3 Jun 2011

Adapting to new flood levels in Brisbane

Tips and Advice
New Brisbane Q100 Flood Levels

Q100 Flood Levels Brisbane

As a result of the recent floods in Brisbane, the Q100 levels have been increased with the aim of protecting homes that are to be substantially renovated or built as new homes in areas that may be prone to future flooding.

Of course, this makes perfect sense. Given the number of homes that have been affected by these recent floods, and the devastating impact these flood waters have had on people’s business, homes and lives it is important to try and minimise any damage that might occur in future flooding events.

But whilst we would all agree that this is a good move, it will definitely impact on how we design homes and buildings in these potentially flood-affected areas.

The Q100 levels will be raised by anywhere from 800mm to over 2 metres in some areas. This will dramatically change the way homes can be built in these suburbs and streets.

Recently a friend suggested to me that the change might be as simple as building the block up a bit; simply dumping more soil to raise the foundations of new homes. But unfortunately, this does not work in practice, particularly when you’re talking a height of more than 2 metres.

Instead, future designs in these areas will most likely need to incorporate a high set design, albeit a more modern version. But for this to be effective thought must also be given to maximum building heights. Councils can’t have it both ways. If your home needs to be higher off the ground and still achieve minimum head height inside, the council will most likely need to relax the current maximum building height.

There are of course other ways in which flood waters might be countered in the future.

Among these could be things like ‘wet areas’ beneath the home that are designed to be hosed out and can handle rising water; boundary fences could be built in such a way that they would act like a levy during a major flood event. There are many ways in which properties can be protected against future events by using clever design strategies within the Q100 framework.

And although some people are suggesting that the governments (state and federal) should look at buying back properties in these flood-prone areas, the reality is Brisbane is a growing city and riverfront living is highly appealing. Land near the city centre itself is in short supply, so I don’t agree that these areas need to be brought back and closed from future development.

By planning wisely, there is no reason why these areas can’t be successfully built upon. We understand that these areas are prone to flooding from time to time. Rather than ban development, we are better to plan and design to work around random flood events. By doing so we can allow development in these important areas, but in such a way that future heartbreaks are avoided.

If you live in a flood affected area or would like more information on the new Q100 levels and how they might impact on your development contact dion seminara architecture today.

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