Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Endurance - in a flood

In 2020 England recorded record breaking levels of rainfall which had a devastating impact on thousands of homes and communities. It is estimated that over 5.2 million properties in England are currently at risk of rising water levels and, although the government has pledged to double the amount they spend on flood defences, there are relatively inexpensive measures that homeowners can take themselves to reduce the impact of flooding to their property. 

Airbricks are devices used in buildings to allow the circulation of fresh air beneath suspended floors and within cavity walls to prevent the build-up of moisture and gasses. They are ideally incorporated on all sides of a building and guidelines recommend that they are installed at least 75mm above ground level to prevent water ingress.  However, in a flood it is estimated that up to 50,000 litres of water can flow through a single unprotected airbrick in one hour, potentially causing major and often irreparable damage, so extra measures are needed to prevent water entering a building.   

The SMART Airbrick, currently on display in MoDiP’s Endurance exhibition, is an innovative solution to this problem.  Developed by Eco-coverage Technologies, it was designed specifically for domestic use and as a replacement for traditional clay airbricks. It allows unrestricted airflow beneath a property under normal conditions, but when flood waters rise to such a level that water begins to flow through the airbrick, flotation valves, comprising chambers containing a ball, are activated, blocking its passage.  It also works in strong gusty winds in excess of 30mph, potentially helping to reduce heat loss from underneath the property.  

The SMART Airbrick is manufactured in the UK and is made of recycled polypropylene.  

Pam Langdown Documentation Officer

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