Consider the general actions which you can take


Green wall outside Birmingham New Street station, an example of incorporating green infrastructure into an urban environment © Climate UK


Consider the vulnerabilities of neighbourhoods and building types in your area using the ClimateJust map tool as a starting point for understanding community needs. These can be supplemented with locally held information about the sorts of residential dwellings in your local area.


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Identify the magnitude and likelihood of hazards associated with the changing climate, including flooding and heatwaves.

  • Consider how patterns of vulnerable groups and building characteristics compare with patterns of potential exposure to flooding and heat-waves, use the map tool.
  • Draw on existing risk assessments, adaptation tools such as the UKCP09 projections (and the forthcoming UKCP18 project which will update the UKCP09 projections over UK land areas and sea-level rise, giving greater regional detail) and other local information (for example following the UKCIP Local Climate Impacts Profile (LCLIP) process).  See the Further Resources section above for an example, like the LCLIP for Greater Manchester
  • Examine the impacts of extreme weather events including their location, timing, costs and the effectiveness of responses to record local experiences and support continuous learning.


Review the case studies in the Further Resources section to see what others have done.

  • For example in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, two tower blocks which, in total, contained 200 flats were not only refurbished to meet Decent Homes standards but, whilst other retrofitting work was taking place, were adapted to make them more resilient to future climate change. The website contains the property surveys with the residents as well as the financial analysis that provided the justification for action.


Keep informed about changes to building regulations. Current building regulations do not require flood resilience measures to be installed in new buildings. Some experts recommend that building regulations be amended to ensure that all new builds are “flood resilient compliant”. The Local Government Association (LGA) has also called for building regulations to require anti-flood measures such as raised electrical sockets and fuse boxes and controls, wiring above floor level, ventilation brick covers, sealed floors and raised damp proof courses.

Professional planning and engineering institutions are working to develop a voluntary code on flood resilience measures that should be used in any new developments. In September 2017, Defra published a Property Flood Resilience Action Plan. This recommended that the Government further explore whether building regulations could be better used to encourage flood resistant and resilient building construction.

Consider the following actions below to assist the uptake and use of property-level adaptations.



Heatwave resilience through building adaptations


Consider the range of technical solutions that can help to adapt buildings so that the tendency for them to exacerbate the effects of heat-waves on residents is reduced.

  •  Supporting technical information on the thermal characteristics of buildings, temperature thresholds and temperature ranges are available from specialist reports, e.g.  Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Guide A.
  • See the Further Resources Section for information about how overheating can impact on vulnerable groups at a neighbourhood level and what adaptations might be considered1.


Identify low cost measures that may assist in preventing properties from overheating. These might be particularly helpful for individuals who may be at home for most of the day. Traditional solutions include brise soleil, awnings and shutters to reduce solar gain (heat) and solar glare (light)2. Other measures include the use of ‘reflective’ surfaces which absorb less heat, such as painting roofs and walls white, or investing in curtains with reflective white linings 3. All of these are particularly good for reducing daytime heat gain.  These measures could also be applied in institutional settings such as care homes as well as in private or social housing.

  • See the Further Resources section for a link to the BIOPICC toolkit and case studies developed to understand how resilience to extreme weather events can be improved to benefit older people.


Promote the need for good insulation in the home to protect against overheating during a heat-wave or in a warmer climate 4 (though in long periods of high temperature residents need to ensure that homes are adequately ventilated during the cooler hours to prevent heat building up). External shading of windows can also have an important role. External wall insulation has other benefits too: not only does it prevent heat from entering the internal spaces, it can also improve the energy performance of a building. This prevents loss of heat during winter, which potentially reduces the amount of fuel needed to heat a property and may help to reduce vulnerability to fuel poverty 5. Whether internal or external, the type of insulation chosen will depend on many factors. External wall insulation may be materially more expensive; however, internal insulation may be disruptive to tenants living in multi-occupancy flats, where a quicker and less disruptive solution would be to upgrade the building with external insulation.


See the Further Resources section for links to:


Consider how passive cooling strategies can provide important benefits and may need to be used in conjunction with well-insulated homes to prevent heat build up. This includes the use of shading, cross-ventilation and night-time ventilation. Octavia Housing, a social landlord, retrofitted an 1860s terraced house to meet Passivhaus standards because it was in a conservation area which limited solutions that could be applied without significantly changing the building.


Consider promoting green space interventions as another means by which temperatures can be made cooler in wider neighbourhoods which in turn reduces the outside temperature around a building. Adding vegetation into the urban environment is one of a range of possible UHI control measures that can be considered including introducing shading and water features, modifying building materials and considering how other factors such as street orientation can affect internal temperatures 6. Local communities can often become involved with actions related to changes to vegetation and types of urban materials 7. Community involvement may also be important for ensuring that green areas continue to provide cooling functions, e.g. through helping to prevent planted areas from drying out.

See the Further Resources section for more information about green infrastructure measures 8.



Flood resilience through building adaptations9


Consider the respective role of the two types of solution that can increase the resilience of individual properties to flooding. “Flood resilient” measures accept that flood waters will enter a property and, thus, seek to minimise the damage. “Flood resistant” solutions aim to keep flood water away from properties10. Sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) are another adaptation option; these are covered elsewhere in the portal, see Further Resources section for more information.


Identify where “Flood resilient” measures may be particularly appropriate. These include measures like placing electrical sockets higher up the wall (c. 1.5 metres). Carpets can also be removed where tiles and floorboards can be exposed since these are quicker and easier to clean. Rugs may also be an option since these can be removed or replaced more easily. It is also possibly to buy water-resistant skirting boards and horizontal plasterboard or lime-based plaster can be used in preference to gypsum.


Keep informed about new developments in flood protection. Many innovative technologies to increase flood resilience are coming to market. However, for various reasons (including the type of house and the type of occupant), it is recommended that bespoke measures are designed that follow on from surveying a property and, once installed, are supported by flood groups and flood plans. For example, for people with reduced mobility, temporary flood door guards and barriers may be too cumbersome for them to deploy quickly enough (particularly if it is an area where flash flooding is common).

  • The Six Steps to Flood Resilience, a comprehensive toolkit for local authorities and flood risk professionals, gives an insight into such design considerations and a step-by-step process to follow in design, procurement and operation of such technologies. See the Further Resources section for links to this information.

 Encourage residents to carry out their own measures to avoid the loss and damage of possessions. For example through moving valuables and irreplaceable items of sentimental value to a higher location (i.e. on the first floor of a property or on higher level shelving). Some residents may need assistance, for example those who are older, less mobile or in poor health. Other information on how individuals and communities can prepare are available through the Further Resources, including developing community resilience and flood plans.


Promote the National Flood Forum as an important source of information and support. Among other things, the NFF delivers the Blue Pages – a directory of flood protection goods and services - aimed at householders and property owners. The NFF notes that it does not specifically endorse the products listed, rather it provides the material to raise awareness of the available options which can then be looked at alongside other resources such as the Environment Agency’s own guidance. In its introduction to the listings, the NFF also cautions that measures designed to prevent water entering a property may not be appropriate everywhere. In situations where flooding might reach a depth of a metre or more, using measures to keep water out could lead to an unacceptably high strain on the building itself. Under these situations it may be better to allow water through and avoid potential structural damage.

  • In collaboration with a number of partners, the National Flood Forum website now also hosts The Property Protection Advisor which can help communities and individuals to investigate solutions that may help to increase their resilience to floods. See the Further Resources section for links to this and other helpful information.


Consider investing in community wide measures (such as temporary flood barriers) or alternatively people could be supported in trying to find funding from elsewhere. Funding for any capital schemes requires a number of sources/ agencies to contribute.

  • A toolkit developed for Defra provides detailed information on sources of funding, which includes guidance on potential partner organisations and funding sources. See the Further Resources section for links to this information. 
  • Defra’s Pathfinder projects are also providing further learning about good practice in community level actions. Projects associated with flooding are currently ongoing. They aim to protect a range of properties from flooding and stress tangible and measurable outcomes, such as reductions in household insurance premiums. A set of projects on coastal resilience are already completed and all were shown to have improved community resilience to some extent.
  • See the Further Resources section for more information about the Pathfinder Projects

Remember that none of the technical solutions identified here can fully protect against the effects of flooding. They should be supported by community engagement and action. Community flood wardens can help to identify the most vulnerable people in a neighbourhood and organise how to provide any extra assistance that they may need to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a flood event. The availability and affordability of insurance is also a very important issue. See Further Resources, Section 5 (above).


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  1. Aleksandra Kazmierczak. 2012. Heat and People: a Risk Response Case Study. EcoCities Project, The University of Manchester. 
  2. Angela Connelly. 2011. Adapting Buildings to Climate Change: a Literature Review, EcoCities Project, The University of Manchester.
  3. Public Health England. 2013. The heat-wave plan for England 2013.
  4. University of West England. 2006. The Construction Website: Insulation.  
  5. Public Health England. 2013. The heat-wave plan for England 2013.
  6. Smith, C and Levermore, G. (2008) Designing urban spaces and buildings to improve sustainability and quality of life in a warmer world Energy Policy 36 4558–4562
  7. USEPA (no date) Reducing Urban Heat Islands: Compendium of Strategies Urban Heat Island Basics Reference
  8. Illustrations 21-photo-floodbarrier-1-AC, 1-photo-NFF-Buckingham-AC, 2-photo-NFF-Buckingham-AC
  9. Bowker, P. 2007. Flood resistance and resilience solutions: an R & D scoping study.
  10. White, I., O’Hare, P., Lawson, N., Garvin, S., Connelly, A. 2013. Six Steps to Flood Resilience: Guidance for Local Authorities and Professionals.