Architecture

Flood-proof house would rise with the tide

Flood-proof house would rise w...
The Elevating House could be built in early 2017, if planning approval is granted
The Elevating House could be built in early 2017, if planning approval is granted
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The Elevating House could be built in early 2017, if planning approval is granted
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The Elevating House could be built in early 2017, if planning approval is granted
A roof-based solar panel array and battery system would ensure that the Elevating House could continue to receive power while raised
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A roof-based solar panel array and battery system would ensure that the Elevating House could continue to receive power while raised

Some areas in the UK can't be developed for housing because of the risk of flooding, but with house prices in the country so high, there's money to be made if developers can find a way to build in such areas. Here lies the impetus for the Elevating House: a proposal for a family home that would simply rise on stilts when the floods come.

Designed by building and development firm Larkfleet Group, the Elevating House looks very much like the kind of typical three-bedroom detached family home found throughout the UK.

However, should a flood warning be issued, a mechanical jacking system comprising a motor, gearbox, and drive shafts would lift the 65 tonne (72 US ton) home 1.5 m (5 ft) off the ground within five minutes.

The owners wouldn't actually stay in the house when the house is raised (for the obvious safety issues), but would instead need to pack up some essential belongings and travel to temporary accommodation elsewhere.

A roof-based solar panel array and battery system would ensure that the Elevating House could continue to receive power while raised
A roof-based solar panel array and battery system would ensure that the Elevating House could continue to receive power while raised

A roof-based solar panel array and battery system would ensure that the home maintains power while in its elevated state, while the sewage and water connections would stay active thanks to flexible hoses.

Naturally, before taking up residence again, the floor beneath the home would have to be cleared and it's possible a severe enough flood could drive debris into its lifting mechanism, damaging it somehow. That said, the basic idea seems sound and not far removed from the hydraulic greenhouse from earlier in the year, just larger.

Larkfleet has submitted planning permission for the Elevating House and, if all goes well, it could be built as soon as early 2017. Following this, the firm expects to test it for up to five years. Larkfleet also says that because the house will feature a modular steel-frame design, it could be later disassembled and re-erected on another site on conventional foundations.

Source: Larkfleet Group

8 comments
Robert Walther
Just construct a raised house (garage and storage on the first semi-open/breakaway level) or build a mound foundation first. Either option would have to be cheaper and more reliable than any hydraulic system intended for rare, if ever, use.
highlandboy
The TV Show grand designs showed a house built beside the Thames. It had a basement that was sealed. When it flooded it just floated higher. The supports alowed it to raise something like 3 metres.
VirtualGathis
I think I prefer the idea that came out after Katrina went through the southern US. There were so many flood damaged homes, and the levees were so questionable a group developed a house that sits in a floating foundation. The Foundation is made from foam concrete and is engineered to have air space in it to provide flotation. The foundation is connected to concrete columns that the foundation moves up and down freely. In the event of a flood the house rises as much as 15 feet and rides out the flood. Once the flood recedes the only repair needed is to reconnect the electrical and plumbing umbilical. I agree with Robert that a jacking system that is rarely used it a waste of money. It also requires the home owner to be alerted before the flooding start and is useless for flash floods. The floating rig would handle all floods and be available regardless.
Rann Xeroxx
I have a better idea, stop building in flood planes. When NOLA flooded, the French and Garden districts came out OK because they were built on higher ground. The major damage was in places that use to be swamps. Just stop rebuilding there. Same with all this waterfront properties on lakes and the oceans.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
The brick makes this impressive and expensive. Maybe it could be supported with independent active jacks for earthquake protection.
johanschaller
Hey Englanders! Try this instead: http://traditionalqueenslanders.com.au/images/Traditional-Ascot.jpg It's at least 2 metres off the ground, permanently. It'd be really annoying to spend good money on the hydraulic lift, only to have a power failure render the whole thing useless the very time that you need it to work.
Calson
Smarter is to build floating clusters of housing units as is already being done in the Netherlands. No need to reinvent the wheel and surprising that people in Britain are unaware of the Netherlands and their approach to dealing with water intrusion over the centuries.
grtblu
Best idea submitted: Don't build on a flood plane. The floater houses (tethered one hopes) are next best, but if you want to live on a flood plane, live in houseboat. Then when the flood comes you can tour the neighborhood and feel smug about your decision. Worst of the lot, relying on 4 motors to raise your house only 1.5 meters. One motor/leadscrew sticks or fails and you have a tilting cracked pile of junk.