Water Pressure and the Devastating Consequences . ⬇️
What valuable engineering insights can the Property Flood Resilience Sector glean from this heart-wrenching event?
💧 Regulations: The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Environment Agency (EA) have provided guidelines suggesting a maximum height of 600mm above internal floor level for flood barriers. This restriction is in place to prevent detrimental outcomes. Beyond this height, the pressure differential can result in damage or even collapse. The devastating consequences of disregarding these regulations or lacking appropriate testing have been painfully demonstrated.
💧Pressure: Frequently, we encounter individuals saying, “My house withstood a flood of 1m depth without collapsing, so why shouldn’t I be allowed to have 1m high flood barriers?” The key distinction lies in the pressure differential. When a house floods internally, the pressure remains equal, akin to the conditions experienced by the Titanic, which is why it remains mostly intact, and did not implode like Titan.
💧 Liability: It is often suggested that homeowners could sign a waiver, and accept the liability. However, following legal advice, it has become abundantly clear that this notion is fundamentally flawed and lacks comprehension. Disclaiming liability for potential loss of life is simply not possible, and the burden of responsibility could fall directly on a Company Director. The collapse of a property in a flood scenario carries the potential for loss of life, and it is essential to remember that just because such an incident hasn’t occurred yet does not mean it cannot happen (albeit I have seen walls crack and others collapse). Moreover, the waiver approach is deeply flawed since the impact could extend beyond the household, endangering others if the structure were to collapse onto them. The sole viable solution is for homeowners to confirm the structural suitability of their property by seeking professional advice.
💧Safety must come first: I have personally witnessed numerous instances of Property Flood Resilience measures that I deemed potentially hazardous. I have even had to report a prominent Risk Management Insurer for providing perilous recommendations, such as installing 1.6m high flood barriers in a dining hall without conducting a structural assessment.
As a business, we could undoubtedly maximize our profits by fulfilling every client’s desires. However, our core values rest upon upholding professional and ethical standards, ensuring we only endorse solutions that are safe and suitable. We often say no, only to find another less-ethical company then supplies them.
It is high time for everyone to grasp and implement these crucial engineering principles. Let us unite in learning from this tragic event, striving to prevent its recurrence.
Article written by Simon Crowther BEng (Hons) MCIWEM C.WEM