Evidence type: Delivery
Climate change is inevitable and the need to adapt to our changing climate is becoming more pressing, not just in the way we live, but in the way we build our new buildings. Consequently, this document's focus is on adapting development to climate change, an issue that has largely been ignored.
This document contains a checklist and guidance for new developments to adapt to climate change. The main actions are summarised in a simple to use checklist, however, it is not intended to be a design manual, although it does contain signposts to more detailed guidance.
While it will be necessary to adapt existing buildings and infrastructure retrospectively to climate change, this document is targeted at how to incorporate adaptation measures in new development. Extensions and/or refurbishments to existing buildings should be included.
It is vital that the effects of climate change are considered over the lifetime of a development, the aim is to future-proof developments and to build-in resilience to climate change impacts now and in the future.
- Establish the Environment Agency flood risk designation(s) for the site and ensure that the design of the development accords with it.
- Check with the Local Planning Authority to review any strategic flood risk assessments.
- Undertake an appropriate flood risk assessment and evaluate the flood risk over the design life of the development. Demonstrate that this is acceptable for the proposed use(s) and, at a minimum, that there will be no overall increase in flood risk (likelihood and negative impact).
- Help reduce the urban heat island effect e.g. by planning green space and using appropriate shade when locating your development.
- Consider the implications of coastal erosion when planning a development.
Ensure the overall layout and massing of the development:
- does not increase the flood risk and where possible reduces risk;
- minimises solar gain in summer;
- maximises natural ventilation;
- maximises natural vegetation;
- takes account of the increased risk of subsidence;
- provides homes and other appropriate uses with a private outdoor space wherever possible.
- Structure: demonstrate that the structure of the building is strong enough to withstand a changing climate, able to adapt and approporiately designed for future climates.
- Physical envelope of structures: demonstrate that drainage systems can cope with more intense rainfall, there are opportunities for green roofs/walls, exterior of buildings reduces heat gain in summer.
- Materials: Ensure the materials specified will perform adequately in the climate throughout the lifetime of the development. Ensure the construction methods to be used are suitable for the weather conditions at the time of construction.
- Carry out a site survey to determine which SUDS techniques will be appropriate for use on the site. For example, ground conditions will determine the suitability of infiltration systems. Consider rainwater harvesting, green roof systems and opportunities for permeable paving if soil permeability is low.
- Ensure, in consultation with the Environment Agency, that the requirements of the Groundwater Regulations are complied with (you should though note that shallow, extensive infiltration systems will minimise risks to groundwater).
- Demonstrate consideration is given to future maintenance requirements of SUDS including the need, where necessary, for the removal of silt which will be treated as a controlled waste, and that space requirements for this purpose are allowed for in the design.
- Ensure that responsibility for maintaining SUDS is clear at the planning application stage.
- Estimate the net water consumption of the development under normal use and under water conservation conditions (i.e. during a drought), both initially and during the lifetime of the development in consultation with the relevant water company.
- Discuss existing sewerage infrastructure and sewage treatment capacity with the local sewerage provider.
- Minimise water use in buildings, consider the use of rainwater collection/re-use systems and consider the environmental impact (in terms of water consumption) of products, materials and building methods.
- Incorporate an appropriate range of public and private outdoor spaces in developments, with appropriate shade, vegetation and water features.
- Ensure the design of surfaces take account of more intense use, permeability, potential for causing dust and for soil erosion.
- Ensure the selection of vegetation with longer life (over 10 years) takes account of future climate change.
- Ensure water features have minimal net water use.
- Provide a rainwater collection system/grey-water recycling for watering gardens and landscaped areas.