Will floating houses be the answer to increasing flood events?

Plans have been submitted to develop a luxury lakeside 224 unit residential scheme in Theale, Berkshire which will include 24 ‘canfloat’ homes - homes that are designed to rise with floodwaters.

This radical new approach would mean that homes could be built on land otherwise deemed unsuitable because of flooding concerns.

Whilst floating homes already exist in Holland, it is believed that this is the first scheme of its kind in the UK and the developers say they could be built in five years.

Floodline Development Ltd commissioned Clarkebond to provide engineering support to the planning process for the development of the former quarry and surrounding land area of land.  The site totals approximately 700 acres, of which the lake covers 200 acres and the net developable area of the site is approximately 25 acres.  The site has the potential for a phased large scale residential and leisure development.   The development proposals also include a flood alleviation scheme, environmental enhancement and contribution to the upgrading of Burghfield Sailing Club which is located at the site.

Clarkebond provided multidisciplinary pre-planning services for the development including Noise and Vibration Assessment Survey, Air Quality Assessment, Socio-Economic Assessment, Cultural Heritage, Archaeological Assessment including provision of a Watching Brief, Desktop Assessment and Detailed Site Investigation Report as well as a preliminary study of a swing bridge replacement to carry a widened carriageway, with improved vehicle capacity together with a provision of a footpath. 

The 'canfloat' houses would normally rest on dry land and only float when the level of the lake rises to accommodate flood water. The 'canfloat' houses can float due to three core components; a concrete basin, buoyant basement structure and guide piles.

“This is an exciting development. The ‘canfloat’ house approach could unlock other potential sites where flooding issue could now be a thing of the past” comments Clarkebond Regional Director, Theodore Tai.

For more information on how ‘canfloat’ houses work, articles were recently published in The Mail and The Times

A target deadline for a planning decision on the application has been set for August this year.

Developer: Floodline Developments Ltd
Engineers: Clarkebond
Architects: Broadway Malyan