Flooding and Historic Buildings
Flooding is one of the most significant risks to historic buildings from climate change. Many historic buildings are in areas where there is a chance of river or coastal flooding. Even more are at risk from surface-water, groundwater or sewer flooding.
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. These will absorb water and need to be able to dry slowly. Repair works need to consider how the individual building is constructed and the materials used.
Historic England Guidance
Flooding and Historic BuildingsPublished 30 April 2015
This guidance is designed to assist those who live in, own or manage historic buildings that are threatened by flooding. Advice is provided on preventative measures as well as on the inspection, conservation and repair of historic buildings after flooding.
The above guidance is designed to help people who live in, own or manage historic buildings that are threatened by flooding. It covers:
- Types of flooding: river, coastal, surface, groundwater and sewer
- Establishing flood risk to work out how to manage the risk and level of flood protection needed
- Being prepared for flooding, minimising damage and cost-efficient precautions
- Dealing with a flood
- what to do when floods are forecast
- what to do when your building is flooded
- returning to your building
- notifying insurers
- After the flood
- minimising flood damage
- initial drying, decontamination and cleaning
- surveying and recording damage
- drying out
- long-term effects
- Where to get further advice
- Your Home provides guidance for homeowners whose homes are threatened by flooding or flooded.
- Emergency Response Plans includes guidance about being planning responses and quick reference sheets on conservation treatments for salvaged books, ceramic and glass, furniture, metals, leather, natural history objects, paintings, paper, photographs, plastics, stone and plaster, and textiles.
- Historic England’s research programme includes flood remediation measures.
- View the 2020 webinar - Flooding: Part 1 - Preparation, resistance and resilience. This looks at assessing flood risks in the historic environment, understanding responsibilities, averting problems, and the differences between planning for resistance and for resilience.
- View the 2020 webinar - Flooding: Part 2 - Salvage, drying and preparing for restoration. This looks at what to do if you do have to deal with a flood covering the initial and the longer term response and recovery.
- View the 2018 webinar - Flooding: Lessons from the past - a discussion about flooding and the historic environment.
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