IN the wake of a number of devastating effects of extreme global weather patterns on property, people and the economy, BRE outlined plans at its Britain Under Water conference for the creation of a Centre for Resilience for the built environment.
The new centre, which will be delivered in partnership with national and local Government, the construction industry and the insurance sector will address issues around built environment climate change mitigation and adaption in the face of increased rainfall, higher wind speeds, extreme cold, overheating, more frequent storms and rising sea levels.
The project is being headed up by BRE Construction Director, Dr Stephen Garvin (above right), who is based at the company’s Scottish HQ in East Kilbride.
He said, “The UK is experiencing extreme weather more regularly. Four of the five wettest years on record have occurred since 2000. Devastating floods in the summer of 2007 cost Britain £3.2 billion.
“Insurers have estimated that the bill for the most recent storms could be more than £1 billion.
“We need to start taking positive action now to protect people and property – a knowledge centre is needed to help us develop the right solutions.’’
As well as conducting research into new mitigation and adaption methods, the new centre will also develop new standards for design, planning and products, new skills related programmes and it will test, trial, demonstrate and certify a new tranche of innovations that will future proof our built assets.
As part of the initiative, the BRE Trust, the charitable body that owns the BRE Group of companies, have committed research funding for two related projects.
One reviews how we improve the resilience of the UK’s infrastructure and the other looks at the development of an online tool that checks the resilience of current built assets.
Dr Garvin added, “‘We in the UK have been hit very hard recently with flooding on an unprecedented scale but this is a global phenomenon affecting different countries in different ways.
“The new centre will not only address these critical issues but will also create the foundations for new international export opportunities for the UK construction supply chain.”