Flooding and Historic Buildings
Our guidance is aimed at those who live in, own, manage, or provide advice on historic buildings that are threatened by flooding. The guidance includes advice on preventative measures, as well as on how to inspect, conserve and repair historic buildings after flooding.
We know the risk of flooding is likely to increase due to a changing climate and the effects of increased development.
Around 400,000 homes and 75,000 businesses in England are in areas where there is a significant risk of river or coastal flooding on an annual basis. Even more properties are at risk from ground, surface water or sewer flooding.
Many of these buildings were built before 1919 and are therefore likely to be of historic interest. They are not only at risk from flooding but also from the potential damage of recovery work and repairs using inappropriate materials.
Historic buildings need careful attention
Although most historic buildings are very durable and relatively resistant to flooding compared with much modern construction, they can still suffer substantial damage.
Older buildings behave differently to modern ones and as a consequence need much more careful attention after flooding. They are often built with more permeable materials like timber, lime mortars and plasters and soft bricks which will absorb water but need to be able to dry slowly.
Repair works need to be considered in relation to how the building is constructed and the materials used. One solution does not fit all.