Flood Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes

Queensland is the most disaster impacted state in Australia, with flooding being the disaster event that happens most frequently. We can’t stop floods from occurring, but we can take steps to reduce their impact. Flood resilient design is one of the many ways Queenslanders can build their resilience to floods. It involves adapting the design, construction and materials incorporated into buildings to minimise damage caused by floodwaters.

The Flood Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes provides information about improving the flood resilience of new and existing Queensland homes.

The guideline is based on lessons learned through consultation with the building industry, local governments and Queensland Government agencies.

It provides information about reducing the impact of floods on Queensland homes and families. It is suitable for building industry professionals, state and local authorities, and owners of residential properties in flood prone areas across Queensland.

It also provides clear guidance on flood resilient design principles, strategies, construction details, materials and the expected benefits and costs of flood resilient design.

Cost benefit analysis for flood resilient design and construction

Flood resilient design and construction can reduce the long-term costs for home owners by reducing expected costs associated with flood damage and insurance premiums. A cost benefit analysis was undertaken as part of the development of the Flood Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes to understand the return on investment for flood resilient homes under different circumstances.

Benefits of resilient homes in high flood risk areas 

Flood resilient homes are a viable option for flood events up to and including the 1% (1 in 100) AEP. The average Benefit Cost Ratios range from 1.9 to 19.6 and the average payback periods range from one to 12 years depending on building type, treatment adopted and likely frequency of flooding. 

Benefits of resilient homes in lower flood risk areas 

As the expected flood frequency decreases, so too does the case for resilient homes. 

Benefits of resilient homes under future climate change scenarios 

The economic case for flood resilient retrofitting of homes becomes even greater under future climate change scenarios. In these scenarios, flood resilient homes are economically viable under all circumstances modelled up to a 0.5% (1 in 200) AEP. The average Benefit Cost Ratios ranges from 1.7 to 27.3 and the average payback period ranges from 1 to 14 years depending on building type, treatment adopted and likely frequency of flooding.

(Source: p116 Flood Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes)

Practical building upgrades for flood resilience

There are some practical building upgrades you can take to make your home more flood resilient. Some ideas include:

  • wet-proofing the lower level of a home by installing polished concrete or tiled floors can significantly reduce clean up and recovery efforts following floods.
  • installing louvres in the walls of the lower level of your home to enable water to easily flow through the home during a flood and reduce damage.
  • widening the stairs from the lower level of your home to allow you to easily move furniture upstairs ahead of a flood to protect your possessions.

For some ideas on possible flood resilient home features click the hotspots on the home below, then talk to a licensed builder or architect about what measures could be incorporated into your home. 

(Acknowledgement: James Davidson Architect, Woolloongabba, Queensland)

The following interactive diagram highlights a number of flood resilient building features. Click on the dots for more information.