How to Design a Flood Proof House [Updated Novembe2023]Buying a Home, Lifestyle, New Homes, Renovations, Tips and Advice
Why do we need flood proof houses? There’s no doubt that we live in a beautiful part of the world! With regular sunshine and perfect temperatures year round – there is lots to be thankful for when it comes to Brisbane weather! Sadly, our flooding regularity means we need to utilise flood proof houses.
It’s especially important to prepare for flooding in the Brisbane region, due to our frequent flooding! This is the very reason why many homeowners are looking for flood proof houses – they’re one helpful measure to take if you’re wanting to protect your home, your belongings, and your family.
Home Designs for a Flood Proof House
As an architect, one of the areas of design I specialise in is creating home designs for flood proof and flood resistant houses. Likelihood of flooding is an important consideration to keep in mind if you’re looking to buy land or houses, as although flood warnings don’t make a piece of land unusable they do mean that you need to take extra precautions.
Flood Proof House Design Options
When considering home designs for flood prone properties in and around Brisbane there are two main approaches to maximising the design efficiency. Your first option is to try and stop the water from entering the property, or your second option is to try to create a home that is designed to cope with flood inundation.
Option 1: Stop water from getting in
This is the harder of the two option – flood waters often have incredible power, particularly those running through stormwater overflow paths!
When debris is combined with the force and weight of the water itself, tremendous strain is placed on anything in their way.
Next of course, we have to consider just how high the water would reach in the event of a flood.
You might wonder how to keep your flood prone property dry, short of creating a huge dam wall – well that’s actually a way that it can be done! By creating what is in effect a waterproof wall around your property. Now obviously a great big dirty wall or concrete dam isn’t practical, but it might be possible to turn the fence around your property into a waterproof barrier.
Now I will admit – the downsides of this option are numerous. For starters, depending on your existing fence design it can be very expensive to redo your entire perimeter fence.
This is particularly true as the fence needs to be waterproof, and it also needs to be structurally strong enough to withstand an enormous amount of pressure – otherwise it will be likely to collapse under the potential weight of the water.
Second, there will need to be gaps in the fence/wall to allow cars and pedestrians to enter and exit the property, but these gaps introduce areas of vulnerability. This can be offset by having some form of an emergency barrier that you can engage to block those gates and driveways off during a flooding event, or you could even use sandbags given that the openings are relatively small in the overall scheme of things.
While there are some drawbacks to this solution, it is an option for most Brisbane properties, however even with a barrier in place there is still the potential for flood inundation – this is especially true where the waters rise above your wall or an impact causes a breach.
Norman Park Flood Prone Site Renovation: This 1950’s home in Norman Park is on a flood-prone site, with an existing design that did not allow for natural airflow or light to permeate the home. The owners felt that an architectural design would be the only way to address the need for sensitive adjustments to cope with the flood-prone site.
Option 2: Designing a home to cope with flooding
A better option in many cases isn’t trying to keep the water out. It’s better to accept that the water will get in – and create a design which withstands rising water levels.
This option is much more cost effective in terms of construction costs. We also select materials and building techniques that keep costs down.
I also don’t want your main living and bedroom areas getting we. So we design homes to withstand inundation by building them off the ground on posts. We can design it as a series of pavilions. Pavilion design keeps the important areas of the home up out of harm’s way.
I do this so you can use the downstairs areas as a garage or multi-purpose room.
The materials selected for any flood proof house are quite important. Materials need to be strong enough to withstand the potential impact and weight of the water. They also need to still allow for a quick clean-up after the event. You may need to replace some of the materials after a flood event. The materials that will need replacing will generally be inexpensive, like plasterboard etc.
Talk to Specialists with expertise in Flood Resistant and Flood Proof home design!
At dion seminara architecture we are the specialists when it comes to flood proof house designs.
Our designs even won the prestigious LJ Hooker Grantham Flood Home Design Competition. We also consulted on flood resistant designs in New York – after concerns in the area increased after Hurricane Sandy.
Contact us today if your home is at risk of flooding. We can also help is at risk of inundation due to rising rivers, creeks or tidal surges!
We can create a flood proof house design solution for you. You can sleep easy knowing you’ve kept your loved ones and possessions safe from harm.
DION SEMINARA, DION SEMINARA ARCHITECTUREWe are experts at home design, renovations and new homes and ensure good value for money outcomes.
Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 30 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.