Articles | Volume 14, issue 5
Research article
05 May 2014
Research article |  | 05 May 2014

A new approach to flood vulnerability assessment for historic buildings in England

V. Stephenson and D. D'Ayala

Abstract. The recent increase in frequency and severity of flooding in the UK has led to a shift in the perception of risk associated with flood hazards. This has extended to the conservation community, and the risks posed to historic structures that suffer from flooding are particularly concerning for those charged with preserving and maintaining such buildings. In order to fully appraise the risks in a manner appropriate to the complex issue of preservation, a new methodology is presented here that studies the nature of the vulnerability of such structures, and places it in the context of risk assessment, accounting for the vulnerable object and the subsequent exposure of that object to flood hazards. The testing of the methodology is carried out using three urban case studies and the results of the survey analysis provide guidance on the development of fragility curves for historic structures exposed to flooding. This occurs through appraisal of vulnerability indicators related to building form, structural and fabric integrity, and preservation of architectural and archaeological values. Key findings of the work include determining the applicability of these indicators to fragility analysis, and the determination of the relative vulnerability of the three case study sites.

Final-revised paper