And now the weather …

The importance of protecting the built environment from weather damage is being brought into focus by the Resilience14 conference

BRE’s Resilience14 conference will focus on positive and practical ways to defend the UK’s built environment against weather-related damage and risk to health and wellbeing. Taking place at BRE Innovations Park in Watford on 26 November, Resilience14 is a one-day, interactive, content-driven conference, offering insight into the threats from flooding, storms and extreme temperatures. 

Peter Bonfield, chief executive of the BRE Group explains: “Resilience14 is dedicated to the ideas and solutions that will help to make our built environment more resilient to the worst effects of severe and extreme weather, a challenge that rises further up the public agenda with each flood and storm.”

The winter of 2013-14 emphasised the vulnerability of the built environment to storms and floods. Between December 2013 and February 2014, for example, 5,000 properties in England and Wales were flooded and more than 130 severe flood warnings were issued. It was the latest in a string of bad weather that has hit the UK in recent years, indicating that what were once considered once-in-a-lifetime events could now become regular occurrences. 

Extreme seasonal temperatures, with hotter, drier summers and occasional harsh winters, also pose serious risks to the health and wellbeing of buildings and their occupants. The adaptation sub-committee of the Committee on Climate Change’s ‘Managing Climate Risks to Well-Being and the Economy: ASC Progress Report 2014’ states that climate change has at least doubled the risk of a heat wave exceeding the temperatures experienced in 2003. The report also warns that premature deaths from overheating homes could triple to 7,000 a year by 2050.

This event uses presentations and interactive demonstration areas to introduce the technologies and the solutions that can protect against flooding, storms and extreme temperatures. At its heart is a varied conference programme, with an international selection of expert speakers from government, academia and the commercial sector. Visitors will gain an understanding of resilience in the context of insurance and risk, design and build, health and wellbeing and repair, rebuild and rehabilitation of the built environment. 

The ‘Britain under water’ strand of the conference will highlight the latest thinking on flood issues, including:

✥ incentivising flood-resilient behaviour
✥ flood-resilient construction
✥ flood resilience – what can the UK learn from other countries
✥ flood insurance.

Speakers include: Graham Saunders, Red Cross; Robbie Craig, DEFRA; Paul Cobbing, National Flood Forum; Dr Jessica Lamond, University of the West of England; Robert Barker, BACA Architects and Dr Paul O’Hare, Manchester Metropolitan University.

The ‘Britain overheating’ conference stream offers valuable insight into the future climate of the UK and how the built environment needs to adapt to cope with more extreme temperatures, especially the risks from summer heatwaves. TV geographer Nick Middleton is giving a keynote presentation, with other expert speakers including: Nicola O’Connor, Zero Carbon Hub; Carl Petrokofsky, Public Health England; Michael Swainson, BRE and Prof David Ormandy, professorial fellow in the division of health sciences, Warwick Medical School.

The threat of overheating is not confined to homes; schools too are at risk. Modern, new-build schools often include solar shading, thermal massing and other passive heat reduction measures in their design. But many, particularly ones with moderate ad hoc extensions of a relatively lightweight construction, have only limited means to cope with higher external temperatures combined with the heat gains from high densities of occupation and an increasing use of ICT equipment. With average temperatures set to increase as climate change takes effect, overheating in all kinds of buildings will become much more commonplace.

Visitors to Resilience14 can register for free admission to the conference and demonstration areas at Please note the change of venue from Olympia to the BRE Innovations Park. 

Resilience14 takes place at BRE Innovations Park, Watford on 26 November W:

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