Flood Proofing

floodproofingkitchenWhat is flood proofing: As the title implies it involves designing, retrofitting or constructing buildings with appropriate water resistant materials to reduce the structural and non-structural damages of flooding to the building. Some techniques include having double brick or concrete walls as opposed to timber wall frames, using fibre cement sheeting or waterproof plywood instead of plasterboard or chipboard for internal fittings and utilising sheet metal roofing (i.e. colourbond) instead of roof tiles which can be easily dislodged and absorb moisture (HNFMSC, 2006).

Improves community access and recreational use:

Not applicable. Why? Flood proofing is designed to reduce the structural and non-structural damages of private property. As a result flood proofing cannot improve community access and recreational use.

Does not disadvantage individual members of the community:

Flood proofing generally does not disadvantage individual members of the community. Why? Flood proofing can typically involve retrofitting existing development or incorporating flood proof materials and designs into new buildings. This typically does not disadvantage individual members of the community as it reduces flood related damages to private properties during times of inundation.

Provides safety to the community during flooding:

Flood proofing may provide safety to the community during flooding. Why? Flood proofed properties that are designed to withstand inside and outside water pressure differences and the energy of moving water particularly in flash flood environments, may improve safety to vulnerable individuals. Generally however, flood proofing is undertaken to reduce property damages and not to save people, and should be treated that way during emergency management responses as fires or medical emergencies can occur creating potentially life threatening situations. As a result, they can provide a false sense of security and increase risk to life.

Raises community awareness and understanding of the local flood risk:

Flood proofing may improve community awareness and understanding of the local flood risk. Why? If a property has been designed with flooding in mind the occupants and nearby residents are generally reminded of the potential flood damages that could occur in the local community.

Does not threaten local plants and animals and their habitat:

Flood proofing does not cause negative environmental and ecological impacts. Why? Flood proofing generally does not threaten local plants and animals as the works are usually within the footprint of the existing dwelling or future dwelling.

Does not cause water quality issues:

Flood proofing generally does not cause negative water quality impacts. Why? Flood proofing generally does not adversely affect the water quality of nearby stream or rivers, as the works are undertaken within strict building controls.

Initial Costs (i.e design/construction) require minimal council expenditure:

Flood proofing has no initial costs to council Why? Flood proofing is undertaken by the individual property owner and there are no subsidies available. The works are generally undertaken as they directly reduce the property owners exposure to flood related damages.

Requires minimal ongoing council expenditure after implementation:

Flood proofing requires no ongoing costs to council. Why? As mentioned above flood proofing is the responsibility of the property owner.

Reduces flood damages to the community:

Flood proofing reduces flood related annual average damages to the community. Why? Flood proofing flood prone properties when other alternatives are not feasible or justifiable can reduce the repetitive damages caused by flooding and as such can be economically justified by the property owner.

Does not cause negative flood impacts to other areas (both upstream and downstream):

Flood proofing generally does not cause adverse impacts to other areas. Why? Flood proofing is usually undertaken within the footprint of an existing dwelling or must adhere to strict Council development controls and as such should have no adverse impacts both upstream and downstream.

HNFMSC (2006). Reducing Vulnerability Of Buildings To Flood Damage: Guidance on building in flood prone areas. Hawkesbury-Nepean Floodplain Management Steering Committee, Sydney.