1. Review the Recommended general actions


2. Consider the range, scale and type of interventions which can be used and their appropriateness in different local situations and contexts. A number of different types of measures have been identified in the previous section. Although many are suitable for retrofitting existing buildings, new buildings or major redevelopments have most potential for bringing together a range of adaptation measures. New builds bring the opportunity to: design-in adaptation measures; consider costs against benefits over the expected lifetime of a development; use appropriately experienced contractors; and use contractual arrangements which emphasise the requirements for buildings to meet performance targets.

The Further Resources section provides:

  • A link to a review of measures and interventions associated with overheating in buildings. They include actions associated with the urban realm, buildings, equipment, changing behaviour, building performance and occupant health1.
  • A link to several compendia of flood adaptations, e.g. the National Flood Forum’s Blue Pages.
  • More information on wider measures associated with vulnerable groups, including those in poor health.
  • More information on the Government’s Soft Landing Scheme to assist with setting up performance related targets.    


3. Consider the barriers to implementing building adaptations and how they might be overcome.

Think about the building stock which houses vulnerable communities in your area and the adaptation measures which might be appropriate for them.


Consider how people may require support to use property protection measures or act on advice. For example, the refurbishment of a 1930s house in York, undertaken for JRF, to make it more energy efficient showed the difference between predicted performance and actual performance (known as the performance gap)2.  Similar issues can be found in relation to building adaptations put in place to cool buildings or to help protect it from flooding. The extent of the performance gap depends on the type of building being adapted, the type of adaptation being used, the characteristics of the building users and the way in which building users interact with the building and its adaptation measures. Many options are technical solutions that require a certain amount of human input to make them work effectively, such as flood gates during an emergency situation. Residents may need to know about passively ventilating their homes by opening windows and understanding cross-ventilation to allow a through-flow of air. Issues such as not having English as a first language, reluctance to open windows in urban areas, or reduced mobility may inhibit the user’s ability to put these measures into action3,4.


Where possible, consider integrating adaptation and mitigation to keep costs to a minimum, to minimise disruption to residents, and to optimise performance.  Retrofits should ideally consider both future heat gains and current cold weather issues.  

  • Further information on how this has been tackled is given in the Further Resources section.


Consider using community measures where it is unlikely that property owners or residents are able to adopt property level measures independently, for example due to being on low incomes or not being responsible for the maintenance of the home that they live in. 


4. Only use technological solutions as part of a wider package of activities and actions which consider the needs of vulnerable residents and recognise that no flood resilience measure completely removes the potential for buildings to be affected. Be sure to also use a range of ‘soft’ measures which target those who have particular difficulties. For example, people with reduced mobility may require help to move their valuables when a flood warning is issued. It is important to note that the most ‘valuable’ items people have are often not those which have high monetary costs – there is evidence that people affected by past events have regretted prioritising valuable yet replaceable items over those with more sentimental value such as photographs and keepsakes5. Measures which tackle institutional and building management regimes can be important for responding to heat wave events and also for promoting better every-day thermal comfort for people living in multi-occupant buildings, such as residential homes. Actions may involve: reviewing the existing thermal characteristics of buildings and occupant preferences; identifying and designating cool and warm locations; and identifying ways through which occupants can modify their own comfort levels.


5. Review the specific tools in the Further Resources section but remember that many do not explicitly consider the needs of vulnerable people.  It is therefore important to use information alongside the other materials and resources identified in this website to address inequalities.


6.  Review the case studies in the Further Resources section showing how others have applied technical and non-technical responses. This section also contains a list of tools and other resources which you may find helpful, including sources of advice for the public and factsheets associated with building adaptation case studies.





  1. DCLG (2012) Investigation into Overheating in Homes: Literature Review 
  2. Richard Partington Architects. 2012. Temple Avenue Project: Energy Efficient Refurbished Homes for the 21st Century. JRF & JRHT.
  3. Benzie, M, Harvey, A, Burningham, K, Hodgson, N and Siddiqi, A (2011) Vulnerability to heat-waves and drought: adaptation to climate change, JRF.
  4. Sarah Lindley et al. 2011. Climate Change, Justice and Vulnerability. JRF, York.
  5. Walker, G., Burningham, K., Fielding, J., Smith, G., Thrush, D. & Fay, H. (2006) Using science to create a better place: Addressing Environmental Inequalities: Flood Risk, Science Report: SC020061/SR1, Environment Agency, Bristol.