Published works

Published works

Cost-effective mitigation strategy development for flood prone buildings: Annual project report 2015-2016

TitleCost-effective mitigation strategy development for flood prone buildings: Annual project report 2015-2016
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMaqsood, T, Wehner, M, Dale, K
Document Number229
Date Published09/2016
InstitutionBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Report Number229

The motivation for this project arises from the experience and observations made during the recent flooding in Australia in 2011 and 2013, which caused widespread devastation in Queensland. The flood events also resulted in significant logistics for emergency management and disruption to communities. Considerable costs were sustained by all levels of government and property owners to effect damage repair and enable community recovery.

A fundamental reason for this damage was inappropriate development in floodplains and a legacy of high risk building stock in flood prone areas. The vulnerability and associated flood risk is being reduced for newer construction by adopting new standards (ABCB, 2012), building controls and land use planning, however, the vulnerability associated with existing building stock remains. The vulnerability of existing building stock contributes disproportionally to overall flood risk in many Australian catchments.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Collaborative Research Centre (BNHCRC) project entitled “Cost-effective mitigation strategy development for flood prone buildings” aims to address this issue and is targeted at assessing mitigation strategies to reduce the vulnerability of existing residential building stock in Australian floodplains. The project addresses the need for an evidence base to inform decision making on the mitigation of the flood risk posed by the most vulnerable Australian houses and complements parallel BNHCRC projects for earthquake and severe wind.

To date, the project within the BNHCRC has developed a building classification schema to categorise Australian residential buildings into a range of typical storey types. Mitigation strategies developed nationally and internationally have been reviewed. Five typical storey types have been selected which represent the most common residential buildings in Australia. A floodproofing matrix has been developed to assess appropriate strategies for the selected storey types. All appropriate strategies are being costed for the selected storey types through the engagement of quantity surveying specialists. Furthermore, testing of material susceptibility is being scoped to address knowledge gaps I the areas of strength and amenity.

In the following years of the project vulnerability of predominant storey types will be assessed along with the factors affecting vulnerability. The information on vulnerability is fundamental to evaluate mitigation strategies and to examine the opportunities for reducing the vulnerability. The research will include experimental testing of preferred material types to ascertain their resilience to floodwater exposure. Cost benefit analysis will be conducted to find optimal mitigation strategies for selected building types located within a range of catchment types.

This project is investigating methods for upgrading existing housing stock in floodplains to increase their resilience in future flood events. It is important that the latest research and economically optimum upgrading solutions are applied to existing houses to optimise the use of finite mitigation resources. The project will provide an evidence base to inform decision making by governments and property owners to reduce flood risk. The risk mitigation achieved will decrease human suffering, improve safety and ensure amenity for communities.

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