University of Bath

Safer communities with hydro-metrological disaster resilient houses

We are developing strategies that will improve the resilience of low-rise masonry structures, and communities, to extreme flooding events.

Photo of new flood resilient buildings in Sri Lanka
We are developing new design methods for flood resilient buildings in Sri Lanka

Project objectives

Focusing on Sri Lanka, we will:

  • evaluate, characterise and quantify the extent and nature of structural damage to masonry houses, and other related structures, in the affected areas of Sri Lanka following the 2016 and 2017 floods
  • identify and quantify the social and wider economic impacts of flooding events in Sri Lanka
  • determine suitable disaster resilient features for the commonly built low-rise masonry structures, including unfired clay brick homes, in Sri Lanka
  • develop and evaluate affordable methodologies for retrofitting masonry buildings to minimise structural damage, social impact and economic impact of future flood events
  • complete a feasibility study to develop an affordable elevated refuge space to minimise the risk of fatalities in flash flooding, that is capable of self-assembly by homeowners/occupants, and have the potential to be funded by the Government as a disaster preparedness measure

Structural impact of flooding

The main activity will be a study of the flood-affected areas of Western and Southern provinces of Sri Lanka. This is necessary to better understand and diagnose the structural problems arising from the floods in the process of developing potential solutions.

The study will be carried out jointly with University of Moratuwa (UOM) and National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) of Sri Lanka. It will include studying records collected by NBRO directly after the floods as well as additional field survey work.

The study will include defining:

  • the category of structures (including whether load-bearing, number of stories, special features, stilts)
  • geographic details of the location
  • building materials
  • recorded/estimated flood levels
  • occupancy details
  • survey and record of structural damage
  • any lasting effects on long-term durability