4 responses

  1. J P Butler
    January 7, 2016

    Mark,

    Good post as always.

    The CFRAM maps are very good and they do make quite sobbering reading. On one site here in Cork we have had to raise the proposed floor level by approx +1.5m above the existing level – it would be have been greater if not for the flood defenses that are to be put in place by Cork City Council over the next 2-3 years.  The 1 in 1000yr scenario projected a raised GF level of +2.0m above existing site level.

    One thing to consider in relation to building on high ground is emergency access; if the access road floods it could also affect the planning outcome – we have seen a case of a refusal by AnBP on emergency access grounds – check that there is another route to/from the site.

    Regards,

    Paul Butler

    Reply

    • Mark Stephens
      January 8, 2016

      Cheers Paul – good points – Mark

      Reply

  2. Michael O’Neill
    January 7, 2016

    Mark, thanks for this excellent article.

    I will respond to it below, giving my own thoughts – and I will publish these in Linkedin with a link to your article. I will also submit them to the Building Regs blog boys, but they get skittish when I start calling for the prosecution of corrupt persons so we will see how well that is received 🙂

    1. Flood defense works are an essential part of any programme for government in these times. They are capital intensive and intended for the preservation of asserts which in general support the public good. Whether these are streets, services, buildings or parkland it does not matter. If you zoom out a little even the preservation of privately held farmland can be classed as an asset to the state in that it supports gainful employment and our GDP figures and export market See my comments in item 4 below also.

    2. Planning laws need to be strengthened, not changed as such. We need a closely defined set of areas near existing settlements where development can take place, not the current waffle about hubs and gateways which I think is still masquerading as the national spatial plan. Decentralization twaddle should go the same way. And people need in general to be discouraged from building in at-risk areas. This includes an audit of all current extant permissions and an immediate quashing of those at risk and prosecution of those councillors who voted them through the planning process and planning officials and country managers who approved them. Past time these white collar criminals were nailed to a post for the damage caused to people’s lives and the state coffers caused by their back-pocket enterprises.

    3. New construction methods are to be welcomed, but we should not focus on floating houses – after all, where will they float to, what can we do about their services? We should be thinking in terms of ways to avoid changes to underground watercourses and natural swales caused by the building of new estates and roads. The rainfall in Ireland is only likely to increase in duration and severity over the next decade and even if there are a few drier years than 2015 we should plan for this eventuality. The test of foreseeability is the most damning and undermining test when applied to an Architect and it is clear that it should be applied to County and Civil engineers whose pronouncements should not then be overridden by corrupt councillors and county managers.

    4. The declaration on planning forms is utterly inadequate to address the threat we are facing from potential flooding of formerly not at-risk areas. More importantly, it should not rest at all on the shoulders of someone designing a house. The local authority should know, without any shadow of doubt, what the likely risk is, They should know because there should be a national hydro-geological survey carried out immediately to identify those areas at risk and potentially at risk and this should be incorporated directly into all development plans to identify possible areas at-risk and those suitable for future development. This should include all areas used for farmland and manufacturing processes as well. No exceptions for vested interests like the IFA and their well-paid lobbyists. The results of this survey will best inform the government where – and what kind of – flood defense works are required.

    Summary: We need informed heads around the table 0n this one, not the usually corrupt stupid ones that have served us so badly in so many things this far.

    Reply

    • Mark Stephens
      January 8, 2016

      Hi Michael – many thanks for comment; replied on FB too

      Mark

      Reply

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