Retrofit of sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) in CBD for improved flood mitigation

Project funder: RICS Education Trust

Lead organisation: UWE Bristol

Project duration: 11 months

Project team/collaborators

Project aims

The aim of the research is to examine the potential for mitigation of pluvial flooding in Business Districts through retrofitting of SUDS.

Project summary

Flood damage was estimated to cost A$20bn in Australia in 2011. In the UK, approximately 185,000 commercial properties are at risk of flooding and the 2007 flood event was estimated to cost businesses in England £0.75bn in damage and disruption. Flash flooding has been driven by higher incidence of intense pluvial events and the reality of CBD drainage systems constructed prior to concerns about changing weather patterns.

Building on existing research examining office retrofit potential in Melbourne and on property level flood adaptation in the UK, the research will use two case study areas to:

  • evaluate the percentage of commercial buildings and adjacent paved areas that could be physically retrofitted
  • quantify the potential reduction in run-off and associated flood damage
  • undertake cost benefit analysis and identify social and environmental benefits of sustainable drainage for commercial property.

Project outcomes

This research will:

  • build capability and capacity of surveyors in the emerging area of retrofit of SUDS to mitigate flooding
  • develop novel methodological approaches applicable across national and international locations
  • complement ongoing research on the costs and benefits of SUDS at UWE Bristol
  • synthesise expertise from Australia and the UK in pluvial flood risk and sustainable drainage retrofit potential.

Output from this research will include a best practice guidance note for chartered surveyors to use across all RICS regions.

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