Even with all of the effort going into infrastructure and damming solutions to support flood-ravaged areas of Australia, Queensland and New South Wales continue to battle against water levels that are simply too high.
The latest floods up north have been so extreme that some areas still remain completely isolated with more storms and extreme weather conditions to continue.
While these areas face the brunt of the flooding in this country, and have a long history of these events, the support, ongoing and present from both government and public entities, means that responsive action has been swift with future irrigation planning in place.
However, these freak weather incidents will still occur, and several architectural bodies have called for a push in further resilience planning.
The Australian Institute of Architecture’s building advisory Archicentre has advised that flood resilient building designs should become a priority in these areas that show a history of concurrent flooding, giving them the same amount of importance as bushfire resistant housing in fire-prone parts of this country.
Cox Raynor director Michael Raynor came out last year with his interpretation of the ‘New Queenslander’, which is a prime example of water resistant home design. The living spaces are built higher up, including carefully put together ‘dry spaces’, natural ventilation and shading devices and a ground floor that is cement based, easily cleanable, secure and durable.
Now, with the completion of the 2011 architectural competition devised by the team of Archicentre, LJ Hooker and The Future Housing Taskforce to support the growth of water resistant design innovation, designs in this same vein are increasing in their popularity and standard.
“The architects in the competition have set new standards in flood-safe home design by designing homes within a construction budget of $200,000” says Archicentre Queensland State Manager, Ian Agnew.
The winning flood resistant design concept created by Dion Seminara Architecture fit into the $200,000 construction budget while providing those key water resistant features that Raynor also included in his design, of undercover parking, high leveled living spaces and light weight building materials.
We cannot control the weather conditions in this country. They are erratic at best, and with climate change and other man-made influencers currently taking their toll on our environments the need to safeguard ourselves is imperative. We may not be able to control the weather, but we can control our buildings. In fact, it is our responsibility to do so. By creating a precedent for water resistant designed homes in floor prone areas, we are potentially safeguarding Australians from more than just an economic fall out.