry wall plasterboard are vulnerable to increased damage from flooding.  This same risk is why some insurers recommend the replacement of existing timber floors with flood-resilient concrete.

While in many situations we want to keep water out, concrete’s versatility means it can also be designed to provide absorption in sustainable drainage systems (SUDS). These mimic the natural drainage of a site before its development to prevent surface water accumulating and reduce the risk of flooding.