Kabina has been granted a patent for its foundation system for fully flood-adaptive new homes, specifically designed for UK flood plains.
The Kabina flood-adaptive system consists of a unique combination of components including buoyant cassettes, a surrounding robust gabion wall to channel floodwater and protect from debris, steel piles anchored deep in the ground and umbilical utility hookups. The homes are designed to sit in swales or dry channels created by a ‘cut and fill’ process. In a flood the rainwater runs off into the swales until the houses reach critical buoyancy and start to float, exactly as any vessel does on a rising tide. In an extreme flood Kabina homes may remain afloat, safe and dry, for several days, before settling back down on their foundations when the floodwaters finally recede. The homes can also be designed for total self-sufficiency, providing their own green electricity, drinking water and waste management whenever municipal services crash. Access and egress for the entire estate are ensured by a network of raised roads.
Kabina devised the system as a more sustainable option than the two default UK methods of responding to flood events, namely:
1) flood resilience, whereby homes may sustain damage from water ingress during a flood and are then repaired after the flood; this is in part facilitated by a government scheme, Flood Re, which forces the insurance industry to subsidise premiums for homes in flood zones; however such insurance typically allows for re-instatement only rather improvement to those homes (there are 4.5 million homes in flood zones in the UK); and
2) flood resistance, whereby homes do not allow flood water inside the properties, but do not adapt to the flood by rising and falling as a flood occurs and recedes; this can result in external damage and utilities problems such as sewerage backup, power failures, etc.
The Kabina system is based on Dutch precedent, but has been adapted to suit the British landscape and volume housing requirements.
Martin Francis, Francis Design: “As both a naval and ‘land’ architect it occurred to me that we could use the principle of boats in tidal estuaries that simply rise and fall according to water flows”.
Neil Cheston, MD, Kabina: “We’ve applied simple marine principles and technology to solve a problem in the UK. The problem is not going to go away, in fact it’s already getting worse because of climate change. Our patented technology allows for the new volume housing which is desperately needed for our increasing population.
This is really akin to previous pioneering waves such as retail sheds, student homes and urban living: an initial resistance followed by early adoption and then finally, institutional acceptance. This cycle will be repeated for flood homes. Kabina is the pioneer. It’s now time for adoption.”