Protecting Bath from flooding

From Cleveland Bridge to Midland Bridge, Bath’s flood defences are finally under construction.  This follows our flood-proofing design work with Bath & NE Somerset Council in 2014, and subsequent planning and listed building consents.

In the past, whenever the river has flooded, the flood water has blocked the adjacent Lower Bristol Road.  With the Environment Agency predicting worse flooding to come, as a result of global warming, the Council decided it was time to install flood defences to the river bank.

While it was fairly straightforward to design stone-clad concrete walls between the listed former wharf building – now offices and residences – making the windows and doors in the buildings flood-proof proved more difficult.

While there are specialist suppliers of doors and windows that have been tested against flooding, adapting their standard tested projects to suit listed building was the main architectural challenge.  Although providing protection against flooding is clearly vital, in Bath, the building work has to be designed sensitively taking into account the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Today’s photos are very much of a ‘work in progress’, we will post some more photos when the work is complete.

Our brief was to conceal 21st century flood defences within listed wharf buildings and in the context of a World Heritage Site – no challenge then!
— John Rich, Partner